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."
In the 2014 book Reflections: An Oral History of Twin Peaks by Brad Dukes, Jules Haimovitz (who was the president and COO of Spelling Entertainment while Twin Peaks was on) says that during the show's run, he got a call from the financier Carl Lindler demanding to know who killed Laura Palmer. Lindler told Haimovitz that he was asking not for himself but for then-president of the United States George Bush, who was in turn asking for Mikhail Gorbachev, then the leader of the U.S.S.R.
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 (1963). However, after David Lynch wrote the closed ending for the European version of the pilot, he decided to use the character to recite the 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.
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.
According to director Lesli Linka Glatter, because the pilot she directed had a convention happening at the Horne's hotel, she decided as a running gag that every time she directed an episode, a different themed convention would be taking place at the hotel.
The character of Madeleine Ferguson (Laura Palmer's lookalike cousin, played by the same actress) was created because David Lynch was so impressed by Sheryl Lee that he wanted to have her on the series full-time.
Steven Spielberg, who was a big fan of the show, was originally set to direct the first episode of the second season before David Lynch decided to direct it himself.
There were plans to spin off Sherilyn Fenn's character, Audrey Horne, into her own series, but they didn't come off. Apparently, Audrey inspired David Lynch for Naomi Watts's character in Mulholland Drive (2001). 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."
Miguel Ferrer was cast as FBI Agent Rosenfeld after David Lynch saw him as Bob Morton in RoboCop (1987).
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.
Sheryl Lee plays two characters: blonde Laura Palmer and her brunette cousin. In Vertigo (1958) 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.
Don S. Davis, who portrayed Major Garland Briggs, credited the show as the luckiest break he'd ever had as an actor. When he was initially going to audition for David Lynch, he didn't even have to read but just met with Lynch. Lynch had liked Davis after the meeting and wrote his part around the chemistry he had with the other cast members. Davis went on to say that because of the show, he developed a lot of life-long friendships with the cast and crew. He initially portrayed Briggs as a pompous buffoon. Lynch took him aside and explained that there was more to the character than seen in his first appearance and Davis adjusted his performance accordingly.
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 (1977), 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.
The character Maddie Ferguson is from Missoula, hometown of series creator David Lynch.
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, while McKenna lived in Hawaii. Dr. Jacoby has a notable mushroom-shaped lamp, and McKenna studied and wrote widely on psychedelic mushroom culture.
"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 and extortionist who disappeared after jumping out of a plane over the Washington-Oregon borderlands in 1971. (Factual sticklers will note that the man called himself Dan Cooper, not D.B. Cooper, which was a name given to him by an inaccurate press report.) Sheriff Harry Truman shares his name not only with the U.S. president Harry S. Truman, 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.
Some scenes that explored the relationship between James Hurley (James Marshall) and his mother were filmed but never included in any episode.
In a parallel with the life of Marilyn Monroe, though probably unintentional, Monroe was a friend of Rosemary Clooney and was invited to a party at her house 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, then simply stared back at her, wide-eyed. Monroe ended up spending the entire party upstairs with the baby. That newborn was none other than cast member Miguel Ferrer.
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 by Victor Hugo.
The series was presented with a time frame of roughly one day per episode, in the manner of a daytime soap opera. Consequently the entire series takes place in the month following the discovery of the body of Laura Palmer.
There was a 1991 Twin Peaks calendar that Hallmark refused to release due to Sherilyn Fenn's appearance in Playboy.
Mädchen Amick originally auditioned for the role of Donna Hayward which ultimately went to Lara Flynn Boyle. However, the creators of the show were so impressed by Amick that they created the role of Shelly specifically for her.
Creators David Lynch and Mark Frost assigned no episode titles, only episode numbers. When the series aired in Germany, titles were assigned, which were then translated to English. The episodes are untitled on the DVD sets, but the titled episodes appear on the official Twin Peaks CBS website when streaming the episodes.
Twin Peaks was one of the first shows to develop a cult following specifically on the Internet. Viewers logging in to use net discussion groups dissected each episode, traded jokes and even created a "lost" 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 (1990).
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."
Entertainment Weekly included this show in its "25 Greatest Cult TV Shows Ever" list at position #5 in the September 29, 2009 issue.
The pilot received so much positive buzz that it may have inspired an homage before it even aired. A two-part arc of the series Wisguy centered around a series of murders in a small town in Washington state and even featured a sheriff who cries at the discovery of a dead body. The town's name was Lynchboro.
According to the CBS DVD documentary "A Slice of Lynch", David Lynch would routinely refer to and call Kyle McLachlan and Madchen Amick "Kale" and "Madge-Kin", respectively.
Deputy Hawk was not present in the original pilot script. In his place was an African-American deputy named Bernie Hill.
In the pilot's original script, Sheriff Harry S. Truman was instead named Daniel "Dan" Steadman.
The children of several cast and crew members have since become film and television stars: Russ Tamblyn (Doctor Jacoby) is the father of Amber Tamblyn; Mary Jo Deschanel (Eileen Hayward) and series director Caleb Deschanel are the parents of Zoey and Emily Deschanel; Peggy Lipton is the mother of Rashida Jones; finally, series director Stephen Gyllenhaal is the father of Maggie and Jake Gyllenhaal.
