TCB NEWSLETTER FOR
JULY 1999

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...
FROM THE FOLKS PUTTING OUT THE NEW MICHAEL PARKS CD...
OTHER NEWS ON THE MUSIC FRONT...
CONVENTION STUFF...
FOR BUS RILEY'S BACK IN TOWN FANS...
CYCLES...
BIBLIOGRAPHY ADDITIONS...
FROM TCB FANS EVERYWHERE...
BRONSON MODEL...
THEN CAME BRONSON NOVELS...
BRONSON ITINERARY (SCENE LOCATIONS)...
MISCELLANEOUS...



FROM MY DESK...



Last month, June, was a happy and yet a sad month. Happy in that 30 years ago the TCB crew rolled into Jackson Hole, Wyoming, to start filming the first episodes of what would become, for many of us, the best and most influential tv show of our lives.
The crew scouted area locations and decided on one family's ranch for much of one episode (The Old Motorcycle Fiasco), and parts of others. The family who owned that ranch graciously allowed MGM to film, and the son of the family, Jim, thoroughly enjoyed their presence and soon was caught up in the premise of the series. He befriended Michael Parks, Bud Ekins and other members of the crew. I spoke with Jim once and he told me that he used to sneak away with one of the Sportsters to give rides to his family and friends, and even some of the guest actors and actresses.
When TCB left Jackson Hole, Jim went out and bought a Sportster, customized it down to the "all-seeing eye" logo on the gas tank, and rode around Jackson Hole. He soon became known as "the second Jim (Bronson)." He even headed out for California on his Sportster, dressed as Bronson and camping along the way. (He laughingly told me his own trip had NONE of the glamour of the show - too many breakdowns, too much rain, etc.!)
Now the sad news. Jim passed away on June 27. He was a great guy, a person any Bronson fan would have loved to have a beer with and talk about TCB and anything else. Our TCB world has lost a good friend.
(In a future newsletter, I will include the notes I took during my phone call with him last year.)


As for the next TCB newsletter, probably not until September - I've got some other things I need to take care of. But I will post convention news and thoughts as appropriate. So check back every week or so, or more often if you want. (If I do put in an August one, it will be late, I guarantee, and abbreviated in content.)


Well, the newsletter is posted, late again. There may still be some rough edges, so if anything doesn't work right or you see misspellings, etc., let me know. And remember, when you see smaller images in this newsletter, click on them to bring up the larger size versions (only a few images are full size already).

FROM THE FOLKS PUTTING OUT THE NEW MICHAEL PARKS CD...



[Here's their site address, with email function:]

http://www.michaelparks.com


30 Jun 1999
Hi Jon,

Michael does not yet know his filming schedule for Austin but promised to inform us when he does. He thinks possibly September.

The newspaper, Salinas Californian, published a story under the byline of Tom Leyde titled "Michael Parks has music in his blood". All we have is an almost unreadable fax copy and we don't even know what issue of the paper it was in. When we get a good copy I'll send you one. They forgot to mention our web site (too bad since they were promoting Coolin' Soup) but have promised to mention it in a followup column soon.

Anyway, the strawberry tale is in that story. I'll paraphrase since I don't know what the copyright laws are:

When Michael Parks was 14 years old, he worked picking strawberries for a Chinese man who caught him eating the profits. To prevent this from happening, the man made Michael whistle continuously. "I'll never forget it," Parks said. "My cheeks got so sore . . . That was the worst job I ever had."

He and Bill were laughing about it on the phone the other night and Michael said, "You know, there's an addendum to that story. I cheated once when the boss went on break. But I never cheated again. I got a terrible rash. And I'm not telling where."

The rest of the article is very nice. Most of the stuff you already know. The writer calls Coolin' Soup "a fine album" and says "Parks doesn't belt out the tunes -- his voice is on the thin side. But it's a soft, gentle voice, easy to listen to and honest."

The article also mentions that he's completed work on 3 films that are to be released this year (The Hangman's Daughter, Wicked, and Bullfighter).

Michael's final quote in the article is: "In the meantime, I thought I would give it a whirl again with another album."


[A welcome clarification on how Michael Parks feels about TCB and its fans:]

Hi Jon,

The whole subject of Michael's opinion of TCB and his identification with it has been blown out of proportion. First, I'm sorry my remarks on the "convention" page prompted such negative response. I should have been more careful with my words. Second, you and his other fans should know that my "take" on his feelings is that he is pleased with his connection to the show and the fact that so many people remember it and care about it.

A third point is that Bill and I (and Listen Recordings) are not Michael's agent or publicist; we have no control over his career. A lot of people seem to think we are his spokesmen, and that is a misconception. We're just fans like anyone else who buys his albums.

Best Regards,
Molly

[I understand, Molly and Bill, and thanks for clearing up the situation! There are more than a few people interested in going to Austin to meet Michael Parks. Hopefully, this news will even increase that number! - jonpf]

OTHER NEWS ON THE MUSIC FRONT...

To email me, click here!




Here's another collection album with a Michael Parks song, LLH, on it:

22 HIGH-BALLIN' HITS! GRT RECORDS 1976. 22 EARLY ARTISTS. VINYL.

GRT stands for the GRT Corporation, 1286 Lawrence Station Road, Sunnyvale CA 94086.

The album number is 2103-709. Released in 1976. Does not say if Mono or Stereo.

Has picture of semi truck with lights on on front cover. Back has names of songs and artists along with some info concerning trucks, hauling, movin' on, etc. No photos of artists.


Click here Something I picked up a while ago: Songs By James Hendricks, copyright 1970 Rivers Music Co. [of the famous Johnny Rivers]. James was the producer for the first MP albums, as well as writer for the closing TCB theme and songs used in the episodes. He also appeared in the episode, A Pickin' An' A' Singin'.
The songs in this sheet music book are:
Big T. Water*, California's Fine*, City Ways, Glory Train, Long Lonesome Highway*, Look To Your Soul, Mountain High*, Muddy River, Ride 'Em Cowboy*, Shady Green Patures, Softly And Tenderly*, Something Strange, Summer Days*, Summer Rain, and Sunshine Showers*.

* (These songs were used in Then Came Bronson episodes.)




CONVENTION STUFF...


