Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Collecting Twin Peaks

A big fan of Twin Peaks, I’ve been collecting anything and everything associated with the television show and film for 26 years. I’ve got some cool stuff and some weird stuff (and some one-of-a kind stuff).

What's in the box?

Twin Peaks generated only a few pieces of official merchandise (books, T-shirts, cards, etc.), most of which were relatively easy to get, back in the day. Still, there were some goodies out there, beyond the official products.  These items were often unique, and fun, and worth having.

Twin Peaks was big hit outside of the U.S. and many overseas tie-in items were amusing and well-designed (check this one out). Promotional materials (press-kits, posters, free merchandise) from both here and abroad were rarer to come by and quite desirable (these pieces have always been highly-prized by me.) Finally, there were those very rare items such as props and cast gifts, which were extremely tough to find.  A lot of these items have been listed and discussed on Dugpa.com forums.  Check them out here.

As a collector, one of the most exciting aspects of the new Showtime Twin Peaks series is the prospect of new merchandise.  I’m sure we’ll get a new soundtrack and assorted books and calendars and such.  But how far will they go this time?  Will David Lynch approve things such as action figures, a common item for almost every series nowadays (I mean, if they can make Breaking Bad figures, surely they can make Twin Peaks figures.) Will there be Funko Pop figures? Card games?  Comic books?

All of this is possible and some of it is probable.  Although I strongly believe David Lynch will not want to dilute the brand, or diminish the magic of Twin Peaks by simply making it a commodity. (Lynch reportedly did not approve the 1992 Twin Peaks calendar, and it’s hard to imagine he will endorse something like a silly bobble-head figure.) Still, I’m certain some interesting treats are on the horizon.

To celebrate collecting Twin Peaks, I’m posting pictures of some of the cool and unusual items I have in my collection.

Today, I’ve got the New Line Home Video Promotional Box.  This unmarked black, cardboard box contained a T-shirt, a thermos and a coffee mug.  

The box was shipped by New Line cinema to video wholesale distributors who used them as incentives: video stores that ordered a certain number of Fire Walk With Me videotapes could get one of these special boxes.  

The mug is quite handsome: it is shiny bright red and displays the FWWM logo.  

The thermos is rather disappointing: it simple lightweight plastic container.  

The T-shirt is the most unusual item as it was “pine-scented.” (I should say, 25 years later, the pine scent is barely noticeable.) All the white areas on the shirt are embossed with a puffy, soft texture.

I don't know how many promotional boxes were made, or how many survived intact to make it into the hands of collectors.  I haven't seen one for sale on eBay in quite awhile. Fifteen years ago, a few sold online for about $100. I don't what, if any value, these boxes would have today.

BONUS: Fire Walk With Me matchbook.

This is a cool piece.  I don’t know where I got it, but I always thought it was the perfect promotional item for Fire Walk With Me.

Hope you like these photos!  More to come!

Monday, June 20, 2016

The Obscure Twin Peaks: The Twin Peaks Hotline (Episodes 11 & 12)

Here are the next two installments in the Twin Peaks Hotline: a service that allowed viewers of Twin Peaks to call and listen to recorded messages that would recount recent plot developments on the series.   The messages allowed listeners “eavesdrop” on Lucy and Andy (and a mysterious, unidentified voice) as they discussed what was happening around the town.

Episode 11:

Lucy:  Hello, Twin Peaks Sheriff's station, Lucy speaking.  Oh hi, I guess you're calling to find out what's been happening.  Well, I'm going to tell you!  All men in the world should be taken to a desert island and forced to eat sand!  If I ever meet another guy wearing an ascot, I'm going to--to--okay, Dick Tremayne is a weasel, a spineless, penny-loafing weasel!  If he thought he could buy is way out of his responsibility to me, well, he has another thing coming!  And--
Andy:  Lucy?
Lucy:  What!
Andy:  You have another call.
Lucy:  Hello?  Mom?
Andy:  Sometimes I figure you just need to talk to your mom.  I may have jumped over the fence before the horse started--uh--pulling the cart.  I think I was wrong about Lucy seeing other men.  Doc Hayward says I'm better!  And there's no reason I can't jump in the saddle, and gather moss.  Whenever I want.  I guess you want to know what else happened.  Uh, Judge Sternwood arrived.  He'll be handling Mr. Palmer's case.  Harry said that Leland will probably plead temporary insanity.  [Stat­ic]
Voice:  I'll try to stick to the facts.  Jean Renault has made a deal with Ben Horne--Audrey's life for Agent Cooper's, a simple clean exchange.  Jean also removed Mr. Battis from any further business dealings--point blank.  Agent Cooper should be very careful here.  Our visitor from the East, Josie Packard, has returned from her--shopping trip, and was welcomed home by her cousin Jonathan, a mysterious Asian man who's been sniffing around the Great Northern.  They seem to be making plans that don't include Sheriff Truman or the mill.  Jonathan also paid a visit to Hank Jennings to sever his relationship with Josie.  Hank agreed, of course--and is fortunate to still be among the living.  I do hope Donna is as cautious with her friend, Mr. Harold Smith.
Lucy:  [amidst static] --who told my mother?
Voice:  I better go!
Lucy:  Andy Brennan, you come back on this line!
Andy:  I--
Lucy:  Did you tell my mother about the baby?
Andy:  Not exactly.  She asked me how you were, and when was I ever going to marry you, and--
Lucy:  Marry?
Andy:  It slipped out.
Lucy:  Slipped?!
Andy:  Then she said that I should do the proper thing, or she would break my legs.
Lucy:  Oh no!
Andy:  I thought she liked me.
Lucy:  I have to go now.  Thanks for calling.  I'll be here next Sunday with more news.

