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...
FOR WILD SEED FANS...
FOR BUS RILEY'S BACK IN TOWN FANS...
JUST FOR FUN!...
Sorry this newsletter is sooooo late, but I hope it's worth waiting for. And sorry it's a bit rough in the editing, since I wanted to get it on the site by June 1 (today). If you see anything that needs correcting, PLEASE feel free to email me and let me know! All constructive criticism is gratefully accepted.
By the way, don't miss this newsletter's "Just For Fun" section!
Don't know what's going to happen with the convention. I had hoped someone would come forward and take charge, since I can't do much of anything from up here in Boston. Well, if it doesn't happen this year, we can have a 30th anniversary TCB cancellation party next year! ;^)
But seriously, folks, I'm going to post convention info to the beginning page on the site, which has a link to a 30th anniversary convention page (you may have noticed it previously). I'll put what I hear from the TCB fan who went down to Austin to check out the area, and any other info that comes in.
Check out this web page from Tulsa TV Memories. It will soon appear on the web site for TVParty.com:
Any fans out there interested in the "all-seeing eye" that was on Bronson's Sportster gas tank? Let me know.
Whoever sent me an "anonymous" electronic greeting card (from firstname.lastname@example.org), thanks for remembering my birthday!
Remember that many of the tiny photos in these newsletters are thumbnail images that you can click on to bring up a bigger view. Of course, some aren't. Sorry.
By now, you may be thinking, "When is the next newsletter due out?" Well, hmmmmmm. I don't know. Summer is here, and there's a... there's alot of pretty country I'd... I'd like to... ah... see. And ... I... I guess to keep myself from going over the... ah... the high side, I'm gonna take it a bit slower. But check back now and... ah... then. In the meantime, hang in... ah... there.
[Here's their site address, with email function:]
Check out this site, mPulse, for a Real Audio and MP3 clips of a song from Michael Parks's new CD on Listen Recordings:
Well, I'm almost willing to concede that the primary cover (with the diamond-shaped insignia and the words Harley-Davidson) on Bronson's bike in the later episodes is a custom job. I did hear a story that, when AMF/H-D got wind of how popular the show was becoming, they made a deal to buy the Sportsters and let MGM use them for the show, free of charge, but with an acknowledgement of AMF/H-D's participation in the show. Maybe they took the 1969 cover, machined off the ribbing, added the diamond, and then had it chrome-plated. Maybe they had the diamond shaped logo with "Harley Davidson" inside it made specially to advertise them as Harleys, since the gas tank logo had been replaced with the all-seeing eye logo. Don't know for sure. I'll keep checking.
Well, Bud Ekins was right!
Here are two occurrences of a Bronson-type sissy bar on Schwinns from the 1960's. The one with the boy is from the book, Schwinn Sting-Ray, by Liz Fried, published by Bicycle Books/Motorbooks International, copyright 1997, page 14. You can see, just above his head, the top part of the circle in the sissy bar. The bike was a Sting-Ray, Sky Blue Super Deluxe, and the photo was taken in California in 1968, the same year that the TCB pilot movie was filmed.
The other one is from a photo of a Lime 65 Slik Chik, serial #DA44503, "1960's style sissy bar" (which would indicate that it, too, may be a custom add-on). This sissy bar looks a bit shorter than the one on the boy's bike, and shorter than the one originally on the Bronson Sportster (see pilot movie scene where Bronson arrives to talk Nick out of committing suicide).
[Excerpt from an email from a TCB fan:]
Here's something you may get a chuckle out of: at the same time the show [TCB] was on, I was, like most kids, into comic books. I was also into cars and bikes and at that time there were comic books devoted to cars and bikes like "Hot Rod Cartoons", "CARtoons", and "Cycle Toons". In one issue of Cycle Toons that I had, they lampooned the show TCB. I remember the story following somewhat the TCB episode where he was with some American Indians (Buffy St. Marie was on it). The character entered an off-road bike race and I don't remember much else. But being a kid at the time it was funny to see a TV show being made fun of in a comic book.
[TCB magazine additions from a fan:]
1) Motor Cycle World, May 1970 Vol. 4, No. 13
"Then Came Bronson's" Biker
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
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.
[Email from Mike, who is building the model. He has come up with a lot of suggestions, corrections and other info on the model and how to properly assemble and customize it. ]
Jon, would really appreciate any advice .... the only thing missing, the eye decals ... Just wondering if you might have any artistic suggestions. I want this last diorama to be as authentic as possible, and the thought
that in (fictional) reality, the damn eyes would have been artworked
onto the full size bike, not decaled. So far I have come to the
conclusion that the blank triangle itself is fairly easy, that's just
3 pieces of bordertape, and delicate airbrushing to spray on the
triangles. the hard part is the thin border triangle inside the main
triangle, and the thin line exactness of the eyelid, and eyeball itself
..... which would require some obvious needlelike pen or brush that
may actually be used by hobbyists. I never needed such freehand
exactness before, and don't remember after all these years,having any
such tool. Color is hard to pinpoint as well. The box has retained
90% of its color depth, but even so, that triangle is hard to capture colorwise, or maybe it's a slight colorblindness I have for shades of green. The box lid triangles appear to be pastel green backround with kelly green border. The extreme outer borders are white or cream. the upper eyelid seems kelly green but lower eye rim and the eyeball itself seem to be black, the eyeball center also has white to enhance a reflective shine. Do you make it out as I described? Did your model have the decals? maybe you could tell me what the colors appear to be on those.
.... And any easier way to reproduce the eye inside the airbrushed
triangle is appreciated..