In June I started emailing to convention promoters who had web sites. This is the email correspondence from the only one who wrote back significantly. My emails are preceded by [Jon] and the promoter's replies by [Conv.]. The parts with the arrows (ie, >>) indicate portions of previous emails that we are responding specifically to.

[Jon]
Your web site seems to indicate that you know how to put on a good, fun convention. That is the reason I am writing to you.
I'm sort of the head of a worldwide fan club for the old tv show "Then Came Bronson" (NBC 1969-70), starring Michael Parks. I'm looking for an organization to host conventions for the fans. If that isn't possible, maybe you could provide me with either the name of another organization or else information on how to organize a convention. I'd be interested in how you got started, developed the idea, and also any legal & tax matters/problems you encountered along the way.
I'll keep this brief for now, and send more of my thoughts if you are interested.
Thanks for your time!
==============
[Conv.]
Dear Jon:

Yes, we are looking at running conventions for others and would be happy to do something with you. Please let me know what you exactly are looking for, if you have any funding, where you are thinking about holding them (cities), etc. and we can discuss it.

Thanks.
=============
[Jon]
Thanks for the quick reply! I'll put together some details and reply again. At present, the fans are interested in the following locations (maybe more than one convention a year): York, PA; Austin, TX; Jackson Hole, WY; and Big Sur, CA. These are all quite a ways from Florida. And I am in the Northeast US, so you can see my problem. And since this is all "virtual" (on the internet), there isn't any funding available (yet).
I'll send more info later.
Thanks again!
Jon
===========
[Conv.]
That's not a problem. We may be putting some shows together for someone in Australia too soon! And we are working with someone for a show in Lexington KY.

"Virtual" in the conventions are going to be virtual shows or just that the planning is currently virtual? This again, is not a problem. I use the internet to meet with my staff all the time. We have physical meetings as well, but accomplish a lot online.

I wouldn't have a problem running shows in the areas you want. But we'd have to work out funding and the logistics.

I'll look forward to getting more info from you soon.
=======
[Jon]
>> > And I am in the Northeast US, so you can see my problem.
>> > And since this is all "virtual" (on the internet),
>> > there isn't any funding available (yet).
>
>Virtual in the conventions are going to be virtual shows or just
>that the planning is currently virtual? This again, is not a
>problem. I use the internet to meet with my staff all the time.
>We have physical meetings as well, but accomplish a lot online.

Both. The fans and I have been corresponding primarily via email. Over a year ago, I created a web site to honor the show (it is now at 50+ pages, plus lots of images), posted the URL to a bunch of search engines, and things took off from there. Most fans are in the US, but there are even some in the Pacific (Japan, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand).
But the other "virtual" idea I was referring to would be to somehow "transmit" the event via the internet for those who can't make it. Maybe include chat rooms and q&a sessions with TCB actors and others, and use one of those internet cams to transmit live images. But this may be too much to do on short notice.
What sort of time frame do you need for preparation, etc.?

>I wouldn't have a problem running shows in the areas you want.
>But we'd have to work out funding and the logistics.

Not having done anything more complex than calling a bunch of relatives for a family picnic, I'm in the dark as to logistics for large gatherings. As for funding, I posted a blurb on the TCB site a week ago, asking for fans to email me their thoughts and suggestions, and limitations. Still waiting for more responses before I start putting the feedback together.

How many attendees would you need to make it worth your while? (We're fairly well scattered across the US, and quite a few are still parenting.)

Have you organized anything in Los Angeles? That would have some benefits because a lot of the Hollywood people that worked on the show are still there, plus all the memorabilia collectors in that area. However, none of Then Came Bronson was filmed there, so "location/scene" visits would be out of the question (it was filmed entirely on location across the western US).

Send me your thoughts, especially an answer to the "How many attendees..." question, since if there won't be enough participation, there's no reason to put you through all of this.

Thanks again for your time!!!
Jon
========
[Conv.]
The biggest hurdle to get over is the funding. How are you planning to fund the show?

Normally, a convention costs between $5,000 and $25,000 to put on. So if you are serious about putting on a show, you first need to figure out your budget. How much money do you think you can raise? How many people do you honestly think you'll get and how much do you think you can charge them? How much are you looking to sell dealer's tables for (or are you even going to sell tables?) How much are you looking to pay someone to run it (or to consult on) - ie, me? While I'm willing to work with you and within your budget, I'm sure you realize this is one of my livelihoods so I do need to make something from it.

So, next step is in your court. Work out a budget and see if you can answer the questions above. If so, let's talk further about doing a show. If not, lets talk about maybe joining with one or more other conventions to provide programming your group might be interested in to existing shows (such as the stars of the show, etc.).

Let me know what you think.
============

So, TCB fans, that's kind of where it is hanging. I don't have any financial resources, nor does there seem to be anyone in the wings. We don't have any sort of dues-paying organization. I think the cyberconvention idea is out - all the equipment rental and internet access bills are beyond our means. I don't see any way to get guests (TCB actors, crew, etc.), since there isn't any $$$ to pay their way, put them up in hotels and feed them, etc.

So if anything comes to pass, it will probably be little more than a campground thing or maybe an inexpensive hotel, somewhere in the US, that has a large room that they will let us meet in. However, most "inexpensive" hotel/motel places don't even have meeting rooms, and the ones that do will require a rental payment in advance, I'm sure. Plus even something like commemorative t-shirts will require someone to make a significant outlay to have them made up. The more I investigate this, the more expensive it gets. Maybe it should be kept small until such time as it "takes off." And that's kind of what this convention notion sprang from - the idea of a bunch of fans meeting on the Bixby Creek Bridge for TCB talk and a group photo. And maybe that's ok, maybe that's enough, for now. Next year, the year after that, who knows. Most present-day big events have snowballed from small gatherings. It could happen to this, too.

But 1999 is the 30th anniversary, so it should begin now, even if it begins small. What do you think?


