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POP EYE

November 16, 1986|PATRICK GOLDSTEIN

MOONLIGHTING SONATA: Even if you're a pop heavyweight like Billy Joel, it's still a thrill to hear one of your new songs on your favorite TV show. Perhaps that's why Joel sent "Moonlighting" Executive Producer Glenn Caron a tape earlier this year of "Big Man on Mulberry Street," one of the cuts from his current "The Bridge" album. Caron liked the song so much that Tuesday night's episode of "Moonlighting" features a seven-minute "dream-style dance sequence," directed by Stanley Donen, which is accompanied by a new, extended version of the Joel song.

"Glenn gave me the tape and told me to play it in my car for a while and see if it inspired me enough to work it into one of our episodes," explained Karen Hall, a supervising producer of "Moonlighting" who wrote the upcoming show. "I don't want to give too much of the story away, but it's a really strange episode. David (Bruce Willis) has gone back to New York and Maddie (Cybill Shepherd) is at home, fretting and upset, because he's revealed he was once married. So when she drifts off to sleep, she has a dream where she imagines what David's ex-wife is like."

Hall described the fantasy sequence (which features actress-dancer Sandahl Bergman as the ex-wife) as being "more like a scene from 'Singin' in the Rain' than a music video." (Maybe that's why they hired Donen, who directed the classic movie musical.) "We built a big, surreal set that looks like a subterranean New York coffeehouse, with all these bizarre color schemes and lots of beatnik-type dancers."

The big question: Does Willis actually dance? "Absolutely. You'll be surprised. He can move for a white guy. He actually spent a month learning his steps with one of the choreographers, practicing on his lunch hour and before and after work."

A veteran TV writer who's worked previously on "MASH" and "Hill Street Blues," Hall still has hopes someday of sculpting an entire TV episode around her true pop fave--Bruce Springsteen. "But I did work him into the show," she said. "There's a scene when Bruce Willis comes into the Polo Lounge and gets a really tough look from the maitre 'd. And if you listen closely, you can hear him say: "I'm with Mr. Springsteen's party. Don't bother. I'll find him."

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