GEOLOGY AND WEATHER
Pages 54-55: Twin Peaks: In The Beginning
This next section is the original idea that became the Access Guide. It is 100% Mark Frost’s ideas and probably began with his words as well. I remind you now of his quote from Wrapped In Plastic Magazine #9:
My idea was to […] go back to the start with the geological formation of the peaks and the strange electromagnetic force that grew up between the mountains, and how it oddly affected all the people in the area
On page 54 we get a short explanation of the creation of those mountains 100 million years ago, and on page 55 is the post-ice age creation of the waterfall—the source of the electromagnetic force—between them.
This geologic history of the Twin Peaks area covers the creation of the mountains. It also places the Gas Farm on exactly what used to be the continental coastline. Big Ed’s margin bio is on page 54. The other page explains the creation of Pearl Lakes and White Tail Falls, along with a local advertisement, images of fossils, and an illustration of ice age effects.
Obviously these pages are huge for lore, but how’d Big Ed and his Gas Farm get placed there? If I had to guess, it’s a perfect confluence of “how are we going to connect this stuff to modern-day Twin Peaks” and “where are we going to put Big Ed’s bio?”
The effect turns out to be an endearing way to frame the past, but it ends up being more thematically connected than that. Anyone who watched that Season 3 credits sequence where Ed eats soup at the Gas Farm, you can make a case for it being another of those in-between places like the Great Northern or the Roadhouse. Being on the shoreline between the old coastline and the new coastline fits well with that portrayal, whether intentional or from happenstance.
Pages 56-57: Weather Watch
Page 56 tells us the typical climate of Twin Peaks ranges from 30 degrees to 66 degrees Fahrenheit. We’re also told about the extreme snowfall of the 1889 blizzard. In the margin is a graph of precipitation records, visually measured against the height of Big Ed.
“We get lots of frost” has to be a pun about Mark Frost, doesn’t it? And seeing Big Ed again on the graph to provide a frame of reference is smile-to-yourself funny.
There seems to be a moral to the way humanity vs. nature is portrayed here, explained best between “the mountains don’t care; we do” and James Packard’s pleading “we are industrious, why are we not blessed?”
Nature does what it does—probably cyclically—and people can’t control it. Especially not the settlers who are comfortable in the region’s melancholy and regularly find themselves suffering misfortune.
Pages 58-61: Tim and Tom’s Taxi-Dermy
Let’s shift gears and welcome back David Lynch, who photographed the following four-page “ad” for Tim and Tom’s Taxi-Dermy.
The ad stars Twin Peaks producer—and future producer of Deadwood and True Blood—Gregg Fienberg as Tom, and David Lander—Twin Peaks’ Mr. Pinkle and Laverne & Shirley’s Squiggy—as Tim.
I would’ve loved watching those three guys running around for the hour it probably took to stage this photoshoot. I imagine this ad was born when Lynch had a twinkle in his eye, Fienberg and Lander were the first people he came across on a set, and he said “Fellas! Meet me at the parking lot in ten minutes!” before he raided the costume department.
I can’t prove it officially, but I think Lynch wrote all the ad copy too. Read it in a Lynch impression voice and its humor will make so much more sense.
It begins with a two-page spread of the car in a profile, windows rolled down, and both brothers leaning out in ridiculous outfits presenting us with thumbs-up signs. Above the picture is this text:
We’ll drive anyone anywhere*
We’ll stuff anything, even a bear**
below the picture in a smaller font is this text:
* (Within Twin Peaks City Limits)
** (Has to be dead.)
Next, we get a spread of four panels over two pages. Along with a picture of the front wheel and fender in the first-panel comes this caption:
Through the magic of telepathy, blind Tom pictures vividly everything his brother says. Born in Twin Peaks, never having left for anything, the brothers are inseparable. The only time they’re not working is when they’re sleeping—and even then they’re sawing logs.
The next panel has Tom looking out the car window in sunglasses with his winter hood pulled up, along with this caption:
Tom says: “Don’t be nervous, just close your eyes like me.”
