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).
Some of you have emailed me, asking about my graphics programs that I use for the images on the site. If you would like, I can email the three files of the program (about half a megabyte total size), called Imageview. It has a very good graphics converter and manipulator - including the ability to resize images, flip and rotate them, modify the colors and other aspects, and even run a slide show or create a contact sheet of thumbnail images, plus more.
A fan sent me an email advising that there's a 6-page article on Bud Ekins in Cycle World mag for September - on your newstands now! It has quite a bit of bio on him (but unfortunately for us fans, no mention of TCB), plus several photos of the man in action.
By the way, a while ago a fan asked if it was Bud Ekins in Animal House, doing the motorcycle ride up the stairs stunt. I asked him about it last month and he said he was in the movie (he drove the float), but didn't do the stairs scene. That was another stuntman.
As for the next newsletter, ...? I think I'll start announcing them through the emailing list that I've compiled. It would be easier than trying to meet a set deadline. If you're not sure whether you're on the list, send me an email to confirm it. Otherwise, check back to the intro page every now and then, and look for an announcement.
Great [July] newsletter! Boy, I wish I could figure out a way for Michael to see it.
Here's what I found about "From Dusk Till Dawn" that you might pass on to the email writer who was interested:
See comments in the fan mail section, below. Also, here are some web sites on the campground at Limekiln, at Big Sur, and nearby areas, as mentioned in the July newsletter as a possible gathering place for TCB fans. Looks perfect! I think this may be the best bet for a gathering. See the fan mail, below, for more info from "TCBronson", who is planning it.
I don't think Michael Parks's schedule is set enough in advance to plan something around him. Maybe next year something can be arranged. It would be great to meet with him someday.
Keep checking back to the intro page of this site for convention/gathering updates. (There still might be something later in the fall for fans in the northeast - but don't get your hopes up too high.)
[From Mark, a good friend of this web site:]
I was in a Harley shop that has been around since the 1940's, last Friday. I picked up my new 883 Sportster which had been on order for 17 months. I still have my 1994 1200, so, since I cannot afford both, one must go. Anyway while I was there I asked about the primary cover that we cannot identify on Bronson's bike in the latter episodes. It was not prior to 1970 because those covers, like the 69 had an unpolished finish. He looked up in his parts book back to 1972. 1972 and later had a polished finish. I even drew him a picture of the raised portion. (How can I describe it... a small rectangle with the top center slightly raised and the bottom center slightly lowered.) It is the same shape of some of the harley-davidson logos of that time period. Anyway he said Harley never made one like that for the stock Sportsters. He said it must have been custom-made, which I believe one of your website fans had already mentioned in a previous newsletter. This shop owner very literally grew up in the Harley shop and remembered TCB very well. In fact, when I mentioned Bronson, the first thing out of his mouth was that Bronson drove an XLH, not an XLCH, so apparently that was a topic that received a lot of debate back then.
[My reply to his email:]
Thanks for the research on the primary cover. Yes, I think it must be a custom thing that H-D added, to let people know it was a Harley, because the Sportster logo from the gas tank had been replaced by the "eye". (Maybe they thought some people wouldn't know a v-twin from a v-8, or even a can of V-8!) In fact, funny you should bring this up because last night I was thinking I should check through the photos of other older H-Ds to see if that logo appears somewhere else. Maybe you could print off one or both of the images of the "diamond" logo on the primary cover (they're on the site) and see if the H-D shop owner recognizes it. My guess is that H-D filed off the ribs of the primary cover, welded this logo on, and chromed it.
[The mystery is solved:]
After I sent that email to Mark, I got the idea that maybe it had been a gas tank logo or something, and cracked open my Sportster Parts Catalog for 1960-70, turned to that page, and there it was, a flattened diamond-shaped logo, "HARLEY-DAVIDSON" phrase in the center box - even the screw holes matched. The part is called "Name Plate", and has part #61771-66, and is listed as being used on the XLH for 1966 through 1970, for the "large tank". Someone, probably H-D, which had control of the Sportsters at that point in the filming, must have done the deed, perhaps in the way I had imagined.
Here are two scans from the catalog, plus some cropped scans of the primary cover from TCB (one from a cycle mag and the other taken off of a video):
One thing to keep in mind, if you are building a replica TCB Sportster, is that this primary cover only begins to appear in the fourth or fifth episode, and does not appear on the Sportsters used in the pilot movie and the first episodes. And it seems safe to conclude that it wasn't a different year Sportster, just a custom primary cover, although a 1970 Sportster with a boat-tail seat did appear in one episode (Mating Dance For Tender Grass), so they were available.
Here's another wave file with Harley sounds. (Thanks, Dan!)
(For Internet Explorer, click on the arrow icon; for Netscape, right-click on the icon and select from the drop-down menu. For WebTV, I don't know; if you have WebTV, send me an email on how to do it.)