Lost in the Movies: Jerry Horne (TWIN PEAKS Character Series #30)

Jerry Horne (TWIN PEAKS Character Series #30)

*A revised entry will be published separately in 2023 for an updated character series (which will be collected here). This is the original entry written before The Return.

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. There will be spoilers for the original series and film.

Jerry is defined by his appetites and enthusiasms, which is a good thing since his legal skills are more questionable.

circa early 1950s
Two little boys celebrate the opening of their family's hotel, the Great Northern. As his big brother Ben stands proudly by their father, Jerry Horne goofs off for the camera, sticking his tongue out and waving his hands with manic energy.

On another occasion, the preteen Horne brothers watch in sheer delight as Louise Dombrowski, an older girl in a skirt and jumper, dances on a hook rug with a flashlight. These memories will stay with them for the rest of their lives.

Saturday, February 25, 1989
Jerry bursts into his brother's personal dining room at the hotel (which Ben now owns and operates), interrupting a family meal with Ben's wife Sylvia and daughters Audrey and Johnny. He unloads two baguettes with brie from his suitcases, munching on one while handing Ben the other. Together they savor the delicious taste and reminisce about "Jenny and Jenny down by the river," ignoring everyone else in the room and eventually leaving them behind so Ben can deliver some bad news to Jerry in the hallway. The daughter of Ben's lawyer Leland Palmer has been murdered, and the Ghostwood real estate deal with Norwegian investors has been called off. Jerry is devastated about the latter news and only belatedly registers the former. Ben has a pick-me-up planned; they set off in a speedboat for One Eyed Jack's, a Canadian bordello run by Ben. There they flirt with Blackie O'Reilly, the madam, and flip a coin to find out who gets to sleep with the "new girl." Ben wins and Jerry settles in at the bar for drinks with Blackie.

Wednesday, March 1, 1989
Jerry returns from a whirlwind trip to Iceland with a boisterous gang of Scandinavian party animals in tow. Jerry raves about their food (waving a frozen rack of lamb around his head) and women (he's in love with a tall blonde "ice goddess" named Heba), but Ben is annoyed with the racket they have been making, disturbing his guests all night. Leland, the grieving lawyer, stumbles in, saying that he wants to work but looking like he'd rather break down and cry. Ben and Jerry try to keep him from the guests, since the Norwegians left town after discovering Laura's murder. That night, the Hornes throw a party for the Icelanders, introducing them to "Twin Peaks' best and brightest" ("Where are you holding it," a snarky Jerry asks, "a phone booth?"). Actually, it's in the reception hall of the Great Northern, where Jerry makes passionate overtures to Heba, proposing "a mutual dip in each other's respective gene pools." Then he's up on stage, welcoming the Icelanders to town with an awkward Kennedy reference before big band music floods the speakers. Leland begins compulsively dancing by himself and Ben forces Jerry and others to join in, so that the Icelanders think it's all an intentional part of the soiree.

Thursday, March 2, 1989
Jerry, gesticulating with a giant pinecone, conducts a rousing Icelandic rendition of "Ninety-Nine Bottles of Beer" in Ben's office. When the Icelanders shuffle out to another room, Ben and Jerry share ice cream and discuss the contract; apparently, the Icelanders want to sign off at One Eyed Jack's. Ben sends Jerry to round up the party animals and get them on a van to Canada. A few hours later, Jerry's mood is a bit more foul; the deal came off fine, but other, more criminal matters, have not. He prowls around Blackie's office, yelling in her face and mocking her appearance and her drug addiction, before passing her some heroin. Blackie curses at him as he leaves the room. Jerry heads down the hall and knocks on a door, interrupting Ben's session with the new girl at One Eyed Jack's. "We got a situation," Jerry calls to him.

