This is a monthly newsletter for communicating information about Then Came Bronson, Michael Parks, and related items of interest, to the general public. It is not affiliated with MGM, TNT or any other company or organization.
Below is a list of short-cuts to various sections of this page. Although you may want to read the page through from top to bottom the first time, I put these in so that, if you want to find something later, you can go right to that section (by clicking on the hyperlink).
FROM MY DESK...
REGARDING THE NEW MICHAEL PARKS CD...
TCB STORIES FROM MICHAEL PARKS...
FROM TCB FANS EVERYWHERE...
BRONSON ITINERARY (SCENE LOCATIONS)...
Well, fans, December was a busy month, so there isn't all that much in the newsletter. But there are a few goodies, including a TCB story from Michael Parks! And the news that the new Michael Parks CD is now available!
Looking for the following TCB fans whose email addresses are no longer valid:
The CD is out and it's good! Real good! There isn't one song I don't like or would change in any way! Even has an original composition by Michael Parks, called Down New Orleans Way.
The first song is "Big River," a nice foot-tapping, shoulder-rocking song to get one in the mood. "I'll Never Be Free" and "Moulin Rouge," the next ones, are two great slow songs. He has a wonderful ability to sing a "love song" without adding the kind of overdone, saccharine sentimentality that can make it unlistenable twice in a row.
He's still got his voice. More mature, but fits the songs really well. Yet still has that "Bronson" sound at times, especially on the song Texas Plains - reminiscent of San Antonio Rose and Oklahoma Hills, on his first album, but much better! This album is somewhat more along the lines of "Lost And Found" and "You Don't Know Me" - blues and old standards - although there are similarities to some cuts on his first two albums, "Closing The Gap" and "Long Lonesome Highway."
The fifth song, Rockin' Chair, is simply great. One of my favorites! Always gets me tapping my foot and snapping my fingers.
Another one of my favorites is the eighth song, called It's Such A Good Day, written by Jan Crutchfield, a friend of Michael's. It's the only song,
besides "Down New Orleans Way," that has never been recorded before.
The vocals aren't overpowering, and the songs are better for it. Yet his voice is strong and doesn't get lost in the accompanying instruments, blending with them nicely.
I really like the piano, guitar and horns - and the drum work. They add flavor to the songs they are on, without drowning them; my compliments to the musicians. Makes a great album, from the first song onward, even for some of the slower ones; it would sometimes be hard to decide whether to sit and listen or get up and dance.
As I listen to it, I can't stop smiling! This is my kind of music. I wish I could hear Michael in a small night club. That's where these songs would sound best "in concert." And where I'd be returning, weekend after weekend!
Note to all those involved in creating this CD: everyone of his fans should be grateful for you getting this collection of songs on record for them to hear! Thanks! - jonpf
[Here's their website address:]
Here's something we all can do: if you have radio stations in your local area that play jazz, country & western, blues or oldies, call them up and ask them to play something from Michael Parks' new CD. If the DJs don't recognize the name, remind/enlighten them about Then Came Bronson (and other movies/shows he's been in), and his previous music career. If they don't have the CD, ask if they could play something from a previous album, maybe Long Lonesome Highway (gold record, about 1970). If they ask, tell them that you found out about the CD by searching the Internet (WWW.MICHAELPARKS.COM).
[From TV Guide, issue of Jan. 26, 1974:]
MICHAEL PARKS is back working in Hollywood after a long absence. "I went three years without working," says Michael, the star of NBC's series Then Came Bronson during the 1969-70 season. A talented actor whose career suffered when he was tagged with a reputation as a man who was hard to work with, Parks recently played an important role in an Ironside on NBC and starred in ABC's TV-movie "Can Ellen Be Saved?" "It seems that all is forgiven," says Michael, although he adds, "I don't even understand today how my reputation got so bad. But now they seem to want me to work, which is good because an actor should be acting."
[The IRONSIDE episode was surely "A Death in Academe," which aired February 21, 1974, and Can Ellen Be Saved, which aired on February 5, 1974, according to my Michael Parks Filmography web page in the May newsletter. At some point, I'll plod through TV Guide to verify the air dates. - jonpf]
(Sort of a "fan mail" page. Anonymous, unless requested otherwise. Also, some emails are in other sections of this newsletter, where appropriate.)
