Cory & Tom kick off the Quantum Leap Rewatch with the 2 part and/or feature length pilot episode “Genesis”, covering the rules of Sam Beckett’s time travel experiment, some dangling threads, and the first outing performances of the shows two leads as they handle being in the distant past.
Edwards Air Force Base, Blockfield, California September 13, 1956 / Waco, Texas Summer 1968.
Pressured to prove his time travel theory or lose his government funding, Dr Sam Beckett steps into his quantum leap accelerator and vanishes. He awakes to find himself in 1956, unable to remember his own name as well as all other details of his life. When he looks in the mirror, he sees not his own face, but the face of Tom Stratton, an air Force test pilot who is a part of team trying to break Mach 2 in an experimental aircraft.
Eventually Sam meets Al, who he mistakenly took for a fellow member of the team, but soon finds out is actually a hologram attuned to Sam’s brainwaves. Al tells Sam what his Swiss cheese memory can’t remember: that he is part of a time travel experiment that went a little caca, and says he can’t say more unless Sam can remember it himself. He does describe Sam’s own string theory of time travel and explains that because attempts to retrieve Sam from the past have failed so far, in order to return to his own time, he needs to first convince everyone in 1956 that he is Tom Statton and also break Mach 2 and survive, changing the original history where Stratton died in that attempt.
With Al’s help Sam manages to do just that, as well as save the life of he and his wife’s unborn baby when she goes into early labor. That event turns out to be a significant event and Sam suddenly vanishes from the body of Tom Stratton and finds himself in 1968 in a new body, a baseball player named Fox. Al appears and tells Sam his last name, which he had been struggling to remember after his leap back in time, and he calls his father who is still alive in this year. Sam goes to bat, managing to score a run, changing the original history where the team lost, and having made right that which once went wrong, he finds himself once again, leaping.
Ziggy’s Data Retrieval:
This episode originally aired as a feature length pilot but was cut up into parts and edited for syndication, removing a few ancillary scenes and completely removing the second leap into Ken Fox. The episode was also original named simply Quantum Leap, and was changed to “Genesis Parts 1 & 2” after it was broken up.
The real Mach 2 was broken two weeks later by Captain Milburn Apt in the Bell X-2 on 27 September 1956. He was killed when he ejected and encountered parachute failure.
On the radio, they shout out to the musical composer for the show by announcing proudly “That was Velton Bunch and the Delltones.” A fun little reference for those digging deeper into the action behind the scenes.
Tom came across 2 cross over actors for a single episode of Lois & Clark, as well. The old dude who yells at Sam on the baseball field was a mind control victim of Dr. Maxwell Deeter, played by Larry Poindexter who also appears in this episode. You can hear us discuss that episode here. Sitcom Tom also recognised Jennifer Runyon, who played Cindy Brady in one of the Brady Bunch TV movies, and appeared in “Charles in Charge” as well as the beginning of “Ghostbusters.”
Finally, did you get confused by the dropped third strike rule? Cory isn’t a sportsball guy so Tom kindly explains: If the catcher drops a called strike, The batter can run for first and so on. This rarely occurs but makes for a surprising and dramatic end to this episode.
Kiss with History:
Trivial Pursuit is mentioned mentioned. Sam also may have inadvertently invented Lamaze and the practise of stopping a premature birth; our research shows that neither doctor in the show was the person who pioneered either.
Al’s Fashion of the Week:
For when you’d rather stay in bed with Tina, nothing beats the stunning ensemble of crimson button down pajamas with white night gown accented with subtle black striping and even subtler black dots. Comes complete with music coffee mug so you can wake up to “The Classy Hangover” collection.
Next week’s episode discussions are “Star-Crossed” & “The Right Hand of God”.
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