I don’t normally like ‘beefcake’ pictures, but…

…in this case, I’ll make an exception. Hum-a-nuh

Kyle MacLachlan in and out of a Stillsuit
Kyle MacLachlan in and out of a Stillsuit from Dune

20 Years Ago Today…

The word linkage reminds me of sausage! Never cared much for the links, preferred the patties! But breakfast is a real good idea! – Gordon Cole (David Lynch), ‘Twin Peaks’

I know this is going to sound dramatic, but twenty years ago today, my life changed.

Yeah, that does sound pretty dramatic, especially considering that this post is about a television show.

On the evening of April 8 in the year 1990, ‘Twin Peaks’ premiered on ABC. Being a fan of Kyle MacLachlan, I decided to watch the two-hour pilot.

Up to that point, I was a pretty mundane viewer. My tastes were so mainstream, I find it a little scary to look back upon. Before ‘Twin Peaks’ my favorite television program was ‘Family Ties.’

Leland Palmer was a far cry from Steven Keaton.

Leland Palmer
Leland Palmer

After those two hours were over I decided that I would follow this show and not miss an episode – but not for a teenage crush on a cute actor. I decided to follow it for the story.

This was something completely different for me. Since the eighth grade I had been a pop-culture junky, but I normally gravitated around personalities. I’m still like this for certain performers, but story means much more to me than almost anything else.

Damn Fine Coffee...and hot!
Damn Fine Coffee...and hot!

Despite its meandering plot, the story-lines in ‘Twin Peaks’ were intriguing. The insane one-eyed wife of the gas station owner who was having an affair with his high school sweetheart whose husband was in jail for a murder he didn’t commit so that the murdered man’s widow could have his insurance money but more importantly gain revenge for her previous lover. Oh yeah, and then there was that murder…

For me, the murder was the least interesting bit of the show – and it interested me quite a bit. Even at the tender age of 17 I knew that solving the murder wasn’t what was important about ‘Twin Peaks’ – the murder was the catalyst to get the ball rolling and keep Agent Cooper in town long enough to get him embroiled in the local creepiness and shady doings.

I have always blamed the impatient fans for the lull in season 2 – those painful episodes following the conclusion of Laura Palmer’s murder case.

I read the Scarlet Letter in High School
I read the Scarlet Letter in High School

But I am nothing if not loyal and I made it through the bad times to see it return to form in the last third of the season. Unfortunately, I was one of very few who had toughed it out and not many witnessed some of the best writing and acting that the show had to offer.

So, to David Lynch, Mark Frost and all the cast and crew of ‘Twin Peaks,’ I thank you for opening my eyes to something new, expanding my horizons and making me ‘think outside the box.’

More Bloodsuckers

Back in 1990 there was one-season television series titled simply ‘Dracula – The Series.’ I had never even heard of it until just a few years ago when my husband happened across a DVD in a bargain bin. He had seen a few episodes on television and was curious to see it again.

It’s a weird mix of Dracula (of course), The Monster Squad and your typical family sit-com.

Shot completely in Luxembourg, this show is about two boys, Max (Jacob Tierney) and Chris (Joe Roncetti), whose mother moves them out to Europe to live with their uncle Gustav Helsing (Bernard Behrens) and his attractive young ward, Sophie (Mia Kirshner). If moving halfway across the world wasn’t a big enough adjustment, they quickly learn that Dracula – THE Dracula – is a town resident and that Uncle Gustav is the descendant of the famous Van Helsing line.

This Dracula character is closer to the novel than most modern-day vampire characters. He can go out in the day – sunlight does not kill him – but he does not have ‘vampire powers’ until nightfall. However, he is not the type to sleep in during the day. He can’t – he runs a multi-million international business under the name of Alexander Lucard.

As with many early 90’s syndicated shows – and one aimed at families – the dialogue can often be silly and the plots a little ludicrous. Fortunately, this show does not take itself too seriously and it’s obvious that the actors and writers had fun with it without camping it up too much.

The stand-out performer of the program is Geordie Johnson, who plays the title character. I’ve never seen a blond Dracula before and I wouldn’t think it would be an appropriate look for him but Johnson plays it so well that it seems right for this portrayal. He has a nice, square jaw (all the better for making those fangs look even more menacing) and resembles Kyle MacLachlan, which is never a bad thing in my book.

Dracula can get a little campy – silly one-liners, over-dramatic entrances and exits – but he is played seriously enough that the line is never crossed into all-out camp. Even when Drac is popping off those groan-inspiring jokes, you never stop believing he’s a dangerous monster. Johnson plays the villain just right in that we don’t want him to win, but we don’t want him to die either.

The entire show was released on two DVDs, out of order, but this hardly matters because there isn’t much of an over-arcing story to this program like most modern-day shows. The prints are acceptable but not all that great. The show was shot on 16 millimeter film so the graininess should be expected.

If you do happen to pick these up, make sure you’re in a frame of mind to watch something fun, but not too deep but not too fluffy either.

Purchase Dracula: The Series (2-DVD Pack)

This show is also available to rent through Netflix.

To learn more about this show, visit Lucard’s Home Page, an in-depth fan site covering all aspects of the show.

Something re-learned

Today’s new knowledge acquirement: Twin Peaks is just as infectious as it ever was.

Since the husband and I don’t have cable, we’ve been watching our DVD and VHS collection. I got the Twin Peaks season one DVD set for Christmas two years ago and we had never sat down to watch the series straight through.

Last week, we decided to finally watch it. I have the second season on pre-recorded VHS tapes so after we finished the gorgeous DVDs, we’ve moved on to the crappy, fuzzy, hissy VHS tapes. (Oh please, Lions Gate, please release season 2 on DVD.)

I find that the series is just as addictive, mesmerizing and just plain fun as it ever was. I’m getting a lot more of the film noir ‘in’ jokes (thanks to my film noir-buff husband) and I’m re-evaluating my opinions on several of the performances.

When the show was originally on ABC, I didn’t like Joan Chen (Josie Packard). I thought she was terrible. This time around, I’m finding that she did a great job. James Marshall (James Hurley), while very annoying in the beginning, has grown on me. It’s too bad that he’s given the most annoying plot line a quarter of the way through season two.

One opinion that has not changed is that of Kyle MacLachlan’s performance as Agent Dale Cooper. His portrayal of his character’s joy at discovering rural life is never hokey and never feels false.

Here’s to hoping that Lions Gate does release that second season and includes the ‘previously on’ and ‘next time on’ clips, which were just as bizarre as the show itself.

In closing, I’d like to leave you with my favorite quote from the show, spoken by the ever-yelling Agent Gordon Cole, played by David Lynch:

“THE WORLD LINKAGE REMINDS ME OF SAUSAGE! NEVER CARED MUCH FOR THE LINKS, PREFERRED THE PATTIES! BUT BREAKFAST IS A REAL GOOD IDEA!”

What I Learned Today: 01/29/04

It’s time for today’s new item learned: Kyle MacLachlan is in a new movie called ‘A Touch of Pink‘ “So what?” you say? He’s an actor, that’s not news! What’s really nifty about it is that he’s playing the spirit of Cary Grant

I have always been of the opinion that MacLachlan’s comedic talents have been very under-utilized and I look forward to seeing him in this movie being a huge fan of both MacLachlan and Cary Grant. Visit the site to watch the trailer to see some examples of his Grant-impersonating talents.

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I visited Mr. MacLachlan’s official site today and was thrilled to see a picture of him as George Reeves for a project that never got off the ground. It’s a real shame that the project didn’t take off.

For more information about Mr. MacLachlan’s career, visit his very nicely designed official site:
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