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80

  Jim

Like many of us, I was also a young teenager in the 1960’s, living on a farm in Ohio.  My parents were pretty old fashion and would not allow us to be part of the hippy scene, but once I watched the first Then Came Bronson episode, I was hooked.  I fell in love with Motorcycles, and saved my money to buy a 350 Honda, put a sissy bar on the back just like Bronson’s.  It was all I could afford, and I dreamed of owning a Harley Davidson someday.  I watched every episode and read anything associated with the show and Michael Parks.

In high school I even dressed like Jim Bronson, but even more importantly I was impressed with the character, soft spoken, polite, just kind of stood back and watched the world transpire.   It had a big influence on me, and I credit that character in molding my own personality.  I always felt I was a little weird to have a hero, dressed like him, so when I saw this website, I realized there were a lot of people who were affected by this show.   So now I feel “I was just like all the other teenagers out there in the world” at the time.   As teenagers, I think we all feel out of place, or strange.

I am much older now, and can afford to buy all the motorcycles I want.   I recently purchased the entire full season of episodes, and MAN, do they bring back a lot of memories from that time.   It seemed chaotic at the time, but compared to today, those were a simpler time for sure.

Thanks for this website, I currently have a HD sportster, Nightster, but seriously am thinking of having a Bronson sportster built for me, as I am still working and could not do this myself.   Any suggestions as to who could do this would be appreciated.

Randy

(Editor’s Note: The trick now is finding a 1969/70 Sposrter 883 Ironhead which could be rebuilt into a Bronson bike, they are becoming scarce.


79

Jim

In 1969 when TCB came out I was 5, and growing up in a house where only westerns and ball games played on our TV at night, so no Bronson.  My older brother taught me to ride when I was 14 and I got my first Sportster, a 1967 XLCH a few years later.  At 16 I started rolling some extra clothes up in my green nylon sleeping bag, tying it on my back seat and going for rides to wherever, sleeping on benches in rest stops as often as camp sites.  Before the helmet law I even wore a black watch cap when it was cold, only mine had a bandanna rolled up in it to keep it on at speed.  Does all this sort of sound familiar?

It was 2006 when the guys in BayAreaSportsters all started talking about 'TCB'.  I had no idea what they were talking about.  None of them could believe I had never heard of it, and neither could I after seeing it.  Several months later I was given a set of fuzzy/glitchy DVDs.  Having spent most of my life on a Sportster, from commuting to riding cross country, the connection with the story was instant for me as I watched the pilot.  Bronson even leaned against a BSA 441VS at the hill climb just like the one I still own from high school.  The connection was made even stronger seeing so many places I had ridden to already myself, and that continued as I then watched every episode.

In March of 2009 when I had the chance to go to the Bixby Bridge gathering for the 40th Anniversary of TCB there was no question I would be there.  I went to see the bikes, but the big surprise was meeting some of the really amazing people like Mike & Vicki, Don and Billy.

Thank you all for everything you do to keep this going.

Hanging in there!

SportsterDiana


78

Jim

While looking at buying a 125cc Rapido, I sat on the original Bronson bike back in 1970 when I was 16.  It was in the Harley Shop in Galesburg, Illinois and it had ropes all around it with signs, “Do Not Touch”.  The owner of the shop was looking at me and how I was dreaming about the bike and then he said, go ahead and sit on it, I did not hesitate one second.  I thought that the bike was supposed to be absolutely in perfect condition, but on the pipes, near the frame and the rear foot pegs there were small dent’s and scratches.  I was not disappointed though, Bronson was my hero and mentor and the chance to sit on so famous of a bike was just outstanding.   Thank you Mr. Gerald Wright, the shop owner, I still think of that moment and opportunity.

I bought that 1969 125cc Rapido, a Harley Davidson, and put 23,000 miles on that bike in a single year driving it back and forth to Chicago and to Northern Wisconsin.

Jeff


77

Jim

Like a lot of people, I to was bitten by the motorcycle bug at an early age watching Then Came Bronson and Easy Rider and the thought of hitting the open road on a motorcycle.  I have have been riding over 40 years now and still love it.  The road has taken me all over the United States and I always look forward to the ride.  Recently I have been working on my own Bronson bike and it is almost finished, I cannot wait to head down the long lonesome highway on it.

My bike started out as a 1971 that was sitting in my garage for the last 20 years and was being used as a mock up bike for other projects.  So after years of using this bike I thought it was time to do something with it.  I always loved the Bronson bike ever sense I first saw it, so it was time to build my own.  The motor went thru a total rebuild and I installed the kick starter while it was apart.  The rest of the bike was torn down repainted and gone over, a lot of the parts I had accumulated over the years so there was not a lot I needed to find.  It has been a two year project on and off and it is about 98% done.  It will be on the road in spring 2016 .

Keep the shiny side up and hang in there.

Norm

(Editor’s Note: Norman has a beautiful Bronson Bike Here


76

Jim

I came across this site a few years ago while looking for some vintage Harley parts and from time to time I return and look over the entries, the pictures and the stories.   The nostalgic reminiscence is heartwarming.   I wrote a short piece about how "Then Came Bronson" gripped me and was pleased to see it placed on your stores page (Entry #65).

Each time I come here I get an elusive thought in my head and I tried every time to bring clarity to that thought but it always seemed to be obscured from clear view.   The unclear thought would rattle around in my head just out of view and I would eventually let the thought subside; it was either that or allow it to fog other thoughts.  However, today I think have it.

Most of the people I ride with are my age (I'm 60 years old) and all of them have a common theme.   They don't want to just ride, they want to ride for a reason; a purpose.   I had a short span of my life (late '70s) where I almost got tied in with an outlaw club, but fortunately an event happened that helped me see the potential end of that road and I turned 90 degrees and rode away.   For years I refused to join a club, group or organization of riders because... well, I'm not sure why.   I just enjoyed the solitude of riding more than anything.

But, like minded people will always find a path that leads them together and for these past few years I have associated with riders who step out of their comfort zone, give of themselves and expect nothing in return.   Do we succeed all the time?   No, but that does not delude our resolve to stay on the path.  I believe the riding community does more charitable work than any other organized group of people and they do it repeatedly.  On any given weekend, in any small or large town, you can find a Poker Run, Charitable Run or a ride designed for no other reason to build comradery and cohesion.

When I ask them if they ever watched "Then Came Bronson" I will, more often than not, get a smile for a response and a story about who Bronson set them on a path that they still walk today.  All of these stories are similar in that they always contain a phrase about the show "...being an escape from life at that time..." or "...and I wanted to be like him."  I believe "Then Came Bronson" set the tone for a riding generation and, were it not for that short lived television show, riders today might well be different than what they are.  Perhaps not, but I choose to believe it to be true.  Riders of today teach future riders the value of honesty, integrity , tenacity and compassion and I believe these attributes that live in today's riders were planted, in part, by Bronson's actions, words and deeds.

I ride for a reason because that is what I learned from Bronson.   Some might feel Bronson was running from something, but I believe he was running to something; something that eludes most and a "something" that must be sought out and not easily found. I feel so strongly about this that I actually wrote a book called "Solitary - Without The Confinement" which lays out the thoughts and actions of a rider, at least this rider, while riding that road less traveled.   The first paragraph of the first chapter starts out with my connection to "Then Came Bronson."

"Then Came Bronson" was a very unique show and I doubt there will ever be another like it.   Thanks for all you did and all you do, you had a positive influence on countless thousands and that positive effect will ripple through a number of Generations.

Hang in there!