REGARDING A POSSIBLE GATHERING IN YORK, PA:

As for getting together in York, PA, in conjunction with the Harley-Davidson open house, the correct dates for that event (the open house) are Sept. 23-25, Thursday thru Saturday. I suggested this so that, if there's a lack of TCB stuff to keep fans amused the whole weekend, there would at least be other things to do to break up the time. (How many times can you look at a bunch of lobby cards and still photos, sing LLH, or play "favorite episode"?!)
So send me an email if you think you might attend a TCB gathering there, on that weekend. Also, send me one if you think you might make it to Austin in September, or Jackson Hole, or Big Sur. I'm compiling lists for each location, to get a rough headcount on possible attendance. I won't hold you to it, just trying to get an idea on interest.

To email me, click here!



MORE CONVENTION THOUGHTS FROM TCB FANS (with some differing views):

01 Jul 1999
Jon,
I think that this is a great idea. Unlike some of the responses so far, I don't think that it should be held in conjunction with any other event even if some might think that they are related (like motorcycles!) I also don't think that a virtual convention would be very meaningful. I'm sure that you and many others have experienced this type of "event" and find it about as meaningful and educational as most other chat rooms.
===========================
13 Jul 1999
Jon,
I've been to the H-D open house thing, the Sept. 1994 one, and I tell you... it was great on that alone! (Factory tour especially!) If you've ever been to that, you would know what I mean. I have pictures of that. (I'm sending a pic of me on the not-yet-released Road King at that time.) That would be a wonderful place to hold it (besides maybe Jackson Hole).
Bruce
broadkingside.jpg
============================

04 Jul 1999
Hi Jon,
Good to hear from you. I've been meaning to send some comments about the TCB reunion and just haven't had the time. Basically for me, I can probably only attend if it's in Austin. On the good side is that if it is in Austin, any accomodations(or none for that matter) are ok with me. I can be pretty flexible if it's that close to me. I'm holding on to some vacation days just in case this thing happens, but at this late in the game I'm beginning to doubt it. Just not enough organizition coming about and MP seems pretty unconcerned with it. If he'd just agree to meet a bunch of us at a local pub for some drinks and talk and the heck with all the promotional stuff( film screenings,t-shirts,etc) I'd still make the 7 hour drive to be there. It is a shame to let the 30th anniversary pass with nothing but I guess we don't have any choice in the matter.

[More from the same guy:]

07 Jul 1999
Hi Jon,
The more I think about it, the better the idea of a "campground" convention sounds. I agree that the organization of this thing on a large scale is just about impossible, and making this a commercial venture is really opposed to what attacts us to the TCB mentality anyhow. If this thing is to really work it's not going to be because of any flashy Star Trek convention window dressing.
Nothing wrong with that mind you...it's just not where it's at for TCB. Getting together with different people and faces and hearing their stories about how TCB affected them in some way is what we're after. I think there would be many interesting common denominators to discuss. Like the MP 8 track tape I got the other day. Hokey as it may sound, this was one of my personal "holy grails" to find from my teen years and I was really happy to find one again after all these years. Somewhere out there is some guy who's going to say "Yeah, I know what you mean", and therein lies the bond. Oh well, if not this year, maybe next.
========================
8 Jul 1999
Jon,
The idea of having the convention broken down into regional events sounds the best to me. York, PA, would be great for we easterners. It's only an eight hour drive from my home in the Cleveland area, and it is semi-centrally located for anyone else in the eastern U.S. If the convention is held in York, I will probably attend. I usually prefer to get my own hotel, and food, and just meet somewhere else for the convention. I would be interested in TCB souvenirs, such as T-Shirts, and all-seeing eye decals.
Meeting MP, or hearing him sing is not a priority with me. This is a TCB convention, after all, and he wants to downplay that part of his career. Some of the guest stars, who went on to become famous, might be persuaded to attend. Penny Marshall and Jack Klugman spring to mind, from Episode #1 "The Runner".
Just some more thoughts of mine.
Thanks,

FOR BUS RILEY'S BACK IN TOWN FANS...


Black & white still from the movie:




Lobby card from the movie:



CYCLES...


To email me, click here!

(See also email in the fan mail section!)


Picked up the following item that should help with my research on Bronson's Sportster!:

Click here Click here

BIBLIOGRAPHY ADDITIONS...


To email me, click here!


1970 Modern Screen magazine, June, an article on Michael Parks is "His Own Worst Enemy." There are four main pages and two back pages, 12 photos, including one full-page color shot.


I have a motorcycle magazine from 1969 that deals with TCB series. The story was about Michael Parks bike double. The article was called 'Then Came Bronson's Biker". I'll dig it out and e-mail you a copy.

==========
[Another email from the above fan:]

Jon,
Sorry I didn't get right back to you, but we had a lightning storm and it blew out my modem. I had to send it out to be repaired. Just got it back so I thought I would drop you a line. I would be glad to drop those copies in the mail for you. To hold you over for awhile here are a couple photos for you. One is the cover and the other the front page lead for the 'Then Came Bronson's Biker' Story. Let me know if you got them o.k. And please send me an address I could mail these copies to. Well hang, in there.

1) Motor Cycle World, May 1970 Vol. 4, No. 13
"Then Came Bronson's" Biker (see photo below left)
This is a five page article with eleven photos.
Photos of Bud Ekins and Michael Parks.
My favorite one is a photo of Bud piloting one of the Sporsters with a make-shift side car with two camera men on it filming Michael on the othe Sportster.

2) Custom Bike / Choppers, May 1982 Vol. 15, No. 1
Bronson Rides Again - An Interview with Michael Parks (see photo below right)
Cover Photo - three page article with nine photos

3) Street Chopper, June 1982Vol. 14, No. 6
One photo of Michael Parks with Kathy K who was
then the No. 1 Lady of Motorcycling (no scan available yet)


FROM TCB FANS EVERYWHERE...

(in date order)

To email me, click here!

(Anonymous, unless requested otherwise. I put these on because so many people asked me to make a fan web page so they could tell their "Bronson" stories. Also, some emails are in other sections of this newsletter, where appropriate.)




