In the winter of 1991, Quantum Leap came this close to being cancelled. Luckily, a huge letter writing campaign with messages from over 50,000 fans brought the show back from the brink. On March 6th, the show returned with 8 1/2 Months.
Sam leaps into Billie Jean Crockett, a 16-year-old pregnant teenager in Claremont, Oklahoma. In the original history, Billie Jean gave her baby up for adoption, but came to regret the decision and the spent the rest of her life trying to find her child. Al says Ziggy is there to keep Billie Jean and her child together. On top of that, Sam is feeling pregnancy and labor pains!
Sam Fain and Dennis are joined by their wives, Jessica Conger and Betsy Frymire, to discuss the episode. Both are moms…Jessica gave birth just a few weeks ago!…and they bring their perspectives to the episode.
Sam leaps into Butchie Rickett, a 13-year-old kid on a cross country vacation with his family – Dad Hank, mother Emma and sister, Alexander. Al says Emma is going to disappear on the night of the 4th, never to be seen or heard from again. It is assumed she will abandon the family after running into an old high school friend, and a huge fight with her husband, Hank. But is there more to the story than that? While trying to figure it out, Sam has to endure mistreatment and torture from “his” older sister.
Sam Fain and Dennis are joined by Dennis’ wife, Betsy, to discuss the episode.
Sam leaps in Reginald Pierson, the personal valet of Michael Blake, a Scrooge-like New York City businessman. As Pierson, Sam must save Blake’s soul, and gets a little help from Al, who – thanks to a glitch in how similar Sam’s and Blake’s brainwaves are (read: convenient plot device!) – gets to make an appearance as the Ghost of Christmas Future.
Sam Fain and Dennis discuss what may be well Sam Beckett’s most awkward leap in ever, unfortunately timely jokes about Russia, and their own favorite Christmas memories.
Sam leaps into Harry Spontini, a small-time magician with big dreams. Harry’s estranged wife, Maggie, returns with her new fiancé, and it turns out she wants custody of their daughter, Jamie. Sam must find a way to keep father and daughter together.
Sam and Dennis discuss the episode, talk way too much about the short-lived Bill Bixby series, The Magician, and Dennis knows way way too much about the Halloween franchise.
We often talk on this show about Quantum Leap episodes that haven’t aged well, especially with our more socially-conscious 2018 sensibilities. Here’s one that is – all too unfortunately – very timely. It almost feels like it could have been written today.
Sam leaps into Ray Harper, a young black medical student living in Watts, Los Angeles on August 11, 1965 – the day the Watts Riots begin. As Ray, Sam must help provide medical care to Watts citizens affected by the riots while trying to keep his white fiancé, Kim, safe. He also has to deal with Ray’s militant brother, Lonnie, who wants Ray to abandon his plans of leaving Watts with Kim for a medical internship in Boston, stay in Watts and help his own people.
L.A. actor, LaMont Anthony Hendrix joins us to discuss the episode – his first episode of QL ever.
Sam leaps into Darlene Monte, a beauty pageant contestant on her way to compete in the Miss Deep South competition. There, he meets another contestant, Connie Duncan, who is going to disappear before the competition begins after being seduced into taking nude photos by Clint Beaumont, the pageant’s photographer. Sam must change her fate, while not altering history for Darlene – in the original history, she placed third, and used the scholarship award to go on to become one of the top women cardiologists in the country.
Sam and Dennis are joined by Kelly and Megan (please don’t say “Megan, Kelly”!) of the comedy podcast, The Courtesy Flush. They help us pick a part an episode that certainly means well, but has some problematic content looking at the episode through a 2018 lense. Enjoy them on this episode, and check out their show as well.
Programming note: We had some sound issues with this episode. Sam did some incredibly diligent work to fix what he could, but Kelly, Megan and Dennis are quiet in some segments.
*In Quantum Leap lore, it’s bad luck to say or write the full title of this episode, but if you’re listening to this, you probably already knew that.
Sam leaps into Joshua Ray, a second-rate horror novelist in Covington, Maine. Al says Sam is there to stop the murder of Joshua’s fiancée, Mary; her body will be found strangled later that night in the haunted house Joshua and Mary are planning. But then their handyman, Tully, is killed by a goat in a freak accident, and things continue to get more and more strange.
Sam and Dennis are joined by Kevin Lambert to talk about the episode. Kevin is a producer of the live Chicago show, [Redacted], a reading series where good “bad” movies are “unwritten” and performed by a cast just assembled briefly before the show and with minimal rehearsal. This was Kevin’s very first episode of Quantum Leap, and he had some feelings about it.
If you are a new listener to our show, our episode covering Camikaze Kidis a nice companion to this one. It was aired on Halloween, 2017, and some…spooky…things happened in the episode.
Sam leaps into bad boy fashion photographer, Karl Granson, in 1965 New York City. Al tell Sam he’s there to keep an up and coming model he’s working with, Edie Landsdale, from dying from a drug overdose in two days.
Larry Ganni from The Guest Room Podcast joins us to discuss the episode. We talk about comparisons between this episode and a certain infamous episode of Saved by the Bell, how there a lot more villains in this episode than meets the eye, and Sam’s questionable behavior while overlooking a detoxing Edie.
Sam leaps into Father Frank Pistano, a new priest at St. Mary’s in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. As Father Frank, Sam must help Father McRoberts, an older, alcoholic priest cope with the loss of an alter boy who was recently murdered. Even more, Al tells Sam that Father Mac is also going to murdered in the next two days.
We discuss the first “back to basics” episode after the emotional two-part series premiere, and for reasons that will become obvious, we take a deep dive into the Rocky movies.
After being told Tom is still killed in Vietnam despite Sam winning his high school basketball season opener and the promise Tom made, Sam leaps into Tom’s Navy SEALs squad the day before he is killed, giving him another chance at saving his brother.
Laurence Brown of Lost in the Pond joins us once again to discuss this under-appreciated second part of the third season opener, and he explains how M.I.A., The Leap Home, Part 1, and The Leap Home, Part 2, have a lot of similarities to the original Star Wars trilogy.
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 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 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.