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.
Just a reminder: as you navigate this web page, remember to try clicking on the small images - many of them will come up larger (although a few won't).
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).
For many of us, our favorite tv show began last month, 30 years ago, with the episodes "The Runner" and "The Old Motorcycle Fiasco," both filmed in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. This month, 30 years ago, we would have seen two more episodes filmed in Jackson Hole and 3 filmed in Colorado. Too bad that the powers that be (TNT) haven't listened to our pleas for a return of the show. It would have made a great autumn season for us to be watching the show again. Maybe next year.
Speaking of things I miss, I made a list of some of my memories from my Bronson days, things I enjoyed - and miss, because alot of them have disappeared (at least around here):
corner drug stores with soda fountains, small-town department stores with lunch counters, roadside diners with juke boxes along the counter and in each booth (with good tunes to play), real Army-Navy surplus stores, shady roadside rest areas with picnic tables, real general stores with pickle barrels and penny candy displays, country-style pancake restaurants with their own maple syrup shacks waiting for next spring's thaw (can you tell I'm from New England?), scenic overlooks and sightseeing towers with 5-state views, cars that looked like cars, bikes that looked like bikes, helmets that looked like helmets, affordable campgrounds, gas stations with personalities and free maps... I could go on and on, but I think this is enough lamenting and gnashing of teeth for now. And besides, with the cold weather on its way, it's time to get out my navy blue watchcap and other warm-weather gear, and head out for some autumn foliage touring. Have a good month and check back here from time to time to see what's going on.
Just a bit of trivia, but those of you with copies of the Michael Parks album BLUE - have you noticed that the song order on the back cover is different from what's on the label and record? Take a look sometime.
Send an email to this TCB fan (Michael), who is trying to organize a get-together of fans for a camping weekend and/or a run to Bixby Bridge or other Big Sur area locations from the show, if you are interested in attending: Surbronson@cs.com (click here)
I saw in a recent motorcycle magazine an ad for a 30
year reunion for Easy Rider Fans in New Orleans. I don't remember any other details. If you want more I can
run down to a magazine store and get them for you.
Attached is a scan of the ad in the October 1999 issue of VQ, announcing a 30 year reunion of the
movie Easy Rider to be located in New Orleans on October 15th, 16th and 17th. Ever notice that in both
movies (pilot movie for Then Came Bronson) their destinations were New Orleans? I understand that the pilot
movie for TCB actually came out before Easy Rider. Where is our just recognition?
[Got these two emails last month from a guy who worked on TCB:]
I had the opportunity to work on the "Then Came Bronson" show a few times. I can give ya a few bits of trivia. Like the sound effect of the Sportster crashin' down the mountain [Forest Primeval episode] after OLE Bronson took a limb in the face. We did that sound on the lot, at MGM in Culver City, CA., by pickin' up one of the bikes 20 feet in the air with a forklift and pushin it off on to the ground many, many times.
Most of the folks who worked on the show are now retired, or dead.
Bud Ekins was the main stunt rider for the Bronson show. He is still with us
and works days at his restoration shop. He has a few 8x10's of the show on his wall.
Lamme know If I can help ya with anything.
I had the forklift bike [after the show was cancelled].
The show had a Harley-Davidson credit card good at any dealer. Just went in
and got bikes, engines, forks, frames and most any part ya wanted. I bought
all the left over parts when the show was canceled. Had everything I needed
to rebuild my bike. I don't know where all of the other bikes went.
The show had good ratings. Sponsors liked it. But Michael Parks wanted the
sky so it was canceled. Oh well, I was lookin' for a job when I got that one.
Got this item on order - a Harley accessories catalog for 1971. It even mentions the paint color, Bronson Red, with a Harley part number! The seller writes:
Yes, it does have paint colors listed on the last page. There is an air dry
enamel color in Bronson Red. It states that the standard year for this
color was 1971. It came in Quart cans Part #98603-CT. Hope this helps.