Steve

(Editor’s Note: Steve's book is available in the TCB Store Here



75

Jim
The picture of the red Honda 90 is where it began for me at 15.  As far as I was concerned, it was Bronson's Sportster.  All my friends called me Bronson (still do).  I wore the wool cap and sunglasses (like his).  I was (am) really connected to Bronson in so many ways, I was a loner sorta’ like he was and consider him a very positive influence in my life at a time when I was very impressionable.  His impact: Not just about riding, but about the interest in life, people, their stories, 'questions: why, who, what, how, etc'.  I guess it led me into the curiosity of police work as well. (still does).  The motorcop picture is what I have been blessed enough to do for over 30 years now.  Also my son is a motor officer, he loves to ride!!  I have a Sportster 1200 for my ride when not on the police bike.

I am still on the police motor squad, I love riding.  Those that have known me my whole life still say 'Officer Bronson...how is it going', tickles me every time.  Thanks for what you do with the website.  I STILL watch the DVDs of the show!  It is amazing the following 'Bronson' still has.

I still tour and would love to meet Michael Parks one day   :)  A day spent riding, was a good day.

Ride safe folks!!!

Stan


74

Jim

Bronson……………….Man, I was 12 when it came out, watched the pilot and was glued to the tube for the rest of the series.   I have been riding anything with a motor and two wheels since I was old enough to climb aboard.   At the time or about a year later I was riding an “Ital-Jet” café racer style bike.  It had a Binelli 60cc engine and a sleek fuel tank, it would actually get up to around 50-55 mph.  I cannot tell you how much that bike would be worth today!  I wore my Navy watch cap and leather jacket for the cool factor, could not afford Harley’s until later in life.  I guess taking off on a nice Sportster and ending up wherever appealed to many at the time.  I know that was always there for me and still is.  I have worked hard to get to the point I am today and it is time to get around to this dream. 

Funny, I was having breakfast out with my daughter and she said, “wow Dad, you’ve done lots of cool stuff in your life, anything left on your “bucket List”? To which I replied, “yea, hop on my Harley and ride across the states with no time frame and no particular place to go…………Just like Jim Bronson”.

“Who”? I explained the movie to her and the pilot movie.  I had bought the series and my wife and I watched them all.  It gave her a little more insight about my passion for motorcycles, why I ride and where it all started. 

Till then, guess I’ll just be “hangin round”…………..

John


73

Jim

I just came across your website and read all the stories which I really enjoyed.  I was born in 1955 so when Then Came Bronson came out I was only 14 years old.  Growing up I always wanted one of those little mini bikes or something like a Honda 50 trail bike. My parents hated motorcycles so that never happened.   I grew up working on a golf course and some of the young guys in the area had dirt bikes.  When I turned 19 I went and bought my first motorcycle a 1974 Kawasaki dirt bike.   I was self taught on riding a motorcycle which made a dirt bike the best choice for me. Watching shows like Bronson and Easy Rider just seemed to fuel my passion of two wheels.  Fast forward 40 years and I now ride a 2010 Harley Davidson Ultra Classic Electra Glide.  Until just the last few years my riding mainly consisted of short trips and local riding.  A few years ago I was invited by some of my buddies to go on a road trip. It was a great experience and has continued to be a yearly event for me.

I was also introduced to the world of KOA Campgrounds which I took a strong liking to.  For me camping and riding a motorcycle on a road trip go hand in hand.  Some of my buddies prefer using the cabins but I really like just pitching a tent.  Watching shows like Bronson and Easy Rider just seem to reinforce my desire to pitch a tent.  Until I began camping during motorcycle trips my only camping experience was in the boy scouts.  I think a lot of us love to watch shows like Bronson where he just experiences the freedom of riding on the open road.  As mentioned in other Bronson stories I have read, the reality is for most of us is; that it is hard to get away because of responsibilities.

Myself I have been married for the last 25 years and my wife does not ride.  She is ok with me taking my yearly road trips and last year was my longest one to date. We traveled 8 states in 9 days riding from Missouri to California a total distance of 4,627 miles.  This coming June we will be heading for the East Coast then the Blue Ridge Pkwy up through the mountains and back home.  I really believe I will continue to ride as long as my health allows me to do so. As long as I can hold my 900 lb. Electra Glide up I will continue to ride it.  When the day comes that my bike is to heavy for me to handle I will be downsizing, who knows maybe even to a Sportster.  I use to think I would go to a trike but with the prices of them I probably will not be able to afford one.  The other thing in question is if I would even like a trike as I have heard it's a whole different experience. I guess I have rambled on long enough and forgot to mention I am sitting here on this cold winter day watching the movie pilot of Then Came Bronson.  Years ago I bought a set of pipes from a private owned company in Colorado and the Bronson VHS video was included. I am now interested in getting the rest of the Bronson series.  Thank you for letting me share my story.

Chuck

(Editor’s Note: Chuck when your legs and balance give-out, then you move to a Trike, "I did". Champion Sidecars makes very nice conversion kits.)


72

Jim

In 1969 I was 21 and watched the TCB pilot.  I was hooked! Bonnie Bedelia....? wow!  After "The Runner" I bought my first motorcycle and it opened up another world for me.  I began to tour my home state of Connecticut, imagining I was Bronson every mile.  It was just the beginning of my "Long Lonesome Highway".  Because of "The Runner" I got a summer job through the local YMCA working a summer camp for kids and picked the 10 year boys to teach and be their counselor.  The following summer I signed up again and met a young college student and fellow counselor named Steve at the same camp.  He was from Iowa and decided to spend a summer in New England. We became good friends and I told him of my wish to tour the USA coast to coast after graduation.  He said to keep in touch because he probably would be ending up in Colorado.

In the summer of 1975 I left the East coast to finally start my "Bronson" quest.  I got to see just about every wonderful place America had to offer and concentrated on the mountains and the west coast.  I wrote Steve and he wrote back saying when I came through Colorado and I should visit him.  We met again at the Snow Mountain Ranch YMCA of the Rockies in Granby, Colorado.  He was the assistant director there and convinced me to stay.  I did and got a job as a wrangler. I loved the mountains and stayed another summer at the ranch.  I realized the Rocky Mountains was where I wanted to be and applied for and was hired as a Deputy Sheriff with the Grand County Sheriff's Dept., a BIG change from Connecticut.

After 5 1/2 years I moved down to Denver and became a Police Officer and last week (Sept 2013) after 36 years of Law Enforcement service I retired.  The entire time I kept a picture that I cut off the Bronson Motorcycle Model box with me on my locker at work reminding me of what started my life in a direction I never intended or imagined.  I only hope that Mr. Parks knows how he changed the lives of so many people, like myself, in such a positive way through his acting and his fine character portrayal of James Bronson.  It is a shame TV today has nothing like it and never will again.

John


71

Jim

I grew up in Montrose, Colorado. My uncle is Richard P. Gallegos, and when he was a young boy he was chosen to play the Indian boy in episode eight (Old Tigers Never Die). We only had the opportunity to see just a clip of him jumping on the bike with Michael Parks once when I was a boy but it all became lost over time. I wanted nothing more then for my mother and grandmother to see it as well for my uncle, but Richard passed away back in the 1980's and I know it would warm their hearts.

All of a sudden tonight I decided to look again and found your Montrose reunion videos, which led to your website and I obviously found the episode! You sent me a copy of the episode and we watch it and it was very cool! My mom cried her eyes out as well as all my aunts and uncles when the saw their lost brother as a child on film!

Right on fellas thank you for keeping it alive and kickin!

Cosme

(Editor’s Note: I added Uncle Richard to the IMDB under Ep. 8 - Old Tigers Never Die--They Just Run Away, it is a shame he was uncredited!)

70

Jim

A few days ago I was leafing through my old martial arts certificates and this started me wondering how Birney Jarvis was, my last contact was by email with him about two or three years ago. I had lost the email address and was saddened when I found out through the internet he had passed. So here is my connection with Birney.

