Overview

Twin Peaks is an American television serial drama created by David Lynch and Mark Frost. The series follows the investigation headed by FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper of the murder of a popular teenager and homecoming queen, Laura Palmer.

Storyline

The body of a young girl (Laura Palmer) is washed up on a beach near the small Washington state town of Twin Peaks. FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper is called in to investigate her strange demise only to uncover a web of mystery that ultimately leads him deep into the heart of the surrounding woodland and his very own soul. Written by Douglas Baptie

Interesting facts

  • The pattern on the floor of the Black Lodge is an enlarged version of the pattern on the floor of the lobby of Henry’s house in Eraserhead, also directed by David Lynch. The pattern also appears on Leland Palmer’s sport coat at the end of the first episode, as he dances with Laura’s picture.
  • There was a 1991 Twin Peaks calendar that Hallmark refused to release due to Sherilyn Fenn’s appearance in Playboy.
  • In Sheriff Harry S Truman’s office there is a buck’s head mounted on the wall and a plaque reading “the buck stopped here”; a reference to President Harry S. Truman’s famous motto, “the buck stops here.”
  • Hank Jennings’ prisoner number was 24601 – the same as Jean Valjean’s in Les Miserables.
  • The one-armed man’s name, Gerard, is the same as the detective in The Fugitive looking for Richard Kimble who was looking for a one-armed man.
  • The character of the one-armed man, was originally only to appear in a walk on role in the pilot as an homage to The Fugitive. However, after David Lynch wrote the closed ending for the European version of the pilot, he decided to use the character to recite in infamous “Fire Walk With Me” poem. Highly impressed by the performance of Al Strobel, Lynch decided to make the character integral to the series mythology and give Strobel a recurring role on the show.
  • It is never revealed who actually attacked Jacoby in episode 7, but, according to Mark Frost, it was the same person that killed Laura Palmer.
  • David Lynch’s character Gordon Cole was named after an incidental character in the film Sunset Blvd.. Lynch has acknowledged Sunset Blvd. as a major influence, most notably in the similarly named Mulholland Dr..
  • There were plans to spin Sherilyn Fenn’s character Audrey Horne off into her own series, that didn’t come off. Apparently, Audrey inspired David Lynch for Naomi Watts’s character in Mulholland Dr., as Fenn said in an interview in 1997 about the Audrey Horne spin-off, “David was talking about ‘Mulholland Drive’, he talked about like ‘Audrey goes to Hollywood’. She’s driving along Mulholland in this convertible car… But it didn’t end up happening.”
  • David Lynch and Mark Frost were originally working on a screen adaptation of the Marilyn Monroe biography ‘Goddess’. When they failed to get the rights to the book, the project they embarked upon instead, ‘Twin Peaks’, contained many elements of Marilyn Monroe’s story – particularly the fact that she is killed just before she mentions in her diary that she is going to tell the world the truth about the famous and important man she is having an affair with (Ben Horne).
  • The series was originally to be titled “Northwest Passage”. The character of Josie Packard (played by Joan Chen) was originally named Giovanna “Jo” Pasqualini Packard, and was intended to be played by Isabella Rossellini, who was dating David Lynch at the time.
  • The weird vocal effects used during the “Black Lodge” sequences were achieved by having the actors learn their lines backwards. The result was then played backwards, meaning the lines came out forwards, but sounded bizarre and otherworldly.
  • The character of Madeleine Ferguson (Laura Palmer’s lookalike cousin, played by the same actress) was created because Lynch was so impressed by Sheryl Lee that he wanted to have her on the series full-time.
  • The population of Twin Peaks was originally only supposed to be 5,120. However, there was a backlash against rural-themed shows at the time, as networks were fearful that the burgeoning urban and suburban population of America would not be able to sympathize with shows set in small farming or industrial towns, so ABC requested that the sign read 51,201. In a “Visitor’s Guide to Twin Peaks” tie-in book authorized by creators David Lynch and Mark Frost, a note tells readers that the population was indeed 5,120, but that the sign had a “typo.”
  • Sheryl Lee plays two characters: Laura Palmer and her cousin, a blonde and a brunette. In Vertigo’Kim Novak’ plays two characters, a blonde and a brunette. One character is called Madeleine, and James Stewart’s character is called John Ferguson. The name of Laura Palmer’s cousin is an amalgamation of these two names: Madeleine Ferguson.
  • Kyle MacLachlan refused to further develop the storyline about his character Dale Cooper’s relationship with Audrey Horne ( Sherilyn Fenn), resulting in the writers having to abruptly change and add several second season story lines. As originally scripted, Audrey Horne would have been the one kidnapped by Windom Earle and taken to the Black Lodge in the series finale; the characters of Justice Wheeler and Annie were written in specifically to give Dale and Audrey “appropriate” love interests. At the time, the relationship between Cooper and Audrey was heavily publicized in TV Guide and other entertainment magazines, akin to the press given to later TV “power couples” (such as Mike and Susan of Desperate Housewives). The move alienated audiences and caused a further decline in the show’s already suffering ratings. At the time, Kyle MacLachlan attributed his insistence to a belief that the morally upright Cooper would not date an underage girl; however, Audrey was a high school senior who, in the time line of the series, would have graduated in one to two months, and in fact was not “underage”– in Washington state, the age of consent is sixteen, and Audrey is seventeen in the pilot. Crew members who would later attend the annual Twin Peaks convention would recall that MacLachlan was pressured into the decision by his then-girlfriend, Lara Flynn Boyle, who did not want her boyfriend sharing love scenes with Fenn, with whom Boyle did not get along on set.
  • Some scenes that explored the relationship between James Hurley (James Marshall) and his mother were filmed but finally never included in any episode.
