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"When you take on a friend, you really take on a lot" ..... Jim Bronson

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24 March 1969  (2009 - 40 Years) (2018 - 49 Years) (2019 - 50th - Reno!)

Then Came Bronson     Pilot Movie

24 March 1969 1:38 Min.
James Bronson is a San Francisco Chronicle newspaper reporter whose best friend commits suicide under the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.  Jim then buys his friend's Harley-Davidson Sportster motorcycle from the widow and hits the road to look for a more meaningful reason for being, his quest takes him down that long lonesome highway were he is bound for the mountains and the plains.  TCB was written by real life newspaper man Denne Bart Petitclerc turned Hollywood screen writer about one of his reporter buddies named Birney Jarvis.  Birney is the real Jim Bronson.
Stars: Michael Parks plays Jim Bronson and Bonnie Bedelia is Temple, the girl Jim meets on the beach and shares with him the next several weeks of tavelin' that long lonesome highway.  Martin Sheen plays Jim's best friend who jumps off Fort Point.  Stu Klitsner is the businessman in the station wagon who talks to Jim about taking a trip in the opening scene.
Then Came Bronson
Music: Dialog and Wayfaring Stranger sung as a duet with Bonnie. Written by John R. Cash.
Fictitious Character Biographies

1969 TV Guide Listing

Season 1


Episode 1

The Runner

17 September 1969 48 Min.
Jim travels to see and old girlfriend working for her Dad who has built a camp for Autistic children.  Jim befriends a boy known as the Runner, and the adventure begins.  TCB addressed many issues, in fact each episode encompassed a topic of the day or a sign of the times, this episode touched on the realization of children and adults affected with Autism.  Many methods have developed over the years, with many conjectured ideas on which one is correct or the most helpful to the person.  Filmed at Lake Jackson in Wyoming at the Leeks Marina, which is still there.  The school bus on the highway headed north is the Long Lonesome Highway out of Jackson along the Snake River and the Grand Teton mountain range to the west, which is seen at the end of each episode during the credits.
Stars: Jack Klugman and look for Penny Marshall from Laverne and Shirley.  Also stars the blonde beauty Karen Huston (Ericson) as Doris.  With Mark Lester as Johnny, the Runner.
Music: Jim sings, Softly and Tenderly.  Written by

 Will Thompson.
1969 TV Guide listing
Fictitious Character Biographies

Episode 2

The Old Motorcycle Fiasco

24 September 1969 48 Min.
Jim pulls in for gas and Mrs. Crosswell puts weed killer in his gas tank.  The episode was filmed in and around Wilson, Wyoming.  Jim meets Alex and shows him his 1937 motorcycle in the shed, and talks Jim into helping him fix it up, while keeping the project a secret from his wife Nora, and the fiasco starts.  The plan soon derails and the sparks fly.  A Harley 350cc Sprint was used to make the creek jump scene while Alex is following Jim through the countryside.  Keenan Wynn plays the part of Alex, and is prefect for the role; he used his own personal motorcycle for the film.  Also look for Cary Loftin as one of the guys at the gas station in a blue shirt.  Cary was one of the early day stunt car drivers, developing many of the tricks of the trade during the early days of film.  Alex is caught up in going on the road again with Jim.  As this episode comes to and end Alex realizes the futility of his dream, to be on the long lonesome highway again and the white line fades from his view.  This episode touched on dealing with growing older and not being able to do what you use to do, or what you still think you can do.  Wait a minute; we are not that old are we?
Stars: Keenan Wynn as Alex the old timer, and Martine Barlett as Nora his wife.
Music: Jim sings, Tie Me to Your Apron Strings Again. Written by Larry Shay & Joe Goodwin.
1969 TV Guide listing
Fictitious Character Biographies
Trivia: The Rudge Ulster  motorcycle in this episode actually belonged to Keenan Wynn's personal collection.