Have a Wonderful Day!"
Another interesting thing I noticed, and can't wait to investigate when it arrives, is the seat drawing on the cover. It sure looks like the Bronson motorcycle seat, doesn't it!?
I went rummaging through my garage the other day, and found a poster I
got from a Harley dealership back in '69 or '70. It shows Bronson riding down some dirt trail, it's orange and black, and did have something like, See Then Came Bronson on Wed at 10:00 on NBC, on a Harley Sportster. Unfortunately in my youth I cut the bottom part of the poster off. Also stuck to the poster is a decal of the eye, put out by Webco Industries, which really does not look like the real Bronson eye decal. Have you seen this poster, I don't remember seeing it in any newsletters, unless I missed it.
I will take a photo of the Bronson poster as soon as I can, possibly this
weekend. No, I don't have the bottom part of the poster, and have kicked
myself in the butt repeatedly for doing it. I'm actually surprised you don't
have one yourself in your excellent stash of Bronson stuff. Yes, it is
definitely not Michael Parks in the poster, it is Bud Ekins. The Webco "eye"
was bought at a Vancouver Washington Harley shop when was still in high
school. It had nothing to do with the Bronson poster at all. I will try to
get a close up of the decal also. If you have ever seen the movie Little
Fause and Big Halsey, there is a seen in the flic where Robert Redford is
wearing a Webco Industries "T" shirt. I think Webco was a motocross, off-road cycle parts outfit. I seem to remember buying mufflers for my Honda from them.
Years ago a Cycle mag did an interview with Michael Parks (I think I noticed some of their cartoons also in the newsletter). I have been e-mailing different magazines but have been unable to find the actual name and issue of the mag. Can you help? I'd like to get a copy of that also.
I remember that the interviewer laughed at MP because he was driving a
beat up old VW and that Harley had given him a copy of the Sporty (in
black) that MP stated was home in his garage.
[Do any of you folks recognize the article he is talking about? If so, send me an email. - jonpf]
Michael Parks promoting Goodyear tires?
This comes from the November 1974 issue of CYCLE. It's a scan of part of the two-page ad on pages 26 and 27. Also in the ad are Debbie Lawler, Rolf Tibblin, Gary Bailey and Kenny Roberts.
[Got this email and it blew me away:]
Thought I'd make a contribution to the Bronson website. The
following pictures were scanned from a February 1970 issue
of "The Motorcycle Enthusiast In Action", a publication of
Harley Davidson. Sorry that they are only in black and white,
but that's the way the prints were done in the publication.
I've had this publication since it was new.
Also, sorry for the size of this e-mail... it's bound to be
huge [15 images/scans].
[Ohmygodohmhgodohmygod - Do you know how long I have been trying to find someone with that issue!?!?!?!?!? It's great to make your acquaintance! The images are real keepers! In fact, it's far better than I ever imagined. WOW!]
Hehehehe .... do you know, in all the moves I've made in my
life, and all the things I've managed to lose over the past
30 years, that's one thing I've managed to hold on to.
[Folks, there are 10 more scans, but I'm saving them for the November and December newsletters. Hey, I gotta have SOMETHING to make you people keep coming back! ;^) - jonpf]
See also the BRONSON MODEL section of this newsletter, below, for the cycle magazine article that gives tips on building the model for more realism. Also, the CYCLES section of this newsletter for the Sportster Owner's "Rider Handbook" for the 1969 Sportster (XLH & XLCH) and the Harley-Davidson Accessories catalog for 1971.
(Anonymous, unless requested otherwise. Also, some emails are in other sections of this newsletter, where appropriate.)
I worked in broadcast tv from 1965 to 1984 and Bronson was the show I
never missed (along with startrek). I was out of the Navy already and
bought a Honda and quickly moved up in class. Never got a HD but loved
the road just the same. I would like to see some independent station
run the series. I understand that Ted Turner owns the show? Is that
possible? Good luck with your plans and I will be following if not in
person in my heart.
