It’s a bittersweet homecoming when Sam finds himself in his 16-year-old self, on the last Thanksgiving his family has before a number of tragedies overwhelm them: His brother, Tom, will die in Vietnam in a few months; his dad will die of a coronary in three years, and his younger sister, Kate, will elope with an abuser. Ziggy says Sam is there to help his high school basketball team win the first game of the season, which will lead to better lives for everyone on the squad. But Sam, obviously, has other ideas about changing his family’s future.
Laurence Brown of Lost in the Pond joins us to discuss the third season premiere. This episode was a very special episode for all three of us, and we hope you enjoy our discussion.
If there’s an episode of Quantum Leap that needs no introduction, it’s this one, but here goes: Sam leaps into undercover detective, Jake Rawlins. Al tells Sam he’s there to stop a woman named Beth from making the mistake of her lifetime – having her husband, who is missing in action in Vietnam, declared dead and remarrying.
Sam and Dennis discuss one of the most iconic episodes of the series.
Sam leaps into Phillip Dumont, who’s aboard the RMS Queen Mary, departing New York, there to stop his ex-wife, Catherine’s, impending wedding. She is about to marry Vincent Loggia, *ahem*, Vinny the Viper, in an arranged marriage aimed at saving the family business. Years ago, Phillip went missing while sailing, and Catherine’s dad had their marriage annulled. In the original history, Catherine married Vinny, Phillip committed suicide (or did he?), and Catherine died of a broken heart a couple of years later. Ziggy says there’s an 83% chance Sam is there to change that.
We gush a lot over the amazing costumes from Jean-Pierre Dorléac, who was nominated for an Emmy for this episode. We also discuss the strange foreshadowing this episode does for a future story of Al’s, and how watching the series in old-school standard definition is like listening to great music on vinyl.
Sam is a bouncer named Buster, helping a stripper with the stage name of Bunny O’Hare (played by Julie Brown) either rescue a baby to return to her rightful mother, or outright kidnap it. Sam is not sure, but more and more truth is revealed as Sam and Bunny and baby Christie make their way from Texas to Clayton, New Mexico with the baby’s father on their trail.
Sam Fain and Dennis discuss the episode, and take their usual tangents to talk about how Dr. Beckett has the tendency to fat shame some of his leapees, agism, sexual politics, and the patriarchy.
Sam leaps in Victor Panzini, a trapeze artist in a small time carnival. Sam is there to prevent Victor’s sister, Eva, from dying while performing the same high-difficulty “triple” that killed their mom a year ago. Sam must catch her himself, while fighting his own fear of heights.
This is a pretty straightforward plot, leaving Sam Fain and Dennis to talk about some other high-minded questions, like how weird is it that Sam Beckett sleeps in the nude, and what is the benefit of the understood rule that if Sam fails a mission, he is stuck in that person’s life forever?
This week, we are excited to bring you our interview with costume designer and author, Jean-Pierre Dorléac. His body of work spans four decades, including his favorites The Blue Lagoon and Heart and Souls, his Academy award-nominated work in Somewhere in Time, and of course, Quantum Leap, for which he was Emmy-nominated four times.
We talk extensively about his career, much of it chronicled in his 2015 book, The Naked Truth: An Irreverent Chronicle of Delirious Escapades (link below), which spans the years of 1973 to 1985. We also talk about his first novel, Abracadabra Alakazam, and his next upcoming fiction novel. We chat about some of his favorite films and TV shows he’s worked on, and of course, his work on Quantum Leap. He talks about Scott Bakula making him drive 45 minutes to the set to make sure his ass looked good in a diaper in The Wrong Stuff, what it was like to work with and dress Dean Stockwell in those outrageous outfits, and intricate details that went into costuming not just Scott Bakula, but his rotating cast of mirror image counterparts.
We had a lot of fun talking with Jean-Pierre, and we hope you enjoy.
You can learn more about Jean-Pierre and his work at his website: http://www.jean-pierredorleac.com/
You can read more about and purchase his books at: http://www.jean-pierredorleac.com/index.php/books/
Sam leaps into Charlie “Black Magic” Walters, a legendary pool player. As Magic, Sam must save “his” granddaughters bar-turned-night club from the loan shark who holds the marker on her place by beating him in a game of pool. One snag: Sam can’t “shoot pool with a shotgun.”
Our guestiest guest, Christopher J. Stewards, returns to discuss one of our favorites. Fun fact: This was Dennis’ first complete episode of Quantum Leap as a kid!
