Tuesday, January 24, 2017

(Very) Minor but (Somewhat) Notable Characters in TWIN PEAKS (1st Preface to TWIN PEAKS Character Series)


The TWIN PEAKS Character Series surveys eighty-two characters from the series Twin Peaks (1990-91) and the film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1992) as well as The Missing Pieces (2014), a collection of deleted scenes from that film. A new character study will appear every weekday morning until the premiere of Showtime's new season of Twin Peaks on May 21, 2017. This entry is a preface covering characters who won't get standalone treatment. There will be spoilers for the original series and film.

When crafting character studies, I knew I had to draw the line somewhere. Twin Peaks includes many who leave a strong mark, sometimes in just a few seconds, without uttering a single line of dialogue. Others play a crucial role in a particular scene, maybe two, but are never seen again. As described in yesterday's introduction, my cut-off rule for standalone character studies was: "speaks in three scenes." Nonetheless, I wanted to pay some sort of tribute to the remainders. I have gathered sixty of them here on a roughly chronological list - actors, episodes, writers/directors, and a brief notation on their role, relevance, or trivial interest.

Tomorrow I will follow up with the elite of the also-rans: two and a half dozen more (somewhat) minor but (very) memorable characters, ranked by me to form a subjective top thirty. So if you don't see your favorite cameo today, remember to tune in tomorrow.

Let the curtain rise on the characters of Twin Peaks...

(by the way, major kudos to this dugpa thread for identifying many of the bit players!)

