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  • skoyles17 September 2003
    Bronco was an oddball in the stable of WB Westerns: it tended to try to portray vaguely accurate historical characters and incidents. Bronco seems to have made the acquaintance of just about every notable character not involved in a Western owned by a different studio or network. Billy the Kid, Jesse James, and so forth, often with inaccurate but interesting spins on character or events. As a former Confederate officer who retained his aging issue hat, Bronco cut an effective figure. A viewing of a recently available video reminded me of the normal 1950s Westerns anachronisms: during the "War of Northern Aggression" there is Captain Lane using an 1873 revolver in 1863. Such problems notwithstanding, these were good examples of the WB Westerns and fine entertainment even today.
  • I was a little girl of about three when I fell in love with Bronco Lane. It was my first ever favourite TV show, and Bronco was my first ever heart-throb character. One day, my mother sent me to the shop, but I was away for so long that she came looking for me. Apparently, whenever the shop-keeper tried to serve me, I refused to speak to her. My mother asked me why, and I replied that I wouldn't answer until I was addressed, not by my name, but as "Bronco Lane". I do not remember this incident, but I strongly recall how much I loved the show, and thinking that Bronco (Ty Hardin) was the most handsome man in the world!
  • Some may have thought of "Bronco" as sort of a poor man's "Cheyenne," but it was a good series in its own right with a pleasant, "outdoorsy" quality that stressed action and adventure over gunplay and violence. It also boasted as its star a likeable actor named Ty Hardin who seemed to have a lot going for him: good looks, rugged physique, winning personality. He displayed a nice flair for comedy in "The Chapman Report" and did well dramatically in a modest movie called "Wall of Noise" but, for some reason or other, soon faded into obscurity. Hey, Ty, you're missed!
  • Bronco was a western television series that got rushed to market when Clint Walker walked out on Cheyenne during a contract dispute with Warner Brothers. It's star was one Orville Whipple Hungerford, III, better known to us kids as Ty Hardin.

    Hardin certainly didn't have the looming presence of 6'6" Clint Walker as Cheyenne, but he was a more than adequate western hero. Bronco Lane was a wanderer and in the course of this Confederate veteran's western wanderings he ran into a whole lot of famous true western legends. Warner Brothers was doing something that all the studios did with their westerns back in the day, mixed their cowboy heroes with stories real western personalities.

    When Clint Walker came back and Cheyenne resumed production, Bronco was sort of like a spare tire that became a fifth wheel in the Warner Brothers western shows. It was on for a few seasons and dropped. It's star got a few good movie roles and then dropped out of sight.

    Years ago I read that Hardin got involved in some really far right wing politics. I mean John Birch Society style right wing. I'm not sure if that drove casting directors to pass him by or did he get involved in that blaming his fading career on the Communists. Either way it's kind of a sad story.

    But I still remember that theme song, "Bronco, Bronco, Tearing Across The Texas Plains, Bronco, Bronco, Bronco Lane."
  • This one goes back a long time. Anyone who remembers the show must be really old. For reasons I do not understand it was never rerun here in Germany. So it is a good age tester. The only thing I remember is that Bronco Lane used to drink water out of his hat. And that I liked it a lot. The fondest and saddest memory is this. I must have been 8 or 9 at the time when a friend told me that his parents just bought a color TV. I said what do you mean "Color?". He said that in it the movies are colored. I told him he was an idiot, of course everything was colored. Well, I went back home switched TV on and yes, Bronco was running and everything was black and white. I could not believe it. I had never noticed before. That was the day when color left my TV life. For a long time at least. (I wonder when I realized that movies were only two-dimensional.)