Sam leaps into Melvin Spooner, a mortician in Riven Rock, Massachusetts. When a young German woman is found dead in a nearby lake, Sam sets out to prove it was a murder and not a suicide, and gets just a tad obsessed with her in the process. Marcia Cross, who would go along star in Desperate Housewives and have a storyline featuring Scott Bakula in its final season, guest stars.
Sam Fain and Dennis discuss the episode – its hat tip to the 1944 movie, Laura, the controversy it created in the gay community when it originally aired, and how one of the installments of the short-lived comic book series attempted to right that wrong.
Sam is George Washaki, a young Native American who must help his dying grandfather, Joseph, escape from the local jail and make the journey to his true home so that he may die on his own terms, and not in a care facility as in the original history.
Sam Fain, Dennis and guest host, Scottie Caldwell, discuss the episode. This is Scottie’s first complete episode of “Quantum Leap”, and she brings some great talking points!
Given the premise of this episode, we speak a great deal about Native American culture through U.S. history, the American Indian Movement (AIM) of the early 1970s, and cultural appropriation, especially in relation to sports mascots. We attempted to be as sensitive and mindful as possible in relation to these subjects.
Sam is Peter Langly, an FBI agent assigned to Dana Berenger, a woman in the Federal witness protection program after having testified against her former boss and criminal, Nick Kochifos. In the original history, Dana was killed by Nick, who had somehow been able to find her twice before despite her being in witness protection. Sam must figure out if there is a mole in the FBI giving information to Nick, and prevent Dana’s death – the time of which keeps changing every time he makes a change in history.
Sam is Eddie Vega, a high school football quarterback. Eddie and his friend, Chuey, have dreams of getting scholarships and playing college football together, but Ziggy says Chuey is going to throw the upcoming championship game. Sam has to figure out the reason why, and stop Chuey from ruining his chance to go to college.
Sam Fain and Dennis are joined by returning guest host, Jessica Conger, to talk about the episode.
We’re happy to bring to you this week our interview with Matt Dale, the author of the reference book, Beyond the Mirror Image: The Observer’s Guide to Quantum Leap. If you’re a regular listener of our show, you’ve heard us reference this book in perhaps every episode.
Matt talks about the origins of the book, and the love and labor that went into it. As we’ve said before on the show, the book is over 700 pages of exhaustive content – not only discussing the aired episodes, but also…
Alternate versions of several episodes
Deleted / alternate scenes
Detailed synopses of un-produced scripts
The story and a detailed synopsis of the never-produced pilot for the A Bold Leap Forward reboot
The novels, the comics and unofficial crossover comics such as Quantum Slide
A precise timeline of everything referenced in all of the above, ranging from 200 AD to the far future.
Listen to the interview, and head over to lulu.com to purchase the book if you’re so inclined: http://www.lulu.com/us/en/shop/matt-dale/beyond-the-mirror-image/hardcover/product-23098157.html
Sam’s a mommy! Sam leaps into Linda Bruckner, a single mother of three in Scottsdale, Arizona. Sam is there to keep Linda’s oldest child, Kevin, from running away from home. Or was he abducted? Sam and Al seem confused, and we think we know why! To complicate matters, Linda’s youngest daughter, Teresa, can see Sam for who he really is, and can see and hear Al too. Hilarity ensues!
Sam and Dennis are joined by returning guest, Claire Feeney, to talk about the episode.
Sam leaps into hard-partying frat boy Knut Wileton, better known on campus as “Wild Thing.” He must stop student and anti-war activist Elisabeth Spokane from planting a bomb on campus as part of a Vietnam War protest. In the original history, someone was inadvertently killed in the explosion, sending Elisabeth into hiding for the rest of her life.
Frequent guest, Christopher *ahem* Chris Steward, joins us again and takes the lead as our guestiest guest. He also has a fascinating theory tying together Wild Thing and Elisabeth to a couple of The Simpsons characters.
Sam leaps into Dr. Timothy Mintz, a paranormal investigator helping a woman named Troian Claridge determine if her dead husband, Julian, is trying to make contact with her. Spookiness is definitely afoot, and Sam must determine if there’s a ghost, or a flesh-and-blood person out to harm Troian.
Sam Fain hates this episode, Dennis loves it, and frequent guest host, Christopher J. Steward is pulled in between. We also manage to cover The Twilight Zone, Of Mice and Men, and The Drew Carey Show.