In 1976-77 I was 15-16 years old and was training seriously in martial arts at Don Bucks School of the Tiger (Kyokushikai Karate) at the Alameda Naval Air station (now closed and used by Myth Busters for many of their wild stunts.) Anyway, it was training with Don’s school that started my lifelong journey with the martial arts. Birney always seemed to show up for test nights. He helped with my Green and Brown belt testing and his signature is on the certificates. I remember the way he carried himself confident but humble at the same time.

I remember at that time I thought “that is me” I want to be like that. I made it my life long goal to train in martial arts; I have done that and it is because of what I saw in Birney, I wanted some of it. I think we all do. That is why he was so well liked.

Rick

(Editor’s Note: Birney was the real Jim Bronson )

69

Jim

Thank you very much, and it is a pleasure relaying this memory. When I was a junior in high school I got to witness the filming of an episode of "Then Came Bronson"...and it was on my boat! (Ep. 26; What’s And Ark Without Centaurs) Even though I had a boyfriend, I was into Michael Parks.

My father was well connected in Las Vegas, and occasionally, the general manager of one of the hotel casinos on the Strip, they would call asking him if he would 'host' an afternoon outing for their headliner's entertainment. Of course, he was delighted. When he told me I was thrilled.

Getting to the main attraction, you know how important that navy blue watch cap was to his character. During the filming it was very hot and Parks took off his cap and set it on the Captain's chair. My father picked up the cap and hid it in a cabinet. There was some excitement when he needed his hat to do the next scene.

My father gave the cap to me.

Rhonda

68

Jim

I was in Olathe, Colorado when one of the episodes was filmed (Ep. 7; The 3:13 Arrives at Noon). My friend got to walk down the street on screen with Michael Parks. I got to meet him and he even sang to me, it was real exciting, especially when you are a 10 year old girl. TCB is one of my favorite shows ever, and I know probably influenced my decision to ride a motorcycle later in life.

You Tube handle: bloodnroses2008

67

Jim

I was 17 in 1969, and got my first bike (350 Yamaha) for Christmas in 1970, It was orange, close enough, I too became Bronson, riding and touring, camping and sleeping in a pup-tent. I still ride today on a 1976 Sporty, sort of converted to a Bronson bike, but nothing like yours, also have a 2011 Dyna Superglide Custom.

Your website brings back so many great memories of those days, it is amazing the affect that TCB had on so many people. I cannot believe I missed you guys at Triple S in Morgantown, WV a few years ago, I live real close to there.

Kieth


66

Jim

After my father had a very bad accident in Ohio, he moved our family to Missouri to be closer to his family in case he died (he had broken his neck but it did not show up in a regular x-ray and if he over did it, he would pass out). Because of his injures and bills, they had lost the Gas station/ garage/ machine shop, house and everything that they had worked for except our cloths and personal belongings. We made the 800 mile trip in the cab of a 1950's GMC pick-up truck, Dad, Mom, my two sisters and me and my little brother taking turns laying on the floor board under Mom's feet.

Dad bought an old house from Grandpa, not much of a house but, a roof over our heads. He also bought another to tear down and salvage materials to fix up the one we were living in. We did this several times, each time buying a better house. One of the houses that he bought, he decided to brick-it so he bought an old meet packing plant that was all brick. That entire summer, my little brother and I cleaned and stacked bricks to the point that today, if I never saw another brick again, it would not break my heart.

When Dad was not driving over the road he would work two jobs to pay the bills, work on the house and maintain Mom's car and his truck; so watching TV was not high on the priority list in 1969, but that fall a new series “Then Came Bronson” premiered and some how, we always made time to sit down and watch it as a family. I remember, Bronson picked up a girl and they rode to another town, found a place to camp and went to a brick yard to earn a day’s pay for cleaning bricks to buy food to eat. The girl would not work, so that night when Bronson started cooking the food “he” bought, she asked for some. His reply was something like, “No, if ya didn't work, ya don't eat”.

I was stretched out lying on the floor in front of the TV and Dad was sitting behind me on the couch, I turned around and Dad was looking straight at me. He did not say a word but the look in his eyes and his smile..... this spoke a thousand words. To this day, when I am doing something that I would rather not be doing, that memory flashes back and I cannot help but smile.

Thank You for the opportunity to share my memory. Doug, my little brother said it best, “I would trade every second of the rest of my life for a chance to sit down with Dad over a cup of coffee again.” until then, I will cherish this memory.

Frank


65

Jim

Wow, talk about old memories streaming back like a flood. I had not thought of Bronson for years and years but credit that short lived show for my life of riding. I stumbled across the site while looking for some vintage Harley parts and have spent so much time here just reminiscing.

I was 14 when TCB aired for the first time. Life at home was not good for me and the thought of riding around without a care in the world was my escape. But, riding around without a care is fantasy, good for TV, not so much for real life. I joined the Army at the young age of 17 and before I was 18 I had a bike. It was a Honda 125 dirt bike but it was a bike. I was stationed at Ft. Carson, CO. and loved riding in the mountains during the weekends when escape was in order. I even recall reading a couple of TCB books.

I spent 27 years in the Army but never far from a bike. I currently ride a Street Glide as well as an Ultra Classic and when I am in the mood I ride my Springer. Real life still has a hold on me and that "without a care" life is still slightly out of reach, but for sure and certain I do a several thousand mile run every year and it all started with TCB in 1969. Bronson taught me to respect others, to listen to the stories and never judge using a first impression. I remember telling a friend (I think I was 16) that I planned to buy a bike and spend my life riding the countryside. The Hells Angels were a regular in the news at the time and I recall my friend asking me if I was going to be a Hells Angel or a Jim Bronson; definitely Bronson.

I believe TCB helped mold a riding generation that cares for each other and watches out for each other. I was more than pleased to see a link to purchase the series (which I did) and look forward to watching them again. Thanks for the website, thanks for the memories and thanks to the crew of TCB who I believe helped mold my life.

Thanks!

Steve

(Editor’s Note: Read Steve's other entry in #75 and his book is available in the TCB Store Here


64

Jim

I was in several of the Jackson Hole, WY episodes, knew the stunt riders well as I had an early Sportster, (the early flathead version K-Model), at the time they were filming Bronson.   I once saw Keenan Wynn blasting out through the Elk Refuge (dirt road) on his bike.   I also knew the producer Bob Justman and Robert Saboroff quite well, I was a river guide and took them on a float trip.  Saboroff played Flamenco Guitar (I am a classical guitarist with a degree from Cal Arts so we stayed in touch for many years.

The movie production crew usually called VERY early in the morning if they needed some extras, my girlfriend and I had been doing a lot of extra work on the show.   I was at her place when they called and she talked to them, I kept saying "Ask if they need me today", several times, she did not.  When she got off the phone I asked her if they needed me, she said they did not.  That was the morning they were calling everywhere trying to find me.  I was supposed to ride the bike as it passes the school bus, all the stunt guys were busy on a different scene.   Yes, I am still mad at her today, no I did not marry her.  In fact, I am REALLY mad at her.

Thanks!

Byron Tomingas


63

Jim

I was just viewing the video on your You Tube Channel about the hospital scene in the pilot movie.  I am from Stockton and my dad was playing in a jazz trio at the Holiday Inn in Stockton during the pilot filming.  Michael Parks and Bonnie Bedelia were staying there at the time and would often come into the lounge.  My dad said that Michael Parks would always want to sing "Blu Moon" and "Melancholy Baby".

Our home was only a few miles away from the brick yard in French Camp, California, a few miles south of Stockton.  Jim Bronson was my idol.  I wore the cap and the brown corduroy pants.  I was lucky enough to have a VCR of the pilot episode that I recorded years ago on a late nite broadcast.

I will be spending some more time looking through your videos.  Thanks!

Ted


62

Jim

I have been a huge fan.  In fact my brother Fred, my sister, and I were extras as children during the filming of the pilot.  It was the scene at the brick yard where Bronson was making a little cash so he could eat.  I was 10 years old, but remember it so well!  We even received our SSN cards because of the little work we did.