[Yes, Ted Turner's TNT bought it from MGM. There's a link at the bottom of this page if you want to send them an email and request reairing of the show. - jonpf]
Your webpage is the best I have run across, as to easy use and
navigation. You are obviously a pro at it. And the Harley sound effects made
my hair stand on end! Loved the Mad magazine stuff. Recently I ran across a
stash of vintage Mads in a comic book store and found that very issue. I
remember taking a lot of crap from my school mates, when that issue hit the
market, as everyone in my high school new me as "Bronson".
I've been kicking around an idea for some time, that might work as a
bonding experience, if the "reunion" does not materialize as big as we would
like to see it happen. What if a bunch of us serious Bronson fans
collaborated, and wrote a new screenplay in the format of a "made for TV"
movie? I'm sure there's a frustrated writer in all of us that would love to
dive into a project like that. I know it sounds far fetched, but what the
hell, the possibilities are practically endless. Let me know what you think.
[I think it's a great idea, but I wouldn't know how to go about submitting it to Hollywood. - jonpf]
I really like the decals ["all-seeing eye" magnets mentioned in a previous newsletter] and wondered if I should re-write my thoughts on them [for the web site].
Also, I am trying to put together an article and pictures of my bike to send to American Iron magazine to see if I can get my bike in their mag. I mentioned your web page and the decal web page in my article. Hopefully, they will be intrigued enough to put it in.
[Thanks, Tom! The more consciousness-raising of TCB in the media, the more likely the show will be returned to the airwaves. - jonpf]
How great to find a TCB website. I, like so many others, was a TCB fan
when I was around 10 years old, and could not wait to hit that long lonesome
Please put me on you mailing list. It is so great to find out I'm not
[Two emails from a TCB fan and a link to his web site:]
Someone mentioned this movie to me recently while I was touring on my motorcycle (hardly a Harley Sportster) - a Valkyrie 6 cylinder. We were stopped at an intersection in NC (Independence & Albermarle Rd) & they said, "...taking a trip?" When I couldn't hear the guy clearly, he responded, "...kinda like Bronson, you know, taking a trip?" I thought he meant Charles Bronson till I found your site. Now I remember seeing some of these episodes when I was a teenager. Makes me wonder if they (the episodes) had a subliminal affect on me?
Thanks for the website & all the obvious research and work you have put in to it!
bruce, aka: "RoaDog"
Its a Honda Valkyrie, made in Marysville, OH. This is my 2nd one, my first one was stolen while I was travelin thru GA. (Did Bronson ever have his bike stolen in any of the episodes?)
The pic on my wwwsite is taken in Los Angelos, CA, the one I attached was taken in Black Canyon, CO. Now that I've seen your site, I plan to head back out to CA & get a shot of my bike crossing that awesome old bridge, what was it the Bixby Bridge?
[Yep! - jonpf]
I was thrilled to stumble across your TCB site. I don't think I missed a show when it first aired. I had an 8-track tape of Long Lonesome Highway that was accidentally sold during one of our garage sales. Agghhh! I'll be writing to the folks that are putting out Michael's new CD to express my enthusiastic interest in a new release of the "old" favorites. Thanks so much for doing this website. I, like a lot of others, thought I was the only one out here that remembered the show and loved it. I sure would like to see those episodes again! If we all "hang in there", maybe we can.
[Two emails from a lady-fan of TCB:]
hi....someone found this webpage and I was completely thrilled!!! I used to
come home every week so I could watch "TCB". I was highly disappointed when
it went off the air. I was absolutely in love with Michael Parks and I knew
one day I would grow up and ride my Harley around the country like he did.
Well, as it would happen.....I did learn how to ride and my first bike was a
Sportster! This past summer I rode my bike down around Big Sir like in the
opening credits where Michael Parks rode his bike.....and I told my riding
partner that I felt like him. LOL!
