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David Lynch. The Birth of the Golden Age of Television. Early Films. Attended Fine Arts school in Philadelphia The Grandmother (1970) AFI Supported family with odd jobs Worked on the script for Eraserhead (1977) Mel Brooks called him “Jimmy Stewart from Mars”. Surrealism.

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David Lynch

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david lynch

David Lynch

The Birth of the Golden Age of Television

early films
Early Films
  • Attended Fine Arts school in Philadelphia
  • The Grandmother (1970)
  • AFI
  • Supported family with odd jobs
  • Worked on the script for Eraserhead (1977)
  • Mel Brooks called him “Jimmy Stewart from Mars”
  • Surrealism originated in the late 1910s and early '20s as a literary movement that experimented with a new mode of expression called automatic writing, or automatism, which sought to release the unbridled imagination of the subconscious.
  • All sorts of techniques and phenomena were employed to achieve this subconscious creativity, including dreams, hallucinations, automatic or random image generation - basically anything that circumvented the usual "rational" thought processes involved in creating works of art.
  • Was known to include elements from dreams in his work
production of eraserhead
Production of Eraserhead
  • Took 3 years
  • Delivered newspapers
  • Lived on the set
  • Desolate industrial city
  • Characters Henry and Mary X give birth to a monstrous baby
  • Henry dreams of escaping with a woman who serenades him from behind the radiator
  • “illogic and rhythm of a bad dream”
  • Theme of “sexual repression”
cast and crew
Cast and Crew
  • Alan Spelt (sound editor) won an Academy Award for his audio work on The Black Stallion (1979)
  • Cinematographer Fred Elmes went on to shoot more idiosyncratic films
  • Jack Nance never broke into Hollywood, but had parts in other Lynch films as well as a favorite character on Twin Peaks
the elephant man 1980
The Elephant Man 1980
  • Lynch was given the Writing and Directing Assignment
  • Mel Brooks (a producer of the film) suggested him
  • Nominated for 8 Academy Awards
  • Lynch was nominated for director and screenplay
  • His films have always remained odd and divisive
mythology of the show
Mythology of the show
  • Flash Forwards
  • Dream Sequences
  • Extra-dimensional spirits
  • Other-worldly villains
  • Sense of place
  • Special code

Television mythologies allow viewers to feel like they are part of a special code. Shows with idiosyncratic mythologies tend to develop cult followings. Ex. Twin Peaks, Star Trek, X-Files, Lost

likely influenced the following shows
Likely influenced the following shows
  • The X Files
  • Lost
  • Mad Men
  • Breaking Bad
  • The Killing
  • True Detective

Also generated a rabid cult following

cinematic style
Cinematic Style
  • Expanded the vocabulary of the small screen
  • Cinematography
  • Editing
  • Set design

Nightmarish images




laura palmer
Laura Palmer

Development of character (of a dead girl) like Otto Primenger’s Laura

One of the most intriguing characters ever on television


Evil is represented as a an entity (rather than specific characters)

showrunners and creative control
Showrunners and creative control
  • Mark Frost
  • David Lynch
  • The Lynch style brought something to TV never seen before
mistakes that were kept
Mistakes that were kept
  • Flubbed lines
  • Faulty Fluorescent
  • Frank Silva accidentally caught in a mirror (and becoming the main villain)

“Twin Peaks,” despite all its innovations, died an ignoble death, hemorrhaging viewers. Not even Lynch’s sort-of prequel film, “Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me,” could salvage the show.