Friday, March 3, 1989
The next morning, Ben and Jerry discuss their problems in Ben's office. Their plan to burn down the Packard Saw Mill succeeded the night before, but the arsonist survived after being shot (in an effort to cover their tracks) and the fall woman is missing. "Well-begun is half-done," Jerry hopefully offers, before Leland saunters in. He's finally looking dapper, sharp, and cheerful...while also sporting an inexplicably white head of hair. He's also singing "Mairzy Doats." Ben and Jerry ask no questions; they exchange a quick look and then join in, dancing hysterically to the lawyer's ditty. In the evening, as Jerry explains a particularly ornate delicacy, he and Ben find Hank Jennings waiting for them in the office. The lights are off, the fire is burning, and Hank looks menacing in his leather jacket, but the Hornes try their best to out-menace him. Jerry is particularly vindictive about Leo's survival and incredulous when Hank says that Leo was chopping wood inside at the time of the shooting. Hank explains that he called Catherine and sent her to the mill, where she must have been burned alive in the fire; he then asks what they should do with her ledgers. "Leave the creative thinking to the brothers Horne," Ben advises Hank. "You're a bicep. Relax until we say flex." Jerry grabs his arm to reinforce the point, and nearly gets into a fight with Hank, who blows it all off with disconcerting laughter.

Saturday, March 4, 1989
The next day, Ben and Jerry sit by the fire and debate which mill ledger they should destroy. Ben runs through the advantages and disadvantages of using the real ledger rather than the falsified one. It's a complex matter, but Jerry seems just as absorbed by his delicious smoked-cheese pig. They resolve the issue by burning neither ledger, roasting marshmallows instead. Jerry returns to the office in the evening with a surprise: Catherine never signed the insurance policy, messing up the intended payoff but removing any possible suspicion of foul play. Ben and Jerry call the Icelanders to make sure they haven't heard about the mill fire, only for Leland to show up and tell them that he already informed the investors, who are understandably angry. Ben fumes; he tries to redirect Leland to less risky tasks but Leland is distracted by a wanted poster on Ben's desk and races out of the room. "Jerry," Ben says, absolutely deadpan. "Please kill Leland." Wonders Jerry, gritting his teeth and jutting out his chin: "Is this...real, Ben? Or some...strange and twisted dream?"

Friday, March 10, 1989
Jerry greets Ben in a jail cell rather than his office. He's been arrested for the murder of Laura Palmer and is being held at the sheriff's station. Jerry, fresh from a trip to Japan to meet with a new group of investors, puts on his legal hat to serve as Ben's attorney (Leland is facing his own murder charges in the death of another suspect; not to mention the fact that he's the father of Ben's alleged victim). Jerry is clearly incompetent and in no way a boost to Ben's confidence. "Did you kill her?" he asks, and when Ben admonishes him for even asking, he sighs, "You're right. The last thing a good defense attorney needs to know is the truth." Ben's alibi is the still-missing Catherine, which does him no good. Rather than ponder the situation, however, Jerry is distracted by the cell's bunk beds. He reminds Ben of the good old days with Louise Dombrowski, bringing a smile to both their faces. "Lord," Jerry sighs. "What's become of us?" When Cooper and Truman interrogate Ben later on, they confront him with damning passages from Laura's diary. Jerry fumbles and Ben flips out, while Cooper mocks Jerry's legal record: "Jeremy Horne, Gonzaga University, 1974. Graduated last in his class of one hundred forty-two. Passed the bar on his third attempt. License to practice revoked in the states of Illinois, Florida, Alaska, Massachusetts." Asking for a moment alone with his client, Jerry offers Ben the best advice he's presented all day. "As your attorney, your friend, and your brother," he advises, "I strongly suggest that you get yourself a better lawyer." Before they have time to consider, Cooper tries another tack. A one-armed man is brought in to sniff around Ben and declares "BOB has been very close." Jerry is incredulous - who the hell is this "Bob" guy? - and demands that Truman either charge or release Ben. Truman complies...by officially charging Ben with murder.