Max Hartman, football coach (Ben DiGregorio)
Pilot, written by Mark Frost/David Lynch, directed by David Lynch
Receiving a call from Sarah Palmer, looking for her daughter, he establishes the image of Bobby Briggs as a rebel before we've even met that character.
Norwegian translator (Ed Egardahl)
Pilot, written by Mark Frost/David Lynch, directed by David Lynch
Unfortunately tasked with bridging the gap between Ben Horne and potential clients, the interpreter's input into Twin Peaks ends when Ben Horne yells, "You stay out of this!"
Boogie kid (actor unknown)
Pilot, directed by David Lynch (improvisation)
Ok, I probably should have slotted him into the top 30 even though his appearance is so brief some people never even notice him. He slicks back his ducktail in his locker's mirror and then shimmies sideways offscreen into TV history.
Mrs. Jackson, principal's secretary (Dorothy Roberts)
Pilot, written by Mark Frost/David Lynch, directed by David Lynch
Never seen in close-up, this everyday school official nonetheless contributes to the pilot's general air of casual verisimilitude, which sits uneasily alongside its eccentricity.
State trooper at high school (actor unknown)
Pilot, written by Mark Frost/David Lynch, directed by David Lynch
Likewise with this character, whose mild-mannered approach to Laura Palmer's homeroom teacher spells dread for her friends and classmates.
Screaming girl (actress unknown)
Pilot, written by Mark Frost/David Lynch, directed by David Lynch
Nothing, however, spells dread as acutely as this girl running through the courtyard. We never learn her name, or even see her face, but we can't forget that wail.
Janice Hogan (Marjorie Nelson)
Pilot, written by Mark Frost/David Lynch, directed by David Lynch
The Palmers' neighbor comforts Sarah. A neighbor character was also shot interacting with Laura in FWWM but the footage was lost - same actor/character?
Janek & Suburbis Pulaski (Alan Ogle/Rick Tutor & Michelle Milantoni - Roberta Maguire cut from pilot)
Episode 1 & Pilot, written by Mark Frost/David Lynch, directed by Duwayne Dunham & David Lynch
Parents of victim Ronette Pulaski, played by two sets of actors in two episodes (mom was called Maria & cut in pilot).
Fred Truax (Dan Bixler)
Pilot, written by Mark Frost/David Lynch, directed by David Lynch
Poor Fred is fired on the spot by Catherine Martell after he watches her descend a staircase, humiliated but still more powerful than he is and determined to prove it.
Railway Switchman (actor unknown)
Pilot, probably written by Mark Frost/David Lynch, directed by David Lynch
Not in the available draft of the script (which has a completely different location, so it must have been rewritten), this man discovers a dazed Ronette Pulaski crossing the bridge.
Jim, the morgue attendant (actor unknown)
Pilot, written by Mark Frost/David Lynch, directed by David Lynch
Legend has it this actor misunderstood Kyle MacLachlan's request (in character as Cooper) to leave the room and responded by stating his actual first name.
Gilman White (David Wasman)
Pilot, written by Mark Frost/David Lynch, directed by David Lynch
Bobby Briggs' lawyer has his hands full with a client whose emotions get the best of him in the interrogation room.
Bob (Bob Riebbe)
Pilot, written by Mark Frost/David Lynch, directed by David Lynch
Quickly asking that the Norwegians not be disturbed, one of Twin Peaks' many Bobs leaves his mark, if only due to Audrey's mocking response: "OK, Bob. OK, Bob. OK, BOB."
Nurse Greta (Laurel White)
Pilot, written by Mark Frost/David Lynch, directed by David Lynch
Johnny Horne's nurse asks for Mrs. Horne's help to calm a distressed Johnny, but the frustrated mother wants no part in explaining Laura's death.
Alice Brady, bank employee (Shelley Henning)
Pilot, written by Mark Frost/David Lynch, directed by David Lynch
The mousy employee, who brings investigators Laura's safety deposit box, adds a human touch by noting the dead girl was "so nice" (some even thought Sheryl Lee played this part).
Scotty, other biker (Rodney Harvey)
Pilot, written by Mark Frost/David Lynch, directed by David Lynch
Joey's compatriot (is he one of the Bookhouse Boys too?) has a memorable line in the pilot, hearkening to a musical callback fourteen episodes later: "Oh, what a wonderful world..."
Swabbie (Charlie Spradling)
Episode 2, written by Mark Frost/David Lynch, directed by David Lynch
The scantily-clad deckhand who greets Ben & Jerry Horne at the riverfront of One Eyed Jack's was one of Lynch's many Wild at Heart alums to appear on Twin Peaks.
One-Eyed Jack's Bartender (Kim Lentz)
Episode 2, written by Mark Frost/David Lynch, directed by David Lynch
The bartender at One-Eyed Jack's sets the tone for the bordello before we've met anyone else inside, all business as she informs/warns the madam that the owners have arrived.
Leland's Nurse (actress unknown)
Episode 3, written by Harley Peyton, directed by Caleb Deschanel
Usually it's Sarah who receives injections to calm her down, but this one time we see Leland get a shot instead. The nurse looks just as interested in Invitation to Love.
Parole board (James Craven, Mary Bond Davis, Mary Chalon)
Episode 4, written by Robert Engels, directed by Tim Hunter
