Mar. 26, 1989
60 min.
NBC TV Network

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Quantum Leap

Theorizing that one could time travel within his own lifetime, Dr. Sam Beckett stepped into the Quantum Leap accelerator and vanished... He woke to find himself trapped in the past, facing mirror images that were not his own and driven by an unknown force to change history for the better.

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Trivia Facts | Top Quotes | Goofs/Mistakes
  • Quantum Leap has several references to producer Donald P. Bellisario's previous series, Tales of the Gold Monkey, including a character named "Gushie". "Quantum Leap" (1989) {Ghost Ship - August 13, 1956 (#4.16)} featured Captain Cutter, who was the main character in Tales of the Gold Monkey,
  • Sam Beckett has leaped into nine women.
  • Sam Beckett and series creator Donald P. Bellisario both share the same birthday of August 8.
  • Sam Beckett has leaped out of the United States seven times: Egypt, a plane over the Bermuda Triangle, Japan, the Soviet Union, a raft in international waters, Vietnam and England.
  • Sam Beckett leaped into the year 1958 eight different times, which made it the most leaped into year during the series' entire run.
  • Sam Beckett leaped into every year from 1953 through 1987 at least once, except the years 1977, 1984 and 1986. Sam has leaped into the years 1862 and 1945, the only times that he has leaped out of his lifetime.
  • Quantum Leap came close to being canceled in its third season due to low ratings. However, a letter writing campaign helped save the series and enabled it to continue for two more years.
  • Throughout the series, Sam Beckett meets many "future" famous people including: Buddy Holly; Michael Jackson; Stephen King; Marilyn Monroe and Bill Clinton, as well as leaping into Ruth Westheimer,Lee Harvey Oswald and Elvis Presley.
  • Dean Stockwell was the first to "Leap" through time on the episode of The Twilight Zone (1959), "The Twilight Zone" (1959) {A Quality of Mercy (#3.15)}, playing a war-hungry United States lieutenant in August 1945.
  • Sam Beckett is revealed to have attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and his friend and guide Al Calavicci is mentioned to have also spent some time there.
  • Al Calavicci drives two different Ferraris in the series: in "Quantum Leap" (1989) {Genesis: Part 1 - September 13, 1956 (#1.1)}, he is in a red 1987 Testarossa (which is shown from very low angles so as to keep the identity of the car hidden), and in "Quantum Leap" (1989) {Killin' Time - June 18, 1958 (#5.5)}, he is driving a rare 1981 Berlinetta convertible.
  • Ranked #15 in TV Guide's list of the "25 Top Cult Shows Ever!" (May 30, 2004 issue).
  • The character Sam Beckett was ranked #12 in TV Guide's list of the "25 Greatest Sci-Fi Legends" (August 1, 2004 issue).
  • Season One's cliffhanger into Season Two was the teaser for "Quantum Leap" (1989) {What Price Gloria? - October 16, 1961 (#2.4)}. The next season, three other episodes premiered before "What Price Gloria?" aired.
  • There were several ideas for episodes which ultimately were never used. One had Sam leaping in as Robert F. Kennedy. Another idea would involve an animated episode. The producers even toyed with the idea of leaping Sam in as a baby (this was to be the story of the 14th issue of the Quantum Leap comic book, but production ended after issue 13). Also, Donald P. Bellisario wanted to do an episode where Sam leaps in as Thomas Magnum (from Magnum, P.I.). It is unclear why that episode never materialized, although in an earlier episode, a character is seen watching "Magnum, P.I.", thus establishing that show as fiction within the Quantum Leap "universe".
  • Al's cigar was the idea of actor Dean Stockwell, who said it was "a good way to get free cigars for five years".
  • Donald P. Bellisario's favorite of all his television series.
  • Scott Bakula ad libbed the line "Oh boy!" at the end of an episode. The producer liked it so much that it became the signature final line of each episode, as Sam finds himself in a new body.
  • SPOILER: Sam leaped beyond his day of birth a total of four times. In "Quantum Leap" (1989) {The Leap Back - June 15, 1945 (#4.1)}, Al and Sam traded places due to an accident, which allowed for leaping within Al's life. In "Quantum Leap" (1989) {The Leap Between the States - September 20, 1862 (#5.20)} revealed that Sam's great-grandfather had a very similar genetic profile and blood type. In "Quantum Leap" (1989) {Play It Again, Seymour - April 14, 1953 (#1.9)} and "Quantum Leap" (1989) {The Americanization of Machiko - August 4, 1953 (#2.3)}, he hadn't been born yet but was already conceived. Although since he was able to leap into his great-grandfather, that would already allow him to leap back past his his own lifetime.
  • Al's Calavicci call-sign (pilot nickname) is "Bingo".
  • Bruce McGill is the only other actor besides Scott Bakula and Dean Stockwell to appear in both the first and last episodes. In the pilot, "Genesis", McGill plays "Weird Ernie" the Air Force engineer. And in the last episode, "Mirror Image", he plays "Al the Bartender".
  • In the first few episodes of the series, Al exited the Imaging Chamber by an unseen door which opened like a regular door with a turning knob. By the middle of the first season, the effect was changed to the standard rising door with the blue light shining beyond it.
  • In the first season, the prologues explaining what Quantum Leap was about were done by Scott Bakula as Sam Beckett. By the time season two began, the narrations were done by Deborah M Pratt as the voice of Ziggy.
  • Malcolm McDowell auditioned for the role of Al Calavicci, which would have made him a time traveler for the second time. The first time was Time After Time.
  • Scott Bakula was the first actor cast, and thus was asked to read with actors under consideration for the part of Al Calavicci. Bakula immediately felt a connection with Dean Stockwell during his audition, and lobbied the producers to cast him as Al Calavicci.
  • Though no special mention is made during the series, with the exception of Gooshie, Project Quantum Leap is run almost entirely by women. They include: Dr. Donna Eleese, Sam's wife, also a physicist; Dr. Beeks, a medical technician; Teena Martinez, Al's girlfriend and assistant programmer; an unnamed military envoy; and, though she is never seen, Dr. Sammy Jo Fuller, Sam's daughter sired during a leap, also a physicist. In addition, Ziggy, the sentient computer that controls the project, displays female characteristics.
  • Deborah M Pratt the series narrator and voice of Ziggy, also wrote and executive produced the series. She was married to Donald P. Bellisario when the series aired.
  • SPOILER: Donald P. Bellisario and Scott Bakula have both expressed their ire with the NBC network over the series finale. Originally, Bellisario was asked to write an episode that could function either as a season finale cliffhanger, or as an end to the series. When Bellisario complied, the cast and crew were assured of the series renewal. In the eleventh hour, NBC decided to cancel the series after all, and reedited the ending with title cards revealing the fate of Sam and Al. This was one of at least four endings, at least two of which were filmed. If the series was to end, Bellisario originally planned to have Al and Beth as an old married couple discussing how they would locate Sam who had leaped again. Had the series continued, Bellisario planned to have Sam leap into a space station in the distant future, and Al becoming a leaper himself to rescue Sam.
  • According to Dean Stockwell, his friend Dennis Hopper advised him not to take a role on television so soon after being nominated for an Academy Award (Best Supporting Actor for Married to the Mob). Stockwell took the role anyway and was nominated for four Emmys and four Golden Globes (and won one in 1990) for his role as Al.
  • In the episode "Catch a Falling Star - May 21, 1979", Ernie Sabella plays Manny who in "Man of La Mancha" plays Sancho Panza. Many years later, Sabella played the role of Sancho in the Broadway revival of the series.

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