Sam makes special mention of a Twilight Zone podcast, and you can find more info here: http://thetwilightzonepodcast.com/
Sam leaps into the life of Ray Hutton, an understudy in a touring production of “Man of La Mancha”, in 1979 Syracuse, New York. Al tells him he is there to stop the show’s boozing lead actor from taking a fall during a performance that will shatter his leg and end his career, but Sam is distracted by another objective: He is reunited with Nicole, his own piano teacher from his teenage years, who has been cast as an understudy in the show opposite Ray – and Ray and Nicole happened to have had a romantic relationship years ago at Julliard, a relationship Nicole seems interested in re-sparking. Now as an adult, Sam is presented with an opportunity he didn’t have when he knew her before.
Chicago playwright, Brooke Allen, and returning guest, Jessica Conger, join us to discuss the episode. Theater stories abound! Also, we dive deep into the moral implications of having sex with someone while inhabiting the life of another person.
Sam leaps into Leonard Dancey, a lawyer in 1957 Louisiana. Talk about a poorly-timed entrance: He arrives just as the leapee is being asked for Guilty or Not Guilty plea for his client, a black woman named Delilah Berry. Delilah (Lila) is on trial for the murder of Houston Palmer Carter. When Sam looks at her and makes a split-second decision to plead Not Guilty, he changes history, and sets out to prove her innocence.
Guest Christopher J. Steward returns to help Sam Fain and Dennis discuss the episode.
Content warning: Strong language and themes in regards to the discussion of racism.
Sam is Jimmy LaMotta, a learning-disabled young man in 1964. Sam is there to help Jimmy keep and maintain a job so that Jimmy does not have to return to an institution. Previous guest, Christopher J. Steward, returns to discuss the episode. Michael Madsen guest stars as Michael Madsen. (Just kidding, he’s playing a character called “Blue”, but come on, he’s Michael Madsen.)
Programming note: The word ‘retarded’ is used once in our discussion to clarify its use in the TV episode, and thereafter referred to as “the R-bomb”. (Thanks, Christopher, for coining that term.)
Sam leaps into David Basch, a rabbi in California. David’s brother and sister-in-law’s marriage is coming apart due to the death of their oldest child a year ago. In fact, Al tells Sam, in two days, “his” sister-in-law, Irene, will have an affair that will end their marriage, which he must prevent.
Chicago performer, Kathleen Gibson (Baby Wants Candy!) – and absolute complete Quantum Leap newbie! – joins us to discuss the episode, what a horrible human being Dr. Heimlich was, Bob Ross, and the “Quantum Leap Piccadilly Ladies”.
Sam and Dennis are back after a nice holiday vacation! And we’re talking rock & roll, Chubby Checker, Eisenhower & Lutz (look it up kids), and of course, Quantum Leap. This week, it’s the episode “Good Morning, Peoria”. So put on your bobby socks and poodle skirts, and let’s back into the show.
Sam is “Howlin'” Chick Howell, a 1950s DJ, comin’ to you love from WOF in Peoria. Sam is there to stop the city council from banning rock & roll being played over the airwaves, and help make WOF the number one radio station in Peoria.
Sam leaps into Andrew Ross, the “Ray Charles of classical piano”, according to Al – Andrew, you see, is blind. Sam is there to save Andrew’s friend, Michelle, from being strangled in Central Park the following night. But in the meantime, he was to pretend he is blind, contend with Michelle’s overbearing mother when she discovers “Andrew” can see, and – most importantly – play Carnegie Hall.
Sam Fain and Dennis discuss what they call the first “regular, formula” episode of the series, what it owes to the serial killer tropes so popular in the 80s, and Dennis reveals what scene from this episode his college friends totally stole for their ultra-low-budget horror movie.
Sam is Samantha Stormer, an executive assistant at the National Motor Company in 1961 Detroit. Trapped in a body of a beautiful woman, Sam must endure sexual harassment from his boss, and stop Samantha’s best friend, Gloria, from committing suicide after learning her married husband will never actually leave his wife. Meanwhile, Al struggles with having his best friend having the appearance of a gorgeous knock out.
Sam Fain and Dennis are joined by previous guest hosts Annie Petrusek, Claire Feeney and Jessica Conger to discuss the episode.
Sam is Charlie MacKenzie, a Korean war vet returning home to Oak Creek, Ohio…with his new bride, Machiko. Sam must get Charlie’s mother to accept the new member of the family, while also contending with an ex-girlfriend determined to win Charlie back, as well as a prejudiced WWII vet determined to harm Machiko.
Sam Fain thinks he doesn’t have much to say about this episode at the outset, but it turns out he actually has quite a lot to say. Dennis has an endearing personal story about his mom taping the Comedy Central Roast of William Shatner for him, and Sam thinks that two minute story has more heart than this entire entry of Quantum Leap.