[More pix of Bonnie Bedelia (as Temple Brooks in the TCB movie), sent along by TCB fan and friend Bruce Graham in his last email (click on the small images):]

Click here Click here Click here


[30 May 1999]
I had seen Michael Parks at the Texas Tea House back in June of 1980 I believe. I never saw such a good show. He was appearing with Ray Wyle Hubbard who was at that time well known in Texas. I didn't know who Mr. Hubbard was at the time; I went because I heard MP's name mentioned on the radio stationed I listened to. Mr. Hubbard, who is a country singer, came out first and did a great job to get the crowd going. When MP came out and did his ballads I think the audience expected more rock and roll than what MP gave them. I was in the front row and, when a girl came up to MP and asked him who he was, it was such a sad time for me. But I jumped in and said this is Michael Parks.
I see MP not as Jim Bronson. He plays the character so well. I fell for the actor as a 15 year old girl on a Saturday night at home. The movie Wild Seed came on that night. Watching Celia Kaye walking down the stairs of her house ready to go out and find her Dad, I saw myself. As MP was in the shadows, ready to rob - at least I thought - the young girl traveling by herself. I believe MP was under a street lamp smoking a cigrette and they did a close-up on him. My heart bounded when I saw his face. I had hollered to my sister to come see this man of the little black and white screen. (Mom didn't have color set.) Well the whole movie was in my mind for always and never to see it again. At the end of the movie I got this actor's name and it stayed in my mind for always. From The Happening on down, every time he was in a movie I would see it.
I enjoy his characters when I think he seems to play that soft spoken character, who fumbles around for an answer. As I wrote, I had a chance to meet him in person.
He is my Paul Newman. He still looks good and I'm so glad he still has his voice. I own the CD Coolin Soup. I am so anxious to see if he will come to Austin. I don't see him as Jim Bronson but as an actor who I feel has not really found his way or had a chance to find his way. Even his last album back in 81 didn't go anywhere, I own it and several originals. I admire him - he keeps on going on in the profession even in music. Us MP fans still seem to find him and follow him.
I'd love a sequel to Wild Seed and would like to play Cecila Kaye's part. Bonnie Bedelia I like but didn't like her in Bronson. I loved the shows when Michael Burns was on and they were singing together. Where is Michael Burns? Even when he was on Baretta he was good (meaning MP). I follow his career and thank JON for the web site. The men in my life put up with my teen age crush for MP, for, when I see him on the screen, my heart melts and stops as the 15 year old teen age girl. MP still has the affect on me. I am 47 yrs old now. Still check the tv guide for a chance to see him on tv in something new or old.
Hang in there, you all!


[02 Jun 1999, from a TCB fan with his own biker-oriented web site]

Yahoo works pretty well to call up my site.
This link should take you right to it also.

www.thelongride.com

Take care. Keep the trottle open.
Hal.


[2 Jun 1999]
Great newsletter. I really enjoyed all the TCB trivia. I'm sorry the reunion doesn't look like it will come to fruition. If it does, I will be there.


[02 Jun 99]
Hi Jon,
I stayed up late last night and read every word, and when I got finished, I was number 13. What a GREAT ! newsletter. Thanks for putting pictures of my bike in again. I will probably send you one more set with the tank decal and maybe the new sissy bar and maybe even another little suprise. Thanks for a GREAT web page and newsletter. I really look forward yo reading it every month. Keep up the good work!
P.S. I will be glad to help in anyway I can to organize a reunion. Maybe we could form a committee of people who have indicated to you that they too would be glad to help. Then we could work together and report back to you. Think about it.

=======================
[Email from Tom, with more photos:]
02 Jul 99
Hi Jon,
Here are 3 pictures of my bike. 1. is the picture your requested of the decal, up close. 2. is the day before the trip, loaded up, (the next day it was raining for 200 miles) 3. is at the rally, parked in a sea of bikes, estimated over 2000 bikes in attendance! I rode back to Little Rock by myself, a little over 600 miles in one day! Ouch!
Enjoy, Tom

(Click on the small photos:)

Click here Click here Click here


[2 Jun 1999]
Jon,
As usual, great job on the newsletter.
I live in OKC, about 8 hours from Austin. I would really like to see this happen when MP is there filming. I don't know how much I can do from this distance, but let me know.


[2 Jun 1999]
Dear Jon,
Once again I thoroughly enjoyed your news letter, as I am sure many others did also.
I especially enjoyed the fellow who is building the modern replica of the Bronson bike and the pictures he has shared. I can tell he has spent alot on getting it fixed up. I am fairly well acquainted with some of the accessories offered, but I have not been able to find a round air breather cover that would fit an evolution Sportster. If you communicate with him again and think of it, would you mind asking him where he found it?

[Response from the replica builder:]

Hi Jon!
I got the round air cleaner from Drag Specialties 1999 Fatbook, page 227 Part number DS-288903, about $26.95. You also need part number DS-289126 to correctly mount the air cleaner, about $61.95. Any other questions, please feel free to write or call.
Tom


[02 Jun 1999, in response to an email from me regarding a movie Michael Parks was originally scheduled to star in.]

You won't find it virtually anywhere. It was a feature titled, "The Legend of Earl Durand." It co-starred a young Martin Sheen, another Bronson co-star was in it - Keenan Wynn, & a variety of other good journeyman character actor types like Slim Pickens, Anthony Caruso & Albert Salmi. It was shot totally in Pinedale, Wyo, at a number of area locations. The writer was J. Frank James, who's a professor in AZ now. I've talked to locals & Frank, who've given me a lot of info for my book. They also did another film there a few years later that Frank wrote & directed, "The Sweet Creek Co. War." Durand was a dubious legend in Wyo as an illegal poacher who supposed gave to the poor & hungry around Powell, Wyo. He was real & was eventually pursued to his ultimate demise by the Montana National Guard & others, after a supposedly accidental killing of a Powell local. Folk hero type, etc., but really a common criminal from CO. Rather romanticized character in the film, but it was beautifully filmed & Frank got me a copy of it & the other film too. Neither are in any kind of distribution as the producers got ripped by the distributors. There are copies to be found of Durand if you know where to look, but I've got the only VHS of "Sweet Creek" anywhere. Parks was to be Durand, but the role went to Peter Haskell by luck on his part. Quest Entertainment, Patterson Studios, Howco Int'l Pictures Release, 1974.


[7 Jun 1999]
Hi,
Just found the MP page.......a link thru eBay maybe.....and am just amazed at the memories that come flooding back.