The brickyard was in Stockton, California on Airport Road; it was our home town at the time.  Somehow my mother found out that extras were needed for a MGM film and we were selected to be in that scene.  It was great to see Michael Parks he was so cool even for a 10 year old.  Bonnie was super friendly and talked to all us for a while.  I think I still have my pay stub from that.

I have a 2006 1200 Sportster that I am really considering turning into a TCB tribute bike.  I saw your link to how to build one that will help.

Xavier


61

Jim

It is interesting to me how so many people can see the same thing and due to their life and situation, it has the same effect for different reasons.  For me it really started in 1968, we moved from the country to the outskirts of a larger town so my parents were closer to work instead of the 65 mile trip each day.  I had to leave friends behind but my Dad and I had plans to get a horse for me when things settled down.  I had just turned 13 in June and in July Dad got called into work.  He never came home.  A drunk driver took his life and changed our lives.  I was lost, I had no friends and did not really fit in at school.

Then in the spring of 69’ I saw Then Came Bronson.  The way Michael Parks portrayed the part, in places, reminded me of my Dad, easy going and a thinker.  He was a WW2 vet and was in Okinawa.  He seemed to always have things on his mind, a hero to me.  I could relate how Bronson felt when he ditched the situation he was in after loosing his friend and hit the road to freedom and new experiences.  The motorcycle, and being able to see new things and not be nailed down stirred a freedom inside me.  I got a Bridgestone, that summer with the help of family and my Grit newspaper delivery.  I met a few other guys who rode to school.  We rode everywhere together, and planned on hitting the road when we grew up.  Some got married and it never happened like we planned but we are still in contact and ride when we can.

I am now working on my 1970 Sportster getting parts for my own Bronson Bike.  It is been a long time but I have waited this long so a little bit more will not hurt.  I am very thankful for the Jim Bronson website and for the inspiration and information to build my bike, and the stories of all the friends I have not met, yet.  We are bound by a common thread.  The times of our lives, the reasons we ride for freedom, the wind, to see our country and the friends sill yet to make.  I loved it then and still do today, always will.  Thanks for the memories your site has brought back to me.

Jim H


60

Jim

I "rediscovered" TCB just surfing the web and looking at classic bikes (me: I am a Bonneville/Sportster nut - but presently bikeless). Anyway, I found TCB the pilot to the show on You Tube and watched it the past couple of nights. Then finding a lot of TCB fans on You Tube with their own Bronson-styled Sportys and even clubs.

Then I found your own website. So far, I love it! And to make it even better, you have these wonderful devotionals that seem to be right in tune with the show. Mr. Parks sang some Gospel music later on so perhaps the show had a deeper meaning than even many of it's fans realize (?). (Editor’s Note: It did, this website is proof of that fact!)

My family enjoyed TCB for the short while it was on the air. Funny enough, after all these years, whenever someone we know buys a bike, a common refrain is, "well here comes Bronson!"

Thanks so much for your contributions to the website and more importantly, to the Kingdom. God bless and, hang in there.

Mark


59

Jim

I cut my motorcycle teeth on the back of my Dad's 1948 Indian Chief when I was 13. At 16 he bought me a Honda Sport 50 and taught me how to ride a motorcycle. Not having much money the Honda got a lot of use before I could upgrade. About that time Then Came Bronson came on and Jim Bronson taught me what a bike is for. After dodging the draft by joining the Air Force I went through several bikes. I did a lot of trips between the base and home, but longed for the day I could hit the Long Lonesome Highway without the proverbial leash.

Fast forward to my marriage and career as a bike mechanic. Still had bikes but the leash was secure. A rough divorce and some burnout pushed me away from riding for twelve years while I pursued a career in flying. Finally after spending a summer in a one bedroom apartment going shack wacky, it was time for another bike. I dove in with both feet. Every weekend as soon as my propeller stopped I hopped on the bike and was gone for the weekend; however I still could not shake that infernal leash. Life would be great if that "food, shelter, and clothing" thing did not keep getting in the way.

I still get out as often as I can, and stretch the holiday weekends. Now I am 60 years old going on 16 and looking forward to the day that I can get my "Bronson" on and really enjoy the Long Lonesome Highway on my time.

Thanks for a great web site that reminds me that we can still live our dreams.

Marty


58

Jim

My girl friend got me the complete series of the show on DVD for a Christmas present, even though I did not ask for it and barely remembered the show. I think she has got a thing for Michael Parks. We have been watching some of the episodes together, and I have to say they are not too bad, and it is nice to catch up on the ones I missed.

When the show was on prime time I was overseas and not watching much TV at all. Watching the old shows does seem to help with the PMS (parked motorcycle syndrome). So many of the scenes in the shows are things I have experienced, such as getting run off the road once by a passing car, running into road debris around a blind corner, and the kid at the back of the bus. That is how I became interested in motorcycling, riding in the back of a station wagon and watching my uncle on his Triumph. I even pretended to twist the grip, just like the kid (The Runner) did. And once when I was behind a school bus, one of the kids at the back was watching me, twisting his wrist. Perhaps I sparked the interest for a new generation.

Mike W.


57

Jim

My bike is in winter storage, but I do enjoy the DVDs. I too was motivated to ride from the TCB TV series, though I already had a Honda from 1968. I did not have the money for a Harley until 1977. Now I am old(er) with the nice ride, but no longer have the girls flocking around me. We should be born old, and die in reverse maybe? Still have a few friends who ride, but those from my wilder days are either gone or off the road.

Eliot

56

Jim

You know how a book lets you make up places in your mind? Well, I guess the “pilot movie” always made do that. I fought my parents tooth and nail to get a Honda CT (mini-trail) 70 when I was a kid (in the 60’s). They finally relented . . . but I also remember watching the episodes with my Mom. She even bought me the corduroy jeans just like Jim . . . I think she had a major crush on Bronson.

Many motorcycles later, at least a dozen . . . it’s nice to reminisce. Plus I’ve got buddies up in the Bay Area that I like to camp with at Fernwood which is not too far from that famous gas station, I believe. (Editor: You are correct) Thanks for the memories … I sadly watch the pilot about 10 times a year.

Rick

55

Jim

I live in Dingle County Kerry Ireland. When I was very young (turning 9 in 1969) I lived in Jackson, Wyoming with my Dad who was working at the hospital for the summer. Then Came Bronson filmed an episode where they used the local rodeo grounds, A Famine Where Abundance Lies. I was paid my first pay check of $84 for being an extra. I was Lori’s little sister and Jim (You) gave me a piggyback ride back by the loading chutes. The rest of the time I sat in the stands and ate copious amounts of hot dogs, candy and soda while cheering for the "rodeo".

I do not know if I ever made it on to the final cut of the episode but it was a really fun experience. I did bit parts at the Pink Garter Theater that summer and of course wanted to become an actress. I became a horse trainer/riding instructor instead among other careers, but the summer of 1969 is fondly recalled.

Maureen

Webmaster note: With regret Maureen your scene was cut.

54

Jim

I found your site by accident while searching for something else. I had no idea there was a fan club for what used to be my favorite TV show. Up until the age of thirteen I was not particularly interested in guys romantically but the Jim Bronson character was my first big crush. The show was about twenty years old when I saw reruns on cable, but I was still hooked.

It wasn't that Michael Parks was incredibly handsome (which he was), or that he had a cool looking unique motorcycle (which he did), but it was the fictional character of Jim Bronson himself. Here was a nice clean cut guy on TV riding a motorcycle that was not portrayed as a boozing moron vandalizing or terrorizing a town. He did not disrespect women but he was not some wimp pushover either. He did not say much, but what he did say had meaning. When that woman on the pilot episode said, "I'm not going anywhere with you," I thought she was stupid. I would have loved to have gone anywhere with a guy like that. When I watched the shows and saw scenes of the female co star riding on the back of his motorcycle with her arms wrapped around Jim, or Jim kissing the co star, I was wishing that it was me.

