NEW PAGES ADDED ON 09-27-07 CLICK "SLIDESHOW" BUTTONS ABOVE
THERE ARE ALSO TWO NEW PAGES OF CLASSIC COMMERCIALS FOLLOWING THE 1969-1970 MEMORY BANK SECTION OF THE MICHAEL PARKS PAGE
MORE COMING SOON
CREATED AND WRITTEN BY
DENNE BART PETITCLERC
WHENCE CAME BRONSON?
For too long this site has overlooked the obvious in failing to properly give credit to the man responsible for the creation of this enduring gem of American television history. It's easy to think of Bronson as the character played by the actor Michael Parks, but the character we've come to know and love was the work of a man who toiled behind the scenes in the television and film industry for nearly half a century. The story behind the man behind the story is far and away as exciting and inspiring if not more so than the fictional Jim Bronson. If you've ever wondered what it was that made "Then Came Bronson" so endearing, relevant, and unique you need look no further than to the enormous talent of Denne Bart Petitclerc whose life and work are the stuff of legend.
"IN AMERICA ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL.
AND THEN, SOME BUY HARLEYS!!"
To navigate this site, click a page listed on the left. Once there click the tabs on the top of the page.
Check out the new Bixby Bridge video on NBC Page 2
WEBMASTER'S TCB REPLICA SPORTY
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I'm doing some overhaulin' on the site, so please excuse any spelling, logistical, or grammatical errors. My editor is currently in rehab trying to kick his ether habit but he assures me that when he's out he'll correct everything.
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If you're not seeing "And Then Came Bronson" scrolling across the top of the page and not hearing the "Long Lonesome Highway" theme song, you'll have to download Macromedia's Flash andShockwave Players to enjoy these and others on the site. They're free, safe and unobtrusive.
"And Then Came Bronson" was produced by MGM in 1968. The theatrical title was pared down to "Then Came Bronson" by the time it hit the small screen in the U.S. It was first shown in the U.S. on March 24, 1969 on NBC-TV as a movie of the week, starring Michael Parks and a red Harley Sportster. Coming close on the heels of the surprisingly successful "Easy Rider" cycle flick, NBC quickly adapted the movie to a one hour weekly series format. Contrary to popular belief, the TCB movie wasn't made in response to Easy Rider's popularity, it was in production pre Easy Rider. The movie version was released to foreign audiences as a theatrical feature film. The feature version was not shown to U.S. audiences for two reasons, and they were both on Bonnie Bedelia's bare chest(This version actually aired on TNT some years back. Unfortunately, the only version I was able to obtain was extremly low quality but the spirit was there) . I had speculated here that the NBC censors had made demands on the show's producers to tame down the Bedelia beach scene to make it suitable for American TV and therefore the scene had to be reshot. Wrong!! The real story was related to me by a very gracious gentleman who was crucial in the development and production of TCB. All you have to do is Google "Bob Justman" and you'll see that he is a giant in the industry and has a list of credits dating back to the start of Television's Golden Age. He was implemental in producing some of the finest products to hit both the small and large screen. He was kind enough to send me some TCB production stills and a couple of wonderful pictures of him and Gene Rodenberry. Enough said, Bob would be embarrased if I wrote all the praises I have for him, besides it's probably all been said before by his contempories.
Here's how the filming of that particular scene went down in his own words.
Re-shoot or Just Plain Shoot
There was never a "reshoot" of the bare breasted Bonnie Bedelia. There were always two versions: the first with Bonnie clad in the wedding dress and the second bare breasted, for a "foreign" version. We shot the 2 different versions on the same beach and same time. I should know because I was the producer of both the opening 2 hour movie and as well as all 26 episodes of the series. (Incidentially, I came up with the "eye of God" symbol for the Harley "sportster" gas tank. I sketched it out for Gabe, our art director on the 2-hour version and he refined it and printed a number of stick-ons for me. I still have a few left after all these years.) - Bob Justman 11-18-2003
There is a plaque that hangs in the Harley Museum in Milwaukee that immortalizes the TCB Eye. It has one of the aforementioned eyes mounted on it and describes TCB as a short lived 1969 television show that starred a Harley Sportster. It also mentions that the one in the museum is one of only five known to be in existence. In the course of our correspondence Bob sent me 4 of the original TCB Eye stickers. That would account for all of them. Two are going on my TCB replica Sportster, and the other two are mounted under glass. No doubt about it, Bob Justman is the personification of the term "class act". Here's thanking him for all he's brought to us over the years, and that he continue to "live long and prosper".