I was working in Jackson Hole that summer, and I met Michael! They had shown the pilot at the movie theater, so I was already enthralled. A few days later, he was sitting in front of the Silver Spur (?) cowboy bar and we struck up a conversation. I invited him out to our restaurant (he came!) and he invited me to the SET...and I went!! A couple times in fact. I got to be an extra in a rodeo crowd scene. Have pictures of Michael, Fernando Lamas and Keenan Wynn to prove it to my friends! Those pictures are in a box in storage or I would go pull them out right now......

[Another email from the above fan, in reply to my question, below:]
1 Jul 1999

>>>>You mentioned you were in the rodeo scene(s).

I know I had on jeans and probably a light top, NO cowboy hat (had borrowed one, but it was too big)......I was on the fence, probably leaning over it with feet on the rails, with a dark haired guy beside me...don't think they were filming when we were sitting on top. Had a chance to be in the stands with the paid extras, but that would have meant all day in the sun for several days pretending to watch a rodeo and I couldn't be off work that much. I signed some kind of release, but wasn't paid.

I was remembering the other day about eating lunch with the TCB cast and crew. I sat beside Keenan Wynn and he was talking about driving his car at the Bonneville Salt Flats.......He had his fire-engine-red Ferrari there with him and let me sit in it. We ate at picnic tables outside but I don't remember what .......just that it was good....and I wouldn't have cared anyway ;-}......I think burgers, corn on cob, salads, etc. They had beer, but I was too young!

When Michael came to dinner at our restaurant, The Alpenhof in Teton Village, I know he had a big steak. He had one of the big-wigs with him (don't remember a name) who was quite demanding and obnoxious.......Michael later apologized......and they left me a big tip.

Well, more later.......get in touch when you can.
"Hang in there".....


[07 Jun 1999]
Subject: Thanks....
....for creating your Then Came Bronson website. I was 16 when the show aired and was greatly influenced by the character that Michael played. The motorcyles were fun but, most of all, the charismatic, non-violent character that he portrayed will always be etched in my mind.

As others on your site have mentioned, it would be great to have all of the episodes on tape but I only have two now and not the original movie. I hope that they will be available soon.

Keep up the good work!


[8 Jun 1999]
Hello,
I am also a big fan of the show. Do you know if the albums are available on cd? If so where would I aquire these? Also, do you think we could get the movie and series released on video? I love your site. Great info!!!

Take care...

[As for the albums, sorry, not on CD yet. You could contact the folks who put out his new album, Coolin' Soup, and express your desire to have them on CD. As for the videos, I'm sure that sending a emails to TNT and Columbia House will do more to get them released than not sending them. You can find email links to the above people elsewhere on this page. Thanks, in advance! - jonpf]


[10 Jun 1999]
Jon,
Attached below are three different pictures of my yet-to-be completed Sportster [with all-seeing eye decal!].... Thanks for your help. Talk to you soon.

Click here Click here Click here

[Here's his web site:] http://pages.prodigy.net/tooodles/Decal/page1tcb.htm http://pages.prodigy.net/tooodles/Decal/page1tcb.htm


[11 Jun 1999]
Subject: bronson-red paint
I picked up a '57 Sportster about 17 years ago that was styled after the Bronson bike. It had a funny orange-red paint. Still got it. Thanks for the memories.


[12 Jun 1999]
Please put me on the TCB mailing list. I have been looking for info on the show for a long time and found your site. Thanks


[14 Jun 1999]
I'm glad I stumbled upon your web page recently. Long Lonesome Highway is my favorite album. I purchased it new years ago, it is pretty well worn as you can imagine. I don't know what was so compelling about the TV show, I guess it's the same reasons I read and reread Kerouac and Pirsig.
I sold my Triumph and Norton ten years ago, but I enjoy riding my mountain bike on the local rails to trails, humming California's Fine or Mountain High, happy as a clam.
Thanks for the web page.


[6/14/99]
[From Bob, who has been doing research for this site on TCB locations up around Stockton:]
Jon-
I rode "Ol' Reliable" out to King Island Marina the other day. Took some pictures in front of the famed restaurant. I also got some guy to take a picture of me and Reliable together by the restaurant. As soon as I get them developed, I'll send them to you. Anyway, the funny thing is, the guy and his wife and their dog live on a houseboat at the marina. He asked why I was taking pictures of it. I told him I was sending them to you for posting on your website. He was about my age (46-50) and remembered the pilot Bronson movie very well. When I told him the "bike in the water" scene was filmed right here, he said "well I'll be go to hell, I never knew they filmed that show here. I've lived here 10 years and never knew that." So, you see, I am not the only local who missed that. Anyway, hope all is well. Bob

=============
11 Jul 1999
[More from Bob:]

Jon-
I dropped off two rolls of film and got them today. Unfortunately, the King Island pics [where the guy drives Bronson's cycle into the river] were on a roll I forgot to bring in. So, perhaps the August newsletter will have them. The story I told you was prior to the next time we went out there. I met a grizzled couple who lived there 30+ years. The man (his name is Bill, I think) remembered the filming of the movie. He said "I thought it was one of those hippie pot smoking biker movies! Then I heard an engine roar and then a splash and went to see what was happening. I saw them pulling a Harley from the delta. I figured they were all on pot and I didn't care for that at all! I never knew it was a T.V. show." So, for what it's worth, it got a good laugh from my daughter and I.

[My reply:]
No, Bob, you hadn't told me that story. That's a good one - LOL! Did you know that they had to film that scene twice, because, as the guy (actually Bud Ekins) was driving the bike off into the river, someone on the set walked into camera view. Bud didn't care because he got twice the extra pay he would normally get for the stunt.
Jon


15 Jun 1999
What apparently was the pilot movie to the series, Then Came Bronson, burned an indelible spot in my brain. It was a major influence over my desire to graduate from mini-bikes to motorcycles and spent my time cruising on the highway (instead of dirt trails). I have always wanted to see the movie again (to be honest, I don't recall ever being aware there was a series). I stumbled on a Website yesterday that actually had a black-and-white copy of the movie available for 20 bucks. I'd much prefer to have a color version, so I did a search on the title and found your Website. The write-up on the movie on your page brings back a flood of memories.

Thanks for the trip down memory lane - it's cool to find there's someone out there that thought enough of the pilot/series to put up a 'page about it!