Length of recording:  2 minutes, 33 seconds.

Comments:  This recording followed episode 11 by Jerry Stahl/Harley Peyton/Robert Engels/Mark Frost (writers) and Todd Holland (director).

Lucy's anger at men results from Tremayne's offer to pay for an abortion for her.  (She plans to keep the baby.) 

While Lucy talks to her mom, Andy updates the listener on various plot developments. Andy's comment about his being "better" refers to the impotency test that he "flunked" but was allowed to re-take.  (Although, he doesn't get his test results back until episode 12.) The mysterious voice then takes control of the line. Obviously, the quick recitation of facts fails to convey any of the story’s nuance, particularly regarding Harold Smith and Donna.

Episode 12:

Lucy:  Twin Peaks Sheriff's--uh, actually I'm over here in Tacoma at my sister's, helping her out because she just had a baby.  So I came out her to help and to clear my own head, which, as you know is a little clogged up at the moment.  I also got the name of a clinic upcomplete amateur.
here that can help you with decisions about ba­bies, and life, and what a huge mess I'm in.  So, I'm here, which means that I won't be at the station, which means the phones are in the hands of a
Andy:  Ow!  Hello?  Miss Zipman?
Lucy:  Andy?
Andy:  Lucy?
Lucy:  What are you doing on this line?
Andy:  I was talking about Miss Zipman about her--where are you?
Lucy:  None of your business!
Andy:  I've been looking all over--
Lucy:  So what's happened in town?  The caller would like to know.
Andy:  Oh.  Hi!  This is Deputy Andy.
Lucy:  They know who you are.
Andy:  Uh, Mr. Palmer got bail.  I did a drawing of his head, and it might go in the newspaper.  Leo isn't going to stand trial until he stops being a vegetable.  So I guess he's going to go home so Shelly can take care of him.
Lucy:  Poor Shelly!
Andy:  I don't even think she likes vegetables.  Lucy?  I want you to know--[static]
Voice:  This is all very interesting, but I don't think it's why you called.  Let's get to business.  Donna Hayward and Harold Smith have gotten quite friendly--so friendly, that with the help of Maddy, Donna tried to steal Laura's diary.  It didn't work; he caught them.  And now they're both in big trouble.  Ben Horne tried to play it fast and loose, setting Cooper up to get killed when he tried to rescue Audrey.  Cooper had other plans, and, with a little help from the Bookhouse Boys Truman and Hawk, dear Audrey is back and safe, with only a few casualties sustained by the rabble at One-Eyed Jacks.  Although thanks to Jean Renault, good old Blackie has bought the farm instead of the casino.  How we will miss her!  My time is just--[static]
Andy:  Lucy, everything is going to be all right.  Lucy?
Lucy:  Andy, are you there?
Andy:  I'm here.  I can hear you.
Lucy:  Is that you, Mrs. Zipman?
Andy:  It's me!
Lucy:  Andy, if you're there and not saying anything, like you always used to in high school when you hyperventilated, and had to breathe in the bag in French class--
Andy:  Lucy, I'm trying to tell you--
Lucy:  Unlucky in love:  my life story.  I'll be back next Sunday with more news if my life hasn't completely fallen apart more than it already has.  This is Lucy.  Bye-bye.

Length of recording:  2 minutes 33 seconds

Comments:  This recording followed episode 12 by Barry Pullman (writer) and Graeme Clifford (director).

Andy and Lucy can't seem to agree on the marital status of Ms. Zipman; twice Andy refers to her as "Miss," but Lucy calls her "Mrs."

This recording reveals how Andy knows French—he apparently took classes in high school.

