Pages 6-9: Twin Peaks: A Brief History
The four pages devoted to early history give us the arrival of James and Unguin Packard, then Rudolph and Pixie Martell, and Orville and Brulitha Horne. We learn that Twin Peaks was a small collection of refugees, trappers, and thieves. In 1888, Thor’s Trading Post was the only business in town but that all changed in two years when the Packards arrived.
Page 6 is devoted to the Packards. James Packard brings his name to town along with his plans for a mill, but his wife Unguin is the one we need to talk about:
- She was 12 when she arrived, and while that may be meant as a creepy child bride “joke,” that makes her the same age as Laura Palmer at the beginning of Secret Diary.
- Dabbling in the mystic arts is something Madame Blavatsky was also doing while popularizing Theosophy, a known ideology in later pages of the Access Guide.
- Her “true home,” the land of Bloon, is beyond the solar system. In The Secret History of Twin Peaks, it’s inferred that the Giant may be from Sirius, also well beyond the solar system. Did the writers just imply she’s from the Lodge? Probably not, but they’re sure asserting that she’s had contact with the Lodges.
Page 7 lays out the misfortunes of Pete Martell’s ancestors—who arrive after the Packards—-to easily show Pete doesn’t fall far from the tree. This entry doesn’t mean much at the time, but it does mean something when The Secret History of Twin Peaks directly reverses things when the Martells arrive first before the Packards come to town.
There’s a quote in the margin “from” Mark Twain that begins a fun series of nods to famous writers writing about Twin Peaks in their own style found in the Access Guide. You’ll see this happen with a number of figures.
Page 8—about the Hornes’ arrival—contains three items of note:
- Mentioned poet Hugo Boot is a fake identity with a fake book from a fake publisher. We get an even mix of fake books and authors and real historical figure references.
- The first Truman in town, Crosby, is a problem-solving inventor, rather than always being a lawman as reported in Secret History.
- The Hornes burned down their competitor’s entire business in order to score a win, just as in present-day with the Packard Mill. This means the Hornes are exhibiting yet one more cycle occurring within Twin Peaks.
Also, the margin contains the history behind and the recipe for a drink named the Little Scottie. This drink was created by Twin Peaks’ first mayor in what would become the Roadhouse. Is the drink any good? We have this review of the Little Scottie from Rachel Stewart:
A Little Scottie Goes a Long Way (or TL;DR: THIS IS A STRONG EFFIN’ DRINK)
There are few things I love more than bourbon, rye, and Twin Peaks. So when I found out about Little Scotties in the Access Guide, I knew I had to try one. So I dusted off my minimal bartending skills and mixed one up, per the recipe:
Two parts bourbon, one part rye, a dash of Drambuie and a twist of lime.
All I can say is yowza! I’m all for whiskey heavy drinks, but this one is potent. The Drambuie adds a nice sweet note you’d get if you were ordering an Old Fashioned or Manhattan. If you’re a fan of the Rusty Nail, I’d give this one a try. The Access Guide recommends pairing the tipple with cheese and crackers, but I prefer it as a digestif or nightcap. Just don’t make it a double or you’ll end up feeling like you’re in the Pink Room from Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me.
Page 9 takes the Mill and Hornes up to the present-day status quo of the Access Guide. There is also a quick note in the margin about Oscar Wilde, and a margin bio for Josie Packard.
I thought the most interesting part of this page would be how the Access Guide repurposed text from the back of the Star Pics trading card set for Josie’s margin bio. Boy was I ever surprised that the text was completely new. Looks like those trading cards have more to them than I thought.
The inclusion of Josie’s margin bio here—and no mention of her death in Episode 23 while actually mentioning Andrew Packard’s reappearance—is another implication that the timelines of the books are dated from when they were published in the real world rather than the show’s year of 1989, while simultaneously syncing up with the TV show’s current plotlines and status quo.
And, was it really a coincidence that Josie’s bio shared a margin with an anecdote about Oscar Wilde? We knew Josie was already dead upon Access Guide’s publication, and Wilde was already dead for a few years when the book says he visited the town…
Pages 10-11: The Old Opera House
This two-page section uses their top halves to show us a picture from the audience seats to the view of the empty stage, and a picture from the stage to a view of empty audience seats.
