‘Twin Peaks’ Log Lady’s connection to Claremont

“Twin Peaks” Log Lady Catherine Coulson has died of cancer at age 71.
“Twin Peaks” Log Lady Catherine Coulson has died of cancer at age 71.

Catherine Coulson, the actress best known for her role as the Log Lady on “Twin Peaks,” died in September 2015, months after saying goodbye to her Scripps College classmates at their 50th reunion.

Fans had wondered if she might have done any work for the long-gestating “Twin Peaks” revival. The first two episodes aired Sunday, and Coulson was in both, phoning a deputy while cradling her log to pass along its prophecies, just as in the 1990-91 original.

Oxygen tube in her nose, her hair cropped short and her hand shaking, Coulson looks frail. She asks the deputy to visit her, promising coffee and pie.

“I’m too weak to go with you. Please, let me know what happens,” the Log Lady says.

As TV Guide put it, “it’s rare to see television confront the reality of what a fatal illness looks like as directly as ‘Twin Peaks’ did in these scenes,” and fans’ knowledge of her subsequent death made the scenes more emotional.

Coulson attended Scripps from 1961 to 1965, living in Dorsey Residence Hall, acting in “The Pajama Game,” “Brigadoon” and other theater productions and graduating with a degree in art history.

Two classmates told me after her death that Cathy, as they knew her, had returned to campus in spring 2015 for their class reunion, where she broke the news she had incurable lung cancer. “She came back specifically to say goodbye to everyone,” Susan Coolidge said.

In a way, she did the same for “Twin Peaks” fans.

Being somewhere

At the Archibald Library in Rancho Cucamonga last week, Allen Callaci read from his heart-transplant memoir, “Heart Like a Starfish,” to a dozen of us, chairs arranged in a horseshoe shape.

Callaci is a friend about whom I wrote last year and whose book I helped proofread. During the question period, a woman seated to my right turned to Callaci and asked, “In the acknowledgments, it mentions David Allen. Is that the David Allen who writes for the newspaper?”

A gratifying number of people began chuckling. Callaci exclaimed, “He’s right next to you.”

She turned, surprised. I shook her hand.

Explaining how she had overlooked me, she said, flustered: “You never expect people to actually be somewhere.”

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Later, as the talk broke up, we had a conversation. She admitted that she canceled her Daily Bulletin subscription two years ago. She sometimes regrets it.

“Your column is what I miss in the paper,” she confided. “You and the coupons.”

Culture Corner

• The 10th annual Star Wars Reads event takes place from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday at Victoria Gardens’ Biane Library, celebrating the franchise’s 40th anniversary with storytime, activities and more. Julie Dolan, who provides the voice for Princess Leia on the cartoon “Star Wars Rebels,” will be there. Admission is free.

• Jonathan Lethem and Kevin Dettmar, co-editors of the Library of America anthology “Shake It Up: Great American Writing on Rock and Pop from Elvis to Jay Z,” will read from and sign their book at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Rhino Records, 235 Yale Ave., Claremont. They were last seen in my column praising Bob Dylan’s Nobel.

• Summer concerts at Ontario Town Square, 224 N. Euclid Ave., take place each Wednesday at 7 p.m. from May 31 to Aug. 16. The lineup includes cover bands for the music of Selena (Wednesday), Chicago (June 14), Bruno Mars (June 21), Queen (June 28), Green Day (July 12), Journey (Aug. 2) and KC and the Sunshine Band (Aug. 16) — to reiterate, not the actual bands but tribute acts. All shows are free.

• Family-friendly films will be screened each Friday at Ontario Town Square, 224 N. Euclid Ave., at dusk from June 2 to Aug. 18; bring a lawn chair or blanket. Among the films: “Moana” (June 9), “Kubo and the Two Strings” (July 7), “Finding Dory” (July 21), “Grease” (Aug. 4) and “Sing” (Aug. 18). All films are free.

Valley Vignette

Among those who’ll miss Brian Desatnik, the low-key community development director of Claremont who’s headed to Redlands, are local reporters. We found Desatnik’s deliberate speaking style easy to keep up with when taking notes and his deadpan sense of humor a crackup.

My favorite encounter occurred during off-hours, a weekend open house at a prominent Village home listed at $2.8 million. The throngs turned out to eyeball the opulent, 6,500-square-foot house from the inside.

I ran into the lanky Desatnik, both of us in T-shirts and shorts, in the mansion’s dining room.

He asked me sonorously: “Are you going to buy it?”

In retrospect, I should have told him with a straight face that the house wasn’t large enough. But at the time, all I could do was laugh.

David Allen writes Friday, Sunday and Wednesday, which is all he can do. Contact dallen@scng.com or 909-483-9339, visit insidesocal.com/davidallen, like davidallencolumnist on Facebook and follow @davidallen909 on Twitter.

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About the Author

David Allen

Reach the author at dallen@scng.com or follow David on Twitter: davidallen909.