;Goin' down that long lonesome highway. The pilot movie revolves around Jim Bronson, a young beat reporter in San Francisco. The opening scene has Bronson trying to talk his buddy Nick (played by a young Martin Sheen) out of jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge. Nick is fed up with his dead end factory job and admires Bronson's life. At the last moment before his suicide, Nick bequeaths Bronson his Harley Sportster, the most precious posession he has. After Nick goes through with the jump, Bronson attempts to console his widow. Returning to the newsroom he is confronted by a verbally abusive editor who pushes him over the edge himself. Confiding to a detective from the SFPD that "There's got to be something more", Bronson packs in the job and packs up THE BIKE, heading out the Pacific Coast Highway.Video of opening of the show.
Don't jump Marty!! Think about "Apocalypse Now", "The West Wing", Charlie&Amilio!
Man, I wish I was you.
Gonna live life my way. Leaving San Francisco Bronson meets up with a haggard commuter stuck in rush hour traffic in a station wagon waiting at a stop light. This scene would become the opener for the TV series with the beleaguered organization man looking longingly at THE BIKE and, echoing the thoughts of fans for years to come, declares "Man, I wish I was you". To which Bronson gives the enduring reply,"Really? Well, hang in there." Roaring off across the Bixby Creek Bridge near Carmel on the scenic Pacific Coast Hwy, Bronson leaves the world behind and sets out on a series of adventures with the Big Sur and the Colorado Rockies as the backdrop. After running THE BIKE onto the beach and flipping out in a scene that suggests baptism and rejuvenation, Bronson witnesses a surreal scene on the beach involving a beautiful girl in a wedding dress (in the foriegn version, Bonnie Bedelia is bare breasted, but that was way tooooo risque for America 1969, so a silmultaneous shoot was done with her wearing a white bikini. Eventually in some versions though even that was too suggestive and the shot was pared down to just her bare shoulders.). The sexual tensions created in the nude scene are obviously more overt than in the TV version, which has an impact on the overall emotions of the whole movie(Whoa, big fella, you've apparently spent way too much time in Film Appreciation classes in college!). Needless to say, the runaway bride becomes Bronson's love-interest/antagonist for the rest of the film. True to form in the tradition of the old West, this modern day lonesome cowboy loves her and leaves her, riding off into the sunset not on a horse, but on an Iron Horse from Milwaukee with the "Eye of God" on the tank. The movie has taken on several permutations through various venues. There are differently edited versions around that were hacked up by TV station managers for various time considerations and to allow for more commercials. I've got a 16mm film print that I had converted to VHS that was missing a scene of about 6-8 minutes which seems to fit that criteria. I eventually found the lost footage and reedited it back into the 16mm conversion. Now through the wonders of Twenty First Century technology I've managed to digitize the movie and the entire 26 episodes onto 4 DVD disks.
CREDITS ETC. The film brought Michael Parks, a James Dean look alike, to the attention the American public as Jim Bronson, the antithesis to Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper in that other 1969 cycle filck. Detractors quickly dubbed the show "Easy Rider Lite", but the Wednesday night series instantly attracted a huge following and is a cult favorite with Harley riders to this day. Many a Hog rider today got the inspiration to "live life my way" from the guy on the fire-apple red Sportster with the "Eye of God" on it. Inexplicably(I actually have found out why and will expound on that in the future), NBC cancelled the show after the initial 26 episodes of the first and only season.
The Pilot Movie included the following credits:Click highlighted names for career credits.
Check out the great TCB stuff for sale on the T-SHIRTS/POSTERS, etc. page. Think Christmas!!!!
In the site's latest permutation, I'm adding video of old commercials from the 60's and slide shows throughout the site. Watch for the MOVIE button like the one below scattered around the site to open them. If you don't have a high speed connection, don't bother, the files are pretty big and take a long time to load with dial-up. Be patient, some of the commercials are a hoot!
Lest there be any confusion, this site is in no way connected with NBC,CBS,ABC, the BBC, or the CIA. It is also not connected in any with MICHAEL PARKS, BERT PARKS, ROSA PARKS, or THE NATIONAL PARKS. All TCB images copyright NBC/MGM or whoever currently holds them and are presented here for informational and educational purposes. In essence it is simply an homage to what was a very special TV show from a very special time, that for some unexplicable reason has remained lodged in the few remaining brain cells of this old hippie, and I've discovered that I'm not alone. It's my way of saying thanks for imbuing me early on with the philosophy that I was "gonna live life my way". It's a refrain that has stuck with me for all these years since 1969 and I'm still at it. Enjoy the site and come back often as it's in a constant state of flux. Just like Bronson, it's headed wherever the road leads. Thanks for the hit, and never never never let yourself become the guy in the station wagon!!!
HANG IN THERE!
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