The insurance agent Walter Neff is named after the character played by Fred MacMurray in Double Indemnity (1944), who has the same profession.
The veterinarian investigated in season 1 is named Dr. Lydecker. The myna bird examined in the same season is named Waldo. A leading character in the film noir classic Laura (1944) is named Waldo Lydecker.
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 David Lynch's romantic partner at the time, Isabella Rossellini, slated to play the role.
Debuted as a mid-season replacement during the 1989-1990 season - the same season in which The Simpsons debuted. While the series had very different fates - Twin Peaks lasted for only two seasons while The Simpsons has lasted for three decades - both shows have proven highly influential. The Simpsons has in fact paid homage to Twin Peaks at least twice; however to date Kimmy Robertson is the only original cast member to provide a guest voice.
Catherine E. Coulson (Margaret Lanterman / The Log Lady) died in 2015. Her gravestone has much of the usual material that one would expect to find on a cemetery marker: her English name (Catherine Elizabeth Coulson), her Hebrew name (Chana Elisheva), her birth and death years (1943-2015) and the words "Daughter, Sister, Mother, Friend." Also appearing above all of that information is an engraved line-art image of two hands cradling a log--a tribute to her iconic role as Margaret Lanterman / The Log Lady on Twin Peaks.
The one-armed man's name, Gerard, is the same as the detective in The Fugitive (1963) looking for Richard Kimble, who was looking for a one-armed man.
Warren Frost, and Grace Zabriskie, who played Dr. Hayward and Sarah Palmer respectively, would later go on to play the parents of Susan Ross, George Costanza's fiancée on Seinfeld (1989)
Ranked #20 in TV Guide's list of the "25 Top Cult Shows Ever!" (30 May 2004 issue).
During the X-Files panel with David Duchovny and Mitch Pileggi on January 7, 2017 at Wizard World New Orleans, Duchovny was asked about his role of DEA Agent Denise Bryson. He revealed that the role was originally written for Mark Frost's friend, cult actor James Spader. However, Spader ended up having to turn down the role due to scheduling conflict with another shoot, so the role was offered to young up and coming actors and David got the part. And the only thing he now regrets about his time on the original show is that none of his scenes were directed by Lynch.
Richard Beymer and Russ Tamblyn both starred in the film version of West Side Story, as Tony and Riff respectively. However, they were cast as Ben Horne and Lawrence Jacoby independent of each other and the coincidence was not noted until afterwards. In fact they didn't share many scenes until Horne's civil war delusion subplot in season 2.
Prior to his role as Dale Cooper, Kyle MacLachlan played a young FBI agent assigned to a strange murder detail in The Hidden (1987). The Hidden revolves around extraterrestrial activity, a plot point that is explored in the series.
In separate lists published in the April 2000 issue of Spectrum, Craig Miller and John Thorned both ranked this show as the number 1 best TV series of the 1990s.
David Lynch and Mark Frost first worked together on the unproduced script One Saliva Bubble, a bizarre comedy in which an accident at a power plant causes mayhem in a small town. When neither that film nor their Marilyn Monroe biopic came to pass they sought out a possible television deal. One of the television projects they first proposed was The Lemurians, based on legends of an Atlantis-like lost civilization. Lynch and Frost took elements from the Lemurians plot and the Monroe biopic to create Twin Peaks.
The show (and the prequel movie)'s immense popularity in Japan led to a series of commercials advertising Georgia brand canned coffee. The commercials starred Kyle MacLachlan, Maedchen Amick, Catherine Coulson, Harry Goaz, Michael Horse and Kimmy Robertson as well as a new agent,"Ken," played by a Japanese actor. The spots presented a new mystery and even referenced The Black Lodge.
'Mädchen Amick' (Shelly Johnson) said that 'Eric Da Re' who plays her abusive husband Leo Johnson was actually a very sweet guy off-camera and she had a hard time remembering to be afraid of him while shooting scenes.
Appeared on Time magazine's list of the "All-Time Best 100 TV Shows" by critic James Poniewozik in the September 5, 2007 issue.
Ray Wise, Miguel Ferrer, and Dan 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).
In 2013, the band Bastille wrote and performed the song "Laura Palmer," based on the hit ABC series Twin Peaks.
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.
Jack Nance (who played Pete Martell) and Catherine E. Coulson (who played the Log Lady) were married to each other from 1968 to 1976.
Steven Spielberg expressed interest in directing an episode, in particular the first episode of Season 2. When David Lynch decided to direct that episode himself, Spielberg was unable to find another opening in his schedule. However, he did direct Don S. Davis in his next film, Hook (1991), and Laura Dern in his subsequent film, Jurassic Park (1993).
David Lynch and Mark Frost watched the original film Peyton Place to get an idea of how to develop the town's inhabitants, and ended up borrowing several ideas. Both revolve around a young girl who was sexually abused by a family member. Russ Tamblyn also appeared in both projects.
Sheryl Lee was the original actress to play Mary Alice Young on "Desperate Housewives" initial pilot episode. The pilot was re-shot and she was replaced by Brenda Strong who play "Jones" on four episodes of this show.