There is no explanation of how Lucy--at her sister's home in Tacoma--answers a phone call into the Twin Peaks Sheriff's sta­tion.  Following recordings handle the situation more logically--Andy answers our phone call, and Lucy calls on another line.

The mysterious voice relates what is happening with Donna, Maddy and Harold, but doesn’t mention Harold’s curious reaction when he is forced outside by Donna--one of the most fascinating occurrences in the episode.  While much of the details of what happened in the episode is conveyed, any of the promised "new information and clues about events on upcoming shows" is completely missing.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The Obscure Twin Peaks: The Twin Peaks Hotline (Episodes 9 & 10)

Twin Peaks began its second season on Sunday, September 30, 1990.  Because of the show's complexity and serial structure, ABC television wanted to help viewers stay up-to-date on plot developments and so initiated the Twin Peaks Sheriff's Station Hotline.  Viewers could call a number and listen to a recorded message featuring some of the show’s characters.  Ostensibly, viewers were calling the actual Twin Peaks Sheriff’s station and “eavesdropping” on Lucy and Andy (and a few other Twin Peaks characters) as they discussed the recent happenings in the town (i.e., the recent plot developments).  Another character—a mysterious, unidentified voice—typically interrupted Lucy and Andy's conversations and relayed information about events they could not know. (This allowed for more detailed story updates.) Then the phone line would be “returned” to the sheriff's station.

Lynch-Frost Productions created the recordings, which were available by calling a 900 phone number.  The entertainment wasn't cheap—it cost callers $2 for the first minute and $1 for each minute thereafter.  Supposedly, parts of the proceeds were donated to environmental causes.

The recordings stand as an amusing sidebar to the Twin Peaks phenomenon.  The writing was in keeping with the tone of the series, including the alternating humorous (Lucy/Andy) versus serious (mystery voice) presentations.  Having Kimmy Robertson and Harry Goaz reprise their Peaks characters provided a legitimacy to the endeavor and made the recordings fun.  Additionally, Angelo Badalamenti's music was part of every Hotline.  The “Twin Peaks Theme” (“Falling”) ended most of the spots.  “Dance of the Dream Man” provided the background music to all of the mysterious voice segments except the final one, which used “Laura Palmer's Theme.”

Nevertheless, despite the oversight of Lynch-Frost Produc­tions and the inclusion of Andy and Lucy, the Hotline cannot be considered part of any official Twin Peaks canon. In Twin Peaks, every episode (with minor exceptions) comprised a single day in the life of the characters.  But in the Twin Peaks Hotline, these one-day accounts are presented as weekly accounts.  Clearly, this was done so that Lucy or Andy could tell callers to “call back next week.”  As a result, there was a strange, off-kilter air to the proceedings, as if everything has been stuck in a time warp.  Perhaps appropriate, now that you think about it!

Here are the first two Hotline messages.  Look for more in the coming weeks.

Episode 9:

Lucy:  Hello, Twin Peaks Sheriff's station, this is Lucy speaking.  Boy, has stuff been happening or what!?  I heard through the Meals on Wheels people--I used to help them on my days off--that Donna went to see this old lady whose little kid took her creamed corn and held it in his hands like it was just a bunch of corn!  Which, I guess it was, except it was creamed, and that is just about the worst food in the history of the world. Speaking of creamed corn, do you believe that story about Deputy Brennan?
Andy:  I like creamed corn.
Lucy:  So now you're listening in on my calls!
Andy:  I was not.  I was just walking by the phone, and it blinked. What are you talking about?
Lucy:  I'm trying to tell the caller what's been happening.
Andy:  The fire department had its annual hose race.
Lucy:  Hose race?!  Can we stick to business here?  Some of us are professionals. Then Agent Cooper showed Ronette the drawing of Bob, the man in his dream, and it was the man who hurt her and killed Laura Palmer. Then, Leland Palmer recognized him too from when he was a kid up at Pearl Lakes.
Andy:  Yeah, the third man at the train car.
Lucy:  Real quick, Deputy.
Andy:  Then Agent Rosenfield told Agent Cooper that his old partner, Windom Earle, has vanished.
Lucy:  Deputy Brennan won't be joining us for any more of this conversation, now will he? Hello?  [Static begins, then subsides; an unidentified voice takes over the line.]
Voice:  Hello.  Look, I gotta be quick.  Audrey Horne paid a visit on Emory Battis at One-Eyed Jacks with some ice cubes and a vacuum cleaner and found out her father is the owner. She tried to call Cooper but got caught by Blackie. Kids these days! Then Major Briggs told Agent Cooper that messages have come from outer space that say, "The owls are not what they seem." I think he took it quite well.  Ben and Jerry have the ledgers from the mill. They were going to burn them but decided to roast marshmallows instead. Hey, look, I gotta go. Oh, one other thing: I believe Donna is about to go visit this mysterious Mr. Smith. I think it's a mistake.  [Static returns to the line, then sub­sides.]
Lucy:  What the hey is going on with these phones?  Have you heard a word I said?
Andy:  I don't think you should be talking that way from the sheriff's station, Lucy.
Lucy:  Deputy Brennan, how nice of you to join us again.
Andy:  I wanted to say that Hank Jennings used to be a Bookhouse Boy with Harry before he turned to a life of crime.
Lucy:  Man, what is a person to think!
Andy:  Lucy, there's a smelt fry down at the VFW Friday. Do you want to go?
Lucy:  You mean those little fish that look like something you'd feed your cat?
Andy:  You get a whole basket.
Lucy:  How romantic! No thank you! Well, thanks for calling. I'll be here next Sunday with more information. This is Lucy signing off.

