New short film explores ‘disappearance’ of Ford pitchman John Bronco

The legend is back with the 2021 Bronco. But the legendary pitchman vanished from public life in 1996 and hasn’t resurfaced.


Or has he?
That’s the comedic concept behind “John Bronco,” a short film that weaves a fictional story about the rugged man who supposedly starred in ads for the original Bronco. The character is played with super panache by actor Walton Goggins (FX’s “Justified,” CBS’ “The Unicorn”).
Think the Marlboro man crossed with ’70s-era Burt Reynolds, with a pinch of “MacGruber” tossed in for good measure.
A brief trailer for “John Bronco” arrived online yesterday that shows Goggins in a bunch of vintage-looking film clips and wearing a variety of cowboy hats and outdoorsman outfits (including some retro jeans-cutoff shorts of astounding shortness).
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“He was a rodeo rider. A racing champion. A sex symbol. And the greatest pitchman in history until he disappeared,” explains the narration (voiced by Dennis Quaid). Oh, and Bronco went missing the same year the other Bronco went out of production.
There also is a website that asks, “Where is John Bronco?” and invites visitors to upload information and photos about “sightings” of what’s described as “the global phenomenon.”


The short film is directed by Jake Szymanski, who helmed the mockumentaries “7 Days In Hell,” which starred Andy Samberg and Kit Harington in the story of a seven-day-long championship tennis match, and “Tour de Pharmacy,” a mock expose with Samberg of doping in professional cycling.
The cast includes Detroit’s own Tim Meadows as Bronco’s manager, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as himself and Tim Baltz (who co-stars with Goggins on HBO’s “The Righteous Gemstones”) as a Ford archivist.
More: He was 1 of 8 relatives to work in auto plants. Then he began telling stories to millions.
More: Ford just revealed 2021 Bronco: Why this new model is different
“John Bronco” was among the short films included in the postponed 2020 Tribeca Film Festival in New York City.
The film is a production of Imagine Documentaries, which saw the potential for a pop culture mockumentary not long after Ford revealed it was relaunching the Bronco. Ford Motor Company opened its archives and helped with sourcing vehicles for the project and allowed parts of it to be shot at Ford’s headquarters in Dearborn.
The release date for “John Bronco” hasn’t been announced yet, but the trailer promises it’s coming soon. And just like the new Bronco vehicle’s tagline, you can bet the film’s humor will be built wild.
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