Friday, March 25, 2011

The Two Gordon Coles: A Short Piece of Woldnewtonry

In 1949, Gordon Cole was working in the props department at Paramount Studios when he saw Max von Mayerling drive his employer (and ex-wife) Norma Desmond's antique Isotta-Franchini car. Interested, Cole called her Sunset Boulevard mansion in the hopes of using it for the Bing Crosby film they were shooting. Max, knowing that Norma was vainly hoping to return to film after her career ended with the advent of talkies, told her instead that she herself was wanted for a Cecil B. DeMille film. Neither Max, DeMille, nor Norma's ghost-writer/boytoy Joe Gillis had the heart to tell her the truth, and DeMille insisted that Cole use a different car. (Joe later changed his mind, but his attempts to show her the truth and leave Norma once and for all cost him his life).

That's pretty much all we know about Gordon Cole from Sunset Boulevard, the film Billy Wilder based on these events. However, his life did not begin nor end with his dramatization by Bert Moorhouse. Cole was in his early '50s by this point, but had only a few years before taken a much younger wife, and had a son by her, also named Gordon. Unfortunately, Gordon Cole Jr. would have severe hearing trouble, requiring hearing aids and causing him to shout every sentence without realizing the fact and often inadvertently repeat what people had just said or asked him. Nevertheless, he eventually joined the F.B.I., and rose rapidly through the ranks, so that by 1988 he was a regional chief.


At that time, a young woman named Teresa Banks was murdered by Leland Palmer, a lawyer from Twin Peaks, Washington, who had been possessed since childhood by a demonic being named Bob. Recognizing this as what he called a "blue rose" case, Gordon sent agents Chester Desmond and Sam Stanley to investigate. Unfortunately, Desmond (who may have been a relative of Norma's) disappeared. When Leland's daughter Laura was murdered a year later, and the evidence pointed to the same killer, Gordon sent another agent, Dale Cooper (whom my fellow creative mythographer Henry Zeo Covert has identified as a descendant of the Great Detective, Sherlock Holmes) to Twin Peaks. An increasingly bizarre series of events followed, which were dramatized by David Lynch (who would himself portray Gordon Cole Jr. all too accurately) and Mark Frost in their prime time television drama named for the Palmers' hometown.

7 comments:

Toby O'B said...

I like it, Sean! Sometimes I'm envious that I can't really pull every movie into the TV Universe because that's a great bit of genealogy.

I'll have to look for that piece by Mr. Covert. Only a month ago I posited a theory of relateeveety that Cooper's real parents were Amos Burke and an angel....

It'd be great if Holmes could be worked into the mix as well....

Keep up the great work!

Sean Levin said...

Toby, I don't believe Henry has posted his theory about Coop's descent from Holmes yet, but he's mentioned it in the Wold Newton Family group he runs on Yahoo (and which I co-moderate). I'll let you know when he does post it.

Win Scott Eckert said...

Nice linkage here, and not strained at all.

Now I know where to to go to get some new and authentic creative mythography. :-)

-Win

steven said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sean Levin said...

I'm really glad you liked it, Win, and flattered by the phrase "new and authentic creative mythography". I'm thinking of doing semi-regular posts where I lay out a theory or call attention to a crossover I've discovered (and I'll cross-post to the WNF group, of course.:) Thanks to you and Toby over here, and Henry, David B, Bobby and Cheryl over at the group, for all the feedback!

Sean Levin said...

In retrospect, I should have replied to Win's comment with this quote from Gordon Jr.

"THE WORD LINKAGE REMINDS ME OF SAUSAGE. NEVER CARED MUCH FOR THE LINKS, PREFERRED THE PATTIES. BUT BREAKFAST IS A REAL GOOD IDEA."

smapsux said...

I'm guessing this will get a lot more hits starting tonight :)