Thanx ! Mike
Jon, spent about 3 hours at a California hobby shop .... I don't know
if you've found the color for your model yet, but the model lid I
received is mint and strong ... I found a brand of airbrush
thinnable paints called Polly Scale railroad paints. The color 'Signal
Red, #404091 with a few eye measured drops of "CP RED" #404061 (more
like an orangy salmon) match the box and endflaps perfectly ..... I'd
also like to look at any colors you might have found. If you can't or
haven't gathered up paint yet in your start up stuff, I'll send you a
premix jar when I'm finished,because by then I will know for a fact if
it's close enough ..... I'm using the box lid, and
the LLH and Gap LP record jackets for 3 way cross match control
That's the second time you've responded with an idea only seconds after
I've e-mailed to someone else ! Heh ...... just asked my son in
Pittsburgh to download 4 or 5 copies of your plaque from Harley D
they sent you .... also bought blank decal transfers. and an architect
I met is selling me a "micro - pen" .... says it
can put the iris and even lashes on the head of a pin ! (in case I have
to start from scratch ..)
Jon, my son is really sloooow about these kinda things, if he doesn't
respond in a day or two, I'd really appreciate if you could send me a
few flat sheets of that eye plaque. Some tricks already learned ....
sprayed the lid with extra stiff hairspray to restore that "skin'
shine look to the box, and helped to clarify color as the moisture
seeped back in to the cardboard.
Ya know, the lid shows the rear fender supports are chrome,but the
supports are black on the frame [of the model]! Then too, if you look at the rear cover "seaside" shot of Jim on that bike .. the supports are indeed .... black ! And between the album covers and the box lid, the damn
eyes keep moving up and down the tank, and it's not the angles either, I
used the tank nuts as a guide,and the logo changed as much as 2 inches! BTW, my eyes are screwy in dim light ..... needed double
fluorescents to finally see that all eyes are grey not greenish
Subject: BTW .... forgot to end my whole purpose for mentioning the black
fender struts ..... found out that auto chrome tape is not as good as
chrome tape at hobby shops ... that tape is different .... I laid 1/16
inch chrome over the black supports on the frame, and ran the back of
an exacto knife to make it create the few center lines that you see are
on the support pieces .... poor recreation too on their part, no molded-in screws like on the lid and LP covers .... I'm adding them with a
needle tipped with clear epoxy,then drop of paint. hobby chrome tape
is chromier, not that
shiny aluminum look, but true mirror chrome ... damn expensive too at $5
a SMALL roll ....
1. Days of testing .... I still hold that the Polly Scale Railroad
seriel numbers I gave are absolutely perfect unless there are myriad
more full color photos of the bike to see ... I am avoiding any tv
transmissions of the red color for cross match control .... anybody
with a bright model box lid,and side of box prints , and both LP
record jackets should come to the same conclusion, but admittedly, I'd
like to see those Bronson paperbacks as well with the bike on the
covers ..... and get this Jon ... turns out that if a strong model box
lid/sideflaps plus the 2 LP record jackets are used as the color
control under a dozen flourescent lights and/or full high noon
sunlight, the damn color desired is on a thing so common you won't
believe it! Check out the current aluminum
coca-cola cans! (the current ones have a picture of the old 8oz.
green glass bottle on them,and the word "delicious" in green print
right over top of the "12 fl oz" printing near the bottom ..... my
wife saw the paint bottle I mixed, sitting on the model boxlid,with
all the LP jacket covers all scrunched up close together on the table
in the sunlight, she walked over and set the coke can right amidst all
of it ...... took me another 10 minutes of squinting, moved all of it
outside, then waited till sundown,and even by yellow bulblight ....
that's the damn color or else all my control colors are
distorted .... !! I even added a little moisture to the lid with
hairspray,which did brighten it up,
and did a 3/4 click up of color, just to avoid the occurrence your one
fan member talked about ... made his paint too orange if I recall, by
not calculating in box fade. It's the color over aluminum as opposed
to over plastic, as well as real life thickness of the paint on the
actual full-size bike that would probably make the differences .... I'm
going to airbrush half of a coke can as a final test to see how this
Polly scale dries, but even now, just smearing a little paint onto the
coke can makes the paint absolutely blend in and disappear from 2 feet
away .... The damn coke can is the color I'm certain, especially if you
set it on the tank picture on the Gap album .... the damn can color is
as elusive as the original paint ... by bright flourescents you
suddenly think "too much watermelon" .... by lamplight and yellow
chandelier light, the orangyness of the can presents itself ... I also
think airbrushing directly over the red plastic might not be a good
idea, a light blast of silver or aluminum as the base might be better
against shade changes ... Jon, if I'm so off base on this that my
sanity is in question, then my control colors are all way off ....
Please email any word of better
control pictures of the bike or color ...
2. chrome fender .... I e-mailed the current seller on ebay, the
Bronson fender on his has a chip missing at the tip,but damn,it has the
eyes ! (I'm sorry I didn't go after the Canadian one back when both
of them were running together .... but found a thing at a hobbyshop I
didn't have 30 years ago .... A product from a company called Bare
Metal ... tissue thin metal foil on a sheet that you lift off by
exacto knife , lay on VERY carefully (about 6 times too !) and rub
with a cuticle stick ... this stuff is excellent ... probably a must
have for airplane builders too .....firstly,it's true metal. When you
use metal polish after your finished, it turns the cloth black as in
real metal situations, and is a true blue-black chrome finish,not shiny aluminum. It is tuff on curves,but it covers without folds or creases ! ( After 6 or 7 false runs,and removals) BUY 2 SHEETS I 'm warning you if you are a perfectionist like myself Or, Revell makes a 1/8 modern sportster with a chrome front fender that only needs the modern tab additions removed where it joins the forks. Unlike the 69's, there are no
fender braces from the wheel hub to the fender edges.
I used it too, on the rear braces which are black on the frame,unlike
the lid which shows them to be chrome. The results are indistinguishable
from the lid if you add the 3 screws running along the chrome brace
3. The all seeing eyes ! ..... More like the all frustrating eyes if
you don't have the damn decals ! There are probably many solutions but
I think I found a dandy myself ! First, download
the award plaque from your page. My son shrunk it down to scale with
some of his spooky computerstuff .... I'm totally computer illiterate so
you are on your own there ... for the not so fussy, they really look
good even just as they come out .... luckily the actuals were grey
anyway,with only the bottom of the eye being white. But for fussbudgets
like myself, here is truly a perfect result tecnique ..... I bought
BLANK decal transfers, but not clear .... what I mean is they have
material in colors .... (the part that slides off is in color, not
clear) I of course bought grey, cut 2 perfect triangles to 1/8
scale (they are not exactly equal sided BTW, and you will have 2
perfect grey triangles on the tank when your done ! (no eyes yet of
Buy a $3.95 "Micro pen" .... used by draftsmen and arcitects I am
told ..... this sucker can (with a mag glass for us oldsters)
draw a freekin' flock of sheep on the head of a pin ! ...... Mine is a
ZIG Millenium in black ink. You can't really see the part that
writes, but you can see the chrome tapering out to it ... A magnifyer
will be a must I think ...... use a razorblade as a ruler and before
you apply the
grey triangles to the tank, make the inner triangle lines with the razor
ruler and the micropen (very easy) ..... fix the lines permanently
with airbrushed clearspray fixative. (if you don't the micro ink will
float away when you wet the decal ...) Now, this needs to be practiced several times .... take the sheet of miniature triangles/eyes that you downloaded and shrunk, and with #11 Exacto or whichever you like best, and a magnifying glass, cut out the eye only, you already have the grey triangle decal ready to apply. The eye is paper, the triangle is plastic, so you need to experiment here because fixative thickness, which paper you downloaded on are all gonna make differences ... I wet the
eye on the back only, but I think it can be totally wet without any
problems, and slide it into place onto the triangle ... hit it
with airbrushed fixative and let it alone for an hour ... Either the
easy method or the fuss budget method lets you avoid the critical
unpleasantness of hand drawing that damn eyeball and eye reflection
point of light .... (a real frustrating thing to do)
4. Fiber optics kit ..... I'm sure I'm the only one who did not know
these existed, but I just won the bid on EBAY for a sealed kit which
contains the strands, microdrill, 6 volt power supply, and related stuff
to illuminate models .... had a talk with the hobbyshop owner who
showed me some pretty sad damage from trying to use
Radio Shack's famous 'grain of rice' micro bulbs in models .....
forget it .... way too hot,and melted both the lens and the headlight
housing .... who knew ..... all model lighting for the model houses
buffs are too hot as well, fortunately, this fibre optics stuff and light source are apparently everywhere, including Radio Shack I am told ...
Jon, feel free to use or quote any of this stuff,
Thought you might want to know a few important errors MPC overlooked on
the model. Might save others the pain I went through finding out ...
some almost too late
to correct ...
1. Absolutely do not attach the heavier top fender brace to the fender
as pictured in the directions !!! Dry fit it
yourself ..... heavy top brace should fit SQUARE into the cupped
depressions on each fork leg .... take careful note.
2. Headlight housing is red, supposed to be chrome ... easier to know
this before you attach it,then find you need to spray or foil, or
replace from another kit.
3. Check box lid carefully ... Bronson instrument cluster in chrome
shroud does NOT sit on fork brace as instructions indicate. if you
follow directions, your chrome cluster panel will be about 1/4 inch too low. slide it up and glue directly to handlebar .
4. Note that sissy bar in kit needs to be fitted into slots where and
when directions show fender installation .... they dont show sissy bar
installation until 2 steps later .... by then you won't be able to
insert the square lugs in the fender if you've glued the fender supports
5. Instructions and model has nub on left casing and pictures in
installation sheet show the clutch cable dropping from the left
handgrip right onto the fitting in the left casing .... as the lid
shows, no cable is visibly connected to left side case connector as
they show it in the kit.
6. Understand when to install rear wheel ! Instructions VERY tricky
here .... if you overassemble the hubs, chain, and shocks past a
certain point, you will not be able to spread the assembly to insert the
rear wheel and rims ...
7. Minor point for the perfectionist ... The kit only provides a
standard chrome upper fork brace that lays across both forks in that
standard 'squarish' Harley way. But look at box lid closely ... bronson
bike is really a triangular harley headlight bracket, that is attached
TO the cross member which is probably black and not visible because the
bracket is bolted over top. The red casing, the too low cluster, and the
lack of that triangle brace will change the look a little overly so
much if you fail to address those errors ...
I've basically finished the bike, and daily add the tiny detail work.
(losing my eyesight on this project!) Tiny speedo/tach cables,
battery/rectifier wiring/ headlight /taillite wiring
replicas all in place ... (not real) ...
For lighting I'm using an Ertl fiber optics kit, with bulbs
built in under the diorama after that part is built. they include a
truly helpful needle drilltip and motorized drill that cuts single holes
for each fiber strand of optic cable ...
Somehow I needed this small segment of a time when things were truly
'free' .... and the future was just a bit more alive with promise , back
again,.... I didn't appreciate it enough the first time around! too
young, too much to do at the time, and thinking that things then
current (like Jim Bronson ) were going to either go on forever, or would
most surely be replaced by something equal or better .... and don't we
often continue to do that even now ....
Many of the model building hints I posted to you might just be my lack
of memory as to what the kit had in mind back then ... it was really 2 bikes in one, with separate decals, the chrome headlight visor available for 'regular' Harleys back then, etc.
But the directions focused much more on building the stock Harley than
on the Bronson bike ...They especially made no mention of gas tank
angle differences, the old low sloped front was especially noticable if
you did not pay attention to the angles of the lower saddlepan section
of the tank when pressed onto the bike frame pins. One lifesaving model
building hint I got from a club's web page, I can't speak highly enough
about, is the use of acrylic floor gloss like "Future" or "Clear" for
many things, and also as the final glosscote over any other final
finish work done to tank and fender.
Next step has been tougher, that's finding a doll to redo into a Bronson
figure .... in about the 8 to 9 in tall range,it's amazing the lack of
'Bronson' look dolls to redo with airbrush and micropen ......... the
absolute closest are James Dean, Capt Kirk, Lee Majors, Bo (or is it
Luke) Duke, and the much older Ken dolls, but they are too far out of scale
to adjust for height ... and the Majors doll has that 'see through'
bionic eye, so was immediately out of the selection . Overall though,
this is truly a satisfying project !!
Got new film today, model pictures to follow but without the diorama
which is only sketch notes so far .... Damned fiber optics problems
.... not very effecient per fiber strand. But the
whole bundle is perfect .... need fiber strand that's much thicker
.... checking Radio Shack but a second solution might be those new
white light no heat LEDS ...
Update on model lighting .... a real bugger .... short and sweet of it
is the real tail light is no problem; use Radio shack's smallest
red LED (and get a salesman who actually knows ... they are often
smaller than what's in stock !
They have 2 wire leads and work great. Power will last just about
"forever" on 2 AA batteries ...
there is slight heat, nowhere near a grain of rice type filament
bulb though ... melting not a problem ..... fiber optics would also
work in the TAIL light but fiber optic bundle ends up about the same
girth around as grain of rice bulb .. and leading the hairlike led
wires under fender is much easier than the optic bundle .....
Front headlight a major problem ... cannot find the new state of the art
white leds .... going to try C Crane next, but they don't usually sell
just pieces or parts ..... Closest led readily available is yellow ...
tried it .... forget it, makes the bike look like Munsters' spookmobile !
....... you considered lighting long ago ... any idea I've overlooked
.... ? light needs to be whitish, but melting a real problem ....
[Thanks, Mike, for all the info! I didn't really want to start on my kit until I had a better idea on how to restore and customize it, especially since I had gradiouse ideas of adding working lights to the model. Your info will go along way to making it better! - jonpf]
(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.)
I'm a huge fan on TCB, have the original Long Lonesome Highway album, and
married my own Jim Bronson. Please put me on your mailing list, what do you mail?
Also, how is the 30th reunion coming. Austin is the perfect place. Please let me know.
Hi! Thanks for the email.
The "mailing list: is actually an email list of fans who I will contact if anything important comes along (such as upcoming shows of TCB). I originally thought of mailing or emailing the "newsletters" (actually they are updates to the site, plus other news and info), but it would have been too expensive or time consuming.
I don't know what's going to happen with any reunion(s) this year. Not much interest (judging by amount of email asking about it), and I don't know who would be able to coordinate it down in Austin or Calif or ???, since I'm in Boston, and the people of MP's record company aren't in the position to organize it either.
And MP wasn't sure of even what month he'd be in Austin, so it might have to be a spur of the moment thing, or at least with only a few weeks notice.
Plus, since MP will be filming (including rehearsals, script-memorizing, etc.), who knows how much time he'd have to give to the gathering.
So I honestly don't know what to tell anyone. I had been hoping someone would come along and volunteer for the job, but no luck. If we do the Austin thing, it all revolves around MP, since there's no other tie-in with the show. And I don't think people are going to spring for an air ticket and a hotel reservation well in advance, and whatever other costs would be involved, with no guarantee that MP would be there at that time.
So that's the status of things. If you're in that area, is there anything you can do to help? (Just asking, not suggesting, since I tend to doubt that I would make it.)
Anyway, "hang in there."
Sorry I have not written in awhile. Two things I would like to address. The first thing is one of the writers in your newletter thought it would be a good idea to hold the TCB reunion in conjunction with another bike event, this seems like a good idea. The Republic of Texas bike rally is coming up in June in Austin. It's a three day event. Being as it is in Austin, we might have a shot at getting Parks to attend. I rode to it last year and had a great time.
Secondly I read in your Feb posts of another 42 y.o.a. police officer who has the same "laid back style" of police work as I wrote to you about myself about a year ago. I thought I was the only cop out here that was affected by the show and still carries some of it with me in my work.
Also I just fell into a fantastic deal on another Harley I purchased from one of the officers I work with. It's a 1991 FXRS low rider. It has been sitting outside in pieces since 1994. I helped him put it back together two months ago and it runs very strong. He called me a week ago and offered me a deal "I couldn't refuse," so now I have two big twins in the garage.
Thanks in advance
Well, finding your website is like opening up a Pandora's Box of memories. I too saw this TV series in the very early seventies as a teenager... but in Australia! It turned me on to bikes and the wanderlust of travelling the wide land that we too have at our feet.
When I have a day to spare I'll have a long trawl through your web site. Yesterday I went to the local video store to ask about Niagara Niagara, and it has just been released here. Lots of other stuff that Michael has been in was thrown up in their database. He's been a busy boy over the years, hasn't he? But then we all have, I suppose!
So here I am, sick of the rat race, wanting a big change, and for months having used the moniker of BRONSON as my password for logging into the network at the office. Little did I know the great connectivity of it all. OK, well, it's off to the record shops (remember those big black plastic discs?) to find something of Michael Parks.
Keep up the good work. I'll mail you some pics when I'm finally on the road.
All the best!
[Thanks for the email. By the way, if anyone you know at work checks out this site, you may want to change your password! - jonpf]
... By the way, the [April] newsletter was worth waiting for.
I loved the H-D archive stuff and the letters from some of the behind-the-scenes people at the locations and from the albums. It's really neat
that these folks are starting to surface but it would not be happening
if not for all your hard work so if I haven't said it before, THANKS.
Got lucky tonight and just happened to catch MP on Walker, Texas Ranger. He
sure makes a spooky bad guy. As a matter of fact, until I got my wife to
watch one of my TCB's, she didn't like MP because she had only seen him
as the psycho cop in China Lake Murders. I think she has a better image
of him now that she's met Jim Bronson. If the idea of getting MP to do
a reunion is going down the tubes, (I'd still drive to Austin just to
shake his hand and buy him a beer), then I'm with the fan who said we
should still have a get together ourselves.
My vote goes to Monterey for the convention...simply beautiful up
there, once ran the big sur marathon over that bridge i believe (looks
different when you're poundin' the pavement, not to mention the ol'
ticker poundin' like bejeezus!!!)
[Here is more email and photos from the TCB fan who is customizing his new Sportster into a replica of the Bronson Sportster. You may recall some of his emails and photos in previous newsletters:]
Another great newsletter [April 1]! I always wish there was more to read when I get finished. Thanks for putting
pictures of my bike in the April newsletter. I got the tail light mounted and the next step is to get it painted. If
you have any info about the correct color of red or connections to the Harley dealer that sold replicas back in
the 70's, maybe they can help. Also, one of the fans mentions Mena, Arkansas, and I was wondering if you
could put a list together of where fans live. No names, just cities, to see where we all live. Is there any way to get
in touch with other fans? I live outside of Little Rock, AR, and wouldn't mind meeting other fans that might live
around this area.
Keep up the good work, always looking forward to next month's newsletter and info about the reunion.
P.S Any news about the decals? Maybe the historian from HD could give you the exact, actual dimensions of the decal and I could get them made locally?
Thanks in advance,
Just a note to let you know that I should get my gas tank and rear fender back from the paint shop
tomorrow. By this weekend I should have it all back together, if everything goes as planned. I will then take
some pictures and send them to you next week sometime. I am going to try to have the sissy bar replicated and
then all I need is the tank decals to finish it off. I did some rework on the exhaust system. The exhaust used to
stick out beyond the back tire, so I readjusted them to be more correct. I also added a new chrome head light
that is of the same style as the Bronson bike and through your web page I located and purchased an exact
duplicate of the Bronson tail light from Kirk Kelly at Sporty Specialties. Thanks Kirk!
In the future I will
probably change out the handle bar switches for chrome instead of the stock black, also replace the front tire
with a ribbed type tread pattern and maybe custom made seat and handle bars to be more correct. Any word
Keep up the GREAT work!
I just recently purchased a color printer and scanner and thought I would try sending you a picture of
my second motorcycle and my first Sportster, a 1974 XLH 1000. This was the last year of the right side shifter
and left side brake pedal. This picture was taken the day before my round trip from San Antonio to El Paso
and back. You'll notice the beginnings of trying to replicate the Bronson bike by bobbing the rear fender and
adding a sissy bar and changing the tail light. That was as far as I got. With only a 2 gallon tank, there were
many a time I was sweating out finding a gas station in time. This was before they invented sun screen, I came
back with a combination sun/wind burn on my arms and neck. The speed limit in 1974 on IH 10 was 55, so
that helped on both the mpg and vibrations. The seat was stock, and very hard, but luckily I was stopping
every 90 to 100 miles for gas, and that really helped!
Here's a picture of my bike naked, (work in progress). I have the tank and rear fender at the paint and
body shop getting painted. I should have them back soon and I will take pictures and send them to you. I
noticed no May newsletter yet, I hope everything is ok with you and yours.
The wheels are stock, the front is a 21 incher and the rear is a 16 inch. The Bronson bike I believe had
a 21 inch front and an 18 inch in the rear.
I picked up a PPG paint chart from a body shop that had every domestic made car paint samples for all
1999 cars. I then cut them out and put them up against every color picture I have of the Bronson bike,
(model box, record albums and stuff from your web site). Since I am color blind my wife helped me
choose a color that is new for Plmouth called Prowler red. It is for a 1999 Prowler. I gave this paint sample
and paint code to the paint guy and I just got through putting it all back together last night.
Here is the latest update on my 1999 883 Custom Sportster Bronson replica project. Since the last
time I sent you pictures, I have bobbed the rear fender 4 and a half inches, changed the headlight, tail light,
rear foot pegs and painted it. I got the tail light from Kirk Kelley at Sporty Specialities, thanks Kirk! It is an
exact duplicate to the one used on the original Bronson bike. Since I am color blind, my wife had to help me
choose the paint color. We tried matching paint chips from a PPG paint chip book that I got from a paint
and body shop to every color picture I have of the original Bronson bike. We used album covers, model
box cover and pictures from you web page. The color we chose is a 1999 Plmouth Prowler color called
Prowler Red. In the mean time I am having the sissy bar reproduced to fit my bike and then all I need are
the gas tank decals. At this point I have just over 1000 miles on the bike in 5 months. Thanks to your web
page, you gave me the inspiration! And even more thanks go to my wife for her understanding to let me
finish this quest. She really had a hard time with me buying a brand new motorcycle and taking it apart and
painting it. In the middle of June I will be going to the Texas HOG rally in Amarillo. This will be her maiden
voyage, I will then finally get to go down that long lonesome highway!
Thanks again, Tom
[Nice work, Tom! Real nice! Congratulations on a job well done. And kudos to your wife for her inner strength! - jonpf]
For those of us who unfortunately need to rely only on dim memories to
recall favorite segments from episodes in the series "Then Came
Bronson," I'd like to help refresh one memory that, aside from our love of the character and the motorcycle generally, is one aspect of Jim
Bronson that we all might be subliminally reacting to without even
conciousness awareness that we are doing so.
I became aware of it today, as I was thrust into the middle
of a "tug o' wills" between my wife and I. She meets weekly with a body of church members who rotate playing the host home each week. This
results in the need for my wife to drive both to and from the homes in
question through a really deserted and dreadfully lonely and dark
stretch of the vinyard areas of the Sonoma Valley .
Emotionally spent after several hours of trying to impress my wife with the fact that she would be absolutely helpless, should her vehicle
stop operating in this particularly barren stretch of "long lonesome
highway", I reached for a cigarette, and went outside to regroup my
thoughts, trying to search for any rebuttal to cool her repeatedly
hot assertion that, despite no planning on her part in the event of an
emergency, "God will protect" ......
Then it happened .... I caught myself doing it for the first time ever
.... not that it WAS the first time mind you, .... but only the first
time I became aware of it .... A "Bronson" moment in time .... Strain with me now to grasp the scenerio I want to paint on mental canvass for you........for it contains an essence of
what I really believe is one of the attracting facets of the character
"Bronson", and must certainly be an actual part of the very real
Michael Parks, who made the character perform the following ....what to
call them .... movements ? reactions? body positionings ? ..... I don't
know ... But I believe it is a main ingredient that spurs our
continued loyalty to the long faded character.
Leaning over the 2nd floor railing, shoulders cocked upward from the
weight of my forward lean, hand with cigarette dangling over the rail,
I was reflecting on my wife, and the various depths of faith in God
that people have, some obviously more than I possess, from my wife's
continual retort that "God will protect" ....
I gnawled on my lower lip lightly, scratching my ear with the same hand
that held the cigarette, shaking my head slightly as I recalled some
piece of particularly frustrating rebuttal my wife had leveled back
at me to counter my concerns ..., slowly looking left with rapt
interest in nothing at all, then down at the ground ..... Suddenly, I
became aware of these actions ... where had I seen this before ? ... who, wha... Jeez! .... it hit me in a flash! ..... did it really take me
30 years to learn to appreciate Parks portrayal of a man who often
performed these 'off by himself' body actions to illustrate his
inner turmoil and frustration that often developed in Bronson
storylines as he tried to inject calm, mumbling reasonableness into the
mind of some character who was forging ahead dangerously focused on a
'want', with little consideration of the ultimate cost .... Amazing!
... I'm a fairly serious Christian, but this time, just this once, it
was not thoughts of Jesus that made me realize how much I love and want
to protect my loved ones .... no, just this one time ..... it was
Michael Parks portrayal of a frustrated Jim Bronson ..... Who knows
where needed strength to cope will pop up? Thank you Michael .....
(And for that matter,thank you Jesus .... for sending me a scenario I
could relate to!)
Hi - I have been trying to track down ANY mention ANYWHERE of the
Michael Parks movie Wild Seed, off and on for several YEARS! It was so
obscure that no one I talked to had ever heard of it. Anyway, I saw
this movie when I was around 12 years old and it was a huge influence on
me. I would love to get a video copy of this movie, is that possible?
If you know how I could buy this, please let me know. Thanks - I enjoyed your website.
[Sorry, I would love to have a copy, too, but have not idea where to get one! - jonpf]
I'm a hard core 'then came Bronson' fan. I just got done watching "A
Pickin and A Singin".
Please let me know if any TCB shows are airing. And let me know where
(if possible) I could get copies of the episodes. I have about seven of
Also, 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
Love your site. Keep up the good work.
I have visited your page a few times and also written you about how
TCB influenced my life when I was a teenager. One thing that I have
noticed is that there are few pictures of Bronson or the bike (other
than from the model box). Are pics from the series or from promotional
materials scarce? Just wondering. If I come across any pics I would be
happy to send them. I have two of the albums, Closing The Gap & LLH. and
am always on the look-out for Bronson related stuff. I hold hope that
TCB will be released as a tape set or at least be rebroadcast so that I
can record my own copy. Would love to expose my family to the show.
Thanks for all your efforts and feel free to include this in the
newsletter if you wish.
Got the computer a week ago, my search was for "Then Came Bronson". I
was 14 when the show came on, I think it connected with the side of us
that said - ...I want a change, I want to move on, the adventurous side
of us also. Five years later I bought a bike, loaded it done with gear
(coleman stove and all) and headed west with a couple of guys. One of
the guys I now work with, who also connected with the show, bought a
sportster and headed east.
I know the show really connects with this time of my adolescence, when I
think about the show it really takes me back to that time period. Its
like a sound or smell that instantly carries you back to an old memory
in your past.
I'd like to see some the old shows, I'll keep looking.
I found your site by accident (actually I was using ask.com to look up
any info on Michael Parks and found you listed as a link on
michaelparks.com). Michael is my cousin and it was fantastic to see your
TCB page. It sure brought back some memories for me. I was 21 and and
owned my own Harley at the time that the series was on. I had a 1945
knucklehead. I was into restorations then.
Write me if you have time.
Your web page is great , it takes me back to '69 , my BSA Lightning ,
dreaming of hitting the road like Bronson , Well after 30 years I just
got a '91 sportster, oh, and a watch cap , keep you posted , well, hang in
HI, THANKS FOR THE INFO. IT IS A GOOD SITE AND IT WAS ONE OF THE
FIRST SEARCHES I DID WHEN I GOT THIS WEB TV. SO I VISIT IT OFTEN.
Taking a trip? Whats That? Taking a trip? Yeah. Where to? Oh, i don't know,
wherever I end up I guess. Yeah, well I wish I were you. Yeah, well, you hang in there.
Those words rang in my head. I was the guy on the bike, years ago. Now through evolution I have become the man in the car. Sad isn't it?
[Not really. I bet Bronson now drives a Jeep Grand Cherokee. ;^) - jonpf]
I found your page through a Sportster page and it was a real treat to
see, i was a die hard fan back then, I was thirteen at the time of the
show. We tried to emulate him in every way and my love for Harley
Davidson carries to this day (I have a Sportster) but the most powerful
thing on your page was the opening song, its been a lot of years
since i heard it but you can't believe the flood of memories that came
back to me...I just wanted to thank you!
[You can also thank the fan who made it for us! I just added it to the site. - jonpf]
[I recently noticed something on the internet about TCB and sent an email to the person, and he responded with the following photo and email:]
[I replied to his email and photo:]
> Pretty impressive! Are they all yours?
They are ALL restored now to original configuration and in a museum in
Daytona Beach Florida. This is my home [backyard] about 6 miles from
Daytona Speedway. Yes they are mine and my equal partner's.
This is my Brother. He's my partner. I got out of the VA Hospital the
day this was taken after 58 days including 4 major surgeries [that's why
I look so sickly], hee hee. I'm still here! hee hee Can't keep a GOOD man
down and can't make him go "OFF THE HIGH SIDE".
p.s. I got a few REAL treasures if you want me to send them? Parks would
know who most of the guys are probably and might even place me if
you use the name "Wheels" H.A.
[From a fan of heart-throb Michael Parks:]
Thanks for the info, I didn't know there was a TCB site out there. Back
in the '69-'70s era, I had a major thirteen year old's crush on Michael
Parks, bought all his albums, watched all his shows. I haven't seen Then
Came Bronson since then, but still enjoy his music very much. Recently,
after years of resistance, I was dragged kicking and screaming into the
electronic age, and aquired a computer. Thanks again for telling me about the site, I know I'll enjoy it.
