We all knew how it started out. The guy in the car starts to envy the guy on the motorcycle, strikes up a conversation, and away we went...
That's how the show opened.
Every week, the driver of the car looks at the bike, then at Bronson and the dialogue begins:
BUSINESS MAN: takin a trip?
BRONSON: What's that?
BUSINESS MAN: taking a trip?
BUSINESS MAN: Where to?
BRONSON: Oh, I don't know. Wherever I end up I guess.
BUSINESS MAN: Man, I wish I was you.
BRONSON: Really? Well, now hang in there.
I wanted to be Jim Bronson. My friends did too, but the closest we ever came was at 10:00 every Wednesday night on NBC. Whoever dreamt up this program really knew how to go straight to the heart of the American male. This show was a typical mood for the 70's. Free spirits were now more popular than they'd ever been before. Every guy wanted to be Jim Bronson; a rogue, a loner, a live-for-the- day-store-it-all-on-a-motorcycle-then-hit-the-highway-or-God-knows-where kinda guy. He'd pick a direction, and that was his destiny.
Being a nomadic biker with no ties to anyone or anything was about as romantic a notion as any guy could ever hope for. This, and of course, the bike, were what truly appealed to me. It was such a great and free feeling to watch the show each week, to see Bronson pick up quick-cash jobs in each town, then motor his way to the next.
Bronson was the 70s' penultimate cowboy. He was to be one of the last of the (pardon the cliche) rugged individualists who sat a different type of saddle. He'd kick start his Harley, and off he'd go week after week, seeking --oops--not seeking adventure, but rather finding it, like it or not. What I truly admired was his ornery character. Bronson lived life on his terms only. He didn't get in anybody's way, and nobody got in his. If you can get into this type of character, try to find a movie called "The Wild Seed". This one also stars Michael Parks along with Celia Kaye as the pretty little innocent girl-next-door that gets swept along in his wave. Parks' character name is "Fargo", a leather-jacketed outcast that wanders from place to place. They hit the rails for freedom and adventure, but somehow, things just go wrong.
I felt pain when this show went off the air. There'd been far too few programs similar to this style. The only one I can recall is "Route 66". I had two favorite episodes. The first being the one where he crashes his bike deep into the forest and gets lost. It's very spiritual as he is forced to live by nature's rules to survive. The second is the episode where Kurt Russell plays a minor league pitcher who telegraphs his pitches. Of course, Bronson knows how to fix it, and teaches him.
For excellent "Then Came Bronson" episode descriptions, and great Bronson info, visit: Jim Bronson.com
It's a fantastic site!