These three authorities are no-nonsense as they hear Hank Jennings' statement and question his reluctant wife Norma.
Midge Loomer, veterinarian's assistant (Adele Gilbert)
Episode 4, written by Robert Engels, directed by Tim Hunter
"Managing the store," so to speak, while her boss Bob Lydecker lies in critical condition at the hospital, Midge doesn't recognize the police sketch and is shocked when the FBI requisitions her files.
Lady with the Shaking Hand (actress unknown)
many episodes, various writers/directors, most memorably improvised in episode 27 by Stephen Gyllenhaal
Though her most infamous scene is late in the series (when her hand shakes while eating pie), this memorable extra actually appears as early as season one.
Hebe Thorisdottir (Mary Stavin)
Episodes 5 & 6, written by Mark Frost & Harley Peyton, directed by Lesli Linka Glatter & Caleb Deschanel
Jerry's muse was named after an Icelandic makeup artist, who apparently impressed David Lynch, and portrayed by the 1977 Miss World, who was twice a Bond Girl.
Theodora Ridgley (Eve Brent)
Episode 6, written by Harley Peyton, directed by Caleb Deschanel
Audrey Horne's snooty customer does not get good service at the perfume counter, and she storms away in a huff.
Stockroom Boy (actor unknown)
Episode 6, improvised by Caleb Deschanel
Not mentioned in the episode's script, this extra gets a bit of onscreen business when Audrey sends him outside to deal with an imaginary accident, clearing the way for her to snoop on her boss.
One-Eyed Jack's Employee/"Ice Bucket Girl" (Jill Pierce)
Episodes 7 & 9 (if not more), written by Mark Frost & Harley Peyton, directed by Mark Frost & David Lynch
This character has two big moments: whispering a proposition to Cooper (he politely turns her down), and later warning Audrey about a particularly kinky customer.
One-Eyed Jack's Seamstress (Lesli Linka Glatter)
Episode 7, written & directed by Mark Frost
For years, the identity of the hunchbacked worker who sews on Audrey's card was a mystery. Then frequent series director Glatter revealed that she played her in an uncredited cameo.
Eolani Jacoby (Jennifer Aquino)
Episode 10, written by Robert Engels, directed by Lesli Linka Glatter
Surprise! Dr. Jacoby has a wife...who lives 2,800 miles away in Hawaii. She pays him a visit when he's in the hospital and helps him hypnotize himself (interview here).
Jack Racine (Van Dyke Parks)
Episode 12, written by Barry Pullman, directed by Graeme Clifford
Stepping in as Leo Johnson's defense attorney, the plainspoken, memorably-dressed Racine is played by a musical figure of quite some note.
One-Eyed Jack's Outside Guard (Michael Vendrelli)
Episode 12, written by Barry Pullman, directed by Graeme Clifford
This guy is taken by surprise by Sheriff Truman, who sneaks up to grab him by the crotch, shove a gag in his mouth and then bash his head in the door to open it.
One-Eyed Jack's Inside Guard (Robert Asipa)
Episode 12, written by Barry Pullman, directed by Graeme Clifford
Still, that guard got off easy compared to this one, knifed in the back by Hawk. He's probably only the fifth person on the show to get snuffed (but the third in two bloody episodes).
Cappy (Ron Kirk)
Episodes 13 & 27, written by Harley Peyton/Robert Engels, directed by Lesli Linka Glatter & Stephen Gyllenhaal
A dutiful, silent Bookhouse Boy, Cappy is most notable for being the spitting image of Sheriff Truman.
Tom Brockman (Ian Abercrombie)
Episode 13, written by Harley Peyton/Robert Engels, directed by Lesli Linka Glatter
The shady insurance rep apparently coordinated his loud outfit with customer Shelly Johnson. Look for Abercrombie as Laura Dern's butler in Inland Empire.
Gwen Morton (Kathleen Wilhoite)
Episode 15, written by Scott Frost, directed by Caleb Deschanel
Lucy Moran's abrasively obnoxious sister shows up for a couple scenes to chatter about babies, white guilt, and sperm guns.
Mr. Zipper, the plumber (Clive Rosengren)
Episode 16, written by Mark Frost/Harley Peyton/Robert Engels, directed by Tim Hunter
Mugging in the background of a comic-relief Lucy-Deputy Andy scene, Zipper's installation of a sprinkler system will actually play a major role in the series narrative.
Vice Principal Greege (Don Calfa)
Episode 17, written by Tricia Brock, directed by Tina Rathborne
Incredulous when presented with a 35-year "high school student," the official nonetheless rolls with the punches and enrolls Nadine Hurley, for therapeutic purposes.
Physical Education Teacher (Lisa Cloud)
Episode 17, written by Tricia Brock, directed by Tina Rathborne
Present for perhaps the most ridiculous moment of the entire series, the perplexed P.E. teacher watches Nadine toss a jock into the air at cheerleading tryouts.
Judy Swain (Molly Shannon)
Episode 19, written by Harley Peyton/Robert Engels, directed by Caleb Deschanel
Easily the biggest name on this list, future SNL alum (just four years shy of creating "Superstar" Mary Katherine Gallagher) pops up as Little Nicky's caseworker.
Col. Riley (Tony Burton)
Episode 19, written by Harley Peyton/Robert Engels, directed by Caleb Deschanel
Rocky veteran Burton drops hints about Maj. Briggs; perhaps more than any other single scene, this points forward to Mark Frost's book The Secret History of Twin Peaks (2016).
