December 16, 2007 10:01 PM   Subscribe

Part 1 of 6 It is 1969...I'm watching TV and here's this guy on a Harley. Darn...this was new...major characters on TV shows did NOT ride motorcycles! He pulls up at a light and a fellow in a station wagon (remember station wagons???) says.. "taking a trip?", Bronson says "yeah"..the guy says "where to?" Bronson says "I don't know, where ever I end up, I guess"... That was the beginning of 26 episodes of "Then Came Bronson", I've wanted to take that trip ever since!

In "Then Came Bronson". Michael Parks played Jim Bronson, off on a tour of the US on a 883 Sportster.

The first link goes to part one of the second episode...where Jim helps an older guy (Keenan Wynn) rebuild his dusty bike, and rediscover what it all meant...
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6

For those of you that weren't born yet in 1969, this show probably doesn't meet the action/adventure criteria of newer genre.. but, for us, back in the 60's, Jim Bronson took us on a year long roadtrip that most of us could only dream about. This episode with Keenan Wynn captured it all!

The whole season is available on DVD
posted by HuronBob (17 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
and, of course, as usual, I borked the last link to the only site I've been able to find that has the series on DVD
posted by HuronBob at 10:12 PM on December 16, 2007

I've been digging the new Twin Peaks box set, and it's great to see Michael Parks kickin' it like this. I have his records on vinyl LP and they're surprisingly good. "Long Lonesome Highway" in particular is excellent.
posted by dhammond at 10:41 PM on December 16, 2007

I remember the MAD magazine send up.
"taking a trip ?"
"nah this is an ordinary cigarette"
posted by johnny7 at 12:29 AM on December 17, 2007

I wanted to take that trip too --- but only after reading Robert Pirsig.
posted by RavinDave at 1:14 AM on December 17, 2007

I watched this episode at the Museum of Radio and Television in New York quite a few years ago, after having heard about it for literally two decades from fans. It's worth noting that this wasone of the things that inspired Tarantino to track down Parks and cast him. And much of Tarantino's carer nowadays can be read as an extended love letter to Parks, in the form of the recurring character of Earl McGraw, who has shown up in From Dusk till Dawn, Kill Bill, and Grindhouse.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:43 AM on December 17, 2007

I loved Bronson when I was a kid; Michael Parks was impossibly cool to an eight-year-old!

Also, I don't have to remember station wagons because I see them all around me every day. Only now they market them as "crossover SUVs" so as to make it easier for their owners to live in denial.
posted by FelliniBlank at 3:47 AM on December 17, 2007

Bronson was lame. I'm not wasting any more of my remaining life watching that bad imitation of Route 66. All I need to remember is the episode where he won a hillclimb on his "Sportster".

Sportsters were also lame, BTW.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:07 AM on December 17, 2007

The blog Scooter In The Sticks covered this recently. I hadn't heard of it at all before that, and now I'm curious to know just how influential it's actually been.
posted by kimota at 4:21 AM on December 17, 2007 [1 favorite]

I'm old enough to remember this series. I am also old enough to remember that during the course of the show's run, my father bought a motorcycle and a watchcap.
posted by spacely_sprocket at 9:11 AM on December 17, 2007

Produced by the guy who made Trek, Bob Justman
posted by A189Nut at 12:32 PM on December 17, 2007

This show was a favorite of TV's Frank from MST3K. I believe they worked in references to it a few times.
posted by Chrysostom at 12:49 PM on December 17, 2007

Yes indeed, Chrysostom. Thanks to this post, the bit in MST3K's treatment of "Mitchell" where a man gets shot and falls from a motorcycle, and Joel quips "There went Bronson" finally makes sense to me.
posted by Monster_Zero at 3:04 PM on December 17, 2007 [1 favorite]

"Sportsters were also lame, BTW"
They rule hillclimb. scroll down
posted by hortense at 6:09 PM on December 17, 2007

I've never seen so much nose-rubbing and nose-scratching in any television show before. Both Parks and Wynn do it so much that after ten minutes I became convinced that the purpose of the show was to send coded messages to our agents behind the iron curtain.
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:05 PM on December 17, 2007

They rule hillclimb.

No, they don't.

Sportsters were underpowered, bad-handling, and fragile. For what one of them cost, you could buy two of a slew of other bikes that did everything better. The only reason Sportsters existed was so guys who couldn't raise the cash for a Glide, but had to have a Harley could get one.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:02 AM on December 18, 2007

Of course, there was also this turkey.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 10:37 AM on December 18, 2007

I meant for 1969! pre turkey
posted by hortense at 5:03 PM on December 18, 2007

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