Then Came Bronson

NBC (ended 1970)


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Then Came Bronson

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Welcome to the Then Came Bronson guide at . . hang in there! Ever since the Hellenic Homer wrote The Odyssey, tales of travel and adventure have been an important component of western literature. By the late nineteen fifties two works of art captured the imagination of readers and viewers of television. The first was Jack Kerouac's popular beat novel On the Road (1957). Then, ten years later, in the late sixties, Jim Bronson played on television a forlorn newspaperman disillusioned after the suicide of his best friend and "working for the man." In order to renew his soul he becomes a nomadic vagabond searching for the meaning of life and experience what life has to offer. In the process he shares his apparent noble values with the people he meets and lends a helping hand when he can. Our hero rides a Harley Sportster, and, as such, was viewed by many fans as a modern version of the solitary cowboy meandering the American west. The television series began with a movie pilot on Monday, March 24, 1969. The series was green-lighted for one year and began its first run on September 17, 1969. The introduction of the show was noteworthy. Bronson drives up to a red light and what seems to be a businessman in a car next to Bronson, says: Driver: "Taking a trip?" Bronson: "What's that?" Driver: "Taking a trip?" Bronson: "Yeah." Driver: "Where to?" Bronson: "Oh, I don't know. Wherever I end up, I guess." Driver: "Pal, I wish I was you." Bronson: "Really?" Driver: "Yeah." Bronson: "Well, hang in there." With that memorable introduction began a television series that is fondly remembered by many fans who vicariously lived Bronson's life during the late sixties. Hang in there . . . Fans of the show are encouraged to post their remembrances of the series in the Forum section.moreless
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  • Ronson

    I got something more cheerful to say . My Dad had a motorcycle shop his name was Ron. I got the nickname at school Ronson. We liked to watch the start together he said that was the best part . Well you prefer Easy Rider. He was a drifter.
  • Lessons in life...

    Of all the junk that was on TV during the early 1970's, this show stood out in terms of dramatic quality.

    Then Came Bronson was a series about a former newspaper reporter named Jim Bronson who decides to seek out the reason for his existence after the suicide of his closest friend by riding throughout the country on his late friend's motorcycle.

    During his travels on this sadly short-lived series, he experiences all sorts of things & meets up with many people along the way, helping them whenever they needed help & in the process, Bronson learns a little something about people.

    A shame that not too many people had bothered to tune in to this outstanding series.moreless
  • All criticism is subjective by nature. What I find to be stimulating may be considered devoid of action by others. I can say that the series episodes are definitely worth viewing, if only to allow you to make your own decision. You will not be treamoreless

    The Autumn and Winter of 1969 and the Winter and Spring of 1970 constituted my Senior year At Lafayette High in Lafayette, LA. Lafayette was college town in South Louisiana that was a cultural oasis in the middle of an area that Moms Mabley used to describe as "not ready yet".

    I was a tall, skinny, withdrawn kid who'd just become acquainted with the likes of Thoreau, Whitman, and that scraggly band of lunatics that comprised "The Beats". I had watched the movie "Easy Rider" and watched the protagonists "get it wrong". So, I was in a receptive mood when the pilot for "Then Came Bronson" aired with the protagonist, Jim Bronson put into similar circumstances as the two motorcyclists in "Easy Rider", but "getting it right".

    I had little need for the cynicsm that "Easy Rider" had in spades. "Then Came Bronson" was different in that it celebrated the more noble qualities of human beings. It was also more intelligently written and not nearly as reliant on stereotypes for its characters.

    Maybe it's the off-beat that attracts me. That could be why I fell in love with the retired lynotype operator (played by Will Geer)who lived in a small house by a desert road and advertised the oportunity to engage in intelligent conversation with billboards ("Talk", "Talk is Cheap", "Talk Here", "Free Beer"). The episode wound up dealing with the displacing of Native Americans, race prejudice, and the art of listening carefully. That last one may be a disappearing skill in our society.

    Every episode hit the viewer on several different levels. You might be upset with what you saw, or inspired, or you might simply not agree. Whatever the case, your intelligence was never insulted, and I needed that.

    The series only lasted one season. I think the producers, Herb Solow and Robert Justman (both of whom had been an integral part of the series "Star Trek") deserved better. I think that the American viewing public desrved better as well. Such programming needed encouragment at that time, and it wasn't getting it.

    For me, it was like being suddenly denied the company of a close friend.

    You can't help but wonder what other adventures Jim Bronson would have encountered as he travelled America on his Harley Sportster. He would have been living out of his bedroll, taking odd jobs to make the money he needed to keep him on the road, meeting new people and inviting us along. You also can't help but wonder what his return to "normal" society would've been like once his wanderlust had finally been satisfied.

    It would be nice to think that he could be riding the roads still, aimed into the sunrise on a desert road, white stripes zipping past...but that America no longer exists. It's doubtful that that magic could be captured anew.

    It would be nice to revisit the old magic, though. It will always remain fresh.

    --Bob Aikenmoreless
  • Needs a DVD release!

    I love this show. TNT used to show episodes back in the late 1980's/early 1990's. That was the last time this show was on television. Warner really needs to release a set for this cult classic. It only ran one season, so that shouldn't be hard for them. You'd be surprised, but this show has a pretty big following. Incidentally, MGM released the pilot overseas as a theatrical feature.
  • Then Came Bronson
    I've seen a few episodes from its network run, and in syndication, and I remember my dad used to like it. There aren't that many s...