Museum ‘peaks’ the interest of TV’s Mark Frost

Written by: Bill Francis

Twenty-five years after the mystery of who killed Laura Palmer became a national obsession thanks to the cult television series Twin Peaks, one of the show’s co-creators made a trip to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum soon after news of the program’s revival has excited a devoted fanbase.

Mark Frost, who created Twin Peaks with famed director David Lynch, visited the Cooperstown baseball shrine from his Los Angeles home on June 29, accompanied by a group that included his son and longtime lawyer.

“This was a trip to complete my family heritage of bringing the different male members of my family to the Hall,” said Frost, soon after receiving a tour from Senior Curator Tom Shieber. “I brought my father here previously, and this time I got to bring my 11-year-old son Travis, which was a great thrill. And we have a pro player in the family (Frost’s nephew is Washington Nationals highly regarded pitcher prospect Lucas Giolito), and Travis has aspirations in that direction, so this is like a trip to heaven for him.”

With a 40-year career in show business, which dates back to writing TV scripts for The Six Million Dollar Man and Hill Street Blues in the 1970s and ‘80s, Frost is the author of a series of novels and bestselling golf non-fiction, including The Greatest Game Ever Played and The Match. His lone baseball work thus far is the book Game Six, published in 2009, about the pivotal game in the 1975 World Series between the Reds and the Red Sox made famous by Boston catcher Carlton Fisk’s walk-off home run in the bottom of the 12th inning.

“To me that was always the greatest single game,” Frost said. “I wasn’t there but I remember watching on television. I’d never been more riveted by a game, particularly one that I didn’t have a rooting interest in either team at the time. But to me it was baseball at its best on display.

“As I got to meet all those guys and go back and research the history I realized it was not just a great game, not just a great series, it was a pivotal moment in baseball history,” he added. “I think between the broadcasters and the managers and the players you’ve got over 20 names that are in the Hall of Fame in one way or another. Still, I don’t think there’s a single game that represents as much about baseball as that game does, and that’s why I chose to write about that game in particular.”

Mark Frost, who helped create the TV show Twin Peaks, watches with his son, Travis, and Frost’s lawyer, Alan S. Wertheimer, as Hall of Fame Senior Curator Tom Shieber takes a bat out of the Museum’s collection during a tour. (Parker Fish / National Baseball Hall of Fame)

According to Frost – an obsessive Strat-O-Matic player as a child – his love of baseball began as early as he can remember.

“I was born in Brooklyn, moved to Los Angeles the same year the Dodgers did, grew up as they were building Dodger Stadium within walking distance of my home, so baseball has been a part of my life like the air that I breathe,” Frost said. “And I’ve had the good fortune of always being in a city with a good team. We moved to Minneapolis in the late ‘60s when the Twins were fantastic, I went to college in Pittsburgh in the early ’70s when they were at their peak, I moved back to L.A. in ’74 when the Dodgers were great again, so I’ve been fortunate to always have interesting teams to follow.”

As for Twin Peaks, Frost looks back fondly on those years when he was part of an evolving television landscape.

“We had 32 hours back in 1991-92, and with my partner David Lynch we kind of blew open that genre of the nighttime soap and took it in a whole other direction,” Frost said. “A lot of people always look back at Twin Peaks and say that was the start of this explosion we’ve had in good television drama, but we did it in a time when there were still only three networks. The challenge for us is to try and come back and raise the bar above what we did the last time. We’re coming back with season three of Twin Peaks after a 25-year absence. We’ve finished the scripts, we start production in September, and that will be coming out on Showtime sometime in 2017.”

Frost is also writing a Twin Peaks book, which will come out next year that will cover the intervening years between the old series and the new. But despite currently being busy with a number of projects, Frost still has a future wish list.

“I’m always looking for a good story. I’d love to do a baseball movie at this point in my life,” Frost said. “I’m going to do another golf movie, but I’d love to find a great baseball story to make a movie of because I think it’s an enduring classic genre in American cinema.”

Bill Francis is a Library Associate at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum
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