Next panel has a long-distance shot of the original picture, with this caption:
Come ride and stuff with us.
And lastly is a panel looking into the rear car window at Tim, who is sitting straight, looking forward, and wearing a mask over his eyes. The caption says:
Tim says: “Tom’s blind…come ride in back with me I’ll drive.”
Against all odds, I really enjoy how thematically connected this goofy ad is. The telepathic connection between the brothers, even when they’re “sawing logs” sure sounds familiar if you’re willing to look at how Dale is connected to dreams.
Also, it’s all about letting go of fear, closing your eyes, and letting intuition take you where you want to go. Again, Cooper worked best when he trusted the flow of things, but it also seems like a metaphor for how Lynch talks about meditation.
A silly ad? Yes. A list of Lynchian ideals? Also yes.
POINTS OF INTEREST
Pages 62-63: White Tail Falls
Spread across the top two-thirds of pages 62 and 63 is a large photo of the White Tail Falls in action, taken from the Twin Peaks credits sequence. Below the image is text explaining how strong it is, making the connection explicit between the Falls and its electrical energy. This puts a bow on the earlier-included Mark Frost quote.
Yet there’s more to be said from the margin note about “so magical are the powers of White Tail Falls that anyone who has ever fallen in love within the sound of their plunging water remains in love forever.”
The sentiment matches well with this book’s earlier references to the power of sound. But how else are the powers of the Falls magical?
- The hum Beverly and Ben tracked not only seemed to tie them together in love rather than fear, but it also originated at the base of the Falls.
- James Hurley followed that same hum to a door in the basement at the base of the falls in Part 14. This is the same door where Cooper went with Gordon in the Final Dossier version of Part 17’s post-climax events.
- Long before this in Secret History, Merriwhether Lewis took a pouch—containing an Owl Ring—to the base of the Falls to get some form of otherworldly help.
Whichever way you look at it, the Falls are a major source of otherworldly power in Twin Peaks.
Pages 64-65: Owl Cave
I wanted this two-page section on Owl Cave to be so much more than what we got here. Instead of supernatural connections, there’s a list of groups that used it for social gatherings or hiding out. I get that this book is supposed to be a tourism guide; I can’t get every bit of deep dive that I want. I’ll just have to make do with the fact the Access Guide mentions messages had been left in the cave “from beyond,” and that the actual Owl Cave map drawing from the show was included at all back in pre-internet times when something like that wasn’t easy to come by.
The page 65 margin note on the extremely secretive society known as Circulars seems to be a way to include Dugpas under a new name, though here they’re presented strangely. Their only claim to fame noted here is that they tried to rename the cave “Elk Cave” during the Truman presidency years.
Page 66: The Grange
The Grange is the only undamaged building from the Smallish Earthquake of 1905, and it housed the sheriff’s office, the county seat, chamber of commerce, voting hall, patrons of husbandry, and Pierre’s Smoke and News Cafe. The margin feature showed this town center was even visited by President Harry S. Truman, thus inspiring the town sheriff’s name years later.
What happened to the important building? It was burned down during a snowstorm in 1953. And when arson was revealed to be the cause, it pit neighbor against neighbor.
This section is possibly a statement on arson being a cyclical event in Twin Peaks or a clue that the Hornes are at it again somehow on their way to becoming the central importance of the town. Either way, it’s the mark of how prosperity ends and fear asserts itself.
Page 67: The Train Graveyard
The other way to show the end of a period of prosperity is the next page’s section on the Train Graveyard. This section speaks to the death of the Great Railroad Era, characterizing the trains as if they were noble majestic beasts. The section ends up equating the end of their era to be the same level of tragedy as the death of Laura Palmer. After all, they practically come out and say it:
Now, together in their graveyard, they witness things which, could they tell us, would chill our bones and rob our nights of sleep.
I’d like to think the in-universe writer of that entry was thinking of Laura when they wrote that, and it was one of the only ways in the Access Guide to talk about where she was killed. It ends up feeling like one more capper on a period of prosperity before darkness.
In the margin, we get illustrations of various engine smokestacks.