Unlike the fake poet on page 8, Sara Bernhardt, Charlie Chaplin, and the Guess Who are all completely real public figures. No embargo of real-world references here. What were they doing in Twin Peaks? Performing at the Opera House.
The building was built in 1882, burned down, rebuilt in 1915, became a place that put on music concerts, and shows movies regularly.
Ben Horne’s margin bio is listed on page 10, as he’s credited as reviving the Opera House. I find his bio interesting due to his listed belief in the “restorative power of song.” Not only does that match with the prominence of the Roadhouse musicians in Season 3—or Audrey dancing in the diner because it’s “too dreamy”—it also links to Ben’s ability to hear the humming in the Great Northern. It’s nice to see such a thematic foundational detail dropped into this “frivolous” book.
Besides the hum he and Beverly repeatedly try to locate in Season 3, he also spins around in Episode 27 to witness an unknown thing when he hears a creepy humming sound. At the time, I believe the writers meant it to be Josie’s spirit trapped in the hotel’s wood, but based on Ben’s actions in Season 3, it seems like he’s tuned enough to sound that he can recognize the barrier between states of reality (but whether he can recognize the barrier as a barrier is another thing). I suspect Peyton and Engels were thinking about this when one of them wrote this page.
In the margin of page 11 is an ode to the “versatile huckleberry.” Plain as the description is, I bet this page’s ode has to be a nod to Major Briggs’ professed love for the Double R’s huckleberry pie that he expresses in the early episodes of Season 2.
Pages 12-14: First Inhabitants
The next two and a half pages are devoted to the first settlers of the area. We get the beginning of the running joke where the only people who stay in the area don’t tire “of the thick, gloomy forests and the disturbing sounds of the owls.”
Unfortunately, we also get humor based around tropes such as “Indians as savages” which really doesn’t fly anymore. Not even with a final sentence on page 14 about their culture only now beginning to be understood by “foreign cultures that engulfed but never embraced it.” Not cool, 1991.
I suspect the actual serious details found in pages 12-16 came from a project about Crazy Horse that Ken Scherer says he was working on with Mark Frost at the time.
But then there’s that page 14 margin note about the Frog Clan—and an included picture of a totem pole style carving of a frog with wings—seems a lot more like a potential origin for Lynch’s Part 8 frogbug. Is there a connection? Maybe, but the only things Lynch verifiably added to this book was the cover and the advertisement for Tim & Tom’s Taxi-Dermy.
Pages 14-16: First Explorers
On pages 14 and 15—between ethnic jokes about anyone crazy enough to settle in the region—we get characters’ initial reason for settling: a superficial fashion trend like beaver hats. Sounds about right for this book.
Luckily it gets substantive again on page 16, which begins with an altered map of the Lewis and Clark route that drastically diverts itself enough to cross paths with Twin Peaks. Lewis and Clark have always been a part of the Twin Peaks backstory according to Mark Frost. This page is your proof.
Less than an inch away, we see Dominick Renault’s story also paralleling Secret History. Renault’s final words were found in dairy pages, exactly how similarly shady Denver Bob’s story was revealed. Renault survived this book’s jokes about being a stand-up comic only to succumb to the woods.
Renault’s story follows suit with other character moments we’ve already read in Access Guide:
- Just as Unguin Packard felt like her home wasn’t with the people of Twin Peaks, we see Dominick Renault becoming part of the forest and its wildlife, which we can infer means he too had a Lodge-related experience.
- As Ben Horne believed in the importance of song and sound, Renault’s “anguished voice” becomes part of the resonance of the owls. The power of sound is associated with the owls here, again connecting to a property of the Lodges.
The power and gloom of the woods are always just within reach, even within the absurd and comic tones of this book.
Page 17: County Museum
The single page devoted to the County Museum is next. The museum has a permanent collection of artifacts, yet it’s only open from May through September—that’s five months. Inefficiency!
It’s a joke, but then there’s that margin note connecting the Hornes’ pictured totem pole to the pre-arson Thor’s Trading Post. That’s proof that a Horne will always burn down the building of their staunchest business rival, but the book drops it in like the punchline of a joke. Just don’t forget it’s also evidence of another repeating cycle found in official Twin Peaks material.