I looked at those pictures of the Boulevard Grill [in the September newsletter] and they look like the place to me in Woodside. I go there at least once a month and it is a great hangout for bikers, although the cops can be real pains in the asses nailing some bikers!
Well, I will continue to check out your web page.....and thanks for putting it on the internet!!
How nice it is to hear back from you. However, for the record I didn't
tool around Big Sur on my Sportster.... I have since upgraded to a Dyna Super Glide... bigger and more comfy and that is the bike that I rode through Big Sur on!! It was a thrill and I only thought of Michael Parks!! What a charge it was for me.
So is there really going to be a reunion? I would ride down there for that!! As I told you, I think, I live up in the SF bay area and it is a great ride down the coast to there!! Keep me updated.....I am a way big fan!!
[From another lady-fan of TCB:]
I can't believe it!!! I am 46 years old now and have remembered the series
"Then Came Bronson" for the last 30 years. (Even I can't believe it!) I was 16 years old and so in love with that series and Michael Parks. I saw the original pilot for that show and every single show that aired on TV. I can remember many of the stories and would absolutely love to see them all over again. My mother thought I was crazy but let me stay up to watch - all alone - Then Came Bronson, every week. I can't tell you how much I loved that show. I absolutely had to be in front of the television at exactly 10:00 p.m. (EST) because I had to see him pull up to the light on his bike and see the man in the car ask him - "Taking a trip" and Michael Parks mumble "Yep" and the man in the car ask - "Where are you going?" and Michael Parks answering that famous (to me anyway) line - "I don't know, where ever I end up, I guess." How I loved that - too cool - wherever I end up. Then the light changed and the theme music began and off he went.
Even now, it seems like yesterday to me. I have no idea where this e-mail is going. I just clicked on something and it came up. If you get it - good - I have just relived some of the most precious memories I have of growing up in the '60's and being 16 and in high school and watching "Then Came Bronson". I have talked to alot of people my age and they have never heard of it. But I remember.
I am 46 years old and I remember Then came Bronson like it was yesterday, wasn't it, when the World was a much different place. I have gone through several bikes and now we have a red Sportster and I plan on putting the all seeing eye on the tank just like my old hero. We are leaving the rat race for an extended trip around the US and may or may not settle down again. I would like all of the info I can get on the series. I had several episodes and the pilot movie taped but lost them all due to a divorce (why she wanted them I'll never figure out) and would love to be able to replace them. I would love to thank "Jim Bronson" personally for all the warm memories and dreams that he helped me with that made life a little more bearable through the years, but I doubt that ever happens. I have owned big twins even one brand new one (the divorce thing again) and this bike is a dream just because of the series. Jim seems like a part of my family and maybe we'll see him on the road someday. After all we're headed "wherever we end up" just like him. Take care and thank you in advance for all.
[Good luck on your trip/adventure! I envy you! - jonpf]
hi! looks like maybe I'm not the only die hard then came bronson fan, huh ? ha ha that show was what started me as a biker, why I write you wouldnt by any chance have his album "rolling down that long lonesome hyway" would you ? if so, might it be possible for me to buy a copy of it on cassette from you ? the only way I've been able to find it is on lp & I dont think vinyl players exist any more ha ha thanks
No Body Knows
No Body Sees
Till the Light Of Life Stops Burning
Till another Soul Goes Free
[Sorry, even though I do have a copy of the album, and a "vinyl player", I don't own a tape deck anymore. Maybe another fan who reads this will offer to do you a favor. - jonpf]
Came across your TCB website a couple of weeks ago and I too was shocked and
amazed that others were still entranced by a tv show that lived a total of
one season some 30 years ago (though I suppose I shouldn't be that surprised;
my all-time favorite show, Star Trek, has enjoyed a similar fate). A few
points I want to share with you; I haven't had a chance to read your entire
website, so some of this may be a little repetitive; if so, I apologize in
One problem with bringing back reruns of TCB is that, like Star Trek,
hour-long tv shows back in the late '60's ran about 51 minutes; today
syndicated shows only run 45 minutes to allow for more commercials. So a
rerun Bronson show would be missing about 6 minutes (although, given the slow
pace of some of the episodes, that might be an improvement for them).
As you probably know, TCB producers Herb Solow and Bob Justman came over
to MGM from Star Trek. A few years ago they published a book called "Inside
Star Trek" (still widely available in trade paperback, I believe), which
provides some back story about their jump from Paramount [DesiLu Studios?] to MGM (there's even a picture of them with pilot-movie director William Graham [director of TCB]).
After seeing some of the missives from your various visitors, I feel
fortunate that about twelve years ago, when I had just moved to Florida, I
was watching the Miami PBS station one day and they advertised a showing of
the Bronson pilot movie that night at 1 a.m. So I set up the VCR and taped it, making me one of the few Bronson fans to actually have a video of the show.
I also actually possess some episodes of the show THAT NO ONE ELSE HAS EVER SEEN. That's cause back in the early 70's I was a budding teenage comic book writer/artist and I actually wrote/drew three original episodes of TCB in comic book format (as far as I know, the only time that TCB appeared in that format, since I don't believe a Bronson comic book was ever published). They're a little crude, but I think they capture the flavor of the show pretty well, and they're fun to look back at.
I was fascinated by your discography of Michael Parks. I stopped buying his albums after "Lost and Found" (I still have "Closing the Gap" and "Long
Lonesome Highway"), and I frankly thought that was the last album he ever
did. I still enjoy listening to them, particularly the James Hendricks songs. I remember sitting in church with my wife a few years ago when the music director asked us to turn to page 112 in our hymn books to sing "Softly and Tenderly". I had to smile to myself because I was sure that I was the only one in the church who knew where that song came from.
Anyway, thanks for keeping the flame alive and for doing things like
reprinting the MAD magazine parody (I actually bought that when it came out,
but had completely forgotten about it).
Best wishes, and hang in there!
Thanks for the info. I really
enjoyed your web site. For people to feel this strongly about a show that
only ran for one season 30 years ago says a lot. But then again, Jim Bronson
Just wanted you to know - and also - thank you so much for your web site. It is quite obvious you have put alot of time and energy into keeping TCB alive.
But, wanted you to know that after my teenage daughter is in bed, I have been getting on your new found site and reading all about TCB. I wanted you to know that tonight I e-mailed TNT, Columbia and TBS requesting TCB in re-runs or video tape. I am sure I sounded pathetic, but after reading all those e-mails other fans have sent you, I can't believe there are so many of us out there who hunger to see the coolest, best show of all times! What a great thing it would be to be able to sit in my living room and watch Bronson roar down that long lonesome highway again . . . boy would that take me back to the most formative and favorite days of my life.
I thought for a while that I was the only person who remembered the best dang show that was ever on TV. Glad to see there's at least one more out there. Give yourself a pat on the back for having excellent taste!
My "boyfriend", if you can call somebody my age that, is getting a new Harley next month, and caused the Bronson memories to surge. Don't think I'll ever be able to own one, but I can dream, can't I? Maybe after the offspring matures, I'll find an old one that my little brother can fix up. His pride and joy is his '63 Sportster, and it is clean. Thanks for catering to the wayfaring stranger in all of us ol' hippies. "Hang in there, man!" Thanks again,
Hi Jon....I lived on the same street as Michael....we were friends, however I visited with his wife more......I assume you know of the accident with their young daughter?....it was a sad time around here....
I'm putting together a museum display for the Ojai Film Festival (Nov.
00), and I'm doing the display on all the movies and T.V. that have been filmed here in Ojai and about all the actors that live and have lived here....there are sure alot of them....