Although I have heard many different versions of Wayfaring Stranger (Listen) over the years, I think the Michael Parks version was the best.

Thanks for the website. I learned a lot that I did not know about the show. If Michael Parks is out there reading this somewhere, also I want to say thanks for the show.

Susan

53

Jim

Glad I found this site! I live on the central coast of California and ride my 1999 Sportster on allot of the roads that were used in the show, especially the Big Sur area. I started riding in 1967 but I did not get a Sporty until 1999. I am the Sergeant at Arms and Poet Laureate for the local H.O.G. Chapter. I still have all of my Michael Parks albums, that feature allot of the songs that were from the show! I will always be a HUGE Bronson fan!

Skully

52

Jim

I was eleven in 1970, and TCB was my favorite TV show at that time, it got me hooked on having a motorcycle someday. I cannot say I remembered much about the episodes themselves, except that the character seemed to meet a different woman every week, and then leave her. I was too young to care about that, and just mainly liked the riding scenes.

In the early part of 2010, I met a man in his nineties sitting in a wheelchair that had actually traveled thousands of miles on a Sportster. His tales of his trips reminded me of the TCB show, minus meeting all the women. He did mention the women at Sturgis and Daytona bike week though. I told him, "yeah, I've always wanted a Sportster, someday I'm going to get one myself." He said, "You mean someday before you're stuck in a wheelchair?" So, when I saw a 98 Sportster for sale, and saw the reasonable price, I went for it. I'm never going to go cross county on it, but I enjoy even short trips on it. I still don't get the ladies with it, but I am married now and too old to care about that even if I was not. When I have had a bad day at work, I can hop on that bike, roll the throttle on, listen to "Long lonesome highway" on my MP3 player, and instantly get into a better mood. Thanks Bronson!

Mark
Webmaster note:  Read Marks full story.

51

Jim

A few weeks ago I heard Long Lonesome Highway on a local “Oldies” radio station and it created a flood of memories about those years. I was 16 and riding my first bike when Then Came Bronson came on TV and I loved the series. I graduated to a 69’ XLH which I kept and rode until I joined the Air Force in 1971. Hearing the music sent me to the internet where I found JB.com and loved it. It is a fantastic tribute to a great but short lived show. That seems to be the pattern in U.S. television, the more the need for intellect to understand a show and the more thought provoking it is, the shorter it runs.

Tight money and the need for a car moved me away from that love of motorcycles, for many years but now I am feeling the draw again. I’ve enrolled in a local Harley sponsored class and I am shopping for a new Sportster. Thanks Jim for helping to bring back a piece of my youth.

Ken
Webmaster note:  Ken bought a bike.

50

Jim

I was out of town during the week that the Then Came Bronson Reunion took place in Jackson Hole (June 2010). When I returned home to Jackson Hole, I read about it in the paper. I learned several new things about the series that I didn't know. First, even though I have lived in Jackson for the majority of the past thirty two years, I was unaware that any of the episodes were filmed here. I also did not know how short lived the series was, since it had more of an impact on me than any other TV show I watched as a kid. Even though I did not see myself on a motorcycle, I saw myself leaving the town where I grew up in Ohio and having adventures elsewhere.

When I found out that the series had been filmed in Jackson Hole and that I had somehow ended up here, it seemed almost prophetic. But an even bigger revelation came when I showed the article to my husband and he had a similar reaction. He did not realize it had been filmed here either. He too, had been an avid fan of the show, and like me was dedicated to watching it every week as a child when it was on. The fact that two die hard fans ended up in the very place the show took place (and didn't even know it took place there) - well, it must have been destiny. Thanks, Bronson, for awakening the adventurer in me.

Heidi

49

Jim

I was a big fan of the Bronson series and it inspired me to take to the road. I quit my job the summer of 1972, I was 21, and took off from Phoenix, AZ on a 1971 Triumph Trident. My buddy came along on his 1971 Triumph Bonneville and we took two months roaming the Rockies and the West all the way to Alberta Canada. It was great; we camped most of the time but stayed with some girls and friends along the way. We covered over 7,000 miles and did not want to go home. Both bikes ran great, don't believe bad things you hear about old Triumphs. We had so many things happen to us we could have made our own T.V. series. Anybody that thinks about doing a trip like ours ... DO IT.

I went to Canada again in 1984 but alone this time on a 1983 XLX. I still camped the whole way and had a great time. I have had four Sportsters over the years and thought it was out of my system. Well ... I'm seriously thinking about doing the original 1972 trip again, this time on a Sporty. I am 59 now but do not feel old. My youngest son has two more years in high school and after that I am going to head down that long lonesome highway again. The wife says take all the time I need. You know ... I may never come back.

Joe

48

Jim

I was raised in a Harley, Indian and Triumph riding family. Like you I just love Sportsters because of TCB, and bought a sporty because of Bronson. I remember being in High School riding a pan head and watching Then Came Bronson on Wednesday night at 10:00. Thanks for keeping TCB alive for those of us who remember it.

Larry

47

Jim

I worked for the FBI in 1969 and was frustrated because after all my training I was stuck behind a desk in Washington D.C. working other agent's cases... I was just like the man in the car at the show's opener. I would watch Bronson and say to my TV..."Man, I wish I was you." I finally went to my supervisor and said, "I quit". I bought my first bike and hit the road headed back to Monterey, California where I was born. After a couple of weeks, I hurt all over from riding the bike. I slept in parks, behind churches, and in the woods. Soon, my money ran out and some hippies taught me how to live out of dumpsters. After the fast food places closed they threw all their leftover hamburgers in the top of the dumpsters. I actually went from the FBI to the dumpsters.

After 63,000 miles in 18 months, I went back to the FBI and worked for a few more years...and quit again. Now I'm a Baptist missionary and travel the world. But seeing Bronson again on You Tube sure brought back a lot of memories. I always thank God for my nice house and big bed with the pillow top mattress. It wasn't as romantic as Michael Parks made it. But it is sure to bring back a lot of fond memories...I hope I don't have a relapse.

Dr. Greg

46

Jim

I was 14 when TCB came on and had just bought my first bike in August of 1969 because here in Michigan back then you could get your motorcycle endorsement at 15. I went to work the day I got my motorcycle license on Oct 19th, 1969 and have been riding ever since. TCB was, how should I say; "life changing" for me. I am sure it has the same effect on other Bronsonites. I could relate to Jim Bronson. I never got the chance to hit the road like that but still can dream about it. Having a "Bronson" bike is on my bucket list and I am not getting any younger so I need to get started looking for one.

Ron

45

Jim

I watched TCM last night, and made it all the way through Easy Rider. My favorite was The Wild One (1953), I am no Brando fan, but I like that movie. And seeing the skinny girl in the white bikini and white sunglasses ride across Bixby Bridge on a Twin Yamaha two stroke was a hoot. Yesterday, I ran into a guy I have known for several years. He is older than I, and I have not seen him in a while. Someone asked me if I made it to  "that Charles Bronson deal" in California. I corrected her, "Then Came Bronson" sez I. My older friend perked up "Then Came Bronson? "  He asked.  "Yeah, the 40th anniversary"  I replied.  "I was in the first episode of Bronson"  he said.

Seems he had just returned from Vietnam a couple months earlier. He and a buddy were walking down the street in Jackson Hole, when a crew began clearing and blocking off the street. He and his friend were hired as extras, and their screen debut consisted of walking down the street. They earned $5, which he promptly spent on beer, much as Bronson may have done. He never saw the episode, did not know the name of it, and only saw two episodes of TCB. I gave him JB.com website, and filled him in. I am going to loan him my set of DVDs. A cool Bronson encounter!

Don in Texas


44

Jim

I was 14 years old in 1969, and riding a Honda CL 70. Bronson had a profound impact on me, and inspired me to one day chuck life and ride.

Life got in the way, and for 30 years I did what I was suppose to do. But a few years ago I retired and now I roam the country at will on my motorcycles. I had a plan and I worked it out. I have explored all of North America and some of Europe on my motorcycles.

I will never forget riding across the Bixby Creek Bridge that first time, and whenever I am out in California I make the ride down Highway 1 to Big Sur. I have video and pictures of the Bixby on my website. My touring is the laid back style of Bronson, his influence still with me today. I never thought that one day I would ride the miles Bronson could only dream of.

Guy - BamaRider


43

Jim

Sorry we did not have more time to chat about Then Came Bronson at the Harley shop in Salinas Wednesday afternoon New Year's Eve 2008. I was in my mid-twenties, a new father and a part-time student at Indiana University when the show was airing. My friend Ray and I would re-cap each episode the next day at work. He was the one who had the "All Seeing Eye" stickers made up. Ray was badly crippled from a birth defect and put a couple on his wheelchair as a tribute.

Eventually, in 1991 I did buy a Sportster and rode it regularly for 15 years. I never considered a TCB Replica during that time but would flash back on the show from time to time during my occasional road trips. I now have an 1100cc Honda Blackbird which is a much different ( though not necessarily better or worse ) riding experience. Good luck with the website. I'll pass it on to some of my Sportster friends who will be old enough to appreciate it!

Chuck


42

Jim

Though it was only on television for one year, Then Came Bronson had a profound influence on me, I was only 16 when the movie came out. I was fortunate enough to get to watch some of the filming for episodes filmed near Apache Junction, near Tucson my home. That opportunity and those shows influenced me and a high school buddy to save our pennies (literally, buying a new 1972 XLH Sportster and Jim a 72 XLCH). We left that summer for Montana and British Columbia with our bungeed sleeping and duffel bags and of course, our Navy watch caps.

I attended portions of the filming for Episode 12, "A Long Trip to Yesterday", which was filmed on the east end of the Apache Junction Highway that heads east to Globe, and south towards Florence then back to my hometown of Tucson. The old service station where Bronson tows the guy's Electra Glide was the portion that I saw filmed. I remember riding up from Tucson with my buddy (on Honda 350's) to see this! The old station is gone but the paved and gravel parking areas are still there. We saw some of the filming for Episode 10, Two Percent of Nothing, on the old road to the Superstitions, near Tortilla Flat. We used to ride this route quite a bit up to Canyon Lake and beyond. I remember the old Blue Bird mine area on the Apache Trail, where Bronson walks up to the old store and message board, I am not sure if those buildings are still there or not. I was just a kid and forty years ago!

These episodes brought back some vivid memories of a time gone by. I really want to thank you folks and the other Bronson fans for keeping the series alive. It was a great riding experience and one I continue to this day with my wife, who also rides. We both have the new, larger Harleys today, but I probably would not have ever got on board a Harley and traveled across this great land if it had not been for Jim Bronson! Thanks so much for keeping the TCB spirit alive and bringing back those good memories.

Mike & Jan


41

Jim

We live in Richmond, British Columbia and every other week we travel to our RV in the Bellingham Washington State area. In the spring of 2008, we were driving down the Mount Baker Highway and this guy had just pushed out his 1967 HD Sportster to the side of the road and put up a plywood For Sale sign. The bike had been in his barn for the last six or seven years and was very dirty and a little rough looking but it ran. (see picture) It reminded me of the old "Then Came Bronson" TV series that I had watched 40 years ago. Needless to say I had to buy it. I am planning on fixing it up this winter and thought it would be nice to see the old Then Came Bronson movie.

Randy

Dateline: July 2013

Needless to say the project is going slower than expected, mostly because I just do a little then stop for awhile. I had the frame painted a month ago, the tank and carb have been redone. I picked up a vintage, early 70s, exhaust system that I think will look really good on the bike. I took most of the engine apart (clutch, transmission, heads/cylinders) and it is almost ready to go back into the frame. I have chrome fenders for the front and back wheels.

The objective now is to get it back together and running before I think about further changes. Hopefully I will have it running this fall and if so I will send you some new pictures.

Randy

40

Jim

TCB inspired me to develop a love for motorcycles. Even now my brother who is 43 asks me where I am going, the answer - “Wherever I end up I guess". I haven't seen TCB since it was shown in Australia in 1970 or 71. That Sporty that Jim rides is something else !! I am a Law Enforcement Officer in Australia and on my time off work I get on my 1985 FJ1100 Yamaha and ride ! Thanks Jim and good luck.

Glenn, from the Land Down Under


39

Jim

I first got into motorcycles when I was in the Navy. Since the USS Ranger was a carrier, the Navy let us buy motorcycles in Japan, tax-free/duty-free, and bring them back on the ship. Having never been on a bike before then, I learned to ride on the base, and then rode all over Northern and Southern California while I was stationed out there. In 1969, I watched Then Came Bronson, and was a huge fan of the show, and still am. I rode my Honda across the same bridge in the show a number of times in those early days and loved riding highway one any time I could.

I just turned 60 years old (like many Vietnam Vets), and with my career winding down I decided to get back into biking. I bought a Vulcan 900 Classic LT Cruiser. I was a little rusty, but riding came back quicker than I thought. Getting back into bikes made me think about TCB again and I am having a great time exploring your website and the radio interviews with Michael Parks.

I would love to have a TCB replica bike one day, so I envy you guys in Bronson’s Garage. Hang in there!

Chuck


38

Jim

Yeah it was a great show, it influenced me into making a road trip. My brothers and I always talked about buying a bike and doing a Bronson trip out to California, so bought a 650 Triumph Bonneville and took it down to Miami on a three hour run on Highway 41 through bugs, gators and rain without a face mask. This just about killed me. It was then I decided to change channels and do the Route 66 thing with a car, a 1969 Racing Green OHC-6 Firebird convertible. It was summer and we had no A.C., just a cooler full of ice, drinks and a big tub of KFC.

Drew

Webmaster Note: I wonder if this is the same highway 41 mentioned in Ramblin' Man by The Allman Brothers Band?


37

Jim

When my best friend and I saw Then Came Bronson, we did not have the money for Harleys. So we jumped in his car and went down to Arizona to get a job in the copper mines so we could buy some bikes. That was along time ago, but one of the best times in my life.

Steve


36

Jim, here is my “Bronson” story.

I was 16 years old in 1969 and living at Edwards AFB in the middle of the Mojave Desert in California when I started watching “Then Came Bronson” every Wednesday night on our families first color TV. I had never been very interested in motorcycles before then. However, the moral decency of the Bronson character, the attractive look and sound of the Harley Sportster was an agent of freedom, and the introspective stories set in beautiful western locales, soon had me quickly answering “a motorcycle” every time my parents asked me what I wanted for Christmas that year.

My friends in high school grew used to me showing up for class wearing a black watch cap, sunglasses, navy-blue T-shirt, blue jeans, or brown corduroys and leather moccasins. My parents had said “absolutely not” on the motorcycle, but they must have figured out with a million square miles of empty desert to ride in, I might not kill myself. So, was I surprised on Christmas Day in 1969 to find a brand new, white, Honda CB160 parked on the back porch.

I have been motorcycling ever since. I’ve taken dozens of long bike trips cross country and in Europe over the years and owned about 15 different bikes, including a couple of Sportsters, one of which I customized into a Bronson Bike. Today I ride a Buell Ulysses (named for another famous traveler) and speculate that if Jim Bronson needed an American V-twin to do some adventure riding tomorrow, he just might pick a Uly, depending of course, on what bikes any suicidal friends might have left behind. Seriously, the one thing I came to realize as I rode on my trips of discovery is that the bike is just a tool and the destination, a temporary goal. The real meaning of the trip is the journey, itself.

Jim W.


