Today, April 8th 2020, marks the 30th anniversary of the now-iconic mystery horror drama television series, Twin Peaks, which was created by the uncompromisingly creative duo Mark Frost and David Lynch.
The show, which famously follows an investigation headed by FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper and local Sheriff Harry S. Truman, attempts to uncover the truths behind the murder of homecoming queen Laura Palmer. Set in the fictional town of Twin Peaks, Washington, the show is typically ‘Lynchian’ in its surreal nature as it flips between a detective series and one of bizarre supernatural elements.
It is undoubted that Twin Peaks, upon its inception and subsequent release in 1990, was well ahead of its time. Lynch knew full well that the challenge of selling his idea to broadcasters ABC was a difficult one. Tasked with the challenge by his agent Tony Krantz of creating a show about real-life America—but with a heavy slant on his approach with 1986 film Blue Velvet—Lynch teamed up with his close friend Mark Frost who, initially, wanted to set and name the show North Dakota.
Having put their heads together, Lynch and Frost knew they had the “idea of a small-town thing” and they decided to develop the town before its inhabitants. The duo agreed that they wanted forestry and mountains as part of their set which, having made that decision, ruled out their initial North Dakota plans.
Aware that they wanted to create the town first, Lynch decided to draw a map and began adding small details such as a town lumber mill and access to a lake. “We knew where everything was located and that helped us determine the prevailing atmosphere and what might happen there,” Lynch remembered.
Having forged their immediate plans, Lynch believed that ABC would struggle to grasp the idea for Twin Peaks and, as they were aiming for primetime television, put serious consideration into the pitch that the two would present—building it around the map they had drafted earlier. Lynch believed the only way ABC could understand Twin Peaks was to understand Twin Peaks the fictional Washington town location.
The map would go on to be included in Nigel Holmes’ out-of-print Pictorial Maps, explaining that “the peaks of the title, and the town they name, are clearly visible as white-topped mountains rising out of the modelled landscape.”
Holmes added: “By creating a sense of place, Lynch made the town all the more believable. A straightforward map would have been dull by comparison and might have suggested that there was something intrinsically interesting about the geography of the place. What was much more important to convey was the mood of the story, and it’s nicely captured in Lynch’s quirky drawing.”
Here it is: