8 of 8 prizes claimed…
The first 8 people to submit an essay on the following topic “What Quantum Leap means to me” will win a Quantum Leap comic book #9 “Up Against a Stonewall”. Essays will have to be show worthy as decided upon by our staff and will be read in an upcoming Quantum Leap Podcast.
Quantum Leap comic book #9
“Up Against a Stonewall”
Sam Beckett leaps into the body of a woman he sent to prison 12 years ago. Swept into the too trendy New York social scene of 1969, Sam must defend a super model from police harassment…and finds himself caught up in the beginnings of the Gay Rights Revolution. Published January 1993 by Innovation
Double Identity Giveaway Double-up… Best essay of eight wins
We have our first of eight winners in our essay Giveaway! Congratulations to Carebare!! 😀 her essay is read in Episode 02 “Star-Crossed”
Our first winner is…
What Quantum Leap means to me!
Approximately one week ago, me and my netflix account decided it was time to rewatch Quantum Leap. Being a fan of podcasts in general (and since my husband refuses to watch anything from the 80′s), I went searching for a Quantum Leap podcast to get other viewpoints on the show. Imagine my surprise when I saw The Quantum Leap Podcast all fresh and shiney and new! It was meant to be! So that brings me to the point of this essay. Why decide to rewatch? What does Quantum Leap mean to me anyway?!? Well, I was 7 years old when the show was new. And while I don’t remember the super cool sounding commercials that were brought up on your podcast, and I probably watched most episodes in syndication, I do remember rushing home to set the VCR to record that nights show (I still have VHS copy of the ‘Georgia’ version! .. and nothing to play it on…). This is the first show that I loved that wasn’t a cartoon. This is the first show that glued me to the
television. This is the first show that I thought had a totally hot leading man! And most importantly, this is the first show that made me want to be a scientist! …not that that ever came to fruition, but it made me WANT to be one! And while I won’t be inventing a time machine or saving lives one leap at a time, I wanted to be more and do more!
Quantum Leap, in all it’s 80′s glory, is everything a show should be. Awesome premise, awesome lessons, perfect mix of awesome and awesomely bad actors (I’m lookin at you, every actor who plays Sam’s reflection!). And every time I hear the sound of Sam leaping, or hear the theme song, or hear him say “oh boy”, it puts me right back to the first time I saw it.
Quantum Leap is an amazing show and I’m so glad to be rewatching with the Quantum Leap podcast!
Our second winner is…
Balling the Loop:
What Quantum Leap Means to Me
When the pilot episode of Quantum Leap aired in March of 1989, I missed it. I had seen the trailers but somehow missed that first episode. Afterward, I assumed it was somehow too late to get into the show. I’m not sure how or when I gave it a second chance, but in one proverbial leap I was suddenly obsessed. I meticulously recorded every episode on VHS, labeled with the episode titles and leap dates. Quantum Leap is responsible for much of what I’ve learned about the nature of the universe and the purpose of human existence.
What primarily drew me to Quantum Leap in the early days was the sci-fi context. I found myself at the local library, checking out books on quantum mechanics, string theory, etc. I studied elementary particles. I analyzed the idiosyncrasies of time travel logic. Many times I would find myself in a situation, alone or with others, and pretend I was leaping in at that very moment. I would try to briefly experience my life from a leaper’s perspective. Other times I would imagine that I was an adult who had leaped into my younger self. We have a fire pit in our backyard that is surrounded by a perfect circle of concrete. It made a perfect Quantum Leap Accelerator. Sometimes the neighborhood gang would use Quantum Leap as the premise for our imaginary afternoon adventures. One year I even made a Quantum Leap themed costume for Halloween.
By the time Season 3 rolled around I was a full-fledged member of The Quantum Leap Fan-Club, remnants of which may still be found on the Internet. There was a monthly newsletter called The Observer. You got a badge and buttons and you got to choose which department of PQL you worked in. I actually had my name mentioned in a newsletter one month because I had suggested a bunch of departments at the Project that they hadn’t mentioned. Yes, I was THAT nerdy.
Then the unthinkable happened. The Season 3 finale ‘Shock Theater’ ends with a cliffhanger that had me freaking out in excitement. I simply could not wait for Season 4 to start. And that’s when NBC decided to cancel Quantum Leap.
They moved the timeslot to Wednesdays at 10PM and then complained when the ratings went down. So they were going to cancel the show, and the good people at the Quantum Leap Fan Club organized a letter writing campaign that flooded Warren Littlefield’s desk with demands that the show be kept on the air. Somewhere in that pile was my letter.
It worked. Season 4 opened by essentially leaping the quantum shark. Through all of this, through all of Sam’s leaps, my family and friends were watching the show as well. That sense of shared enthusiasm meant a lot to me. I was an altar boy at Sacred Heart Church at that time. Father Dominick was also a fan and he and I would often compare notes on the most recent episode before mass.
Do you remember Prodigy? It was one of the first dial-up portals, even before AOL. It was on Prodigy that I found a Quantum Leap BB. That’s when I learned the art of procuring media through sale or trade. Somehow I got hands on a third generation VHS copy of the Pilot episode of Quantum Leap. So I leaped back in time and finally got to see how it all started. Then, one day I received an e-mail from a fellow fan. Tina Wheatley, from Sioux City, Iowa. We became e-mail pen pals and eventually started talking on the phone. We became such good friends that in the summer before 11th grade her parents and my parents agreed to let me fly out and spend two weeks in Iowa. I had an amazing experience driving across the state with Tina and her family. She is married now and has a child of her own, and we still keep in touch to this day.
I’ve been careful to avoid spoilers in this essay, so there’s not much I can say about the Series Finale of Quantum Leap, except that I was, like many others, disappointed. And for a while after, depressed about it. Now, I’ve written an entirely separate essay on the Series Finale that currently has about 3,000 views. Suffice it to say, it took me years before I was able to understand the true meaning of the finale and finally make peace with it.
I graduated college with a B.A. in Philosophy, the end result of that initial spark of metaphysics inspired by Quantum Leap. Then I became an elementary classroom teacher. For three years I worked nights, weekends, and summers as a Behavioral Assistant, working with at-risk youth ages 6 – 18 in their homes. My job was to “leap” into their lives and try to help put right what once went wrong. In that time I dealt with drug and sex abuse, domestic violence, unsafe/unsanitary living conditions, deceased parent, single parent, foster care, developmental and behavioral disorders, academic concerns, bullying, crime, and the list goes on. Each case was contracted for a specific length of time and we weren’t allowed to maintain contact with the client after that. So I always had a window of time where I had to do as much as I could to improve the situation and make it last after I left.
It was during these moments that the lessons of Quantum Leap truly became relevant in my life. I learned to be comfortable in different cultural and socio-economic situations. I observed family dynamics and spent countless hours conducting family therapy, trying to get these people to see how their choices affected their lives. I became very close to a few families yet I always had to let it go in the end and move on to the next mission, trusting that the short-term good I did was enough to make a difference in the long run.
Dr. Sam Beckett continues to be my primary role model. He exemplifies universal compassion, a bodhisattva-like desire to help all souls, regardless of their race, creed, or historical bias. Sam represents our evolutionary potential… transcending space and time, the realization of humanity’s higher purpose in this universe. Of course, Al is a role model to: friendship, loyalty, self-confidence, and a sense of humor. Al seems to represent that flawed part of us that is nevertheless pure of heart. I always felt that these two characters represented the dual nature of my psyche…Sam, the sympathetic saint, and Al, a lovable pervert.
This is my fourth year teaching fifth grade language arts. The last two years I experimented with showing Quantum Leap to my students. I designed Character Ed lessons based around key episodes, exposing the students to historical events/figures and sociological issues that broadened their view of themselves and their world. They became as obsessed as I ever was. I can’t even begin to tell you the amount of questions I’ve been asked on the physics of leaping. One day I put the show on and the class started spontaneously singing and clapping to the theme song. Students would arrive the next day excited to summarize an episode they had just watched on Netflix. They told me how their parents remembered the show. I used my fan club buttons as rewards for good behavior and the students proudly walked through school sporting phrases like, “Why haven’t I leaped?” and “I’m not really here, you’re just seeing the illusion of my physical aura.” In short, Quantum Leap became the best Character Ed teaching tool I’ve used to date because Dr. Sam Beckett is the best example of what it means to be a decent human being.
I’m reminded of a line from the last episode, where Al the Bartender tells Sam that the lives he’s touched have touched others, and those lives, others. A simple TV show from the 90s has complete relevance to a generation born in the 21st century. That show touched my life and now through me it is touching the lives of dozens of children. This one fictional show continues to have a real world influence.