Sunday, March 19, 1989
A little over a week later, much has changed. Audrey brings Jerry back from another globetrotting business trip to help with a new crisis. The murder charges were dropped, but the traumatic experience - along with the loss of other business ventures (both Ghostwood and One-Eyed Jack's) - sent Ben retreating into a fantasy life where he is Robert E. Lee, playing with toy soldiers and waving a Confederate flag while signing "Dixie." The town psychiatrist Dr. Lawrence Jacoby participates enthusiastically, but Jerry is horrified.

Monday, March 20, 1989
The next day Jerry appears more sanguine. He reminds Audrey that there could be benefits for both of them if Ben stays mad, but Audrey reminds him that the business will go to her. If he doesn't help her father out of his condition, he'll have to look for new opportunities elsewhere. Stunned that his niece has acquired the ruthless family instincts, he agrees. That afternoon, he gets into costume and roleplays the end of the Civil War - with the North surrendering to the South this time. This does the trick, and Ben awakens to his old identity, with a twist.

Tuesday, March 21, 1989
A seemingly reformed, healthy-living Ben calls a meeting of his associates to declare his new plan for Ghostwood. The land is now owned by Catherine, who emerged from hiding and forced him to sign over the property when he was in jail. Jerry shares hors d'oeuvres with everyone, including "Bob Briggs" and John Justice Wheeler. He's initially confused by Ben's advocacy for the endangered pine weasel - "They're incredible, roasted," he inappropriately declares - but ultimately impressed by what he perceives as a cunning strategy. "So we block Catherine's development until the wheel turns and we get another shot. That's brilliant, Ben, brilliant!" He's still thinking like a Horne.

Characters Jerry interacts with onscreen…

Audrey Horne

Sylvia Horne

Ben Horne

Blackie O'Reilly

Leland Palmer

Einar Thorson

Hank Jennings

Sheriff Truman & Agent Cooper

Phillip Gerard

Dr. Jacoby

Bobby Briggs

Jack Wheeler

Impressions of TWIN PEAKS through Jerry
To me, at least, Jerry is the character who best captures the comic potential of Twin Peaks (which doesn't just mean I find him the funniest, though that may be true as well). With his strange mannerisms and petty motivations, he is able to straddle the surrealism of David Lynch and the baroque bemusement of Mark Frost. Jerry is also a certain type of character, whom we've met already in the form of Pinkle, Mike, and Dick - there's a name for a comedic trio - and whom we'll meet in more forms soon. He can be brought in or shuffled around to serve various storylines, although in his case these stories are all associated with Ben. Jerry is a quintessential sidekick, offering other characters someone to bounce off of in terms of both exposition and dramatic energy. The dependence of such a character offers the writer great freedom - the sidekick can be just about anybody, because their actions don't determine the narrative. What's important is how their energy fuels or offsets the other character, and there's room for all sorts of delightful tangents and indulgences.

That's certainly the case with Jerry. In fact, a case could be made that Ben doesn't really come alive as his own character until Jerry enters the picture (in the first couple episodes Ben seems more like a stern, greedy businessman without much color; the second Jerry charges forward with that brie and baguette, the dynamic changes completely). In some ways, Jerry connects the timeless quality of Twin Peaks to the zeitgeist of the wider world; his loud fashion sense and bizarre hairdo scream "early nineties" in a way most other characters don't. Not unrelated, Jerry infuses Twin Peaks - whose grim pilot contains a more arch, dry sense of humor - with the goofy, zesty energy of Wild at Heart (where Lynch first worked with David Patrick Kelly and invited him to appear on Twin Peaks). Lynch's sensibility was moving so fast during the Twin Peaks period that we can carve out three or four different "eras" between the production of the pilot in the winter of 1989 and the editing of the film in the winter of 1992. Jerry Horne exemplifies the spirit of that second period, approaching the turn-of-the-decade, when the energy of Lynch's cinematic road trip fused with the tight, imaginative web of intrigue wound by Frost to create the spirit of the first season.