Sam is Chad Stone, a stuntman in Burbank, California. Ziggy says Sam is there to keep Chad’s little brother, Chris, from somehow dying in the next 48 hours. Ziggy’s not sure what exactly kills Chris, however, because he has crashed, put an extra zero on everyone’s paychecks, and half the staff has gone on vacation. Meanwhile, being in the role of a big brother unlocks an unexpected memory for Sam.
Sam is Tom McBride, a New York police detective, starting his honeymoon with his new bride on the way to Niagra Falls. Sam must prevent her possessive ex-husband from kidnapping her, and murdering him. Meanwhile in the future, Al must appear before a senate committee to argue for continued funding to Project Quantum Leap.
Sam and Dennis are joined by guest Betsy Frymire to discuss the second season premiere.
In an episode that’s a hat tip to film noir classics, Sam is Nick Allen, a private detective in 1953 Brooklyn. When Sam leaps in standing over the body of Nick’s dead partner, he must find the killer before he himself is knocked off by a dropper called Clapper (no cure for that in 1953!), and his girlfriend (also his dead partner’s widow) disappear.
Guest Annie Hogan Petrusek joins Sam and Dennis to discuss the episode.
Sam is Cam Wilson, a pimply LA teenager, there to stop his older sister, Cheryl, from marrying Bob, dashing her dreams of joining the peace corp. (NOTE: This podcast episode aired on Halloween. We debated skipping ahead discussing the infamous Halloween episode from Season 3, but decided to stick to air date order. But as you’ll no doubt hear as the episode unfolds, some…um…spooky…things crept in we didn’t catch until we were rendering the episode to post.)
Sam leaps into Jesse Tyler, an elderly black chauffeur to Ms. Melny Trafford, an elderly white women. Sam is there to prevent Ms. Melny from driving her car into the path of an oncoming train the following day, but when Sam, unaware he’s leapt into a black man, sits at a lunch counter in segregated Red Dog, Alabama, he sets off a series of events that puts other lives at risk.
One of Quantum Leap‘s most iconic and critically-acclaimed episodes, it also has some elements some may deem problematic by today’s standards. Guest Christopher J. Steward returns to to discuss the episode, delving deep into race and racism, how far we’ve come and how far we haven’t.
Sam is Frankie, a mob hitman in New York City, 1965. Ziggy says Sam is not there to right a wrong, but to perform a number of specific tasks in preparation for the project’s next attempt to retrieve Sam back to the present. Guest, Christopher J. Steward, joins Sam Fain and Dennis to break down the episode.
Sam leaps into “Doc” Daniel Young, a veterinarian working on a Texas ranch. He is quickly drawn into a “cowboy off” with Tess, the ranch owner’s daughter, in a quest to win her hand at marriage. Oh, boy! See also, Piggy Sooie!
Sam, Dennis, and guest star and Chicago musician, Claire Feeney, discuss cowboy feminism, the enduring legacy of Buddy Holly, and the everlasting sexiness of shirtless Scott Bakula.
You can learn more about Claire and her music at http://thenewswitcheroo.com/about.html
Sam Fain thinks “The Right Hand of God” is an over-plotted, too-complicated-for-its-own-good hour of television. Dennis thinks it is a perfectly enjoyable hour of television and worthy entry into the “Quantum Leap” canon. The two hosts spar it out.
Who is Sam this episode? Sam is Kid Cody, a heavyweight boxer on the take in 1974 Sacramento, California. Cody’s contract has been inherited by a convent of nuns (don’t ask; it’s complicated.) Sam is there to win a championship match so Sister Angela can build a chapel to help orphaned kids like herself – and maybe to help Cody and his girlfriend, Dixie, fund their long-dreamed-for donut shop.
Episode description: Sam is a womanizing college professor in 1972 who must deflect the advances of an amorous student. Meanwhile, he encounters Donna (Teri Hatcher), the woman who will later stand up Sam at the altar.
“Sam is the creepiest mayor of Creep Town who ever crept,” Dennis argues at the outset of this episode. He, Sam, and returning guest star, Jessica Conger, discuss misogyny, problematic romance tropes, Watergate, and a sequence Dennis calls, “Sam Mansplains Quantum Physics to the Quantum Physics Student.”
Sam and Dennis, along with guest host and complete Quantum Leap newbie, Jessica Conger, discuss the premiere episode. What the hell is up with Al in that first scene? What is it like describing String Theory to President Clinton? What scenes did Sam and Dennis recreate in their high school and college drama classes? All that, and more!
In the first episode, hosts Sam and Dennis talk about how they discovered “Quantum Leap” in their childhoods, their time travel nerdery, and why they decided to name their podcast after a perhaps obscure reference from the third season. Oh, boy!