Who Is John Bronco, The ‘Long-Lost Ford Pitchman’?

In many ways, 2020 has been the year of the Bronco. The hype, the release, the expectations. And now…who is John Bronco?

Legend has it he was the greatest pitchman who ever lived and the inspiration for the Ford Bronco name. If you’ve never heard of him, you’re not alone. A mockumentary trailer has been posted promoting a short film that’s coming soon from Ron Howard and Brian Grazier’s Imagine Entertainment on the fabricated hero.

In a synopsis of the film, that was set to premiere at the canceled 2020 Tribeca Film Festival it’s stated that Ford hired John Bronco to race its new “prototype SUV” in the 1966 Baja 1000 before making him the face of the new truck. However, although the Bronco was revealed in ’65, John Bronco’s alleged ’66 race victory could never have happened being that the first Baja 1000 was actually held in ’67 and a Bronco didn’t win it until ’68.

It’s unclear Ford’s direct relationship to the film. A Ford spokesman has said Imagine pitched the story and that Ford offered access to its archive to “help share the story of John Bronco,” but would neither confirm nor deny the automaker’s funding or involvement.

Ford did, however, promote Aug. 11 as “Bronco Day” to commemorate the date it was revealed in 1965. A website surrounding the #WhereIsJohnBronco narrative suggests John Bronco dropped out of the spotlight in 1996 when production of the last generation Bronco was discontinued. The odd site even has a place where people can submit sightings of John Bronco.

“His commercials were on every channel and his jingle went triple-platinum. John launched his own cologne, breakfast cereal, video game, action figure, you name it. He was the very embodiment of the American dream, that is, until it all came crashing down.”

The short 37-minute film is narrated by Dennis Quaid and features Tim Meadows, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Bo Derek with none other than Walton Goggins as John Bronco. While it appears to be a half-hour long ad for the Ford Bronco, are you going to watch?

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