    Years later when my family finally bought a color TV I did not like it and to this day I prefer black and white films to colored. And at least with certain TV series like "The Fugitive" that was colored in later seasons I turn off the color.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The classic TV Western series 'Bronco' had an interesting broadcast history. It debuted on the ABC television network on September 23, 1958 during what would have been the fourth season of 'Cheyenne', except for a contract dispute Clint Walker had with Warner Brothers. 'Bronco' alternated weekly episodes with 'Sugarfoot' starring Will Hutchins during the 1958/1959 season, and during the next two years it shared time with both 'Cheyenne' and 'Sugarfoot'. In it's fourth and final season, the show alternated with 'Cheyenne', which went on to last one more year. The Bronco theme song is prominent in the early episodes, but in it's final seasons, the show appeared under the Cheyenne banner with a musical opening without lyrics from all three programs.

    Actor Ty Hardin portrayed the character of Bronco Layne (no, not a misspelling, check the credits). It was revealed in the very first episode titled 'The Besieged' how Bronco came about his name. As a youth, he had Indian friends who taught him how to tame and ride wild horses. That first show had Claude Akins and Jack Elam appearing as guest stars. It didn't take very long for Hardin to show off his muscular physique, his first beefcake scene occurred in the second episode, 'Quest of the Thirty Dead'. From there on, he made any number of appearances without his shirt on, presumably to the delight of the show's female fans.

    It was in the second season episode 'The Burning Springs' that Bronco's background was revealed as a captain in the Confederate Army during the Civil War with Company B, the Moccasin Rangers. In the story, he impersonates a Union officer to learn the enemy's position. Future TV Batman, Adam West appeared in the episode, interesting in itself because the part of the costumed hero was first offered to Hardin, who had to decline because of another filming project. If things had gone slightly different, Hardin might be better known today.

    One of the things that intrigues me with these early TV programs is seeing who shows up before they became major stars. Among the character actors who appeared in the series were Myron Healey, John Dehner, Leo Gordon, Alan Hale Jr. and Harry Lauter. Bigger names in later years included James Coburn, Robert Vaughn, Lorne Greene, Pernell Roberts, and Buddy Ebsen. But the biggest surprise appearance to my mind had to be that of actress Mary Tyler Moore who showed up in #2.27, 'Flight From an Empire'. The following year, Moore appeared as a saloon gal in a 'Wanted: Dead or Alive' episode with Steve McQueen. But for sheer star power, it was episode #4.54, 'The Equalizer' that had the most recognizable celebrity names in it, with Marie Windsor, Harry Lauter, Jack Elam, Steve Brodie, and get this - Jack Nicholson!, as a member of the Bill Doolin gang feuding with the Butch Cassidy bunch! It was a minor part for Nicholson, but what the heck, he was in it!

    Following the weekly shows, you really couldn't pin down Bronco with any particular job. He cold be a trail driver, a sheriff in a small town, a wagon master, or simply a cowboy riding from town to town in the Old West. Most of the shows took place in the years following the Civil War, with Layne meeting up with legendary characters like Wild Bill Hickok, Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, Jesse James and Butch Cassidy. Quick on the draw and handy with his fists, Bronco Layne cut an imposing figure, as suggested by a Wanted Poster in #2.35, 'Montana Passage'. Falsely accused of a crime, Bronco is described as six feet four inches and twenty six years old.

    With some regret, I never caught the show when it originally aired on television, but just recently finished watching all sixty eight episodes of the series. Putting things in perspective, I'd consider 'Bronco' a mid-tier TV Western, adequate for it's time during the Golden Age of television, but not quite as good as some of the premier shows like 'The Rifleman', 'Wanted: Dead or Alive', or it's counterpart in the ABC lineup, 'Cheyenne'. Still, when I say that I never ran across a Western I didn't like, I'd have to include 'Bronco' in the mix.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Bronco Lane was the first film character I truly liked. It was a good series that should have lasted longer than the 3-4 it was on TV.

    The biggest mystery is why Ty Hardin did not have a longer film career. He was a good looking actor who seemed to do well in everything he did. However, for whatever reason, he was out of the business by 1970.

    I believe he is still alive and like Robert Fuller, James Drury, Robert Fuller, and Clint Walker still has a loyal fan following. Another surprise is none of their career's lasted into the 1980s.