[Note to fans: Ojai, California, is where Michael Parks lived 30 years ago. I'll post more info on the festival as I get it. - jonpf]
For the last week or so, since I have just discovered your TCB site
recently, every night I go to your site and try to read all the newsletters
you have put out over the past almost two years. Still haven't gotten
through it all - but it sure is great to read everything everyone has written about TCB. Other people (like us) sure do have a very strong feeling for this show that had stayed inside of them for 30 years. That is really saying something. I love reading how those 26 perfect episodes affected and touched so many lives in such a positive way - especially during the tumultuous times of Viet Nam and the '60's and being a teenager growing up during this time. Wow - just incredible reading everything you have put together. I commend you and all your efforts - you too have made an impact on so many people.
Again, thank you so much for providing your newsletter and this site.
It has made me feel a lot better (because just like everyone else - I almost
thought I was the only one out there). Over the years, I would ask
friends/acquaintances, etc., if they remembered the show TCB and no one I
ever asked did. Anyway, thanks again.
Have a good week - take care and "you hang in there!!!!"
I had always liked the show tcb. It was a little ahead of its time. I loved the music and have 3 of the old records. One of his greatest hits. It suggests there were 6 records total that he made. If you know where or if they put the songs of the old records on c.d., I would sure buy. I am going to order the new one he has out that you were kind enough to show.
The best to you.
[None of the old ones are on CD - yet. Maybe someday if there's enough interest. You can send an email to the folks at Listen Recordings who put out Michael's most recent album (on CD), "Coolin' Soup." The link to their website is below. - jonpf]
Well, TCB fans, I finally tracked down a copy of the cycle magazine article on the MPC Bronson Motorcycle model. It is in CYCLE GUIDE, July 1970, pages 56-60: "Build Bronson's Bike", by Brick Price. The first page has an intro, with a nice color close-up of the model, and the next 4 pages have 18 b&w photos and text (18 assembly tips for a more realistic model). Follow these tips, plus those in some of this web site's previous newsletters (from the guy who built one and detailed the steps and pitfalls), and you'll have a righteous-looking model for your shelf!
I took a trip into the Big Sur this weekend, and shot some photo's of
Bronson pilot locations. I'm still in the learning mode here, so hopefully
this will work.
I'm going to try and send a picture of the gas pumps at Fernwood, where
Bronson gassed up his Harley, and met Temple Brooks, (with a slap). I have
many photos including Pfeiffer beach, the rock formation with the ocean
crashing through the hole, and the road where Bronson turned to cut over to
Fernwood Motel Bar Grill and Grocery is now a very biker friendly place
and would be a great gathering spot for TCB fans. I have photo's of the
interior, and even the guy that runs the barbecue. I have camped there on
previous trips, but have never stayed in the little cabin like motel.
Now let's see if I can get this photo attached here.
[Thanks, Michael, for the location research and photos! It confirms that Fernwood is the store where Bronson and Temple finally have their first face-to-face (and hand-to-face) chat. Even the skylights on the store roof are still there. Fans, click on the newer image for a larger view. - jonpf]
Recently I received some emails from fans wanting the Harley sound files that I have put on the site. So I have written up the following directions...
If you were able to hear the wave file, it is already on your hard drive. Windows 95/98 (or your browser) downloads it to your computer, probably to an internet "cache" directory or the Windows "Temp" directory, and then plays it. You should be able to find it in this way:
1. Click on the Windows "Start" button at the bottom left of the screen
2. Move the cursor up to the word "Find"
3. Click on "Files or Folders..."
4. When the box comes up, type in harley2.wav into the little box called "Named:"
5. Click on "Find Now"
Windows will search for the file name and show you the directory where it is stored. Then you can move or copy it to another directory (using typical Windows methods), or play it from the "Find Now" output list by just double-clicking on it.
There is also another wave file, called harley.wav, on the site - if you are interested. You can also use the same method to locate the other wave files on the site.
Unfortunately, I don't know how it would be done on a Macintosh computer.
Have you sent emails to TNT and Columbia House (from my site)? If we can get TNT 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 and Columbia House, here are their addresses (for most browsers, just click on them):