Many of the show's cast members had previously collaborated with David Lynch before the series was filmed. Jack Nance (Pete Martell) played the lead in Eraserhead and had minor roles in both Dune and Blue Velvet, Kyle MacLachlan (Dale Cooper) played lead roles in Dune and Blue Velvet, Frank Silva (BOB) worked on set for Dune, Blue Velvet and Wild at Heart, Catherine E. Coulson (The Log Lady) did assistant camera work on the set of Eraserhead. Everett McGill (Big Ed), Grace Zabriskie (Sarah Palmer) and Charlotte Stewart (Betty Briggs) also had small roles in Lynch's early work.
Several actors went on to have memorable roles on Seinfeld. Warren Frost (Doctor Hayward) and Grace Zabriskie (Sarah Palmer) played the Rosses, the parents of George Costanza's fiancée Susan. Frances Bay (Mrs. Tremond/Mrs. Chalfont) played Mrs. Choate, the old woman Jerry robs for her marble rye in an episode that also featured Frost and Zabriskie as well as Don Amendolia (Emory Battis) in small role. Ian Abercrombie, who appeared in a single episode as Tom Brockman, had the largest role on Seinfeld as Justin Pitt, Elaine's wealthy and eccentric boss. Frost, Zabriskie, Bay and Abercrombie all appeared in the Seinfeld series finale.
Carel Struycken appeared in Men in Black (1997) while Lara Flynn Boyle appeared in Men in Black II (2002). Both films also featured David Cross, whose wife is Russ Tamblyn's daughter Amber Tamblyn.
First of several series in which members of Miguel Ferrer's family work in the medical field. Ferrer and his mother, Rosemary Clooney, both appeared as patients on ER (1994), which starred his cousin, George Clooney. Ferrer himself played a medical examiner on Crossing Jordan (2014). His niece, Tessa Ferrer, appeared on Grey's Anatomy (2005) and You're the Worst (2014).
References to Les Miserables may be no accident, as that novel also inspired the TV series The Fugitive, to which this series make reference.
A Belgian indie rock band named Mote created a song on their album 'Vulnerable in the A.M. Light' titled "Plastic," which contains samples of the pilot episode.
David lynch's influences for the series were meshes of the afternoon(1943), laura(1944), out of the past(1947), orphee(1950), peyton place(1957), vertigo(1958), une femme est une femme(1961), one eyed jacks(1961), out 1(1971), and the wicker man(1973).
Agent Cooper expresses skepticism over the official version of the JFK assassination. Grace Zabriskie's sister worked in the New Orleans office of Jim Garrison, the District Attorney who prosecuted the unsuccessful case against Clay Shaw for conspiracy to assassinate the president. As well, Zabriskie knew Kerry Thornley, an author of several counterculture books who appeared before the Warren Commission due to his acquaintanceship with Lee Harvey Oswald.
Russ Tamblyn previously appeared in Deep in My Heart, with Jose Ferrer and Rosemary Clooney. Clooney at the time was pregnant with her first child, Miguel Ferrer.
Frances Bay, Warren Frost, Don Amendolia & Grace Zabriskie also appeared together in episode 7.11 Seinfeld: The Rye (1996), of Seinfeld (1989).
Several cast members have appeared in one of the Star Trek series. David Warner appeared in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989) and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991). Ian Abercrombie appeared on Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987) and Star Trek: Voyager (1995). Miguel Ferrer appeared in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984). Carel Struycken appeared on _'Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987)_'. 'David Bowie', who appeared in the film, was married to 'Iman', who appeared in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991). Madchen Amick appears in Star Trek the next generation.
This series is the third time that Richard Beymer and Russ Tamblyn have worked together, and all of their projects have had a connection to Natalie Wood. The three of them appeared together in West Side Story (1961). Beymer and Tamblyn then appeared together in Scream Free! (1969) with her sister Lana Wood. Neither sister appears in this series, however, Lana did appear on an episode of The Fugitive (1963), which is referenced here with the one-armed man named Philip Gerard. Natalie appeared in Rebel Without a Cause (1955), in which her and James Dean's characters inspired the roles of Donna and James in this series.
The character Jean Renault's name sounds just like Jean Reno, a Spanish-born actor best known for appearing in French films, such as La Femme Nikita (1990). Miguel Ferrer appeared in the remake Point of No Return (1993), and his father, Jose Ferrer was also a Hispanic (Puerto Rican-born) actor who frequently played French characters, most notably Cyrano de Bergerac.
Richard Beymer and Russ Tamblyn previously appeared together in West Side Story (1961), for which Rita Moreno became the second Puerto-Rican born actor to win an Academy Award. The first was Jose Ferrer, father of cast member Miguel Ferrer, who subsequently appeared in Traffic (2000), for which Puerto Rican-born actor Benicio Del Toro received his Academy Award.
David Lynch: [Sunset Blvd] Lynch himself plays the character Gordon Cole who was named after a minor character in Sunset Boulevard (1950), a film Lynch has acknowledged as a major influence in his filmography, most notably in the similarly named Mulholland Drive (2001).