35

Jim

I am from Morgan Hill, California, just south of San Jose. I found your site because I was lusting after a TCB replica on EBay a few years ago and have really enjoyed the photos.

My dad and uncle rode Harleys together before I was born. I grew up with three older brothers, and my dad had us riding a mini bike in the alley when we were little tykes. My brothers had a range of motorcycles, with everything from scooters to Triumph Bonneville / Tiger, a BMW, and yes, even a chopper. My two oldest brothers walked with an identical limp for a while.

There is another TCB filming location you rode right past, but might not be aware of. I grew up in Pacific Grove California. I recall riding my bicycle home from school one day and finding Forest Avenue closed down between Lighthouse Ave. and Pine Ave. This is one of the busiest streets in town, and I found it peculiar there were only a few cars parked on it. Of course I had to investigate. After watching nothing for a while, I spotted Michael Parks, and was close enough to get his autograph. I sure wish I knew where that autograph was now. I don't recall whether I saw the bike. I was nine years old at the time.

It is a memory that stuck with me, from an impressionable time in my life. The second LP I ever bought with my own paper route money was Long Lonesome Highway and still got it. One of my brothers built a TCB model kit, but it's since disappeared. I suppose that next TCB replica will be on my wish list as well.

Joe

Webmaster Note: Pacific Grove was the town where Episode 22 "Still Waters" was centered around.


34

"Then Came Bronson" was a one-season series [1969-1970] about a man on a motorcycle. Michael Parks played Bronson, who mumbled and murmured so that you could understand only about 10 percent of the dialogue, who rode off to a different town every week, who had zero lasting relationships in his life, and who had no visible means of support. Next to Saints and Sinners 1962   it was the only television series I ever loved.

(Troubling things I don't want to think too much about: Bronson, in the series, quit a newspaper job so he could ride off on his motorcycle and be alone and unattached. Thus: The first TV show I loved, "Saints and Sinners," made me yearn to be a newspaperman. Then I became a newspaperman -- and immediately fell in love with "Then Came Bronson," about a man who runs away from his newspaper. Also: At my first newspaper job (as a copy boy, post-"Saints and Sinners," and pre-"Then Came Bronson"), the theater critic, Ron Jones, told me I would never be able to work with people because I muttered and murmured so that no one could understand me.

Webmaster Note: The above was taken from Mr. Bob Greene, a staff writer for a newspaper (Circa 2001) Read the entire article here, great stuff.


33

Jim

In 1969, I was 12 years old, my friend, Rod and I were into riding our stingrays all over Watsonville, California. I was into watching TV since there was not much else to do back then if you were a 12 year old. One night, while I was channel surfing the 12 channels available, I saw the opening scene to "Then Came Bronson'. Rod and I would never miss an episode. I would relive the episode the next day.

I could not understand why NBC canceled TCB. But the show and my hero, Jim Bronson had already left a mark on me.

When I was 15 years old, I talked my mom into letting me buy a 1973 Hodaka Ace 100cc motorcycle two stroke. I loved that motorcycle, my first, and while on it I was - Jim Bronson. I did not even mind when I had to mix the oil for it. Every time I kicked the kick start lever, I was -Jim Bronson. In 1974, I worked hard and once again, I talked my mom into letting me buy a AMF Harley 350 Sprint. It was one of those Harleys manufactured in Italy and it was very bad quality. It had the single cylinder 'thumper motor'. I did not care about the problems. It was a Harley after all just like the Sportster that Jim Bronson rode.

Well, I left motorcycling for about 24 years as I went to college and made a life but I always noticed motorcycles and wanted to buy one but did not because of my family's worries and I just did not have the extra cash as a working stiff. Then in 2002, the longing to ride became too strong and I took the basic MSF class. I did my research and I bought a brand new 2002 SV 650 to ride again. I was - Jim Bronson, again. In 2006, I bought a used 2005 Kawasaki ZRX1200R. Now I ride both bikes in my stable.

Now, I have found your website. I would love to have the Then Came Bronson DVDs and when I see them on TV, I will have come full circle. But it ALL started with TCB back in 1969. Despite a 24 year old break from riding, TCB still was in my brain after all these years. Thanks for your website.

Manuel


32

Jim

I rode from Ohio to California back in 1971 on a Kawasaki Mach IV 750; very, very fast, but not a good road bike.

I then moved to California in 1973 and ended up working opening shift in a gas station in Santa Cruz right where Highway 1 comes down the coast and through Santa Cruz and turns into the freeway headed south. I had just opened up in the early dawn light and this old bathtub Porsche convertible pulls in, and out pops Michael Parks, watch cap, leather jacket and all. He had driven all night up the coast highway from LA. I got to tell him how much it meant to me to ride across the Bixby Creek Bridge and he seemed very much like the character in the show. He told me he had grown up around Big Sur and the bridge scene was his idea.

I would have loved to have had a cruiser back then, but then for me, fast was fun. On my Kawasaki 750 mach IV I was never beaten in a drag race, track or street, by anything, car or bike. (other than a regular pasting by the guy that held the national record in class at the time, on another Mach IV, he would often show up and spoil my fun) the only time I was ever passed on the road on that Kawasaki was coming down from Big Bear Lake into San Bernardino on Highway 18, that loses almost 6000 ft in 28 miles. A guy on a highly modified Honda 4 cylinder blew by me and I almost went off at what is rightly called "the rim of the world" trying to catch him. So many close ones in those days, I really should not be here. (Knock wood) I now have an 1984 Kawasaki kz550.

Thanks for the site and for stirring up all that old stuff.

Jack W.


31

Jim

On my last Bronson Trip I saw an old guy with white hair, tee-shirt and suspenders holding ups his pants, flying a competition style model glider at a deserted little county airport along the Missouri River. I sat on my bike and watched him for a while then walked over to say hi…he stuck his hand out and introduced himself and I said “Hi, Jim Bronson”…spur of the moment…(Luckily he was too old to know about the show). He said good to meet you Jim and he showed me all about competition-rubber-band powered airplanes. I even retrieved it from a bean field for him and helped here and there. Then said good-by and went on my way. It was a true “Bronson Moment”!

Bill W.


30

Jim

I had a very interesting conversation last night with a guy who claims to have one of the original TV Bronson Bikes! Here is his story as he related it to me. He told me he was 10 years old when Bronson was on TV, his dad rode and let him stay up to watch it. One day in 1973 he and his dad were in a Harley dealership in York PA, and he saw a bike and said "Dad, there's a bike just like Bronson's." The salesman walked over and said "Sonny that is one of the bikes that that was used in the show."

He and his father made a deal and bought the bike. He says the bike was pretty dinged up with scratches on the mufflers and chips out of the primary cases. He has kept the bike just like it was when he got it. He has spent a lot of time trying to verify that it is indeed a "real" Bronson bike, but can't find any records about what serial numbers the bikes were that were used, so he cannot prove it for sure. But he is pretty confident it is an actual TV bike. He is very knowledgeable about everything Bronson. He works for Harley Davidson, and he also has the band "the Razorbacks" His name is Kenny. He does over a hundred shows a year at different bike meets. He will be at Sturgis this year and he is going the take the bike to Myrtle Beach.

He says he gets frustrated trying to educate the new bikers that have no idea about the significance of Bronson. He says he knew Bud Ekins and knows Michael Parks. He also said that he took his tank to a DuPont paint store and they did the spectra scope analysis and the color came up to be almost a perfect match for Chevy Hugger Orange. He says he has built a couple of replicas and sold them, and he has enough parts to build a couple more I talked to him for over an hour about his memorabilia collection and details about the bike. It was very interesting to say the least.

Billy G.


29

Jim

I enjoyed your website. It's nice to know there are so many TCB nuts out there in cyberspace.

