Rewatching Quantum Leap – Episode 15

Theorizing that one could time travel within his own lifetime, Dr. Sam Beckett stepped into the quantum leap accelerator and vanished. He awoke 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. His only guide on this journey is Al, an observer from his own time who appears in the form of a hologram that only Sam can see and hear. And so, Dr. Beckett finds himself leaping from life to life, striving to put right what once went wrong, and hoping each time that his next leap will be the leap home.

Good Morning, Peoria

  • Sam leaps into a radio DJ who is neglecting his current task… reading the commercial after Little Richard’s “Tutti Frutti” finishes playing.
  • As he realizes he’s the DJ, he’s leaving the station with a lot of dead air.
  • September 9, 1959
  • Sam’s not a natural behind that microphone.
  • Or at the turntable.
  • And then he plays the classic Pat Boone snoozefest, “April Love.”
  • Sam is “Howlin'” Chick Howell and he has had 12 jobs in the last eight years.
  • He has something of a tempestuous relationship with the station’s owner, Rachel.
  • Rachel is played by Patricia Richardson, who would later go on to play Jill Taylor on Home Improvement.
  • The DJ taking the next shift thinks it’s clear that Chick has feelings for Rachel, but Rachel isn’t interested in anything except running her station.
  • Being the late ’50s, the fact that this radio station is playing rock and roll is a bit controversial in town.
  • The owner of the local paper and hardware store, an unpleasant man named Fred, threatens to pull his advertisements from the station if they continue playing rock and roll.
  • He’s also planning to propose to the city council a ban on rock and roll, and since he claims to carry a lot of weight in this town, he should have no problem getting that kind of ordinance passed.
  • When Sam leaves the station, Al tells him that he’s there to save Rachel.
  • Her life isn’t in danger, but her station is… and since her life is so tied up in that station, Sam needs to help her save it from going under.
  • He’ll be fighting an uphill battle as he notices Chick’s car has a message written on the windshield demanding that he stop playing rock and roll.
  • Sam arrives on time for his shift the next morning but is panicking because he doesn’t remember any of the popular music from 1959, so he asks Al for some advice.
  • Rachel sees him talking to himself through the glass and is a little worried…
  • Al advises him that being the DJ isn’t so much about the music he plays but about the personality he presents to the audience.
  • Then Sam shocks Rachel by doing his best Robin Williams/Good Morning, Vietnam impression before playing a little Jerry Lee Lewis and “Great Balls of Fire.”
  • This music inspires the young people in Peoria to start dancing in the streets.
  • That’s not gonna go over well with Fred the newspaper man.
  • It’s all going really well until someone tosses a brick through the station window that hits the control board and shuts off “Yakety Yak.”
  • They’re off the air and Sam works on fixing the console while Rachel reminisces about her father and his love for the station.
  • Right after Sam gets them back on the air, Al sees Chubby Checker out in the lobby.
  • Sam teaches Chubby Checker the dance that will go with his new hit song, “The Twist.”
  • Uh… wouldn’t Chubby Checker have had the dance ready to go before he recorded the song?
  • Anyway… the city council decides to ban rock and roll.
  • Rachel panics and Sam decides it’s time to continue playing rock and roll in protest.
  • They barricade the doors at the station and Sam gets on the mic and announces the decision from city council.
  • Since the good people at WOF believe that decision is wrong, they’re going to keep playing rock and roll all night long.
  • Fred demands that the police go over there and break down the door.
  • The mayor isn’t to keen on breaking in during an election year and the police chief points out that it’s private property and the music thing isn’t a strong enough reason to break down the door.
  • So Fred gets another idea in his balding head.
  • Rachel finds an article against rock and roll written by Fred for his own paper and Sam reads it over the air.
  • He the proceeds to read the First Amendment to the Constitution, pointing out there is a freedom of the press and freedom of speech.
  • Since Fred calls rock and roll “half articulate speech” in his article, it is at least a form of speech which is guaranteed by the first amendment.
  • Meanwhile, Fred has decided to have the power to the station cut off.
  • Rachel remembers that there’s a generator in the basement, which is able to get the station back on the air. Again.
  • Fred calls into the station and tells Rachel that he’s been discussing things with other advertisers and they’re all threatening to pull their money even if they stop playing rock and roll at this point.
  • Rachel asks Sam why he’s doing this for the station… wanting to know why Chick is doing this for her.
  • Sam quotes a poem he remembers from high school and Rachel says she’s doing this because it’s probably what her father would have done.
  • Then Sam switches to a slow song and shares a slow dance with Rachel.
  • And then they share a kiss…
  • But that infuriates Rachel and she slaps Sam for taking advantage of her in a weak moment.
  • Sam points out that maybe she liked it… then he kisses her again and there’s no slap this time.
  • Fred’s next move is to shut down the radio’s transmitter by cutting the cables.
  • Then Rachel suddenly says that Chick set all of this up to get her alone with him.
  • She’s regretting following through with this protest and is about to give up, knowing she’s losing her station.
  • Sam convinces her not to give up and Fred calls again.
  • Rachel tells him that if she has to build a new tower out of bobby pins, she will get back on the air.
  • Kids in the street are chanting rock and roll and Sam has figured out how to get them broadcasting again.
  • Fred proves that he’s just an angry, bitter old fart by grabbing an ax and breaking into the station.
  • Al shows Sam his handheld link to Ziggy and gives him an idea…
  • Sam reads back an editorial written by Fred in response to the end of World War II advising Americans to go on living their lives in memory of those who gave their lives for the freedom that they got to go on enjoying.
  • Fred doesn’t have a lot to say after having those words thrown back at him.
  • Al tells Sam that the station goes on to be the number one station in Peoria and Rachel winds up marrying Chick.
  • Then Sam leaps into a rabbi in the middle of a Bat Mitzvah.
  • Oy vey.

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