Artist Profile: Ann Brewster (1918–2005)

Shirley Sonya Zweifach was born in New York City and attended the Cooper Union Art School.  In the 1941 Cooper Union yearbook, the following was written about Shirley: “Imagine a girl who’s proud of having successfully avoided every meeting of the Dance Club since the middle of her first year. She’s not anti-social, but to Shirley Sonya Zweifach, life holds greater interests. Take painting now – Shirley works like an embryo Picasso on the canvas daubing – not bad either. She’s aiming toward an ivory tower where she can paint to her heart’s content.”  When Shirley graduated that year, she started to work under the name Ann Brewster.

Typically, at that time, women faced considerable difficulties breaking into the field of commercial illustration, which was largely a boys club.  However, in 1941, America was preparing for war and many young men were drafted into the armed services.  As a result, for the first time, young women like Ann could find work in previously male-dominated industries.  Starting in 1942, when she was hired to work for Binder Comics, Ann Brewster worked regularly through the 1970s.  Though she is best known for the type of romance comics that are featured below, she worked in all different genres.

Here are a few samples of Ann’s work:

A Movie A Day #86: Don’t Tell Her It’s Me (1990, directed by Malcolm Mowbray)

This month, since the site is currently reviewing each episode of Twin Peaks, every entry in Move A Day is going to have a Twin Peaks connection.  I am going to start things with Don’t Tell Her It’s Me, a movie that I normally would never think of as having anything to do with Twin Peaks or anything else that David Lynch has ever been associated with.

In this very minor romantic comedy, Gus (Steven Guttenberg) is a cartoonist who has just recently beaten cancer.  The treatment has left him bald, overweight, and lonely.  His sister, a popular romance novelist named Lizzie (Shelley Long), sets hm up with her friend, a journalist named Emily (Jami Gertz).  When Emily does not return Gus’s affection, Lizzie decides to transform Gus into every woman’s dream, which in this movie is a rebel named Lobo who comes from New Zealand and rides a motorcycle.  Gus spends a month working out, growing his hair long, and learning how to speak with a New Zealand accent.  Emily falls in love with Lobo, never realizing that he is actually Gus but what will happen when Gus has to finally tell her the truth?  Despite good performances (especially from Shelley Long), Don’t Tell Her It’s Me it too formulaic and predictable to be memorable.  Even if he does have a mullet and is speaking with a different accent, Steve Guttenberg is always going to be Steve Guttenberg and it’s hard to believe that Emily would not be able to see through his act.

Don’t Tell Her It’s Me actually has two Twin Peaks connections.  Kyle MacLachlan, the one and only Dale Cooper himself, plays Trout, who is both Emily’s editor and her cad of a boyfriend.  It’s a nothing role but fans of Twin Peaks will be interested to know that, when Trout is inevitably revealed to be cheating on Emily, the woman that he’s cheating with is played by MacLachlan’s Twin Peaks co-star, Madchen Amick.

If only the Log Lady had been around, Don’t Tell Her It’s Me could have been a much different picture.

TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.2 “Traces to Nowhere” (directed by Duwayne Dunham)

Traces to Nowhere is an episode defined by two accidents.

The first is Pete Martell serving Agent Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) and Sheriff Truman (Michael Ontkean) fish-tainted coffee while Cooper and Truman are asking Josie (Joan Chen) about Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee) tutoring her in English.  Pete runs into the room, saying, “Fellas, don’t drink that coffee!  A fish fell into the percolator!”  Hours later, sitting at the Double R Diner, Cooper says that he still has “the taste of that fish-flavored coffee in my mouth.”

The other accident was Killer Bob, who makes his first appearance when Mrs. Palmer (Grace Zabriskie) has a vision of him in the corner of a room.  Bob and his sudden appearances would become one of the best known things about Twin Peaks but, ironically, he wasn’t even a part of the show’s original conception.  Bob was played by Frank Silva, a prop master and set decorator who was working on the pilot episode of Twin Peaks when David Lynch accidentally caught his reflection on camera.  Lynch was so taken by the accidental image that he created the role of Killer Bob specifically for Silva.  Silva made a strong and undeniable impression as the growling Bob but, unfortunately, it would be his only role as an actor.  Silva died of AIDS in 1996, four years after appearing in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me.

Frank Silva as Killer Bob

Traces to Nowhere was the first regular episode of the series, following the pilot.  Probably in order to reassure nervous television executive and viewers who were on the fence about whether or not Twin Peaks was for them, this episode is more quirky than actively strange.  A lot of time is devoted to the show’s more soapy plot threads, like the affairs between Ben Horne (Richard Beymer) and Catherine Martell (Piper Laurie) and Donna Hayward (Lara Flynn Boyle) and James Hurley (James Marshall) and the abusive marriage of Leo (Eric Da Re) and Shelley (Madchen Amick).

There are a lot of first in Traces to Nowhere.  This is the episode where Audrey first talks to Cooper, Cooper first says that the Great Northern serves a “damn fine cup of coffee,” where Cooper first has a slice of cheery pie, and where Cooper first talks about Albert Rosenfield.  This episodes also features the first mention of the Bookhouse Boys and, most importantly for fans of the series, the first appearance of Catherine Coulson as everyone’s favorite Log Lady.  When the Log Lady first shows up and tells Cooper to ask her log who killed Laura Palmer, the character seems like just a throw away joke.  But fans of the show know how important the Log Lady will become.

Catherine Coulson, was passed away in 2015, was the ex-wife of Jack Nance, who played Pete Martell.  Coulson and Nance both worked with David Lynch on his first film, Eraserhead.  It is said that during the shooting of Eraserhead, Lynch looked over at Coulson and said that he had just suddenly had a vision of her holding a log.  (Nance and Coulson were not the only Eraserhead alumni to later appear on Twin Peaks.  Charlotte Stewart, who played the weak mother of Bobby Briggs on Twin Peaks, earlier played Mary X, Nance’s strange girlfriend in Erasherhead.)

Up next: Zen, or the Skill To Catch a Killer!

Previous Entries in The TSL’s Look At Twin Peaks:

  1. Twin Peaks: In the Beginning by Jedadiah Leland
  2. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.1 — The Pilot (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman

Music Video of the Day: Wicked Game by Chris Isaak (1990, dir. David Lynch)

Seeing as the site is going through each episode of Twin Peaks, I thought I might as well go through the music videos where David Lynch has been directly involved. I say “directly” because there is a music video from 1982 for a song called I Predict, by the group Sparks, which is often credited to David Lynch, even though everything I’ve seen says it was directed by Douglas Martin in the style of David Lynch. 

There’s another video for Unfinished Sympathy by Massive Attack that is credited to Lynch over on mvdbase, but probably only got that way because the stedicam operator on the video, Dan Kneece, worked on Blue Velvet (1986). He also worked on other David Lynch stuff, including 29 of the 30 episodes of Twin Peaks’ original run. Wikipedia says it was directed by Baillie Walsh.

We all know the other version of Wicked Game. I’ll do that someday. This is the version that intercuts footage from Wild At Heart (1990) with Isaak’s performance. What is there to say? It’s in Lynch black-and-white. It has a flame. It has Chris Isaak looking like Henry Spencer from Eraserhead (1977) if he were a young Roy Orbison, which I’m sure is on purpose since Orbison’s In Dreams is prominently featured in Blue Velvet. It’s probably what most people would expect.

One last thing, Lynch is again credited for a music video that I don’t think he did. He is credited for directing Dangerous by Michael Jackson. I have no reason to believe that’s true. However, both the video below and IMDb do credit him with directing a short teaser for the album called Dangerous.