Pilot Photo Album

Birney Jarvis and Bonnie Bedelia on the road during a filming sequence in the pilot of Then Came Bronson. Jarvis can’t recall the setting after 40 years, but that cocktail lounge scene is somewhere in the pilot. Birney’s happy about something – and he wishes he were still that slim. The late author/movie writer and producer Denne Bart Petitclerc sits astride the original Bronson bike on location at the mid-California town of Locke. The nearly century-old town, which was originally built and inhabited by Chinese immigrants, was virtually a ghost town at the time of filming.

Birney takes a few notes, about 1957, while astride a Matchless twin. On the left is a Call-Bulletin newspaper photographer trainee, while the other lad is an aspiring reporter for the now defunct newspaper. It was during this five year stint as a photo messenger for the old Call-Bulletin that Birney gained the experience which would help him become a reporter. Birney goes over a hump in a TT (Tourist Trophy) race on the now-defunct Belmont, California Speedway quarter mile dirt track. He was riding a cut down 1955 Triumph twin. A 1950’s vintage, rigid frame Harley 74, that Birney used for both street and dirt use. He especially liked this bike for TT racing. “When those guys on Triumphs, flat-head 45’s or whatever saw me coming up from behind on that big Hog, well . . . they got of my way. (Note that the brake clevis pin has been turned upward with a strengthened brake rod to get more ground clearance. The rear fender is off either a Sportster or the old K-Model; cannot recall which. The floorboards came off an old Harley VL and the mufflers were stock Sportster, but punched out.

Michael Parks, Joyce Jarvis and Birney on the Jarvis’ 34-foot Taiwan-built cutter, Valjean (as in Les Miserables) in Sausalito, California. Birney and Joyce left the next day bound for Pensacola, Florida. by way of the Panama Canal. The trip took a year with stops at many beautiful spots along the way and great interaction with the Hispanic people.
Cica 1974
This is the cover of Birney’s new book, What Do You Do With A Drunken Sailor? The 411 page epic is described in the forward by one of Birney’s peers: "This book is about a sailing journey, but it is not a sailing book. It is essentially a modern man’s adventure, laid on the ancient forms of blood, guts, fear, sex and love. It tells of that man’s fight against himself as much as against the elements; the landlubber he was at the beginning of his dream voyage and the sailor he became amid nightmares of the sea that can lay raw the weaknesses of strong men and strong ships…" Also aboard Valjean, Michael Parks and Birney sit with a young lady the Bronson actor was courting at the time. The name Valjean was chosen because of the main character of the novel, Les Miserables, written by Victor Hugo in 1862. As the story goes Jean Valjean was thrown into a dungeon in France for 19 years because he stole a loaf of bread, and Birney admired the man’s indomitable spirit.

Birney Jarvis and his wife, Joyce. Birney says Jim could not have taken a worse photo. “He made me look old, and I’m only 80. As you can see, Joyce is a bit taken aback by all this. Birney says he wrote this dedication to Jim before he saw the photo. The pointy-headed guy is Birney Jarvis and he can only blame Joyce for this as she took the picture. Maybe she was getting even for the 40 years she’s spent with him.