ARLINGTON, Va. – Maybe they don´t bet dollars to doughnuts they´ll succeed, but two men experienced in political campaigns are using their abilities to try to give « Peaks » a chance.
H.Keith Poston and Michael Caputo hope to save « Twin Peaks » – the ABC-TV series that enjoys a cult following – from being canceled.
Their effort resembles a political campaign with polls, fund-raising letters and campaign appearances by a few of the show´s stars. Their apartment in this Washington suburb has become a mailroom, and their answering machine broke under the strain of mobilizing 11,000 fans.
« There´s boxes of T-shirts all over the place and a computer on the dinner room table. Also, our mailman is real mad at us, » Poston said.
A lobbyist by day, by night he´s president of Citizens Opposing the Offing of Peaks, or COOP.
Poston and Caputo are running an ambitious letter, fax and phone campaign from their living room, all financed by sales of COOP T-shirts.
Each $13 shirt, with doughnuts for the « Os » and the motto « All We Are Saying is Give Peaks a Chance, » raises enough money to mail four letters to ABC, Poston said.
Doughnuts, in case you´re not a regular viewer, are one of the three basic food groups in Twin Peaks. The others are cherry pie and coffee.
The critically acclaimed series set in a Northwest logging town is on its second hiatus after finishing in the ratings basement most of this season. ABC will air a two-hour season finale June 10, and media analysts hold no the network will renew the show.
Poston and Caputo think ABC is making a mistake.
« It´s the cutting edge of television. When ABC realizes what they´ve lost, they´re going to look like monkeys, » Caputo said.
Caputo and Poston began their fan club in February, when the network sent dashing FBI agent Dale Cooper and the rest of the show´s dozen regular characters on a five-week vacation.
The Persian Gulf War and the solving of Laura Palmer´s murder mystery contributed to a slump in viewership, said David Marans, head of media research at the J. Walter Thompson advertising agency.
« There wasn´t a lot of reson for people to watch after they solved the murder, » he said. (Homecoming queen Laura was done in by her dad, Leland, who was under the influence of the demonic Bob.)
« The network doesn´t announce its programming decisions until the end of May. That´s all we can say, » said ABC publicist Leslie Clark.
She acknowledged that ABC has received at least 10,000 letters from people urging the network to keep the show on the air, but Caputo said the figure is more like 300,000.
Poston says COOP has a mailing list of 11,000 and chapters in 40 cities. He and Caputo, a spokesman for a business lobby, estimate they put in more than 20 hours a week.
They´re asking fans to pursue an « anti-boycott, » rewarding companies that advertised during « Twin Peaks. »
And they plan a poll of the group´s members, asking for information on salaries, buying habits and the like. « Obviously that would be very useful to an advertiser, » Caputo said.
They are hopeful another network might pick up the show or that new episodes could be sold directly into syndication.
San Diego Union, 14 May 1991.