Doppelgängers, Identical Cousins, and Twin Peaks

In college I heard stories of another student who looked exactly like me. Everyone said it was uncanny how much we looked alike. But there were so many occasions when I would show up at a party to have someone say “He was just here!” that I had the feeling they were putting me on.

"How 'bout some eggs to go with that coffee, Agent Cooper?"

“How ’bout some eggs to go with that coffee, Agent Cooper?”

The number of times I’ve been told I look like someone else is astronomical. One day I was leaving the Orange County Court and I heard someone behind me yell “Hey, Jeff!” I didn’t turn around since that wasn’t my name and kept walking across the parking lot. I heard it again and still didn’t turn around. Then I heard feet running up behind me. I was in the courthouse parking lot. I decided I better turn around.

A guy ran up to me and stopped. “Jeff, didn’t you…hear…” He was so shocked that I wasn’t Jeff that he just turned around and walked away. It was at this time in my life I learned about the idea of doppelgängers. I wondered if the guy at school was my doppelganger.

It is 1989. David David Lynch plays with doppelgangers on ‘Twin Peaks. He didn’t invent the idea of identical cousins (Think ‘The Patty Duke Show and their funhouse mirror routines). On his show they are Laura Palmer and her cousin, Maddy.

They finally reveal Laura’s killer in a horrific scene. Laura’s father, Leland, is possessed by the killer, Bob. As he looks at his reflection in a mirror, shaggy Bob appears. Then Leland beats Maddy to death.

Frank Da Silva was cast as Bob after appearing in a scene by accident. He was arranging props on set and got caught in front of the camera when they called “Action!”. Lynch was so taken with him when he saw the footage that he created the part and cast him.

I am in the Red Carpet Club at LAX a couple of weeks after the violent episode airs. They call my flight. I grab my bags. I pull open the door. There, in front of me, is shaggy Frank/Bob. I gulp, then very deliberately step to the right. Bob steps to his left.

I step left. He steps right.

We both smile.