Jerry’s journey
Jerry's role in season one is small but dynamic. In his first episode, he quite literally liberates Ben from a repressed family environment, luring the audience into the sensual, mysterious, threatening world of One Eyed Jack's (a trip suggested by Ben, but made possible by Jerry's arrival). When Jerry returns a few episodes later, he carries along an entire flock of drunken, singing Icelanders, multiplying "the Jerry effect" as we approach the first season's climax. Whenever Jerry reappears in season two, he carries some of that first season freshness with him, albeit perhaps with diminishing returns when the cameos grow more brief and the stories less intriguing. He's a frequent presence in the first couple Lynch episodes, presenting a much more sinister vibe than before; this helps pave the way for Ben to be our primary suspect. When Jerry returns, the real killer has been revealed, and both Horne brothers are quickly demoted to pathetic buffoonery. The "attorney" scenes provide Jerry with the closest thing he has to an active arc; amusingly, he proves himself completely incapable of driving the action (except in a negative way). Through this development, Jerry loses some of his edge. His inherent ridiculousness is no longer offset by whirlwind confidence, as in season one, or a dangerous temper, as in early season two. As with Albert Rosenfield's big speech, a fun character development - maybe an apex - also leads to a slight decline. Jerry's still a lot of fun in his later scenes, but he's very much sidelined in the Civil War drama. His one big moment - greedily attempting to betray Ben - is well-played but feels a bit wrong; scoundrel he may be, but we do believe Jerry loves his brother. Jerry's final scene has some wonderful moments. The "roasted weasel" bit makes me laugh every time. However, it's also an unfair anticlimax for the hilarious Horne; when we casually cut away from him for the last time, it's startling to realize we'll never see him again (at least on the original series).

Actor: David Patrick Kelly
Whoever wrote the IMDb biography nailed it: "Compact, fierce, fiesty charactor actor." Kelly left a mark on numerous films from a wide array of genres, including 48 Hrs., Hammett, Commando, The Crow, and Flags of Our Fathers (in which he plays President Truman). He worked with Spike Lee on Malcolm X, Crooklyn, and Chi-Raq, and popped up in dozens of hit TV shows like Spenser: For Hire, Miami Vice, Moonlighting, Mad About You, Law & Order, Gossip Girl, Louie, The Blacklist, and as the homeless poet Double-T in a five-episode arc of the PBS mystery kids' show Ghostwriter. Kelly's most celebrated screen role, even more than Jerry, is probably the gang leader Luther in The Warriors, where his distinctive delivery cemented an iconic line in pop culture: "Warriors, come out and play..." Kelly is an articulate, free-spirited multitalent with an eclectic career in music, theater, television, and cinema - he was a mime too, even training with Marcel Marceau! He discusses it all in a podcast with Brad Dukes. (Jerry is also briefly played by an uncredited child actor.) (film pictured: The Warriors, 1979)

*Episode 2 (German title: "Zen, or the Skill to Catch a Killer" - best episode)

Episode 5 (German title: "Cooper's Dreams")

Episode 6 (German title: "Realization Time")

Episode 8 (German title: "May the Giant Be With You")

Episode 9 (German title: "Coma")

Episode 15 (German title: "Drive With a Dead Girl")

Episode 18 (German title: "Masked Ball")

Episode 21 (German title: "Double Play")

Episode 22 (German title: "Masters and Slaves")

Episode 23 (German title: "The Condemned Woman")

Jerry appears in scripts by every writer on the show except for Jerry Stahl (who may not have written much of what showed up onscreen in his episode anyway). Mark Frost writes or co-writes (once, with David Lynch) the bulk of Jerry's early appearances - all but one of Jerry's first eight scenes (but none after that). Harley Peyton writes a couple solo scripts and collaborates with Robert Engels on two others. Both of Scott Frost's scripts feature Jerry (one is his top episode), and Tricia Brock and Barry Pullman contribute one scene/episode each (in Pullman's case, just a simple acknowledgement that a young Jerry is in old film footage). While Lynch recruited the actor and directs Jerry's first episode, he wasn't actually the first to direct Jerry. Episode 2 was shot out of sequence (because of Lynch's Wild at Heart production schedule), so Lesli Linka Glatter and Caleb Deschanel crafted the character before Lynch. Lynch directs Jerry three times, Glatter  and Deschanel twice, and he is directed in one episode each by Diane Keaton, Uli Edel, and Duwayne Dunham (as a child only).