One last thing: I sat down and read through your Website - awesome. It's nice to know that I'm not the only one who was affected by that movie and for whom the memory of it still lingers. By all means, please add me to your Newsletter list. I like your idea of some kind of anniversary party. I can't imagine what it would take to organize one, though. I do agree with one of your respondees: if Michael can't be there, that shouldn't stop the idea. Thanks for putting the effort into the Website and Newsletter. I've come home.


15 Jun 1999
Hi Jon
I was sitting in a conference meeting last week listening to the monodrone verbiage of my supervisor, I turned my head to escape for a moment and glanced out the five-story office building down onto the congested intersection below. As I watched the traffic I noticed a vehicle waiting for the light to change when on it's left a motorcycle with camping gear secured to it's seat and handlebars approaches and stopped by the drivers door. I smiled at this meeting of two vehicles for it reminded me of the opening scene of TCB and I started to imagine what if TCB had been written around life in the late 90's would it work?... would it sound like this?.......... A mini van is waiting at a crowded S.F. intersection, in the van behind the wheel sits a single father of two kids who are located in the rear, Bronson approaches on the vehicle's left side and rolls to a stop. The driver does not notice him at first for his peripheral view is blocked by the cell phone in his left ear, and his attention by his conversation about domestic matters. Bronson reves his engine but it is muffled by the closed window and locked door of the van, but it is enough to warrant a quick glance at the bike and rider. The light finally changes and Bronson rides off, the driver thinks to him self in a moment of lost concentration with his call and says to himself "man, I wish I was him".........
keep up the good work


14 Jun 1999
Today I placed "then came bronson" in the search engine and to my utter amazement found your site. I went "on-line" for my kids, and suddenly I like it. I had no idea there were others like me out there who thought the 1969 tv series was the best there ever was. I gave up long ago trying to find someone who even remembered it. In 1969 I was 21 and living back east. "Bronson" changed my life. While still in college I bought a motorcycle, watchcap and red helmet. I did my best to emmulate Bronson. After graduating I never lost the wanderlust the series developed inside me. I went cross country in '72 to see the USA and ended staying in the Rocky Mtns. In the 80's when TNT aired re-runs, I taped as many as I could. My favorite episode, "The 99 Mile Circle", was never shown. I would love to add it my collection. To this day I still listen to his albums. Thanks for your web page.


20 Jun 1999
Just wanted to know if TBS will air any of TCB or I can get any on VHS in the recent future.
Thx

[Just keep emailing TNT, TBS and Columbia House! - jonpf]


22 Jun 1999
I should be taking at least one trip through Big Sur this summer. Big Sur is a "Big" area though. It starts at Ragged Point (about 15 miles north of Hearst Castle) and goes for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours north along some major hair pin turns before you reach Carmel.

There are a million places where that beach scene with Bonnie could have been shot. Most of the time, access to those beaches is on a private road and would have required permission. The scene where he almost falls off the cliff (when she tries to run him down), I have a pretty good idea where it is. Also, if you could give me the name of the bridge, I might be able to find that as well.

I'll let you know when I'm taking the trip and get some shots for you. Give me any details about where you think it may have been shot.

Hang in there,


25 Jun 1999
Hi Jon;
Occaisionally I check the TCB web pages, I too am a long time fan. I'm sure TCB is what sparked my interest in riding when I was 14. Man, did my Mom hate that show, especially the way he mumbled. Great stuff! I have a '73 Sportster, with red custom paint, and am considering adding the "seeing eye" logo from the TCB bike. Would you have any close-up images that you could send me? Either electronic (email) or hard-copy (I'll cover the postage).


25 Jun 1999
Great Site! I've got a fairly stock '69 XLCH. You can see it at
www.nlucas.com


26 Jun 1999
Jon- I remember a short-lived tv series a few seasons back. The name of it was "Crossroads" and it starred Robert Urich. The premise of the series - a father and a son roaming the country on a Harley. It only lasted a few episodes, and had NO Bronson magic. Do you remember this series? Crossroads suffered from having too many characters, and not enough plot concerning the bike and what it could do. I think one of the universal appeals of TCB was the different characters each week. MP was the ONLY star of this series and regular character, and very few actors could sustain a series by himself, but he did a great job, and should be proud of his work on TCB.
Can you shed some light on to why TCB was cancelled after only 1 season? Ratings? Parks? Is it true MP cares little to discuss TCB? Do you think the persona of Bronson is a lot like Parks himself, or did he just do a good acting job?
Thanks... I was more a fan of the series than of MP, so when the series ended I lost touch.

[Crossroads was a disappointment for me, too. I thought it would have been a great tv vehicle for a return of Michael Parks as a Bronson-like character. I wonder if Parks was ever approached about starring in it.
I think Parks was also virtually the only actor to star, singlehandedly, in a tv series - no sidekicks or recurring characters. A remarkable achievement in itself, to have been counted on to carry all that weight, and even more remarkable to have helped create such a fine series of episodes.
As for why it was cancelled, who knows. We'd need to get Parks, MGM and NBC to all agree on the same answer to be reasonably sure of the answer. And I don't know him, but I get the feeling that he's part "Bronson," but not completely. - jonpf]


30 Jun 1999
Subject: Glad to see your site...
Hi,
TCB probably was responsible for selling as many blue watch caps as One Flew Over the Coocoo's Nest...
Anyway, I was 16 and wanderlust and a fresh driver's license were in my soul. Bronson seemed a more attainable character than Milner & Maharis in Route 66. However I didn't get my first cycle 'til I was almost 30! (I'll probably be 90 before I can afford a 'Vette).
All that aside, I loved the show and the only close brushes I've had with anything connected---I found one of the bikes in "Cars of the Stars" back in '72 and since there was no one around to stop me, I sat on it for a while. When I moved to Reno, I worked with a guy who was a parking attendant at the now defunct Mapes Hotel and had an extra role in one of those two episodes. Why haven't I looked up your page before? I really didn't think about it until Circus Circus removed the Sportster as a jackpot prize last week.... Anyway, nice site and I think the best we could hope for would be release of the series on video (Rhino, Re-TV, Columbia House?)


