The Late Alan Thicke Hosts a Twin Peaks Behind-the-Scenes Special (1990)

When Alan Thicke died this week, he died a true man of tele­vi­sion. His more than forty-year career saw him not just star in the hit ABC sit­com Grow­ing Pains but host game, talk, and dance shows as well as com­pose the theme songs for Dif­f’rent Strokes and The Facts of Life. His final tweet praised the new sea­son of the Net­flix reboot of Full House (Grow­ing Pains’ near-con­tem­po­rary) on which he made a guest appear­ance. But he did­n’t live exclu­sive­ly in the main­stream: in Sep­tem­ber of 1990, he con­fessed — on nation­al tele­vi­sion, of course — his love of David Lynch and Mark Frost’s bound­ary-push­ing, real­i­ty bend­ing mys­tery series Twin Peaks.

“Every decade has its TV cult,” says Thicke, open­ing this ABC sea­son-pre­view spe­cial from the Uni­ver­sal Stu­dios lot. “Now, I was nev­er a Trekkie myself, but I do con­fess, I am a Peak­er.” A fair few view­ers across Amer­i­ca could, at that moment, say the same, since enthu­si­asm for the show peaked, as it were, around the end of its first sea­son and the begin­ning of its sec­ond, the pre­miere of which the net­work put togeth­er this seg­ment to hype (along­side the debut of Cop Rock, the non-iron­ic police-pro­ce­du­ral/­mu­si­cal). “There’s so much more to Twin Peaks than a riv­et­ing mur­der mys­tery,” Thicke con­tin­ues. “There’s a whole look and a feel and a tex­ture,” an expe­ri­ence “180 degrees away from any­thing else on tele­vi­sion.”

These fif­teen min­utes include brief con­ver­sa­tions with Twin Peaks’ cre­ators and col­lab­o­ra­tors. “It need­ed to be away from the reg­u­lar world and be a kind of a hair of a dream spot,” says Lynch, some­what cryp­ti­cal­ly, “and it need­ed a woods that had a wind of a mys­tery, you know, blow­ing through it.” Kyle MacLach­lan, who starred as FBI Spe­cial Agent Dale Coop­er, offers fur­ther insight into the show’s appeal: “The peo­ple don’t… they don’t behave nor­mal­ly.” It also includes Sheryl Lee, who played the mur­dered home­com­ing queen Lau­ra Palmer, read­ing from the char­ac­ter’s “secret diary… her real diary.”

Using a map of the epony­mous small Wash­ing­ton town, Thicke attempts to catch those who missed all or part of Twin Peaks’ first sea­son up on its many plot threads, all direct­ly or indi­rect­ly relat­ed to the ques­tion of who killed Lau­ra Palmer. That cen­tral mys­tery would dri­ve the plot all the way up to the mid­dle of the sec­ond sea­son, and its res­o­lu­tion result­ed in declin­ing rat­ings and even­tu­al can­cel­la­tion. But as we learned with from the col­lec­tion of video essays we fea­tured yes­ter­day, the work of David Lynch is built on a foun­da­tion not of plot, but of pure images and sounds.

That so many more of us now under­stand that has placed us well to enjoy Twin Peaks’ long-await­ed third sea­son. Set to pre­miere next year on Show­time, it has, like Full House — two shows sel­dom com­pared to one anoth­er — trans­posed its core con­cepts from the realm of 20th-cen­tu­ry net­work tele­vi­sion into that of 21st-cen­tu­ry spe­cial­ty tele­vi­sion. “Revis­it­ing all this ter­ri­to­ry, there’s a fresh­ness to it, there’s a light­ness to it,” says MacLach­lan in the new behind-the-scenes teas­er above. Encour­ag­ing words, but one hopes above all that the project retains the ani­mat­ing cre­ative ten­sion expressed a quar­ter-cen­tu­ry ago, when Thicke asked how thought-out the show real­ly was: “Not too thought-out,” insist­ed Lynch. “Very thought-out,” insist­ed Frost.

via Wel­come to Twin Peaks

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Hear 20 Min­utes of Mark Frost’s New Secret His­to­ry of Twin Peaks, the Book Fans Have Wait­ed 25 Years to Read

Play the Twin Peaks Video Game: Retro Fun for David Lynch Fans

David Lynch Draws a Map of Twin Peaks (to Help Pitch the Show to ABC)

Ange­lo Badala­men­ti Reveals How He and David Lynch Com­posed the Twin Peaks‘ “Love Theme”

Hear the Music of David Lynch’s Twin Peaks Played by the Exper­i­men­tal Band, Xiu Xiu: A Free Stream of Their New Album

Hear the Music of David Lynch’s Twin Peaks Played by the Dan­ish Nation­al Sym­pho­ny Orches­tra

David Lynch’s Twin Peaks Title Sequence, Recre­at­ed in an Adorable Paper Ani­ma­tion

Twin Peaks Tarot Cards Now Avail­able as 78-Card Deck

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities and cul­ture. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­les, A Los Ange­les Primer, the video series The City in Cin­e­ma, the crowd­fund­ed jour­nal­ism project Where Is the City of the Future?, and the Los Ange­les Review of Books’ Korea Blog. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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