Length of recording:  2 minutes, 36 seconds
Comments:  This recording followed episode 9 by Harley Peyton (writer) and David Lynch (director).  It sets the pattern that would be followed for all but one message: banter between Lucy and Andy (and, later, Dr. Hayward), then static as a mysterious voice interrupts the call to give a fairly straightforward plot synopsis (with occasional personal opinions), then finally a return to Andy and Lucy.

Hotline callers expected to receive new information and clues about events on upcoming shows. The only new information in this first recording is the bit about Donna's visit to Harold Smith--all in all a fairly undramatic revelation.

One notable scene from the episode not mentioned in the recording is Maddy's vision of Bob at the Hayward home.

Episode 10:

Lucy:  Hello, Twin Peaks Sheriff's station, Lucy speaking. Oh, hi. I'm kind of depressed at the moment. Well, see, there's this other man I've been seeing, once, Dick Tremayne--he's in men's wear up at Horne's.
Andy:  Hello?
Lucy:  Excuse me, but you picked up the wrong line again, Deputy Brennan!
Andy:  Oh. I thought you might be talking about what's been happening.
Lucy:  No! We were talking about--Austria!
Andy:  I've been to Austria.
Lucy:  Oh, well then please continue since you're such an expert.
Andy:  Um, they have good, really good chocolate, and I bought a pair of these leather shorts, latter-hoses, that the trolls wear, and they gave me a rash, so I--
Lucy:  I think we pretty much covered this area. Thank you for your assistance, Deputy Brennan. I have Doctor Hayward on the other line. He will fill you in on what's been going on over at the hospital.  Doc Hayward, are you there?
Hayward:  I'm here, Lucy. Well, Ronette Pulaski was visited by the killer in her room. He placed a small, typed letter "B" under her fingernail and a blue liquid in her IV. Other than that, Ronette was unhurt. Nadine Hurley, with the help of her husband Ed's singing voice, has come out of her coma with no permanent damage. She does, however, believe she is a cheerleader back in high school and that the nurses are pom-pom girls.  As soon as Doctor Jacoby is recovered enough himself, we expect he'll be of great help in bringing Nadine back to the present.
Lucy:  Thanks Doc! Hello?  [Static]
Voice:  Hello. The doctor doesn't know what kind of games his daughter is up to.  She visited Harold Smith, Laura's mysterious friend. He gave her a flower to put on her grave. Affairs of the heart. I believe this Mr. Smith has taken a liking to Donna--as he did to Laura, whose diary he has secretly kept. Oh, and do keep an eye on the last of the Renault brothers, Jean. He plans to kill Agent Cooper, and dear Audrey is caught right in the middle. I think they're on to me!  [Static]
Lucy:  Doctor Hayward?  Are you there?
Hayward:  I'm here.
Lucy:  There's something strange going on around here.
Andy:  Hi, Doctor Hayward!
Lucy:  Andy, are you listening again?
Hayward:  I have to get to a patient.
Andy:  Bye, doc!
Lucy:  Deputy Brennan, has anyone seen that one-armed man around here since he had that fit and injected himself with something?
Andy:  No.
Lucy:  Boy, what a day! And to top it all off, Leland Palmer was arrested for the murder of Jacques Renault! Well, thanks for calling. I'll be back next Sunday with more news. This is Lucy. Good-bye!

Length of recording:  2 minutes, 33 seconds
Comments:  This recording followed episode 10 by Robert Engels (writer) and Lesli Linka Glatter (director).

Lucy's depression results from her lunch date with Tremayne in which she tells him she's pregnant, and his response is far from encouraging.

"The Voice" provides no new plot information; Renault's plan to kill Cooper is alluded to in the episode.  (The word "kill" isn't specifically used, but the context is clear enough.)

This is the only Hotline recording that includes Dr. Hay­ward.