[From Bruce Graham. I gave the photo a caption, but you have to remember the movie to get it:]
I really liked the title; "Temple picks a scrub brush centerpiece for
the egg dinner she doesn't get to eat." There's more "egg dinner" pics
Yes, you can use that picture, or any picture I send you. If you
couldn't, I would let you know specifically that I don't want it
used...although I couldn't imagine why at this point in time. You can
credit me also...makes me feel "famous" since your site is so good.
By the way, I finished the HTML class a few weeks ago (just a 4
session beginner one) and I think I'm getting the hang of it. It's a
real blast how this stuff works. I have a little webpage started myself.
If you're interested when you get a moment, it's at:
http://home.epix.net/~jbgraham. It takes a while to load...I have some
big pictures in it. If you look at it, the counter will go way up to 2.
I have been waiting for spring too, and it seems to be here lately. I
go up to my farm 13 miles from here and fool around with my tractors
and old cars, bikes, Guinea hens and Rhode Island reds (great eggs,
Bronson would love 'em) and just enjoy the trees and flowers budding
and birds singing their mating calls. It's my retreat, and best this
time of year.
I went to an AMCA meet last Sat. in Oley, PA. just an hour from here.
(Antique Motorcycle Collectors Association. Been a member for a few
years now.) They put out a GREAT magazine too. Very classy and
abundantly informative. There's another meet next month in Harmony, NJ.
Ended up buying a 1975 CUSHMAN 3-wheel delivery vehicle. Couldn't
pass it up for the price. The guy said he did not want to take it back
to upper New York State. It's like one of those meter maid scoots. 2
cylinder OMC engine, horizontally opposed cylinders, 3 speed with
reverse, pretty cool. I'll add it to my growing collection of
motorcycles, golf carts, etc. Just the stuff the ol' lady loves (LOL).
Hope the TCB convention thing picks up speed. If not, hang in there.
There's always 35. There's alot of fans rooting for you. Your doing great no matter what happens and we all appreciate it.
Hope all is well with you. I'll send more pics as soon as I take a
break from selling old comics on eBay.
I ran across your page quite by accident. I thought I would share a
Bronson experience with you. Between my tours in Vietnam as a US Army fixed wing aviator, I served in a unit at Fort Rucker, Alabama which was the home of the US Army Aviation School. Part of my mission there was to fly at night
and act as an airborne control center for the rotary wing student pilots while they performed night cross country navigation exercises. Our missions would last for 4 or 5 hours and with some predictability we could determine what days we would draw night missions. Several of us had battery operated
television sets that we had purchased in the PIX on our first tour in
Vietnam. Since motorcycles were [and are] very popular with military
aviators, it did not take us long to organize our duty schedule around who
had the portable TV's for the nights that "Then Came Bronson" as on. The
aircraft we used was the DeHavilland Beaver (U-6A) which had a large cabin.
We switched off pilot and controller duties every hour and the "controller"
was responsible for keeping the antenna oriented correctly for the time the
program was on. As I recollect, we never lost a student on his cross country
route and we never missed a program! All before the days of the invention of
the VCR. Of course, everything was black and white. We were all about 23 or
24 years old at the time.
Earl L. (Rusty) Russell, III
(formerly) Capt., Armor, US Army aviator
I just wanted to let you know that I saw Michael Parks on Walker Texas Ranger this last Saturday. He played the villain. I don't know if his character will be making a return anytime soon. Walker shot him up pretty bad!!
Thanks again for the great site.
I'm a huge fan on TCB, have the original Long Lonesome Highway album, and
married my own Jim Bronson. Please put me on your mailing list, what do you
how is the 30th reunion coming. Austin is the perfect place. Please let me
Was Franchot Tone featured in one of the Bronson episodes? (He was in Mutiny
on The Bounty). I think he played a character named Ed Hemmings, but I can't
be sure. It would have been the episode about the ex-convict coming back to
Then Came Bronson has been telecast in Mexico in past years (may still
be) but to my knowledge Turner has not designated it to be shown in this
country. It used to be broadcast as filler on TBS after baseball games, late
at night. With baseball season here, maybe they could be persuaded to pick it up again.
[Sorry, but my cast list doesn't show anyone by that name, and the actor who played Ed Hemmings was a different guy. - jonpf]
[From a Jackson Hole, Wyoming, fan:]
Thanks for the heads up on TCB [the web site]. There were several episodes filmed here,
but I don't have access to any of them from any source. I've searched, &
hoped it might end up on TVLand someday, as some of the series "The
Monroes"(67-69) have. That whole series was done here. If you have
knowledge of any episodes shot here, I'd like the info. I'm starting a tour
service to movie locations in JH this summer if you saw that page on my
website. I know that one location for a TCB episode was on a friend's ranch
in Wilson, WY a few miles from here. Other footage was shot out near the
town of Kelly, WY & more scenes in some other areas. There was one with a
motorcycle wreck(near Kelly) that my sources said involved some cows in the
show. Are you familiar with such an episode? I'll look up my notes tonight
& see if I have any other locations that could key you to certain episodes
if you have them. I remember watching the series back in college but don't
remember much about it.
Please add my name to the TCB mailing list. I loved the show and still
love Michael Parks. Thanks.
Hey, man! You've got a great hobby here!!. I too felt the Then Came Bronson pilot movie was the best thing ever put onto a TV screen. Maybe it was just the right movie at the right time, and you're right, what a time it was. Things should still be that simple. I copied the Bronson character so closely that my friends from that era still just call me "Bronson", and I still love it! I would greatly appreciate being put on your e-mail list, just to stay up-dated. Keep up the good work, and "hang in there".
I e-mailed you a couple weeks ago and said I married my own Jim Bronson. The reason I said that is: he looks like a young M. Parks, (to me, and that's what matters). He designs and builds custom Harley's, and we ride as much as we can. We have a 79 FLH and a 99 Road King. The Road King is truly the King of the Road.
Peace & Love,
Aw, why not? Go ahead and add me to the TBC list. I was a teenage boy riding mini bikes with my brother and we were both obsessed with the weekly series. My brother has graduated to own a Harley, I still occasionally dream of "goin' down that long lonesome highway..."