Watching Quantum Leap took me on a personal journey from the physical to the metaphysical, and eventually to the spiritual. No other concept has had such profound influence on how I live my life. Perhaps that’s all life is, after all, just one more leap in a series of spiritual missions. Just remember that wherever you are, or whenever you are—you are already home.
Clifton, New Jersey
It’s The Crew! is a web-comic developed by me and my friends that ran for four seasons of 13 episodes each. The first episode I scripted was based on Quantum Leap. You can view it here: http://itsthecrew.com/sex/itc-3-05-femme-banale-2005/
Our third winner is…
What Quantum Leap means to Me
My entire life I have enjoyed exploring the history of our nation, through travel, books,
and TV shows, but nothing ever got me more hooked then Quantum Leap. I loved to sit and watch
the entire five seasons with my dad and learn about all the interesting things that happened in
different ages of Sam’s life. Even if it didn’t show a groundbreaking event, the episode did take me
back to an age when life was different, from their everyday life, to clothes, to the way they handled
situations and people. Sam had to relive these things too, and be prepared to act in the way of the
time even if it personally killed him, such as when he had to be a member of the Klu Klux Klan.
Then Al would always come in with the comic relief and the best outfits any character could wear.
Quantum leap, to me, meant our nation’s history and basically my history since I grew up
watching the episodes with my dad. The show told me how things used to be before I was even
born, and how all people, no matter what time period, can have the same problems.
Our fourth winner is…
WHAT QUANTUM LEAP MEANS TO ME
By Hayden McQueenie
My first exposure to Quantum Leap was through my mother. She saw most of the series the first time it was shown in Australia and loved it so much that when our family first got PayTV, and Quantum Leap was being played from start to finish, my mum would, without fail, watch and record onto VHS every episode. I saw bits and pieces of the first few episodes, but due to the limited attention span my about-ten-year-old-self could muster, I wasn’t really interested. But one evening, bored, I decided to sit down and watch an episode from the start.
It was “The Colour Of Truth” – an episode dealing with racial segregation. I had never seen anything like it – a person not being able to sit down to eat your lunch even after you’d paid for it, nor be able to sit with your friends to have tea, not being able to take a drink from a water fountain, and worst of all not being able to get medical attention for a dying member of your family. I was shocked, I think I was yelling at the television at the idiocy of this town. I have always loved history, but knew very little about American history. Even though I knew about how the Aboriginals were treated, including having the world’s only successful genecide (the Tasmanian Aboriginals), we never really had segregation or racism to that extent, so I was flabbergasted. As the episode progressed my mum explained why Sam’s reflection looked different, why Al could only be seen by Sam and could walk through things, and the general time-travel “putting things right that once went wrong” premise of the show. I was hooked, and after that I would too, without fail, watch every episode with her (except for some of the more violent or adult-themed episodes that my mum felt were inappropriate… I sneakily watched those on her VHS tapes)…
For me, Quantum Leap is a show unlike any other. The time-travel elements of the show, combined with the future technology (such as holograms, supercomputers, handlinks) really make you wonder what technology could be possible in the future, and gave it a science-fiction element, which I love, but the show has so much more to it than that.
The friendship between Sam and Al is something that moves me, the fact that they would be willing to do anything for each other. Family is also a driving force throughout the series, the love Sam has for his family is probably what drove him to create Project Quantum Leap in the first place (to try to improve their lives) and Al’s lost love is probably what drove him to team up with Sam on this endeavour. So I try to surround myself with good friends, family and people who make my life better and don’t take them for granted.
I am a teacher, so I enjoy seeing how people grow and evolve, and it’s fantastic to watch how not only Sam grows to trust his own instincts over time, but the fact that the Project itself also grows and evolves. They say “necessity is the mother of invention” and this is by far the case with the Project. When the leapee’s aura traumatises Al, they tweak the neural link so that Al sees Sam. When Sam needs to be shown something, the Imaging Chamber is tweaked so that Sam can see whatever or whoever Al touches. When Sam needs to communicate in real time information that only the leapee knows, they increase the power so that the leapee can see and hear everything in the Imaging Chamber and have Sam hear what the leapee says. Who knows what they could have come up with if the show had continued longer?
