Hey kids! Remember Then Came Bronson?
If you say yes, you might be showing your age, because believe it or not, 2019 is the 50th anniversary of the NBC show that launched the motorcycle dreams of many impressionable viewers.
In a nutshell, the show (starring Michael Parks) followed the (mis) adventures of one Jim Bronson, who traveled around the US, riding from town to town on a Harley-Davidson Sportster in search of, anything, man, anything. You dig? It was the ’60s, and that’s how things went.
Michael Park played the leading role, but alas, it wasn’t long-term employment for him; the show only lasted 26 episodes and faded into history, just like bikesploitation movies and all the other fun motorcycle schlock that was on movies back then.
Snippiness aside, it really was one of the most positive portrayals of motorcycling ever seen on American television. And just as the Mondo Enduro crew and then Charley Boorman and Ewan McGregor inspired thousands of riders to hit the road in the 1990s and 2000s, Then Came Bronson was the catalyst that sent many riders on trips of exploration decades earlier. It helped that, while Then Came Bronson was fiction, it was based on a real-life rider’s adventures in the US, and was therefore less silly than much of the other motorcycle filmography of the time (see also: Hells Angels On Wheels, Wild Angels, etc., etc.).
You can get a great run-down of the show’s origins at this fan website.
This summer, there are a couple of events celebrating the 50th anniversary of the classic television program. Then Came Bronson fans will have replica show bikes and a tent display at this year’s AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days event at Lexington, Ohio’s Mid Ohio race track, July 5-7. There’s also a commemoration of the show at Reno, Nevada’s Street Vibrations rally, Sept. 25-27. Visit JimBronson.com for more deets!