My name is [___] and I was only 11 years old in 1969. I can still vaguely remember some of the TCB shows. I remember watching a few of them at a friend's house because my parents were definately not into bikes or shows about bikes or counterculture or anything like that. When I was a little older I then saw Michael Parks in other movies/tv shows and remembered him. It is still a pleasure to catch him in something today. I also eventually road from Ohio to the great wild west on a bike but it wasn't until 1980.
Here's something you may get a chuckle out of: at the same time the show was on I was, like most kids, into comic books. I was also into cars and bikes and at that time there were comic books devoted to cars and bikes like "Hot Rod Cartoons", "CARtoons", and "Cycle Toons". In one issue of Cycle Toons that I had, they lampooned the show TCB. I remember the story following somewhat the TCB episode where he was with some American Indians (Buffy St. Marie was on it). The character entered an off road bike race and I don't remember much else. But being a kid at the time it was funny to see a TV show being made fun of in a comic book.
I like your web page. Keep up the good work.
Thought I would drop a line to thank you for your site. I was 9 years
old when TCB hit the air, and had to beg my parents to let me stay up
and watch and was only sometimes successful. I sure would like to see
some old episodes again. I don't remember much, just that I thought
this was the coolest thing I had ever seen at the time.
I was always a TCB fan and when the chance came in August,1980 I quit
my job, hopped on my V- twin and toured the U.S. It was a drought
summer so most nights I slept off the side of the road and spent a month
without hitting rain!
I visited the Sturgis Rally, Mt. St. Helens, the West Coast, Las Vegas,Grand Canyon, and New Orleans logging in over 11,000 miles before a death called me home! During the trip I would signal my family I was OK by phoning collect person to person as "Jim Bronson" asking for myself! It worked!
The TCB series had a lasting effect on me which allowed me to experience the freedom of tour riding for over 20 years!
Vince, New Jersey
Just discovered your website. Excellent addition to the virtual
community. I often wonder what happened to the high school student who
watched Then Came Bronson. I think he grew up and became the guy in the
car asking Jim Bronson where he was headed.
Please put me on your email list.
Someone on the e-bay "wanted board" put me on to doing a search, which ultimately resulted in me finding your page at the top of the "Bronson" list. I clicked on, and here I am. We had a heated argument at work about the kind of bike that "Bronson" rode in the show. I knew it was a Harley, but had to find proof. You have provided that proof.
I'm too late to pick up any of the magazines you mentioned, but probably
wouldn't spend the money anyway, just to prove a point. I remember the
show well, but haven't ever seen any re-runs. Thanks for your interest
in the show, and keeping it "alive"!!!!
(P.S. My friends said it was a Triumph!!! LOL!)
I just got done watching the pilot movie while I was working out
and decided to see if I could find anything on the web about the show or
Jimmy B. I remember clearly the first time I watched the
movie and have been a fan ever since. I just wish Parks would have
made more movies. I was in junior high at the time and planned on
getting a bike ever since.
When I graduated from high school I went on a trip to Oregon ( I
lived in Nebraska at the time ) on my bike.
Anyway it's great to see someone that is as big a fan as me and has
the know how to come up with something like this.
I would like to be on the mailing list you talk of. I have kept some
things over the years (old album I found) ,pictures and such and am always
looking for more.
The reunion sounds like fun, please keep me posted.
Did you see Parks in "from dawn till dusk"? He was only in it for
a couple minutes but he was great!
thanks again for the site.
Hi. I was wondering if you knew if the pilot for TCB is available on video
anywhere. I am probably one of the youngest fans of this show considering I
was only 5 at the time it aired. I think the reason I really enjoy seeing
this show is probably typical of most of the fans, I too have the urge to be
free. Anyway, if you have any info for me, it would be greatly appreciated.
Thankyou, and "Hang in there."
Would love to be a liaison with Parks. Would love to know if a concert or
anything happening [that I could] help organize. I live in the DFW area.
Wrote before to you. Was reading some of the old emails sent to you, so am
behind in the time frame.
Please let me know anything I can do from my end.
Hey, enjoyed your site. Like many here I watched ALL of the Bronson episodes when they first aired. I was 14 yrs old in 1969 and rode a Honda CL 70. I hung on Bronson's every word. Before I was 20 I had traveled a lot of the country by motorcycle. I married, settled down, and raised a son. Now that son is grown, away in college, I now have the wanderlust bug again. I now have a yuppie red Honda Prelude, and I leave for a two week trip up the east coast to Maine (just to see what's there) soon. I am a 40-something baby boomer that retired early, the highway is once again calling me to see what's out there. I would guess most Bronson fans are late to mid 40s baby boomers as I am. It is not too late to set out and finish the unfinished business some of us may have with this great country of ours and all of its vastness. See ya on the roads.
PS- My wife does not understand any of this, but she is great to come home to after a month on the road.
Perry Mason Show site (page for Case of Constant Doyle episode):
Fan email addresses no longer valid (send me your new one):
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):
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!)
(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.)
Little Jimmy Bronson's first bicycle!
This ain't no Harley Sportster!!! (Art work from TV Guide, I think, promoting Then Came Bronson. My thanks to Bruce Graham, who adds, "Notice how the artist didn't know a Harley from A BMW!")
And this ain't no manual to no Harley Sportster!
And this ain't no Michael Parks! (Thanks again to Bruce Graham for the photo of Bud Ekins, Michael Parks's stunt double and the customizer of the Bronson Sportster.)
Hang on, Snoopy! Snoopy, hang in there! (You too, Woodstock!)
[I've heard that, instead of an "all-seeing eye" decal for the gas tank, this model comes with a decal of a comb.]
[From a TCB fan:]
As a senior citizen was driving down the freeway, his car phone rang. Answering, he heard his wife's voice urgently warning him, "Herman, I just heard on the news that there's a car going the wrong way on Route 280. Please be careful!"
"It's not just one car," said Herman, "It's hundreds of them!"
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