30 Jun 1999
Cool site,I've always wondered about that show. Also I wrote Columbia House or whatever the place was! Who has the rights to the old episodes anyway? Later

[Reply: TNT, as far as I can tell, but they don't seem to want to air it anymore! - jonpf]


03 Jul 1999
Hi Jon.
I was reponding to your email regarding lyrics to "Ride'em Cowboy" as performed on Then Came Bronson, when I saw Michael Parks playing a sheriff in the FOX movie "Dawn Till Dusk". I quickly scanned credits from the FOX website but found NO MENTION of the aging Parks (I think this was filmed in 1996).

Already disappointed, I was mortified when the bad guys shot Michael in the back and (I presume) killing him in the opening three minutes of the movie... and after only about six or seven lines! (I'd bet dollars to doughnuts it was the maximum number of lines allowed by some Screen Actors Guild pay scale).

Got any additional info on this brief appearance?

[Sorry, I don't. But maybe someone out there will know more and send in an email. - jonpf]


4 Jul 1999
Dear Jon;
I enjoyed your website. I had no idea that one existed or there is that much interest. It would be fun to do a convention, especially if I had a restored sporty to ARRIVE on !
Let me know about any plans.


6 Jul 1999
Hi Jon
If you get the chance to correspond with MP, ask him what bike he would have preferred for the series. I heard he wanted a Kawasaki 2-stroke triple or something like that.
By the way, my TCB bike project is on hold temporarily. The bike I chose, a 1971 XLH, was such a piece of junk that it wasn't worth using. If I can find a 1970 or 1969 model I will continue. All the bikes that I have seen since are painted black and are real bar bikes.
Take Care


6 Jul 1999
Hi Jon-
I've become a big fan of the site as I was a big fan of the original TCB series. I used to wake up mornings with some of the old shows still running in my mind. I often wonder what would have happened if I hadn't been home from work with the flu and typed Then Came Bronson into a search engine and actually found a listing!
It's really strange to see Jim Bronson as a younger man since I was 15 when the show originally aired and thought of him as a much older wiser guy.
Anyway, in a fan letter recently someone mentioned that he was now the man in the station wagon instead of the guy on the bike. How about a contest, or a just-for-fun thing having readers write an imaginative scenario about where they think Jim might be now and what he might be doing. I think it would be a great way to celebrate the 30th anniversary, a then-and-now thing. After all, Jim Bronson was so important to so many of us, and since he lives on in our hearts, let's put our heads together and have his character join us in some way again!
Regards (and hang in there)

[He's now Senior Editor of the Los Angeles Times, drives a Lexus, and sqashes people like bugs. - JUST KIDDING!!! Anyone want to try their hand at writing a scenario of Jim Bronson, 1999? Email it to me and I'll post it (if it's decent). - jonpf ;^)]


[7 Jul 1999]
Subject: I write for Easyriders and...
... your site is too cool. Great job! I remember watching the show as a kid in Delaware, wondering what that whole world was all about. Now I know. I own an '82 Sporty, been across country three times on it, and it's never let me down.
Keep up the great work.
"Captain Trash"


[From Tom C. - reply posted here because my email reply to you was returned by your ISP as undeliverable. - jonpf]

At 09:26 PM 7/9/99 -0230, you wrote:
Does anybody know what kind of bike was used in the movie "The Harley Davidson and Marlboro Man" ??????? I'm dying to know...Also where could I get a jacket like the one he used in the movie....Pls let me know if you know....

[Hi, Tom! Thanks for your email. Unfortunately I've never seen the movie "The Harley Davidson and Marlboro Man", so I couldn't tell you what bike or jacket. If any motorcycle movie fans out there can answer his question, send me an email and I'll forward it to him.
By the way, I just did some checking and the movie will be on one of the Showtime channels this month (see below). - jonpf]

http://www.tv-now.com/stars/donjohn.html

Sun Jul 18 10:50A SHOXE- Showtime Extreme
Sun Jul 18 06:35P SHOXE- Showtime Extreme
Mon Jul 26 11:35P SHOXE- Showtime Extreme



13 Jul 1999
Man, I'm glad to find this site. TCB was the best show ever on TV and certainly one could never be made like that again. I watched every episode back when it first aired, when I was a mere 12 years old. In 1982, I found it in syndication here (Charlotte), and I used to set the alarm for 3am in the morning (or something like that) to get up and watch it every week. There was something about Bronson that touched me deep, and I still think about it, for one reason or another, regularly.

Put me on your mailing list.


14 Jul 1999
Subject: THE GLEAM OF THE EAGLE MIND [episode]

Just a note to let you know I used to drive by that barn back in the 70's after they painted it. I just could not believe they filmed a show there!!!! It lasted many years but progress in this area saw its demise. It was along Guadalupe Road in Mesa on the south hand side. This area, before the housing development set in, could pass for Oklahoma or the midwest with certain angle shots. Probably being close to Hollywood makes a difference also.

We also used to live in Palm Springs where Michael did an episode at the tram. Buddy of mine came over to our house one day and said....you won't believe this...bronson pulled up along side me at a stop light downtown....just like in the movie.....

I also built that model of the Sportster back in '70. I emailed them to get that back into production. I really enjoyed reading this web site, brought back alot of old memories.

You know, I was such a great fan of TCB that when I was in Vietnam I sent Michael a letter. They were free to send but I don't think the industry ever passed it on, but I sure liked the feel of TCB. Plus Michael & his songs are great also.

Take care.

BRONSON MODEL...

The Ertl Company
Attn: Consumer Services Department
Hwys 136 & 20
P.O. Box 500
Dyersville, IA 52040-0500
Phone: 1-800-553-4886 or 319-875-2000
Fax: 319-875-5674

Ertl is a subsidiary of Kidde, Inc.

Here are the web address and email/feedback page address for ERTL Toys, which owned the rights to the Bronson Motorcycle plastic model. (Even if ERTL has sold the right to the model, they might get it back if enough people show interest in it!)

http://www.ertltoys.com/

http://www.ertltoys.com/corporate/about/feedback.cfm

(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.)


From the 1972 MPC catalog of models (not a very good scan):



"Can be sold for less than $4.00"!!!!!! (Ah, the good old days!)


Here's an ad for the MPC model. It comes from a full page ad in Car Model Magazine for April 1970:

Click here

THEN CAME BRONSON NOVELS...

Let me know if you are looking for these and I'll let you know what's available. - jonpf

BRONSON ITINERARY (SCENE LOCATIONS)...


