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10 Fun Facts about Moonlighting – The 1980s TV Show

Updated on September 18, 2015

Do you remember those wonderful exchanges between David Adison and Maddie Hayes that were so obviously fired by real life sexual tension? Then you must have been a fan if the superb US hit TV show Moonlighting that starred Bruce Willi and Cybil Shepherd. Moonlighting was a brilliant combination of drama and comedy, which would come to be known as Dramedy, and a love hate relationship that kept everyone guessing for several years. You never quite knew what you were going to get with each episode, so it never got predictable, and that’s what it made it so much fun. Here are ten bits of useless trivia about Moonlighting, one of the best TV shows of the 1980’s.

Moonlighting was the most expensive TV shows made at the time

Each episode of Moonlighting, on average, took twice as long to shoot as other comparable TV shows of the time. The quick fire exchanges between David and Maddie and the immense attention to detail that took up the time and a lot of the dialogue was only written on the day of filming. Most episodes of Moonlighting cost around $900,000 to make and that was a lot of money for one episode in those days.

The chemistry was real

Although no one has ever suggested any romantic connection between Bruce Willis and Cybil Shepherd, there certainly was a real sexual chemistry between the two. Cybil Shepherd has said as much on a number occasions and anyone could see that it was more than just acting.

The show had to use last minute reruns on several occasions

The show got a pretty bad reputation for using reruns while it was being aired. This was because each episode took so long to get right; the producers often didn’t have a new episode ready in time for screening in the scheduled time slot.

It was meant to be a straight detective show

The TV network, ABC, wanted a detective show with a big name star in it and that’s what they asked the creator of Moonlighting, Glenn Gordon Caron, to come up with. Caron, though, wanted to make a romantic TV show. In the end, ABC gave up and executive Lewis H. Erlicht is alleged to have said “I don’t care what it is, as long as it’s a detective show.” So, Moonlighting became a Dramedy about the Blue Moon detective Agency.

"The Dream Sequence Always Rings Twice" was the most expensive episode of Moonlighting.

The superb episode where Maddie and David dream about trying to solve a murder that was committed 40 years ago, "The Dream Sequence Always Rings Twice", was the most expensive episode in the show’s history. The reason that it cost so much was that Glenn Gordon Caron insisted that it be shot on real black and white film to give it an authentic feel.

Moonlighting scripts were twice as long as any other show

The speed at which Maddie and David spoke their lines in the many arguments that they had and the fact that often spoke over one another, meant that the average Moonlighting script was usually twice as long as the script of any similar shows. Even with this, they often found that they still had time left to fill.

Bruce Willis and Cybil Shepherd often broke the fourth wall

It was not unusual for the actors in Moonlighting to come out of character and talk directly to the audience, breaking the so called fourth wall. The line was often blurred in the dialogue too, with the characters referring to the network, or to the shows viewers.

When the ‘would they, wouldn’t they’, became ‘they already did’, it finished the show

When David Addison and Maddie Hayes finally did get it together, the tension in the show was lost and ratings began to fall. Even though Glenn Gordon Caron denies that the decision to have Maddie and David finally consummate their relationship didn’t affect the ratings, many people, myself included, started to lose interest in Moonlighting after the episode "I Am Curious… Maddie", which closed with the couple finally going to bed together.

Cybil Shepherd got pregnant and Bruce Willis became John McClane

In series 4 of Moonlighting, you rarely got to see Bruce Willis and Cybil shepherd in the same scenes and the focus if the story line was often on other characters in the show. This was due to the fact that Cybil shepherd was pregnant at the time and Bruce Willis had started work on the die Hard Movie. Given that the show’s magic as the chemistry between Shepherd and Willis, it’s not surprising that the ratings really began to plummet

The lights went out on Moonlighting

By the time that Moonlighting was finally cancelled, Bruce Willis wanted to pursue his movie career and the show’s creator, Glenn Gordon Caron departed, saying that he could no longer work with Cybil Shepherd. The storylines had become pretty ridiculous too, with Maddie getting married to another guy being the last nail in the coffin. The final ever Moonlighting closed with the message: "Blue Moon Investigations ceased operations on May 14, 1989. The Anselmo Case was never solved… and remains a mystery to this day."

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