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

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.

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