Show Type: Sci-Fi
First Telecast: March 26, 1989
Last Telecast: August 15, 1993
Dr. Sam Beckett..... Scott Bakula
Al Calavicci ("The Observer")..... Dean Stockwell
Dr. Sam Beckett got the chance to find out what it would be like to inhabit someone else's body in this series that focused mainly on the people instead of on the sci-fi elements of time travel.
Sam was a physicist sent jumping around in time as the result of an experiment gone bad. His "leaps" into strangers bodies, in all different times, followed certain rules. First, he traveled only within his own lifespan, roughly from the 1950's to the present. Second, he could change events only to a certain degree. The course of ordinary people's live could be changed - hopefully for the better - but major historical events like the assassination of President Kennedy could not. Third, to the viewer he appeared as himself no matter whose body he was in, but to those around him, he was that person.
Some of the people that Sam "leapt" into included: a gorgeous secretary subjected to sexual harassment; an elderly black man in the pre-civil rights South; a pregnant young girl about to give birth; a blind concert pianist and a nerdy teenage hot rodder. Knowing nothing about these people until he "arrived," Sam often had to improvise.
Sam was accompanied in his leaps by Al, a holographic observer, who helped him - for better or worse! - and used a small portable device linked to a computer named Ziggy to determine the odds and reasons for Sam's current situation. He was actually a U.S. Navy admiral and could only be seen by Sam, animals and small children.
Quantum Leap ended its regular run on April 20, 1993 with Sam leaping into the body of a young, unknown Elvis Presley, but the final original episode aired as a special on May 5, 1993. In it, Sam leapt into his own body in a 1953 mining town tavern where a mysterious bartender seemed to hold the answers about his strange fate. Other leapers appeared, as did ghostly echoes of Sam's later life and the Quantum Leap project itself. Sam begged for the answer to the question he had so long thought about - "How can I leap home?" The cryptic answer was that he had the ability all along - leaping into others' lives was his own choice. When it came time to leap home, he couldn't do it. Instead, he leapt ahead to the Vietnam War at the moment when Al's wife was about to leave him and saved her from ruining his best friend's life. Sam never returned home.
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