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'Moonlighting' is finally coming to streaming — 34 years after going off the air

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This theme song is not by B.J. Leiderman who does our theme music.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MOONLIGHTING")

AL JARREAU: (Singing) Some walk by night. Some fly by day.

SIMON: By Al Jarreau and Lee Holdridge, and it's for "Moonlighting," one of the most beloved shows of the 1980s.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "MOONLIGHTING")

BRUCE WILLIS: (As David Addison) What are you doing?

CYBILL SHEPHERD: (As Maddie Hayes) I'm doing what I...

CYBILL SHEPHERD AND BRUCE WILLIS: (As Maddie Hayes and David Addison) ...Should have done all along.

SHEPHERD: (As Maddie Hayes) What I wanted to do...

SHEPHERD AND WILLIS: (As Maddie Hayes and David Addison) ...Originally.

SHEPHERD: (As Maddie Hayes) What I should have done...

SHEPHERD AND WILLIS: (As Maddie Hayes and David Addison) ...Last night. Stop that, David.

SIMON: It was a screwball dramedy, thick with will-they-or-won't-they-get-together tension and music and dead bodies. "Moonlighting" starred Cybill Shepherd as Maddie Hayes, a former fashion model who owns the Blue Moon Detective Agency. Working for her, David Addison, fast-talking, handsome hothead played by a young Bruce Willis. It was his breakout role.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "MOONLIGHTING")

SHEPHERD: (As Maddie Hayes) You are eye crust.

WILLIS: (As David Addison) The better to see you with, my dear.

SHEPHERD: (As Maddie Hayes) You are navel lint.

WILLIS: (As David Addison) Expensive navel lint.

SHEPHERD: (As Maddie Hayes) You are...

WILLIS: (As David Addison) Don't go much lower. They'll take us off the air.

SIMON: "Moonlighting" went off the air in 1989, but no more fuzzy YouTube rabbit holes. It begins streaming next month on Hulu.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "MOONLIGHTING")

SHEPHERD: (As Maddie Hayes) You're an animal.

WILLIS: (As David Addison) And you're a sexist.

SHEPHERD: (As Maddie Hayes) What?

WILLIS: (As David Addison) You're a sexist. You know what a sexist is?

SHEPHERD: (As Maddie Hayes) Of course I know what a sexist is. I'm looking at one.

WILLIS: (As David Addison) So am I.

SCOTT RYAN: I mean, it truly was the show of the late '80s.

SIMON: Scott Ryan is the author of "Moonlighting: An Oral History."

RYAN: Like, it exploded. And most of it had to do with discovering Bruce Willis.

SIMON: Who parlayed his fame from TV into film, most notably in the 1988 Christmas action movie "Die Hard."

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "DIE HARD")

WILLIS: (As John McClane) Happy Trails, Hans.

SIMON: "Moonlighting" also marked a comeback for Cybill Shepherd. Seemed that all over America, people really watched just to see if David and Maddie would just quit fighting and finally fall in love.

RYAN: Dave and Maddie are mismatched. She is sophisticated. David Addison is, you know, from New York, and he's a punk. But they're beautiful, and they're attracted to each other, and they're the only people they see every day. So of course there's going to be sexual tension.

SIMON: Fans also loved "Moonlighting" because the show loved to get weird - film noir episodes, a dance episode, the fourth wall came down regularly.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "MOONLIGHTING")

WILLIS: (As David Addison) Dear David, I read somewhere that you and Maddie were going to kiss and have a big affair. Is this true? If it is, can you tell me so I can set my VCR? Signed, Sally Young.

SIMON: And no modern-day detective show would be relevant without a Shakespeare episode written in iambic pentameter.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "MOONLIGHTING")

CURTIS ARMSTRONG: (As Herbert Viola) With her?

WILLIS: (As David Addison) Pray sir, yea sir. I dare say I did say.

ARMSTRONG: (As Herbert Viola) Yea sir, you do say you did say?

WILLIS: (As David Addison) Yea, I say, but why do you bray?

SIMON: The show also used a tremendous amount of music, and that proved to be the sticking point as to why it took so long for "Moonlighting" to join the streaming age. Again, Scott Ryan.

RYAN: Back in the '80s, for some of these songs that they used - like, they actually called Phil Spector and said, hey, can we have "Be My Baby"? And, like, Phil Spector would bring it into the studio, and they'd put it in the episode. And then Phil Spector would take the master home. Like, that's how they got these songs. So it wasn't like there were contracts.

SIMON: Well, there sure are now. Scott Ryan says most of the original music will return, along with David, Maddie and Ms. DiPesto when "Moonlighting" begins streaming October 10.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BE MY BABY")

THE RONETTES: (Singing) So won't you please (be my, be my baby) be my little baby (my one and only baby)? Say you'll be my darling (be my, be my baby). Be my baby now (my one and only baby). Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Scott Simon is one of America's most admired writers and broadcasters. He is the host of Weekend Edition Saturday and is one of the hosts of NPR's morning news podcast Up First. He has reported from all fifty states, five continents, and ten wars, from El Salvador to Sarajevo to Afghanistan and Iraq. His books have chronicled character and characters, in war and peace, sports and art, tragedy and comedy.