Samantha (Susan Sundholm)
Episode 20 (& more?), improvised by Todd Holland
Not in the script, Ben's traumatized assistant scurries into the hallway and shares a brief moment with Audrey before she flees the Civil War carnage altogether. I thought she was in some other episodes, but this is all that's listed.
Mr. & Mrs. Brunston (Will Seltzer & Patricia Dunnock)
Episode 20, written by Harley Peyton, directed by Todd Holland
The couple, delighted to adopt a child from the local orphanage, are shocked to discover that little Donnie is dead...dead tired.
Eric Powell (Craig MacLachlan)
Episodes 20 & 21, written by Harley Peyton & Scott Frost, directed by Uli Edel
Presented with a transient's corpse, Cooper senses Windom Earle is sending him a message. No wonder: the dead man is played by Kyle MacLachlan's brother.
Jeffrey Marsh (John Apicella)
Episode 21, written by Scott Frost, directed by Uli Edel
We hear terrible things about Jeffrey but when we finally meet him he doesn't seem so bad. Does he put on a good front or was he set up? We don't have long to find out, as his car crashes immediately after he first appears.
State Trooper at Marsh House (Matt Battaglia)
Episode 22, written by Harley Peyton/Robert Engels, directed by Diane Keaton
The bumbling cop who can't spell "Jaguar" flits in and out of a goofy subplot. The end, right? Apparently not...the actor, and perhaps the character, is in the 2017 cast.
Wallie's Bartender ( Gérald L'Ecuyer)
Episodes 21 & 22, written by Harley Peyton/Robert Engels, directed by Uli Edel & Diane Keaton
A silent presence in an earlier episode, the barkeep becomes a glowering, ominous character when James Hurley and Donna Hayward attempt to hide from the law.
Heavy Metal Roadie (Willie Garson)
Episode 27, written by Harley Peyton/Robert Engels, directed by Stephen Gyllenhaal
This weepy guy, mourning the death of his best friend in a giant papier-mache pawn piece (don't ask), always reminded me a bit of Paul Simon.
New Accounts Manager (actress unknown)
Episode 29, improvised by David Lynch
In a hilarious sight gag, an old woman is fast asleep at the "New Accounts" desk, setting the tone perfectly for the slow-paced geriatric scene to follow.
Bank Security Guard (Arvo Katajisto)
Episode 29, improvised by David Lynch
"It's a boy!" crows the very last character to be introduced in the original Twin Peaks TV series, after picking up the phone and before the bank explodes. By causing Audrey to turn away from the vault, he may have helped save her life.
The School Bus Squad (Jon Huck, Mike Malone, Joe Berman, Yvonne Roberts, Audra L. Cooper)
Fire Walk With Me, written by David Lynch/Robert Engels, directed by David Lynch
You figure it out! (interview w/ Roberts)
Deer Meadow Secretary (Elizabeth McCarthy)
Fire Walk With Me/The Missing Pieces, written by David Lynch/Robert Engels, directed by David Lynch
The anti-Lucy receptionist can't stop giggling.
Couple at Hap's Diner (Paige Bennett & G. Kenneth Davidson)
Fire Walk With Me, written by David Lynch/Robert Engels, directed by David Lynch
A logger-looking fellow and his French paramour are perhaps the Bizarro Pete/Josie.
Crime Van Driver (Steven Beard)
Fire Walk With Me/The Missing Pieces, written by David Lynch/Robert Engels, directed by David Lynch
He seems very unperturbed as he prepares to transport a corpse (which somehow requires a fistfight to access).
Woman Looking For Hot Water (Margaret Adams)
Fire Walk With Me, written by David Lynch/Robert Engels, directed by David Lynch
"Hot water, Carl," this Fat Trout Trailer Park denizen demands; Valium she gets.
Buenos Aires desk clerk (actor unknown)
The Missing Pieces, written by David Lynch/Robert Engels, directed by David Lynch
When Agent Jeffries asks if Miss Judy asked for him, this concierge hands over a note from a young woman.
FBI Security Guard (actor unknown)
Fire Walk With Me, written by David Lynch/Robert Engels, directed by David Lynch
This guy seems hilariously unconcerned with Cooper's double appearance on the security monitor.
Buenos Aires Bellboy & Maid (actors unknown)
The Missing Pieces, written by David Lynch/Robert Engels, directed by David Lynch
Shocked by Jeffries' dis- and reappearance, the hotel staff reacts memorably.
Trucker (Brian T. Finney)
The Missing Pieces, written by David Lynch/Robert Engels, directed by David Lynch
Hooked up with Laura by Leo, this man passing through Twin Peaks trades drugs for sex.
RR Cook (Marvin Rosand)
The Missing Pieces, written by David Lynch/Robert Engels, directed by David Lynch
"Kinda quiet in here," he says in a deleted scene. The actor passed away a few weeks after shooting his return cameo last year.
The Power and the Glory - rock group (Anne Gaybis, Andy Armor, Don Falzone, Steven Hodges, David Jarequi)
Fire Walk With Me, written by David Lynch/Robert Engels, directed by David Lynch
Quite a sight, quite a sound.
Mo's Motors Mechanic (James Parks)
Fire Walk With Me, written by David Lynch/Robert Engels, directed by David Lynch
This stuttering mechanic flits comically around the far edges of a somber scene, like one last refugee from Wild at Heart.


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