Mark Seliger, ABC
DIANE, WE´RE BACK ON THE AIR: Special Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) must match wits with his former partner as ABC´s oddball 'Twin Peaks' returns at 9 tonight.
Robert Iger, ABC Entertainment president, will keep the Barbies wrapped in plastic, one tagged, "Don´t kill Laura Palmer again."
And he´ll treasure the can of Twin Peaks creamed corn, with its label of ingredients for cancellation and revival - and a warning: "Watching requires a brain." "This is an aggressive and creative set of fans," Iger understates, chuckling at the 10,000-plus letters, banners, logs and chess pieces that fill ABC offices on both coast.
On the weekend after a call-in strategy that shut down his fax machine, he came to the office to find 163 messages on his phone mail. "The only thing I can say is, 'Thank you, and tell a friend.'" They´ve been doing more than that, these Peaks fans, these piqued fans.
In the six weeks between ABC´s suspension of the cult soap and its return tonight (9 EST / PST), a high-tech grass-roots group has rallied via national computer networks and media-savvy campaigns.
Marvels Peaks creator David Lynch: "We didn´t know just how creative and crazed the fans were."
"Had there been the faxing, phoning and computer capability like we have today, I bet Star Trek would never have been canceled," says H Keith Poston, Washington, D.C.-based national president of COOP (Citizens Opposing the Offing of Peaks) - the frontline of a national welcoming party. COOP is the most vocal of the Peaks patrol, with chapters in 30 states and growing. Miami´s COOP, led by local ad exec J.C. Bourque, is organizing a direct approach to Peaks advertisers, thanking them. It´s called Operation Pine Weasel, after the show´s ferret-like mascot.
Tonight, four COOP shindigs attract stars - in D.C., New York, Los Angeles and Iowa City, the latter a college town representative of Peaks fever on campuses. Other chapters get a video greeting from Peaks makers and cast. Pie-tastings and costumes are encouraged. Even so, Iger is cautious: "It´s no guarantee of success when we get a lot of mail. But this is an indication that some people out there care."