[From the woman in Japan whose email I put in the last newsletter:]
Thanks for your mail, actually my heart beat fast when I saw the subject
of the mail, "Bronson"! I am hopeless or what? :-) Here around my place,
near Narita Airport, it's also getting pretty cold, we usually have
beautiful sunny days though. The winter here is rather dry, however the
weather forecast says it's gonna be a colder winter and that we might
have a lot of snow. I'm dreaming of a white Christmas...
[I had asked her if she remembered the year that TCB was shown in Japan, and whether it was dubbed or subtitled:]
Re the time when "Then Came Bronson" was shown in Japan, I'm sorry I
don't remember exactly when. I'm not such a person as to be quick to
answer in what year some songs/movies were on. Anyway, I think it was
showing at the same time as in US or maybe one year later than that.
Yes, it was dubbed into Japanese, and I tell you it was done well. The
actor who took Jim's role was very good and his voice suited his
character, quiet, thoughtful, considerate, tender and somewhat
humourous... you know that?:-) Oh, if I knew there is anyone who has
video cassettes of TCB, I would certainly come in contact with that
person by all means! At that time I only had a cassette tape recorder, no
VCR. (whine) It's almost unbelievable that such a good show is not
available even in US! I would surely like to get one when the video is
I sent my E-mails as per your letter and with any luck (and some
persistance) we'll see some movement. Have you heard anything
on the decals yet?
believe we have a fan from Japan? For some reason I never figured TCB
would connect over there - just goes to show dreams know no boundaries.
Hang in there
Bud Ekins was the stunt rider for the show. Pretty famous in his field. I
believe he also did the mc stunt riding in "Animal House"--riding the bike up
the stairs during the Delta Tau Chi frat party. The character riding the bike
was a non-student--Dean Wormer said something like, "And you...zero point
zero!" when he was busting the chops of Bluto and his buddies.
Also--there was a stunt bike. In the really rough scenes (like in the "lost
in the wilderness" episode), they used one of those Italian (Aermacchi?)
Harley one-cylinder 350s--with the horizontal cylinder--tricked up to somehow
resemble the Sportster. I remember a cycle mag reviewer saying something
like, "under close scrutiny, Bronson's bike seemed to have lost a cylinder and
several pounds of ugly fat...", then went on to explain the stunt bike.
I also remember an episode where someone was fascinated with the symbol on B's
gas tank--the "all-seeing eye." And another episode where B. stopped at a
house in the boonies--the old man who lived there liked to have travelers stop
by and have conversations. The topic that day was "The Universe." The fellow
had been a newspaper typesetter or something--at the time, of course, that was
still done with hot type and a huge machine called a "linotype." The fellow
had a linotype in his back yard and was dismantling it piece by piece in
revenge--he apparently felt that he had been a prisoner of the machine and was
now the master.
We just don't seem to get story lines like these any more!
I really love your work on the Then Came Bronson web site. I am 40 y/o, and remember the show as a youngster. I taped every rerun that has aired, and ride a touring machine (Kawasaki Voyager XII). But what is most unique for me about the show is that I experienced the same frustration with my job as a Police Officer in Maryland, and chucked the job in a quest for self discovery. I since moved back to my roots near Pittsburgh, Pa. The question that I would love to have you answer is what are the chances of meeting Michael Parks, or the chances of a return of the show?
Take Care, and Hang in There!
I had a Sears mini bike that I used to ride around on with the dark blue shirt and watch cap. In 1974 I
graduated from high school and bought a Sportster and did travel around Texas for the summer before college.
And ever since I wanted to get another Sportster. I saw the actual Motorcycle used in the show in a museum in
LA once. I wonder where it is now. I even built a model of the
bike used in the show, and kept the front of the box. I also have a copy of Cycle magazine that had an article
about the show and the bike.
I just read the latest newsletter of TCB and was thrilled with all the interesting trivia. Please add me to your mailing list. What kind of 30 year reunion are we
I also saw one of the bikes used in the series at the same museum back in 1975 or 76. I
thought that, in the "Hang in there scene," Michael was lane splitting (which is legal in CA) and the driver of the
wagon was going straight ahead. Oh well, interesting anyway. I read in February 1970 CYCLE magazine
that there was a poster with Bud Ekins (action coordinator ) riding an ORANGE Sporster. Anybody seen
I have E mailed TNT to request re-airing TCB. I also have 2 albums put out by Michael Parks that I have
saved. Titled, Long Lonesome Highway and Closing the Gap. I used to have the model of the Bronson bike
that you mentioned also. I have been looking over the years for exact duffle bags like he used on his bike
and I tried to figure out what all he carried in them. I think it's interesting that I am not the only one that this
show had an impact on. Especially when you consider it only ran for one season. It would be interesting to
hear what Michael Parks thinks about fans like us. Would he say we all needed to get a life? He made
mention in the same Cycle magazine that he didn't much care for the Sporster. But back then there wasn't
alot to choose from that had an image. Back in 1974 I bought a new Sportster XLH and started to copy the
Bronson bike with a sissy bar and bobbing the rear fender 5 inches and changing the tail light. I took a trip
from San Antonio, TX, to El Paso and back, in the middle of the summer. HOT! With only a 2 gallon tank I
had to stop every 90 miles or so for gas. It became a real challenge to find gas stations in time.
The seat was stock and it was not very comfortable. Ever notice in the TV show that the bike had a thin seat
and then it doubled in thickness in later episodes. Now I know why! He also changed the leather jacket he
wore. Supposedly he wanted to use a Down filled coat instead because it was so cold, and in one
episode he did have a down coat. Looking forward to next TCB newsletters and would like to read other emails from fans and more stories.
I have E-mailed everybody you mentioned to try to get re-airing of TCB. Yes you can use any of my e-mails
in future news letters with my name no problem. I am extremely impressed with the volume and
quality of your TCB page, excellent work. By the way I have been thinking of buying a 1999 Sportster 883
Custom. 30 years later 1969-1999, comes standard with a 21 inch front wheel and same 883 displacement
but with a larger 3.3 gallon tank. Then copying as many modifications as the original, (chrome, etc.).
Because of this show, I got hooked on motorcycles and have been ever since. What prompted you to do
this page anyway. I have been a little embarassed by being a fan and my wife thinks it's funny. Oh well, it's
not like I am a treky Star Trek fan and wearing weird costumes. I can wear t-shirts and brown corduroys
and boots without anybody staring.
Keep up the great work, and I'll be looking forward to future issues
and hearing more stories.
Well, I have made many visits to your site and have really enjoyed it. I had a couple of questions that I hope
you can answer at your convience.
1. Were any episodes filmed in Texas? I remember reading or seeing
something on the local news in San Antonio, TX., that Michael Parks was in town filming an episode.
2. Do you
know were I could get some exact decals like the ones on the Bronson bike of the "all seeing eye?" I would like
to try to duplicate the Bronson bike someday just for fun. I am definitely getting closer to buying a 1999
Thanks again for the GREAT site, keep up the good work,
[Sorry, but I have no info regarding Michael Parks in TX, nor do I know of any episodes being filmed there. If I do find out for sure, one way or the other, I'll post it in the newsletters. - jonpf]
The young doctor in "The Circle of Time" was Dabney Coleman.
Also, one of your earlier emailers was trying to identify a specific scene were a young woman runs across a
small bridge and jumps into Bronson's arms saying "Oh, Jimmy" - it was from the episode called "Where Will The
Trumpets Be." I refer to it as the Bull Fight episode.
Thanks again for a great web site.
I remember TCB--I was a freshman in high school at the time.
One episode dealt with B. as he took a trip into the woods just before a
mammoth rainstorm and flood. Some great scenes. Even somewhat profound as
Bronson confronted loneliness, danger, the power of Mother Nature, and the
beauty of the wild.
He even quoted from a poem the line: "This is the forest primeval..."
I also remember the Cycle Guide article "Then came Wilson." A fun story.
I think I sold all my old cycle magazines in a fit of cleaning up when I was
18 or so. I'll take another look for them at my folks' house.
So, thanks for jogging the memory.
For the past several weeks I have been thinking about TCB and finally
tried to locate something on the net and found your web site ...Thank
you...I have not seen any of the shows in years and did not even know
that a pilot movie was ever made.......does anyone have a copy of it or
any of the episodes?......I have e-mailed MGM and TNT......Would love to
see it come back on tv from start to finish. Thanks again for bringing
back some good memories.
I have followed your website for some time now. I think you have done
an excellent job and hope you continue to supply us fans with updated
info. I watched the TV series every week as a kid (at the age of 9 to
10). It had a huge impact on me over the years. I now own an 96 Sporty 1200
and sometimes dream of chucking the rat race as Jim did. Who knows?
Maybe someday ...
I emailed MGM and hope someone releases the series on
video cassette. If you hear of anything, please email if you have the
time. Also, when the site moves, could you email me and let me know?