One word sticks out to me to summarise the series as a whole, and that is “faith”. Diane McBride says some very poignant words, “Even though we don’t have any proof that Dr Beckett has travelled through time, we feel such attempts are necessary for the human cause and the important thing is that we try.” Those words have always stuck with me, and as a teacher, I try to live and pass on that philosophy to my students. Trying is the first step toward success, and mistakes or failed attempts are something to be learnt from. I also believe that if you give people a chance and see the good in everyone, you will be pleasantly surprised with what they can accomplish and what you get back in return.
It’s interesting that both Sam and Al believe in outside forces greater than themselves, but while Al fears everything supernatural and evil, like vampires, ghosts, mummies, and the Devil; Sam embraces the idea of anything supernatural that’s good or could add to the human experience, such as angels, aliens and God. (Spoiler alert: All of these things are real in the Quantum Leap universe…) To me it reinforces the idea that while there are many forces at play (few of which we understand), the good forces are always stronger and will always help you.
To conclude, the main message that Quantum Leap sends to me is to trust your instincts, never stop trying, surround yourself with good friends, don’t take your family for granted, and try to do the right thing by everyone so that nobody will need to go back and put right what once went wrong.
Our fifth winner is…
What Quantum Leap Means To Me
By Father Beast
When I first started watching Quantum Leap, it was a fun time travel show, though I was a little disappointed that it was only covering a small piece of history. But I got over that fairly quickly.
One of the things about Quantum Leap is that it deals with the “little people”. The kind of folk don’t make headlines, and that most of us would never have heard of (even if they had been real), and would never make the history books. But that becomes one of the endearing things about the show. In the course of an hour, we come to know a handful of ordinary people and care about their lives, probably due in part to the fact that Sam cares.
I always loved the time travel aspect, but slowly became converted to the story of Sam being the angel that enters peoples lives, helps out in some way, and then leaves. Since Sam is an ordinary guy, this lends itself to the idea that I can be a little bit of a help in the places that I travel through. And if I bring a smile to someone I only meet for a few minutes, perhaps I have become a bit like a traveling angel, a bit like Sam.
I once imagined my wife Quantum Leaping into the mother of a boy who had killed himself while my wife was in high school. The way I envision it, she would not be there to prevent his death, but to give him a good funeral, instead of the travesty she remembers.
Perhaps the biggest impact of the show is in how it informs my personal decision making. The villains in Quantum Leap are generally not out to ruin people’s lives, but rather folk who let bad things stand because they just don’t care. And folk who do selfish things without regard for consequences. And folk who do and say hurtful things because they don’t think about it. Each one of those things is a personal warning to me. I don’t have a guy from the future with a supercomputer telling me the results of my actions, so I have to guess for myself. Will this time that I speed or run a stop sign be the time that kills an innocent? I just don’t know. So I consider that every time I act unsafe, or feel morally justified in being a nasty person, or (worst of all) feel morally obligated to do terrible things, I know that I run the risk of doing unknown damage to people’s lives.
Honeymoon express is an amazing episode, but the lesson I draw from it is reflected in smaller ways all through the series. That lesson is: Doing The Right Thing Has Good Results. It’s very simple, but life can often seem to complicate things and make you think that accomplishing a certain goal is more important than doing the right thing. That principle also informs my decision making.
So I go through my life, doing the best that I can, and occasionally I hear or see someone stumbling through something that they should be familiar with, and I wonder if some Quantum Leaper has taken the regular guys place for a little while. If so, I wish him luck on his particular mission, and continue with my own. Because I like to imagine that I am doing something similar to Sam Beckett, just without the time travel.
