Quantum Leap (1989–1993)
17 user 5 critic

Genesis: Part 1 - September 13, 1956 

Although the Project Quantum Leap isn't ready yet, Sam Beckett doesn't listen to supercomputer Ziggy, hops into the Accelerator and leaps. As Tom Stratton, an Air Force test pilot about to ... See full summary »



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Peggy Stratton
Capt. Bill 'Bird Dog' Birdell
W.K. Stratton ...
Lee de Broux ...
Coach (as Lee DeBroux)
Capt. Tony LaMott
Amanda Horan Kennedy ...
Tina (as Barbra Horan)
David Trent ...
Captain Doug Walker
James F. Dean ...
Dr. Blaustein
Lela Ivey ...
Dennis Wolfberg ...


Although the Project Quantum Leap isn't ready yet, Sam Beckett doesn't listen to supercomputer Ziggy, hops into the Accelerator and leaps. As Tom Stratton, an Air Force test pilot about to attempt a dangerous flight. Sam finds his memory Swiss cheesed, with only enough left to know that he is not where or when he belongs. According to Sam's friend and partner Al, who appears to him as a hologram nobody else can see, Al explains that the Project has gone awry and in order to leap out of the pilot's body, Sam must successfully fly the X-2 to Mach 3, which according to historical records, ended in a fatal crash. Written by Jean-Marc Rocher <rocher@fiberbit.net>

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Release Date:

26 March 1989 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The historical record of the final test flight of the Bell X-2 shows that Capt. Milburn G. "Mel" Apt on September 27, 1956, attained Mach 3.2 (2,094 mph) at 65,500 ft., but, in his return, was unable to recover from a spin. Although he fired the ejection capsule, he did not emerge and parachute to safety. See more »


Near the beginning of the episode, to establish that Sam is in the 1950s - The Howdy Doody Show (AKA The Howdy Doody Show) is shown playing on the television set. September 13th, 1956, the date that this episode takes place, fell on a Thursday. In 1956, this show was broadcast on Saturday mornings at 10 AM and would not have been on the TV that particular morning. See more »


Sam: It all started when a time travel experiment I was conducting went... a little ka-ka. In the blink of a cosmic clock I went from quantum physicist to air force test pilot. Which could have been fun... if I knew how to fly. Fortunately, I had help. An observer from the project named Al. Unfortunately, Al's a hologram, so all he can lend is moral support. Anyway, here I am. Bouncing around in time, putting things right which once went wrong. A sort of time traveling Lone Ranger, with Al as my ...
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References The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956) See more »


Hound Dog
Written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller
Performed by Elvis Presley
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User Reviews

Let the leaping begin!
24 September 2002 | by (Jersey shore, USA) – See all my reviews

This 1989 TV-Movie was the pilot episode for the Science Fiction/Drama series "Quantum Leap" (1989-1993). It takes the viewer on the first adventure of Dr. Sam Beckett (Scott Bakula), a brilliant scientist with a dream to theorize that one could travel within his own lifetime.

With the funding running out on his top-secret time-travel project, Sam Beckett (Bakula) must prove that his project works, and jumps in the Acceleration Chamber. With the kinks not quite worked out, Sam is hurled into time and space on the adventure of a lifetime. He lands in 1956 as an Air Force Test Pilot named Tom Stratton, and must fly his plane to break Mach 3, and correct the original problem that happened in 1956, when the plane exploded in the process. However, Sam is in quite a predicament himself. The "leap" has left his brain swiss-cheesed (amnesia), and he doesn't know who he is, where he came from, or why that stranger in the bathroom mirror is staring back at him, and not his own reflection. When the project's observer, Rear Admiral Al Calavicci (Dean Stockwell) shows up, Sam is terrified of him when he notices the stranger walking through walls, and cannot understand why no one else can see Al. The next leap, which is the last 25 minutes of the pilot, involves Sam leaping into minor-league baseball player Tim Fox in 1968, and Sam must sort out some details of his own life before he changes Tim's. In this case, it's to win the last game of the season. Can he complete his missions, and what will happen next?

I first saw this episode in January 2002, even though I've been watching the reruns since September 2001, and it answered alot of questions for me. This was a great lead-in to a great series. Although this was early on, and the characters certainly developed over the four and a half years this show aired, the pilot was not too shabby. Scott Bakula gave an endearing performance, and you could easily feel bad for him when he can't remember anything, or just giggling at his facial expressions. I admit that I'd be terrified too if I looked in a mirror and saw that the person staring back was not me. Dean Stockwell put up a convincing performance as Al, but his character certainly improved with the show's run. Scott Bakula developed nicely as Sam, and it's amazing to see how young he was in the pilot (I'm assuming they filmed it in late 1988 or early 1989, so he was about 35 years old, but gorgeous nonetheless--and still is!).

My favorite scenes from the pilot episode are when Sam first wakes up in 1956 and doesn't remember anything. I kept laughing at his facial expressions and voice over, but I certainly couldn't help to feel bad for him. When he stepped in front of the mirror for the first time, I cracked up when he jumped back. I also liked the last scene of the pilot (which I will not give away). This pilot also produced a great Al Calavicci line "Ain't that a kick in the butt?" which I said alot after seeing this pilot. Of course, I love Scott Bakula, who I didn't know before watching this show in September 2001, and he makes watching enjoyable. Sort of serious, and incredily cute, and Al is a great comedic foil, definitely not of second-banana status, certainly much more!

All in all, this was a well-done pilot, perhaps one of the best I've seen. I don't care much for drama or science-fiction, but this has an even blend, and it's great for families. The reruns don't air anymore, but I taped all my favorites, including this episode. If you can find this episode, I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone, especially families. It's a feel-good pilot, and a great way to understand identity crises!!!

Oh boy, let the adventure begin!

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