Thanks again & "Hang in there"
I remember the Then Came Bronson TV series from my teenage years before I got my first motorcycle. Is there any way to get tapes of those shows, especially The Forest Primeval?
I was very excited to find your web site. Although I was only 7 when the
series was released, I have very fond memories of the show. For those TCB
fans who are interested in reading, I highly recommend Robert Persig's book
"Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" written in 1974. A man's
search for the meaning of life via motorcycle trip with his 11 year old
son. Thank you for all the information. I would love to see just one
show. I haven't seen it since 1970.
You are doing a great job on the
TCB site and I hope a 30 year anniversary becomes a reality.
It would give me another reason to ride my Beemer out West next year.
And I'd like to partially retract something I stated in my first
E-mail, and that is: a BMW F-650 will do everything (i.e., long distance
touring, off-road riding, etc.) the various Sportsters and stunt bikes did
in the show. It will do everything except one, and that is: look as good.
When I had my Sportster, the neighborhood wives would ask for rides around the
block. Since I got the Beemer, nada. There's definitely something about
that bike that even non-motorcycle aficionados respond to. Which also
explains why the Sportster model has been in production since 1957. I wonder
if my significant other would overlook another addition to the garage?
There's a '69 XLCH for sale in the paper......
Thanks again for all the hard work.
[Email from a Michael Parks fan:]
Subject: Ed Sullivan Show
I just know he was on there --- I thought 3 times. But one I am
positive. His hair was a mess and looked cool.
[According to a movie star magazine, Parks was on the Johnny Cash Show at the time of TCB. The show began running in January of 1970, although it did have a previous existence early in 1969, before TCB. I went to the library and went through TV Guides for January 1970 through May 1971. Michael Parks did appear on The Johnny Cash Show on March 25, 1970, though the songs he sang weren't listed, and that particular show doesn't reappear in the reruns. During the summer of 1970, The Everly Brothers Show replaced Cash's show for a few months, and Michael Parks appeared there, on August 19, 1970, singing "I'm Lonely And Blue," and "Long Lonesome Highway." I didn't find any further appearances of him on either show, through May 1971. Interestingly, these shows aired on Wednesdays, the same night as TCB, but an hour earlier, and on the ABC network. Also interestingly, the same episode of TCB followed both shows: The Mary R.
So, Michael was on TV at least three times in 1970. Thanks, Gina, for piquing my curiosity enough to do some more research! - jonpf]
Films made in New Mexico (inlcudes Sidewinder 1, a 1977 movie with Michael Parks):
New image of Bixby Creek Bridge:
Mr. Pat M. Hathaway, Photo Archivist
California Views Historical Photo Collection
469 Pacific Street, Monterey, CA 93940-2702
web site http://www.caviews.com
[Some sites that briefly mention TCB:]
Here are the web address and email/feedback page address for ERTL Toys, which owns the rights to the Bronson Motorcycle plastic model:
(Write to them and tell them you would buy at least one if they released it, and you would tell your Then Came Bronson fan friends about it.)
Have you sent emails to TNT, MGM and Columbia House (from my site)? If we can get TNT to show it again, we can all watch it. And if we can get somebody like MGM or Columbia House to sell it on video, they might get better copies of it (from master tapes, and no commercials)! Anyway, if you haven't already sent emails to TNT and Columbia House, here are their addresses (for most browsers, just click on them):
MGM Home Video web site with email form
Well, it's 1999. I wish you all a Happy New Year! Here's hoping for a good year, maybe with the following: a "30th anniversary of TCB" convention; another collection of songs from Michael Parks; TNT re-airing Then Came Bronson and/or releasing it on home video; ERTL reissuing the Bronson Motorcycle plastic model; and more TCB stories from Michael Parks.
I've made alot of friends since I created this site, and I'd like to thank them all for the emails, and the generous gifts of memorabilia and information.
I'd also like to thank Michael Parks and everyone else who brought TCB to us thirty years ago - we're richer for it!
And I'd like to thank all the people who, over the years, have brought us the music of Michael Parks, especially the folks at Listen Recordings and everyone associated with the new CD!
And I hope we all realize the fact that, contrary to what many of us thought, each of us isn't alone in our appreciation of Then Came Bronson - far from it! We're all around the globe - all over the U.S. and Canada; across the Pacific to Japan, Australia, Singapore; and in Europe, too!
So, good luck in the new year! And hang in there. (Sorry, I just had to say that.)
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