THE PACKARD MILL
Pages 18-19: The Packard Mill
This section begins with a single picture spread over pages 18 and 19. It shows us the Packard Mill in action, with a log propelling on a track towards the camera.
Pages 20-21: The Packard Mill Then
These two pages have a little bit of everything:
- Catherine Martell’s margin bio.
- A picture of lumberjacks using springboards as they pose in a giant tree.
- An illustration of a crosscut saw detail.
- A picture of a skyhook cable car in action.
- The birth of the Mill from two acres off Black Lake Falls to the expansion and how it handled the war years. Lots of factually accurate machines mentioned.
You can tell the authors were having fun with Catherine’s margin bio on page 20, listing her preference of “the Horne” and putting the quote marks around Elvis Presley to turn him into a euphemism. I suspect the writers were also fans of Piper Laurie’s early films and felt inspired.
Besides that, is trading cough drops for land supposed to be a good joke? That’s how James Packard supposedly resolved an altercation with the local Kwakiutl Indians. It makes me cringe to see what was once acceptable humor.
Pages 22-25: The Packard Mill Now
Pages 22 and 23 focus mostly on the Mill modernizing up through the 1991 publication of this Access Guide.
Among the requisite jokes about a company bragging about the last injury-free year nineteen years earlier—and that safety comes just after profit and management perks—we get a reference to Theosophy.
I mentioned earlier how Unguin Packard’s portrayed in a similar light to Madame Blavatsky, and here we have another reference to Theosophy with Bill Gross—manager of holding and drying—declaring himself a Theosophist. As Mark Frost bedded the show’s mythology in Theosophist beliefs, it only stands to reason that the characters he creates would be tuned to that philosophy somewhat regularly.
There’s a story in the page 23 margin about how early superstar actress Sarah Bernhardt got her wooden leg made for her while in Twin Peaks. This would’ve been funnier to me if I’d known she ever had a wooden leg, but that’s my fault, not the book’s.
Next, pages 24 and 25 are filled with illustrations that demonstrate the kind of cutting each blade and saw use as they turn trees into lumber. We also get a breakdown of the Packard stamp that is applied to each piece of wood. This is technical stuff with little joking. They saved all the jokes for whittling.
Pages 26-27: The Joys of Whittling
This two-page section is a goofy how-to list of how to best enjoy the fad of whittling, along with pictures of hands missing fingers, a “big ugly wood bear” carving, Cooper’s whistle, an illustration of a knife, and Dale Cooper’s bio.
In his interview with Deer Meadow Radio’s Mark Givens, Harley Peyton declared that he wrote the whittling section. Richard Saul Wurman recounted in his Twin Peaks Unwrapped interview how he remembers creating the visual jokes in the whittling section. The whittling page is often the first thing I remember about the book, too; it’s a fun page for sure. A memorable time for all!
I love that the prop for Cooper’s whistle is included here. Cooper’s page 27 margin bio also yields some interesting information:
- Dale is linked with the Theosophist Society.
- An unnamed tragic incident has happened in Dale’s recent past. It implies the death of Caroline Earle, but that was closer to four years earlier according to The Autobiography of Dale Cooper: My Life, My Tapes. In some ways that’s recent but it’s not the year before like The Final Dossier and this book seems to think.
- The phrase “might well have been a magician or mystic” has the show’s writers connecting Dale to the only identity mentioned in the “Fire Walk With Me” poem. It’s never been more explicitly connected than right here that Dale is like the enigmatic magician that longs to see.
Page 28: The Wood Mistress
We get a margin illustration of the kinds of cutting that happens to logs to turn them into two by fours and four by eights, among other things, but the main draw is learning about wood mistress Helga Brogger, who selects what wood is turned into what kind of product. She knows because she listens to the wood and knows what they want to be.
Per this page, Brogger is likened to be the worldly-leaning counterpart to Margaret Lanterman. They both have conversations with the wood, but it seems Helga’s all small talk and flirting rather than receiving ethereal portents.
In a way, it seems the writers place Helga between the Log Lady and the Palmer women. After all, she says “it runs in the family; women of vision, the backbone of Twin Peaks.” Who else could be implied here besides Margaret, Sarah, Maddy, and Laura?