When I was a kid, (I'm 52 now) and then living in Southern California, my brother-in-law took me to a car show in Anaheim close to Disneyland. Bronson's bike was there. I know it was one of the bikes used in the show because as part of the display, there was a large poster of Michael Parks on the set, standing next to "this bike". There was a dent in the bottom of the lower muffler that was in the picture and on the bike being displayed.

The bike was roped off with a red rope sash and signs saying "don't touch". My brother-in-law had a camera and told me to get on it so he could get my picture. He didn't have to say it twice either. Needless to say we got yelled at but not before he took my picture. I never got to see the picture but I keep a copy in my mind.

I saw Bronson's red Sportster model on the shelf of Toy World in the Buena Park Shopping Center (They weren't called "Malls" back then), I had to have it. I spent so much time painting bolt heads and engine cooling fins that it took forever to finish.

Steve

Webmaster's note: Steve, if you can ever find that pix, I will post.

28

Jim

Over the years since my original 1975 XLCH I think I became familiar with every exact custom part used on that Bronson Bike. In the late 70's I was going to build my first attempt. I did not have the resources however and eventually sold the parts I collected. Amazing how expensive bike building is!!!

Now, all these years later finding the parts that were readily available even 10 years ago has become frustrating. Fortunately I have everything I need except the speed bars. I keep bidding on EBAY but so far have not won a set. Riding these old machines is not fun on the open road. Back in the 70's it was just normal. Now I fear age is a factor as well. I don't like the leaned over riding position and the way it feels on my back. I look at the project as a work of art. I think of all the vintage HD's I have seen, the Bronson design was the most beautiful in form. I really don't intend to ride mine very much. I'll ride my Vespa around Hot Fort Lauderdale in my flip flops and shorts.

Funny how these projects go. The TV bike was not a show piece. Once you start this project it is easy to start making the bike a lot more perfect than it was on TV. I think Greg’s is fantastic. BTW, I noticed he used a kick start chain guard (long version) on the bike rather than the shorter electric start guard. I have them both myself. They are hard to find but I like the idea of covering more of the chain.

Jim K.


27

Jim

My name is Jim Bronson and boy did I catch hell in junior high every time the show ran. Just tell me that the characters middle name is not Boyd!

Jim Bronson 1959

Webmaster's note: Jim's middle name was Wayne.

26

Jim

I just thought I would share this with the gang. Attached is a picture of Stu Klitsner , (the guy in the station wagon asking Bronson if he is “Taking a trip?”. This picture is a production still of him in his role as Mr. Bixby in a theatre production called Ragtime, in 2006. More recently he was in Pursuit of Happiness with Will Smith, Stu played Dr. Strauk.

Billy G.


25

Jim

I had a buddy of mine do some scouting around up in Los Padres National Forest. I think we may have found out how Bronson was able to fix the bike with a rock in episode 23. Check out the picture of what he found. I get a lot of people at shows asking me how he did it. Now I can tell them!

Billy G.


24

Jim

My life parallels, I had a Sears’s mini bike, 4 hp, tore up the alleys in our neighborhood. Then my first bike was a Honda CL 100s, and then a 1974 Sportster 1000 (last year of the right sided shifter). Took a while to learn how not to break with the shifter and shift with the brake lever. My first cross country trip was to see an old friend in El Paso, TX. I was living in San Antonio at the time. Every 90 miles I was sweating out a gas station. This was the only time I didn't mind the 55 MPH interstate speeds. Sold that bike and then got into competing in Enduros around Texas. Bought a Hercules GS250, it had a 7 speed transmission. Then I got a Husquvarna WR390, at that time Dick Burleson was the king of the ISDT (international six day trials) and he road a Husky.

In 1980, I fell in Love, got married, and sold all the bikes! Became a responsible husband and parent. Zoom up to 1999, discovered Jon Foukes TCB web site and decided to do a Bronson tribute bike 30 years later with a Sportster 883 Custom. Sold that and bought a "real" 1969 XLH and built a replica TCB bike, sold it and bought a 2004 Honda VTX 1300 and did some TCB theme mods. and took my real Bronson trip, including visiting some film location sites and of course riding across the Bixby Creek bridge...3 times! I will send out that story later. And now I have a 2007 Honda Shadow 1100 Spirit TCB tribute (theme) bike.

Tom H.


23

Jim

I have recently begun riding a motorcycle again due to the cost of gas. I have not rode in the past 22 years, so I am rediscovering the joy, and watching TCB is icing on the cake.

JG


22

Jim

I was 13 years old in 1969 and it was a Wednesday night in San Antonio, TX. I was channel surfing all 4 channels, (ABC, CBS, NBC and PBS) when I came across this guy (Jim Bronson) riding around the country on a motorcycle! From then on I was hooked. Started out on a Sears’s 4hp mini bike, then at 15 I got a Honda CL 100s, then in 1974 when I graduated from high school I bought a 1974 XLH Sportster 1000. The last year of the right sided shifter. It took a while to get used to NOT shifting the brake and braking with the shifter!

I took my first TCB trip to El Paso, TX. I was never so glad for 55 mph speed limits because I was looking for a gas stations every 90 miles or so and sweating it out! Since then I built a 1999 883 Custom TCB theme bike, sold it and then built a real 1969 XLH Bronson bike that Greg P. owns now. I currently ride a Honda Shadow 1100 Spirit that I have Bronsonized. And now I am thinking about a 2009 FXDC Super Glide Custom to Bronsonize! Great website! Keep up the good work and "Hang in there"

Tom


21

Jim

I am savoring the episodes daily. Just one or two, I don't want to go overboard. I had forgotten how good a show this was. Each one has a message that helps you be a better person.

Don


20

Jim

It was great looking at your web site. You sound allot like me. I have loved this show from the first time it came on television. I even used to get in trouble in school because when teachers asked what I wanted to do I told them buy a motorcycle and ride for a year. Well I got part of the plan done. I bought a 1973 Sportster in January of 1974, but then I got a good job and never finished my plan. I still plan to finish what I started some day.

I have wanted to build a replica Sportster myself and have been looking around for one to start with. I must say Greg and the others have done a fantastic job on the ones they have built. I am lucky enough to ride for a living now.

Mark


19

Jim

I am thrilled to discover that there are so many other people out there that got started in motorcycling with the Then Came Bronson TV series. I learned how to ride on a 1965 Electra Glide, bought a 1969 Dresser in 1973 and totally enjoyed it until I had to sell it in 1974 for financial reasons. I loved the bike and the Bronson series reflected on the image of motorcycling that I have always been comfortable with. Fast forward to 2004. I decided to get back into bikes and I wanted to pick up where I left off so I bought a 1976 Dresser and restored it to look and ride just like my '69. I just bought a 1977 Sportster and it will be restored to be a match to the '76.

I was thrilled to get the Seeing Eye tank decals. I would like to find a Sportster tank and paint it red and have a little tribute to the Bronson motorcycle style.

Mark


18

Jim

I must have been all of age 13 when I fell in love with Jim Bronson and his bike. The song Wayfaring Stranger has stuck in my head for the remaining 40 years, thanks for the website. I would love to let Jim Bronson know just how much he influenced a young Christian southern girl, by just giving her a song to sing for years. Whenever I get down and out, I sing it to remember that this world only leads to the next. Thank you again.

Debby


17

Jim

In 1973 I took a 9,000 mile trip, partially motivated by TCB. I thought I remembered Wayfaring Stranger as one of the TCB songs. I rode a Triumph Trident at that time, later road a HD 883, and now ride a 1988 Honda Shadow which is very comfortable at my current age.

Al


16

Jim

I was born and raised in southern California in 1955 and "fell-in-love" with Bronson. I had the entire "hang-in-there" committed to memory and would "never" miss it. I used to ride my sting-ray-bicycle and I would dream of being Jim Bronson going "down that long lonesome highway" all the time!!! Take care on this Christmas morning hope Santa was good to you.

Carl