Friday, July 25, 2014

What Might've Been: Then Came Bronson (1969)

Then Came Bronson lasted just 1 season, perhaps because it was a tad ahead of its time, but part of its concept seemed to have been borrowed from elsewhere.

Reporter Jim Bronson (Michael Parks) gives up his job after a friend (Martin Sheen) commits suicide. Bronson had sold a custom motorcycle to his bud, then buys it back from the widow after his pal passes. After that, Bronson goes off on the bike, wandering the country, helping people in need. In a way, this was Route 66 on 2 wheels instead of 4. Parks also recorded the show's closing theme, "Long Lonesome Highway", which was a huge hit, and two albums compiling music from the series were released.

Executive producer Herb Solow was a show-runner for Star Trek, and brought in producer Robert Justman after Trek had ended. The guest stars during the season included some familiar names, including Trek's James Doohan, Elsa Lanchester, Jack Klugman (one year before Odd Couple made him an icon), and Penny Marshall (ditto). MGM was hoping Bronson would be as big a hit for NBC as The Man From U.N.C.L.E. had been, but for some reason, perhaps being on the wrong night (Wednesdays), it just didn't work.

Following is a preview clip from NBC's fall preview for '69, which we previously posted, narrated by Hugh Downs.




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