50 Years of On Any Sunday: Final Words

Malcolm Smith (left), Mert Lawwill (center) and Bruce Brown on a casual ride near Bruce Brown’s Santa Barbara rancho before Brown’s passing in 2017.

An enduring motorcycle legacy

Words by Mitch Boehm     
Photos courtesy of the Bruce Brown and Malcolm Smith archives

The closing scenes of On Any Sunday, shot on the beach at Camp Pendleton in the twilight, are wonderfully captured, the funky, ’60s-era, Dominic Frontiere Orchestra soundtrack’s title cut – sung superbly by Sally Stevens – making the slow-motion riding by Mert and the boys all the more memorable. I sometimes watch it when I’m feeling low, and bang! It does the trick every time.

“…It’s amazing the influence it’s had, the genuine fondness folks have for that film.”

Dana Brown, Bruce Brown’s son

“I often wonder how things would have turned out for me had I not been in the film,” Malcolm told me. “But what’s clear is that Bruce gave me millions of dollars of free publicity, and the movie today is more popular than ever. We sell copies of the DVD like crazy from our store to this very day.”

“I watched it a year or two ago,” Bruce Brown said in an interview before passing away in late 2017. “I’m not a fan of watching my movies. But I thought, ‘It’s not that bad!’ I’m proud of it. Proud of what it did for the motorcycle community.”

“You make a movie to make it, and maybe get your money back,” says Bruce’s son – and successful moviemaker himself – Dana Brown, “and all these years later, all these lives are changed. The spirt of [On Any Sunday]…every generation gets it! It’s my favorite. It’s amazing the influence it’s had, the genuine fondness folks have for that film.”

Genuine fondness. And it never seems to get old, either.

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How many movies are like that? Just the classics, really. Star Wars. A Christmas Story. Caddyshack. Gone With the Wind. And others.

On Any Sunday is indeed a classic, and we love it. Just like we love our Moms. 

On Any Sunday, looking back on the crowd

From the far out place I found

Screaming inside of me, and laughing out loud

I’m losing contact with the ground, I’m flyin’

Over my shoulder through the dust I’m calling

“Run wild and catch me if you can”

On Any Sunday I’m a flyin’ man

Free as the wind, faster than time, reason and rhyme are running behind

Tasting the sun, feeling the earth, knowing my worth and freeing my mind…

On Any Sunday, like the tail of a kite 

Flying and dancing in the wind

I’d like to break the string and drift out of sight

I may not pass this way again..

I’m Flyin’

Over my shoulder through the dust I’m calling

“Run wild and catch me if you can”

On Any Sunday I’m a Flyin’ Man

This is Part 10 of a 10-part series Thunder Press is publishing throughout January to celebrate On Any Sunday.

Read Part 1 HERE

Read Part 2 HERE

Read Part 3 HERE

Read Part 4 HERE

Read Part 5 HERE

Read Part 6 HERE

Read Part 7 HERE

Read Part 8 HERE

Read Part 9 HERE

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