Jerry is onscreen for roughly forty-two minutes. He is in eighteen scenes in nine episodes, taking place over three and a half weeks (plus images from four decades earlier). He's featured the most in episode 15, when acting as Ben's attorney. His primary location is the Great Northern. He shares the most screentime with Ben. He is one of the top ten characters in episode 2 and one of the top five characters in episodes 9 and 15.

Best Scene
Episode 8: When Ben's manic lawyer enters the office with a song in his heart and a dance in his step, the Hornes don't ask any questions - they grin and join right in, with Jerry taking a leap from the staircase and launching into "the worm" when he hits the floor.

Best Line
“Marshmallows! Ben! Where are those hickory sticks?!”

Deleted Scenes from the Series

• In the draft available online, Jerry is scripted to appear in episode 1. Instead of interrupting a dinner, he enters Ben's office after a crisis with Leland (who calls the funeral home and breaks down over the line - this part of the scene was shot and has been spotted on outtake reels, though it isn't on any DVD/blu-ray release). Jerry's conversation with Ben is pretty similar to the one that was actually shot for episode 2. But One Eyed Jack's doesn't come up until a later scene between them. As they agree to go, Audrey is watching through her peephole (which would have explained why she slipped the note about "One Eyed Jack's" to Cooper).

• Accordingly, Jerry's appearance in episode 2 is very different. He doesn't arrive; he's already in the dining room with Ben's family as the episode begins but he's on a conference call with the Icelanders: "JERRY HORNE sits before a roaring fireplace, tumbler of bourbon in hand, eating nuts compulsively from a giant bowl while rapidly adding figures on a large computer while scores of numbers flash up and down on the large computer monitor, all the while talking into a headset phone receiver in a melange of Icelandic and English." Then he starts singing to his niece and nephew: "Nephew Johnny, don't be forlorn ... things're bound to be better in the morn ... then there's Sylvia, who treats me with scorn ... she thinks Jerry an absolute thorn ... around the horn to little niece Audrey, the Horne's first born and here goes Jerry with brother Ben Horne, long-gone like turkeys through the corn ..." That last line will probably perk the ears of Fire Walk With Me fans. At the end of the episode, Cooper was supposed to run into the Hornes at the bar of the Great Northern - this would have served as his formal introduction (which, come to think of it, never occurs on the show). Cooper tells Diane to run a check on Jerry - "Nothing specific. Call it an instinct. Check that; intuition. An instinct is when you get hungry."

• Ben is supposed to talk to Jerry over the phone twice in episode 4, instead of once.

• In a deleted scene from episode 7, which is available on the blu-ray, Jerry comforts a weepy Heba at One Eyed Jack's. She is jealous that he is flirting with other women.

• In the script for episode 8, the scene in Blackie's room takes place after Jerry interrupts Ben's "new girl" visit, and Ben is there too. In fact he, not Jerry, is the one who mocks Blackie and offers her drugs. The brothers also discuss issues with the mill fire (apparently it didn't spread as widely as they would have liked), and Leo. Ben expresses his disappointment with the new girl, and Jerry volunteers to take a crack at her, but Ben pulls him away. They have other work to attend to. At the Great Northern, Ben tells Jerry to make sure the Icelanders don't hear the news and that the pilot of their plane doesn't fly near the burnt mill. When Leland enters, Ben and Jerry just stare in disbelief. (Lynch would add the dancing sequence when he saw Richard Beymer, who plays Ben, warming up on the set with a tapdance.) When they meet with Hank, Jerry offers "a local work of genius: tree-ripened Granny Smith's, dipped in hot, hand-pulled creme caramel, dusted with crushed nuts and a dark coco powder." Their interaction on the page is much more amiable than Lynch directs it.