  • The pilot was originally shown as one two-hour TV movie, but was later broken into a two-part episode for the series. There was also a theatrical version of the pilot released in Europe. See Twin Peaks.
  • Ranked #20 in TV Guide’s list of the “25 Top Cult Shows Ever!” (30 May 2004 issue).
  • The insurance agent that comes to see Catherine concerning the forged insurance deal is named Walter Neff. The crooked insurance agent played by Fred MacMurray in Double Indemnity is also named Walter Neff.
  • In Germany, broadcasting network RTL canceled the show after 20 episodes due to bad ratings because rival network SAT1 told the audience the identity of Laura’s murderer before the first episode aired.
  • This series is notorious for having one of the most torrid productions in television history. Though a major cult phenomenon and a ratings smash in the first year, the series was abruptly canceled in its second season. Both Mark Frost and David Lynch attribute this to ABC’s constant changing of the show’s time slot, as well as the network insisting that the murderer of Laura Palmer be revealed. Lynch also was unable to focus his full attention on the show in its second year, as he was promoting Wild at Heart at the time. After the Palmer murder was solved, ratings plummeted, and though Lynch returned to the series full time with the intention of further exploring the origins of Laura’s killer, ABC canceled the series. The cable network BRAVO then tried to revive the show, even hiring ‘David Lynch’ to film new scenes for episodes in syndication. Still, audience interest waned. As of 2007, despite the release of the tie-in feature film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, high sales on DVD and several fan attempts to revive the series, David Lynch has resisted any attempt to do so.
  • “Twin Peaks” takes place in and was filmed in Washington State. Two major characters in the series share the names of two legendary figures in Washington state history. FBI agent Dale Bartholomew Cooper shares the last name and first initials of D.B. Cooper, the mysterious hijacker who disappeared after jumping out of a plane over Washington State in 1971. Sheriff Harry Truman shares his name not only with the U.S. president, but also with Harry R. Truman, the 83-year-old lodge owner who was killed in the 18 May 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens after refusing to evacuate his lodge at the foot of the volcano.
  • The character of Bob came about when David Lynch had a sudden image of set decorator Frank Silva hidden in Laura Palmer’s room. Lynch filmed the infamous shot of Silva hiding behind Laura’s bed without any idea of what he would use it for. Later, when filming a shot of Sarah Palmer (Grace Zabriskie) sitting up and screaming, Lynch noticed that Silva’s reflection was visible in the shot, purely by accident. Lynch then came up with the idea of BOB as an other-worldly spirit, giving birth to the series mythology.
  • Dr. Jacoby is based on the late ethnobotanist Terrence McKenna. Their physical appearance is strikingly similar, their dress style is similar and they are both in the liberal arts professions. Dr. Jacoby holidays in Hawaii and has a Hawaiian wife, McKenna lived in Hawaii. Dr. Jacoby has a notable mushroom shaped lamp, McKenna studied and wrote widely on psychedelic mushroom culture.
  • The December 1990 Playboy starred Sherilyn Fenn on the cover and semi-nude inside.
  • Everett McGill and Wendy Robie who play husband and wife Ed and Nadine Hurley also play husband and wife as the “Dad” and “Mom” in People Under The Stairs (1991)
  • The character Maddie Ferguson is said to be visiting from Missoula. Missoula, Montana is the hometown of series creator David Lynch.
  • According to an interview with Joan Chen in a featurette included with the 2007 DVD release, the character of Josie was originally written as an Italian character, with Lynch’s domestic partner at the time Isabella Rossellini slated to play the role.
  • Miguel Ferrer was cast as FBI Agent Rosenfeld after David Lynch saw him in RoboCop.
  • At the beginning of the shooting of the second season, actress Sherilyn Fenn came down with a bad case of pneumonia, making headlines that the shooting of the series might be affected or that she might have to leave the show. As writer/producer Harley Peyton said in an interview: “It looked like it could give us some really serious problems. It turned out all right. She was tremendous and recovered rather quickly and came back sooner than she had to. We had different directors shooting each day and two directors shooting in a single day and, in fact, got all of her scenes done.”
  • Ray Wise, Miguel Ferrer, and Daniel O’Herlihy all appeared in RoboCop (1987). However, in Robocop, only Ferrer and O’Herlihy ever shared screen time, whereas in Twin Peaks, only Wise and Ferrer ever share screen time (O’Herlihy appears later).
  • Dana Ashbrook and Robert Bauer wrote a road movie script called “Driven To It” that David Lynch offered to executive produce in name only in order to help them, but Ashbrook and Bauer couldn’t get financing for it.
  • During the series run, two official tie-in books were released as prequels to the series, ‘The Autobiography of FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper’ (ISBN:0671744003) and ‘The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer’. The latter book was commissioned by Lynch to be written by his twenty-one year old daughter Jennifer, to whom Lynch revealed all of the series’ secrets so that the book could accurately reflect the events of the series. The diary was written with several “missing pages” (which presumably implicate the killer) with the remaining pages making Ben Horne look guilty.
  • Miguel Ferrer’s father, José Ferrer, worked with David Lynch in Dune.
  • Another parallel with the life of Marilyn Monroe, though probably unintentional. Monroe was a friend of Rosemary Clooney, and was invited to her house for a party in 1955. Clooney had recently had a baby, and took Monroe upstairs to see him. He burst into tears when Monroe first cradled him, until he opened his eyes and saw Monroe, and simply stared back at here, wide-eyed. Monroe ended up spending the entire party upstairs with the baby. That newborn was none other than cast member Miguel Ferrer.

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