Episode 3

"... a famine where abundance lies"

1 October 1969 48 Min.
Jim has and accident with another motorcycle carrying a boy and a girl.  He then is befriended by the girl and her mother; they offer Jim a job to work on their guest ranch.  In this episode Jim rides in a rodeo and does not do very well.  The rodeo was a real event which happened to be in Jackson that week during the filming.  He quotes lines from Lord Byron, and we see his sensitive nature towards the arts and humanities.  A funny thing is the age for the mother was only five years apart from her daughter in real life.  Towards the end of this show we see the crush which both mother and daughter have on Jim, which begins to become a thing of the past as they realize the man of their dream is just that; a dream of a rider of the long lonesome highway.  This episode touched on women with children growing up alone, and that they sometimes can be vulnerable, as can be men, like Jim.  Filmed outside Jackson Wyoming, the house Monica lived in is still there but is now in the middle of a housing development.  Jim and Monica go swimming at Kelly Hot Springs.
Stars: Carol Eve Rossen as Monica the mom and Charlotte Stewart as her daughter Lori, however in real life, she was only four years younger then her mom (?).
Music: Jim sings, Sunshine Showers and Ridem' Cowboy. Both written by James Hendricks.
Fictitious Character Biographies
1969 TV Guide Listing
Trivia: The title here comes from Shakespeare's Sonnet 1.

Episode 4

The Circle of Time

8 October 1969 48 Min.
Jim rounds the corner and a widowed woman (Hattie) is beating up her car with a tree branch, he gives her a ride home, and works on her small farm.  He befriends and old miner named Abner and listens to stories of the Mother Lode which is right under their feet.  The golden age which Hattie remembers is rapidly running out of time in her memory, as the doctor of the mountains reveals to Jim.  In and effort to help, his bike is damaged and repairs are undertaken by Abner and himself in the old blacksmith shop.  Jim displays in the episode he can play the piano, and sings a song for Hattie in the parlor of the cabin she has lived in for the last 50 years.  As the moment of darkness befalls Jim and Abner, Jim hears the blacktop calling and Abner offers to cut Jim in on the Mother Lode profits.  Abner finds courage in Jim's advice "to dig" and the two are set for a renewed appreciation in life and the gifts which life provides to those who remain.  This episode touched on ones dreams and the darkness of growing old without those whom we have loved around us.
Stars: Elsa Lanchester is Hattie and Dabney Coleman is her doctor.   Also Woody Chambliss as Abner, the pie pirate.
1969 TV Guide Listing
Fictitious Character Biographies

Episode 5

Where Will the Trumpets Be?

15 October 1969 48 Min.
Jim is visiting a ranch which is owned by Morgana who is a lost love of Jim's from five years ago.  Also at the ranch is and injured bull fighter (Miguel) who is recuperating from a bullfight.  Jim is questioning the morality of killing a bull for sport.  Morgana is Jessica Walters and in a bathing suit, she is beautiful.  Morgana's younger sister, Lane Bradbury, falls for Jim and cannot stop kissing him.  As Jim takes on lessons in learning how to spin the cape, which is called a "capote".  Miguel pursues the mechanics of hill climbing on a motorcycle.  Both have much to learn and they discover that each is and art not to be taken lightly.  As Miguel recovers from his injury we see he is a man of pain and knows that life is short and can change with the spin of the capote.  As Jim sees only pain for the creature, Miguel see the life of his being and with this Jim's despair places him amongst the mustangs in his quest for the long lonesome highway.  This episode touched on the eternal triangle of love and the web men and women can be caught in during middle age and as young adults, as well as older men and women trying to recapture a love or a feeling that was there or never was.  Jim motoring past the Mustangs on his iron horse is and awesome feeling!
Stars: Beautiful vixen Jessica Walter as Morgana, and Fernando Lamas is Miguel along with foxy Lane Bradbury named Bella.
1969 TV Guide Listing
Fictitious Character Biographies

Episode 6

Amid Splinters of the Thunderbolt

22 October 1969 48 Min.
Jim befriends a pregnant girl in a rain storm while looking for a friend in the mountain community, and then he strangely finds him.  While dodging and chasing the goats on the road of a hill top farm, Jim stumbles upon a girl named Mary.  She is with child and Jim helps her round up the bearded creatures.  Later that day the rains come in a torrent of drops, as if in a manger Bucky finds Jim caring for Mary during the rain storm.  We learn that Bucky is and old friend of Jims and was a priest in San Francisco but with a clouded view of life; he fled to the seclusion of the mountain stronghold.  With a scorn of love for Mary and their unborn child, he is tormented by his lack of faith in himself to realize the reality of life and the misfortunes which come with it.  However as the new baby draws near, the reality of the blessing which has been bestowed are then clear and Jim sees a way in which he can continue on his quest for comfort on the long lonesome highway.  This episode touched on the morals of the child un-wanted and the religious implications we have in our lives, we either see the light or the sun never shines in our life.
Stars: Bruce Dern and Zohra Lampert as Bucky and Mary.  James Doohan is the doctor, better know as Scotty on the Original Star Trek crew.
1969 TV Guide Listing
Fictitious Character Biographies
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