Our sixth winner is…
Why I Love Quantum Leap
Q is for Sam, the Quick study who knows (or can fake) almost anything and will Question those in charge if he feels they are looking at something the wrong way;
U is for Understanding different types of people I didn’t meet in my rural upbringing and the different viewpoints and world views they had;
A is for Al, that loveable lech and rogue (Sam really couldn’t have asked for a better best friend);
N is for the power of simply being Nice to people;
T is for Trusting that things can be improved by the simple actions of just one person and that strangers can be kind and helpful;
U is for the Uplifting messages contained in most of the episodes, and for facing the Unknown and thriving in new environments;
M is for many things: the fantastic original period Music, the wonderful Memories of enjoying these shows when they originally aired, and the Moral lessons learned from Sam and Al, two trueMen of honor;
L is for Love: the Love between Sam and Al and the power of Love to heal various wounds throughout a person’s life, and for Learning how to work around one’s own Limitations and seek help from others when necessary, and also for the many other Life Lessons Learned throughout 97 hours of fantastic adventures;
E is for Edutainment — that special mix of Education and Entertainment the show did so well, including teaching viewers how to deal with important Ethical dilemmas, and also for Escapism from my late teens/early 20s drama, and Embracing people’s differences;
A is for the Adventures in history Sam and Al show us throughout Sam’s lifetime, as well as learning to face Adversity, and learning to Assess situations and Appreciate each person’s specialAbilities;
P is for learning to stand by your Principles and your own personal Philosophy of life.
— Jay-Jay Flanagan-Grannemann
Our seventh winner is…
To put it simply, QL has, for close to 20 years now, inspired me to be a better person.
I began watching QL several years after it was cancelled. What impressed me the most about the series was the virtuous nature of the main character, Dr. Sam Beckett. Sam was a role model for me in my early teenage years, and for good reason. He was a renaissance man: intelligent, athletic, polite, and, above all, decent. With very few exceptions, he always put the well-being of others before himself. On those rare occasions when he did let petty emotions get the better of him (as in “Catch A Falling Star”), he ultimately rebounded and did the right thing. To a young, nerdy kid in suburban St. Louis, and no doubt to numerous others who saw QL, Sam Beckett was a positive influence.
I had the misfortune of growing up in a conservative small town, where racism, sexism, homophobia, and other outdated mindsets were very commonplace. QL dealt with all these issues and helped me to realize that these regressive ideologies were wrong and should be challenged and fought at every opportunity. Maybe it’s silly to draw inspiration from a tv show but I didn’t think so at the time and I honestly believe I’m a more well-rounded and humanistic person today in large part because of the lessons of so many QL episodes.
In a nutshell, QL, to me, means always striving to do what’s right, and to oppose injustice and oppression because, in all likelihood, Dr. Sam Beckett won’t be able to do it for us.
Our eighth winner is…
Quantum Leap has had a profound impact on my life like few other things have. I began watching the television show as a twelve year old and it took hold of me. I admired Sam Beckett and the way he “put right what once went wrong.” He quickly became my hero and moral compass. While other kids dreamed of placing baseball or joining a rock band, I wanted to travel through time and make the world a better place. Every day after school, I watched reruns on USA or the Sci-Fi Channel. It soon became something my family and I bonded over. It was a show my parent and I could both enjoy. My sister (who never shared any interest with me, ever) used to recite the opening by memory. It also sparked a desire for reading. The first adult novel I ever read was the first Quantum Leap book. You couldn’t imagine the joy I felt when my mom brought it home for me.
Quantum Leap opened my eyes to a world I had never known. Growing up Georgia, I rarely heard discussions on racial justice, equality for women, the plight of Native Americans, issues related to mental disability, and acceptance of the LGBT community. The show provided a platform for understanding these issues in an extremely personal way, because Sam experienced life through other people’s eyes. Through Quantum Leap, I began to understand the importance of examining issues from someone else’s perspective and I believe the show fostered an empathy that I embrace as an adult. It has affected the way I interact with and treat people and I hope that others have been moved in the same way.
The show also impacted my professional life. I had always been interested in history, which is probably one of the reasons I was attracted to the show in the first place. But I had never before been exposed to the history of the second half of the twentieth century. I found the people and places featured on the show each week to be fascinating and it was hard to believe how different the world was in such a short period of time. This interest in the history of Sam’s lifetime led to further readings on the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights movement, and electoral politics in the 1960s. Eventually, I studied these subjects in college and wrote my Master’s thesis on the intersection between the civil rights and anti-war movements in 1960s Georgia. Today, I work for a university digitizing historical documents to be placed online, making history more accessible to the public.
All that being said, it’s just a damn entertaining television show and I’ve had a lot of fun watching it over the years. I’m watching episodes again along with your podcast and my wife told me last week that she thinks I’m happiest when I’m watching Quantum Leap. She’s not far off. I’m looking forward to sharing the show with my kids in the future. I just hope they enjoy it as much as I do. How could they not? Thanks for the work that you do.