Archive for the ‘"Moonlighting"’ Category

Noted Cinematographer Gerald Perry Finnerman has Died

Friday, April 8th, 2011

Sad news, legendary director of photography Gerald Perry Finnerman ASC passed away on April 6th at the age of 79. Best known for his cinematography on Star Trek and Moonlighting, Finnerman also worked on many television movies as well as episodes for The Bold Ones, Rod Serling’s Night Gallery, Planet of the Apes, Emergency, and The New Mike Hammer. He was interviewed by the Archive on October 8, 2002.

Embeddable video clip:  Gerald Perry Finnerman on filming the classic 1985 Moonlighting episode “The Dream Sequence Always Rings Twice”

Here are a few more selections from his 5-hour Archive of American Television interview:

On his contribution to the Star Trek “transporter” effect

“Jim Rugg was our special effects man, and he’s brilliant, he’d come up with innovations….Although I did come up with some innovations in the transporter room, where they always get transported. They would go up there and stand there and then they would dissolve.  So when I got on the show, I had them cut holes in the ground, top and bottom.  I put fixtures in the bottom and fixtures in the top and they would stand on them.  Then I would have somebody on a dimmer work the visual, the special effect of light going on and off and then they would zap them. It really looked good.”

On the start of filming on Moonlighting

“They were good sports.  When the show first started, we shooting in Monrovia on the top of a roof, it’s 32 degrees.  And they’re in their underwear, skimpy stuff.  They’re supposed to jump off into a pool, and we’re freezing.  I have a coat on and I’m really cold.  And Bruce Willis said, ‘I don’t know about you guys, but I’m happy to be here.  Six months ago I was a bartender.”  That’s what he said.  And you know, I thought, ‘this kid is pretty good.’  Good sports.  Cybill was a good sport, too.”

On how he would like to be remembered

“I’d like to be remembered not so much as a great cinematographer, but a nice guy.  That’s important.  If people say ‘he’s a nice guy,’ I’d just be happy that way.  If he’s a gentleman.  I mean, I know what I’ve done. It speaks for itself.  But it’s more than making films. It’s having intimate relationships with your peers.  That was, the most wonderful experience I’ve had, working with the guys. They may be a little crazy, but they were always wonderful.”

See the full interview at

“Moonlighting” Faded to Black & White 25 Years Ago Today

Friday, October 15th, 2010

Airing on October 15, 1985, one of Moonlighting’s most well-remembered episodes is the film noirish “The Dream Sequence Always Rings Twice.” It was shot and aired (mostly) in black and white, featured a rare early series kiss between the leads, gave Cybill Shepherd a stage to belt out some sultry numbers, and was introduced by legendary director Orson Welles.  The episode told the story of David and Maddie’s individual “dreamt” solutions to  a ’40s murder case, and was filmed in two styles: a glossy MGM studio look (for Maddie’s dream) and a gritty Warner Bros. studio style (for David’s dream).

At the Emmys that year, Moonlighting scored 16 nominations, but notoriously took home just one award (for editing).  This episode contributed specifically to the Emmy nominations Moonlighting received in such categories as: writing, directing, art direction, costume design, dramatic musical score, hairstyling, editing, and cinematography.

Orson Welles was asked to provide an on-screen introduction to the audience to “warn” them that the show would change to black & white.  Welles shot this introduction just days before his death on October 10, 1985 (the episode was dedicated to him).

The Archive has created a special show page for Moonlighting: “The Dream Sequence Always Rings Twice” featuring interview excerpts from show creator Glenn Gordon Caron and cinematographer Gerald Perry Finnerman.

“Moonlighting” Silver Anniversary Today

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

25 years and the Anselmo case is still unsolved. On March 3, 1985 Moonlighting debuted and a beloved television classic was born. Moonlighting fans have remained in such full force that an online petition prompted the release of all five seasons of the show on DVD. And could Bruce & Cybill and Allyce & Curtis reunite for a feature film? That’s a dream sequence all Moonlighting fans hope for.

1980s shows such as Hill Street Blues, The Cosby Show, and Roseanne are often cited as groundbreaking. Moonlighting never quite gets that moniker, but at least stylistically, Moonlighting was just as influential. Breaking the fourth wall was hardly the norm in prime time, musical numbers were not a staple in series TV, and the dramedy was practically defined as a result of Moonlighting’s nominations for both best direction in comedy and drama series by the Directors Guild of America in 1985.

What is the legacy of Moonlighting? Even creator Glenn Gordon Caron hesitates at the question (but delivers a great answer) when asked in his Archive of American Television interview…

“I have no idea, the legacy of “Moonlighting”? I don’t know, I think it’s a really entertaining show. I would hope, as with any show that’s a little different and takes chances– and there are a lot of them– certainly “Moonlighting” isn’t the only one that people will see them and think, oh, you know, television isn’t always about doing the same thing. It perhaps can be about doing a different thing. And working at the top of your game instead of, you know, at the bottom of your game, or the middle of your game. I think when we think of the shows we like the best, the ones that stay with us that’s what’s going on: people who love what they do, who feel an obligation to do their best, you know. So what’s “Moonlighting’s” legacy? That for awhile there that’s what we were doing, you know, I think, and hopefully the shows are still entertaining. I used to say to Bruce, and you have to keep in mind this was a different time, I’d say to him if our kids are in college, and they’re getting high and watching this we’ll have done a good job. What a stupid thing to say. But I really — because my — again, I was in college, and you know, you would go see the Marx Brothers at midnight. I was always stunned. It was 1975, you were watching this movie from 1937, and it’s making you laugh, and I don’t care how hip, and how cool, and how in the moment you are, those guys are more in the moment. They’re cooler, they’re hipper, they’re smarter, they’re funnier. It’s humbling. And that’s what I wanted to do, I wanted somebody to be able to look at it a couple of decades after it was done and go pretty funny, pretty special, you know.”

Click here for the Archive’s newly created Moonlighting show page with recollections of the series by creator Glenn Gordon Caron, pilot director Robert Butler, and cinematographer Gerald Perry Finnerman.

Director Robert Butler’s Archive Interview is Now Online!

Friday, August 3rd, 2007

Director Robert Butler was responsible for creating the look and feel for many classic television series in a career that spanned five decades. His full Archive of American Television interview is now available online, including detailed accounts of directing the first episodes of Batman, Moonlighting (pilot telefilm) and Hill Street Blues.

Click here to access Robert Butler’s entire five-hour interview.

Interview description:
Butler began by describing his early years breaking into the business as an usher at CBS. He described his experiences in various behind-the-scenes capacities on such classic “live” anthology series as Climax! and Playhouse 90. He described his first break in television directing on the comedy/drama series Hennesey. He detailed his many and varied assignments in series television in the 1960s on such series as The Detectives, Bonanza, The Dick Van Dyke Show, Dr. Kildare, Gunsmoke, The Defenders, The Fugitive, Hogan’s Heroes, The Twilight Zone, Batman, and Star Trek. Butler described his work in the 1970s on television movies (such as Columbo MOWs and James Dean) and feature films. He extensively described his groundbreaking work on the look of Hill Street Blues, for which he directed several of the initial episodes (including the pilot). He talked about his later work on such series as Remington Steele, Moonlighting (the telefilm pilot), Out on a Limb, Midnight Caller (which he also executive-produced), Sisters, and Lois & Clark. The interview was conducted by Stephen J. Abramson on January 14, 2004.