To email me, click here!

Portion of the photo on the back cover of Closing The Gap (on left), and a recent photo at Big Sur by a photographer accidently standing in almost the exact same location as the CTG photographer (on right)! Click on the images to bring up a larger versions (2X). And below these are two images from a book called "Big Sur and Monterey Peninsula, A Picture Book To Remember Her By," published by Crescent Books, New York, c. 1982 [no page number but photos are near back of book], showing the relationship of the beach location to the Bixby Creek Bridge at Big Sur. (It's clearly the same location from not only the "jagged path" but also the coast line below it and other landscape features.)

Click here Click here Click here Click here ============
Closing The Gap photo, including new-image.jpg from the following site:
http://www.trvlnetwork.com/Big%20Sur%201.htm
(which is exactly the same view & perspective)


Main web site of above:
http://www.trvlnetwork.com/u_s.htm


I found another book with some nice photos of Big Sur, "Big Sur and the Central Coast," by David Muench, Skyline Press, c. 1984. I especially liked the following quote from the fifth page of the introduction, because it made me think of the voice-over monologue by Michael Parks in the Forest Primeval episode, as well as descriptions in other books I have read about the area, including a section in the book "Travels With Charley," by John Steinbeck:

"Something wild haunts this area, something otherworldly. Perhaps it is suggested by the infinity of misty headlands ranked along the pounding sea, or perhaps Big Sur's enchantment derives from the presence of the giant coast redwoods, Sequoia sempervirens. Just as the moss-bearded trees in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's forest primeval stood 'like the Druids of eld', so these ancient redwoods stand in the canyons of Big Sur, druidic, hinting of some ancient mystery. John Steinbeck, who in his novels immortalized the prosaic doings of Monterey's Cannery Row and the Salinas Valley, once wrote that 'the vainest, most slap-happy and irreverent of men, in the presence of redwoods goes under a spell of wonder and respect'."


I arrived in Big Sur one night, many years ago on my first trip to California, went to sleep in a darkened redwood grove, and awoke the next morning, in awed silence, as I lay on my back looking up into the high, sheltering canopy. I think I know what Steinbeck was referring to. In hopes that I could bring the magic back with me to New England, I even picked up some seed cones from the forest floor and tucked them into my backpack. (I never got around to planting them; perhaps I knew they stood no chance either in my native climate or under standard 8-foot ceilings.)


I would also recommend two other books about the Big Sur and central California coast:

A Wild Coast, And Lonely - Big Sur Pioneers, by Rosalind Sharpe Wall, 1989.
This has good stories of the early settlers and mysterious people and places of Big Sur.

On The Shore Of The Sundown Sea, by T.H. Watkins, illustrated by Earl Thollander, 1973 & 1990.
Good combination of area descriptions and autobiography, with very nice pencil sketch artwork, of a man's memories of the central California coast from his childhood through his adult years.

Another nice picture and poetry coffee-table-type book is "Not Man Apart: Lines from Robinson Jeffers, Photographs of the Big Sur Coast," edited by David Brower; Sierra Club, San Francisco, c. 1965


More sites with Big Sur photos:

http://www.hwy1bigsur.com/sursite.html

http://www.butte.cc.ca.us/~sbooth/more/bigsur.html

http://www.butte.cc.ca.us/~sbooth/

http://jrabold.net/bigsur/bigs_msc.htm


[June email from a TCB fan who is heading for Big Sur area this month!:]

Jon,
I told you some time ago that I would look into some locations for you. I am riding up to Monterey next month. A friend of mine and I are going to go to Hollister and then head north for 5-6 days.

I would be happy to take pictures, send no money. If you could give me a list of locations that would be great. We have no goals except Hollister and I think this would be a great excuse for places to stop.

The route planned is to start in Carmel, head to Hollister for a day and then head north on 101 into Oregon. We will return via Route 1 and venture into Big Sur only to then return to Carmel and head back to Tucson. We have only two firm destinations, Hollister and Big Sur. So, any ideas you have will be welcome. For camera gear I am bringing disposable cameras. I have had great success with them in the past. See:

http://uainfo.arizona.edu/~nbrigham/HD/hdpix.html for examples.


[Repeat of portion from fan mail, above, regarding the TCB episode The Gleam Of The Eagle Mind:]

Just a note to let you know I used to drive by that barn back in the 70's after they painted it. I just could not believe they filmed a show there!!!! It lasted many years but progress in this area saw its demise. It was along Guadalupe Road in Mesa on the south hand side. This area, before the housing development set in, could pass for Oklahoma or the midwest with certain angle shots.

We also used to live in Palm Springs where Michael did an episode at the tram. Buddy of mine came over to our house one day and said....you won't believe this...bronson pulled up along side me at a stop light downtown....just like in the movie.....

MISCELLANEOUS...


To email me, click here!

A TCB movie poster from Australia (click on it):

Click here


This man needs no introduction (click on the image):

Click here


Yahoo's subdirectory of motorcycle category web sites:

http://dir.yahoo.com/Recreation/Automotive/Motorcycles/

Harleypics.com - features photographs of Harley-Davidson and Indian motorcycles, as well as wallpaper, links, and a mailing list:

http://www.harleypics.com/

Pix n' Sounds - sound samples and pictures:

http://www.geocities.com/MotorCity/Speedway/7448/


Have you sent emails to TNT, TBS and Columbia House (from my site)? If we can get TNT/TBS to show it again, we can all see it again. And if we can get somebody like 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, TBS and Columbia House, here are their addresses (for most browsers, just click on them):

tnt@turner.com

tbs.superstation@turner.com

vl_customer_service@columbiahouse.com


Here are the web address and email/feedback page address for ERTL Toys, which owned the rights to the Bronson Motorcycle plastic model. (Even if ERTL has sold the right to the model, they might get it back if enough people show interest in it!)

http://www.ertltoys.com/

http://www.ertltoys.com/corporate/about/feedback.cfm

(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.)

To email me, click here!



If you get lost or your browser's "< BACK" button doesn't work, click here to go to the beginning page of this site:
tcb.htm




This page created July 14, 1999 . . . . . . . . . this web page copyright 1999 jonpf@thecia.net, except for certain images