It might have been a TV movie but, it home to me when I was only 14. I thought is was so great to get on a motocycle and just take off. When I saw the web site below it made me feel that I was 14 again. Thank God I'm coming to my senses and doing it now!
Man! I re read the dialog below and really hits home to me. It could be a Zen phrase to me. My out date is June 2 and I feel as if I could do it today!
It might look a bit stilted now but take a look at the site below.
Let's not forget Mad Magazine's take on it. I'm going to subscribe to that magazine again!
(Opening scene: busy city street...a harried businessman at a stoplight turns to his left, where a young man is revving his motorcycle, and asks...)
"Taking a trip."
"Oh, I don't know...wherever I end up, I guess."
"Pal, I wish I was you."
"Really?...well...hang in there."
The businessman smiles wistfully and nods. The light changes, and off goes the laconic motorcyclist, gunning it out of the city, toward open space and adventure.
The cyclist is Jim Bronson. Although his economy of speech would not suggest it, he is freshly an ex-newspaperman.
Only a few days earlier, a friend, Nick, had lept to his death from a bridge, but not before asking Jim to buy back the motorcycle from his soon-to-be widow. Jim had originally owned and customized the bike, then sold it to Nick when he became a reporter.
Bronson began thinking about the meaning of his own life. He decided to quit the rat race, simplify, see the country, visit some old friends and discover what life would put in his path.
That is the premise of the 1969-70 NBC series, Then Came Bronson, starring Michael Parks.
Easy Rider was a hit in 1969, a movie about two young counter-culture cyclists looking for the "real" America. Perhaps Middle America was not quite ready for that story on the small screen, but "Then Came Bronson" expressed some of the themes of that movie in a way more palatable to the mass audience (the pilot movie was completed before Easy Rider hit the screen, so TCB was not an Easy Rider knockoff.)
The idea of getting back to basics was "blowin' in the wind" at that time. "Natural" food, ecology and hippie communes were other expressions of this philosophy. However, promotional literature assured us that "for the necessities of life, Bronson works". He owned only his motorcycle, his bedroll and the clothes on his back. Those clothes usually consisted of corduroy pants, black tee shirt, leather jacket, and watchcap (according to Michael Parks, he took this costume from the Jack London bio, Sailor on Horseback).
The two hour pilot movie told the story of how Bronson began his peregrination. Martin Sheen was Nick. Bonnie Bedelia played a runaway bride. After a rocky first meeting and some character-revealing incident, Bronson develops feelings for her that conflict with his need to continue his journey and come to peace with himself.