• As scripted in episode 9, Jerry burns one of the ledgers (the real, private one). No marshmallows!

• In the episode 10 script, Ben talks to Jerry on the phone, and asks him to hold the Icelanders off until the documents are executed.

 After a quick reference to Louise Dombrowski in the episode 15 script (the director added the whole flashback on a whim), Jerry offers Ben a ginger root and explains, "I'm supposed to take a bath in it when I get home. Then dry my right side with my right hand and my left with my left hand. Cures jet lag. Little trick I picked up from a Geisha named Meko. She boiled my shirts. Wish you'd been there, Ben ... she had the cutest little feet."

• And now for the one that really surprised me, which I discovered for the first time only while writing this entry. In episode 23, Jerry presents an...imaginative idea at the business meeting: "Ben, over in Sicily, I had a marketing brainstorm. We set up a special package deal: Twin Peaks, Land of Crime. See where Laura Palmer was murdered, see where her body was found, visit Maddy Ferguson's final resting place; I call it the Homicide Getaway -" No one else at the meeting is enamored with this proposal.

Never Shot for the Film

• Jerry was supposed to appear in Fire Walk With Me, during a party for Johnny Horne. He tells Ben and Leland that they should play the French and Norwegian investors off one another - and that the French "are nuts about wood. They get goofy over trees." The scene was never shot because Richard Beymer balked at the script's depiction of his character. 

Additional Observations

• Jerry's mentions aren't extensive or integral enough to really justify a standalone "offscreen" section. However, he's referenced several times in episodes he isn't in. In episode 4, Ben talks to Jerry over the phone as he boards a plane with the Icelanders. In episode 13, Ben invites Leland back to work, explaining that Jerry is in Tokyo on business (he relays Jerry's approval to Tojamura in episode 14). Audrey calls Jerry up in episode 20 to bring him back to Twin Peaks. And technically, Jerry's story doesn't end with that business meeting in episode 23 even if that's his last onscreen moment. As he dines with Jack and Audrey, Ben is informed that the chef is trying to stab Jerry, who won't stop badgering him in the kitchen. Now that's an appropriate ending.

• Jerry's description of the delicacy in episode 8, in full (as heard in the actual episode): "I read all about it in this French magazine - they take the entire head, they dip it in this kind of blancmange pudding, roll it in oats, stuff it full of walnuts, hot rocks and a spice bouquet, wrap it in a papilliote, seal the edges with a sugar glaze and bake it under glass."

• With the Hornes out of Fire Walk With Me, Kelly could only see the film as an audience member. He commented on it at the USC Twin Peaks retrospective in 2013: "I sort of remember when they said it's gonna finish up. And I was very thrilled that they made a complete thing with the movie, Fire Walk With Me. So it is a complete thing. I don't know if anybody mentions this, maybe it's obvious to everybody but the big breakthrough for me in the series was that for the first time in a so-called investigative police show you remember the name of the victim. I can't think of another show ever where you remember the name of the victim. Law & Order, any of those shows, it's always about the police." There are many more great anecdotes (including how his karate teacher would punish him for not telling him who killed Laura Palmer and how Lynch told him to play the baguette "like a saxophone"); it's worth listening to the whole playlist over time, but this segment is especially strong.

SHOWTIME: Yes, Kelly is on the cast list for 2017. He spoke about his return in the above-linked Dukes interview: "It was pure joy because David Lynch is on fire, and he's directed every one. And I'll just tell you one story from the set. We were out filming on the ranch where they filmed...what's that Western? (hums the theme to BonanzaBonanza! That's it. And Little House on the Prairie as well. And so we're out in the hills there near L.A. And he had me way off, running in to do this one scene, and I couldn't hear him shout 'Action.' And so I said 'Hey David, it's twenty-five years later, I can't hear so good!' And he shouted back, 'Join the club!'"

Last Week: Dick Tremayne

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