?By Kevin J. Guhl
Although it had a sci-fi premise, Quantum Leap was mostly grounded in the real world. Its hero, Dr. Sam Beckett, disappeared during a trial run of the time machine he invented and found himself traveling to different years throughout the second half of the 20th Century, appearing as different people and tasked with putting something right in their lives that had once gone wrong, all the time hoping that his next leap would be the leap home. For five seasons, Sam’s adventures mostly resembled TV dramas-of-the-week, albeit with the twist of a protagonist put there through fantastic means. However, the occasional Quantum Leap episode went off the beaten path and put Sam in very weird circumstances, especially in the show’s more experimental final season. Two episodes of the show are actually rumored to be cursed, affecting people who watch them in various unsettling ways. These are the 10 strangest Quantum Leaps.
10) The Curse of Ptah-Hotep
Quantum Leap tended to show that supernatural beings and other oddities were real, and offered tantalizing glimpses of Bigfoot, Bermuda Triangle strangeness, UFOs, angels and other weird things throughout the course of the series. It was an odd fit for a show that was usually more realistic that fanciful (well, aside from the premise), but reveals of this type were often done in a tastefully short and shocking way. On a related note, two airings of this episode in 1992 supposedly coincided with large earthquakes in California, supporting the idea of a curse that even extended outside the program. It wouldn’t be the first episode of Quantum Leap connected to supposed strange phenomenon in the real world. Read on…
9) 8 ? Months
Sam leaped into women on several occasions and there were usually several awkward situations for him to deal with, like competing in a beauty pageant and fending off sexual advances from guys who thought he was a woman. But the strangest situation he had to deal with as a woman, hands down, was when he leapt into a pregnant teenager. His mission was fairly routine, in that he had to convince the girl’s father to support her so she wouldn’t have to give the baby up for adoption. The bizarre part was that Sam continued to endure all the pregnancy symptoms and ultimately labor pains as if he were actually pregnant with the baby. Keep in mind that the show established that it’s actually Sam’s entire body that leaps, and that he takes on the appearance of the person he’s pretending to be to everyone around him. Thankfully, Sam leapt out of there just before the baby emerged.
8) Lee Harvey Oswald
7) Blood Moon
6) Killin’ Time
5) Deliver Us From Evil/Return of the Evil Leaper/Revenge of the Evil Leaper
4) The Leap Between The States
If Quantum Leap had continued, it’s likely that the “within Sam’s own lifetime” rule would have been broken on a regular basis. An unused ending for the final episode (then only the fifth season finale) of Quantum Leap exists in which Al himself leaps in order to find Sam, and the pair end up on a space station in the far future. Reportedly, the direction NBC wanted the show to go in was for Sam to stay in the future and take on a young sidekick, which makes little sense, since how could he alter what once went wrong when it hadn’t happened yet? Series creator Donald Bellisario wasn’t very inclined to cooperate, leading to the show’s cancellation, reportedly. While Bellisario can be admired for sticking to his guns on his vision for the show, it’s also a shame that Quantum Leap didn’t get to have more episodes and further explore the new aspects of leaping revealed in the final season. Maybe it wouldn’t have been so bad if a compromise was reached and Sam got to travel to different eras.
3) The Wrong Stuff
2) Mirror Image
1) The Boogiem*n
Now, here’s the reason I’m hesitant to even mention this episode; it’s apparently cursed and is rumored to cause havoc whenever it’s aired or even written about. According to Quantum Leap fans, there has been a high degree of signal interference or signal failure when this episode has aired, going all the way back to its premiere around Halloween 1990. Attempts to record the episode from television have reportedly been plagued by VCR problems. I haven’t heard about issues recording it on TiVo or playing it on DVD, but it wouldn’t be a surprise. Other viewers have attributed calamities in their lives to viewing the episode, and Chris Ruppenthal, the writer of the episode, reportedly experiences strange behavior from any cameras or recording equipment in his vicinity.
And I shit you not, weird stuff went down even in the writing of this article. While typing the previous paragraph, I accidentally hit the Caps Lock and then was unable to turn it off. Even though the keyboard said it was off (the indicator light wasn’t on), caps still poured forth onto the screen every time I attempted to type. The only solution was to shut down the computer, including all browser windows that contained information about this episode. Coincidence, or has the Quantum Leap Curse paid a visit to Topless Robot?