Quantum Leap (1989–1993)
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Black on White on Fire - August 11, 1965 

As a black medical student during the 1965 Watts riots, Sam must save his white fiancée.



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Episode cast overview:
Gregory Millar ...
Corie Henninger ...
Sami Chester ...
Papa David Harper
Police Captain Paul Brewster
LaVerne Anderson ...
Montrose Hagins ...
Young Woman
Jon Berry ...
Police Sniper
Ray Harper


Sam leaps into the body of Ray Harper, a promising African-American medical student who has the opportunity at an internship at a Boston hospital. Ray currently lives in Watts and it's the eve of the 1965 race riots. He's engaged to Susan, a white girl, and faces not only her father's wrath but that of his brother Lonnie and his friends. Al tells him that his purpose is to keep Ray and Susan together but there is a chance that Susan might die in the riots. As the violence and race hatred grows, both Ray and Susan must face the challenge of each communities prejudice. Written by garykmcd

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Release Date:

9 November 1990 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


This episode takes place in Watts, Los Angeles, California from August 11 to August 12, 1965. See more »


The line "I love Ray, Mama Harper" looks and sounds clearly dubbed in. See more »


[Sam is embodying Ray, a black medical student whose girlfriend, Susan, is white]
Mama Harper: Raising your children is gonna be hard, no matter where you do it.
Susan Brewster: Why?
Mama Harper: Because wherever you go, they won't fit in. They won't be black and they won't be white.
Dr. Sam Beckett: They'll be human.
Mama Harper: Of course they'll be human, child. I'm talking about race!
Dr. Sam Beckett: I know, but, maybe, if we teach our kids to say that they're human, instead of black or white or red or yellow, maybe race won't matter.
Mama Harper: Huh. Not in my lifetime.
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Baby I Need Your Loving
Written by Brian Holland (as Holland), Lamont Dozier (as Dozier) and Eddie Holland (as Holland)
Performed by The Four Tops (1964)
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User Reviews

18 June 2014 | by See all my reviews

This is my least favorite episode of Quantum Leap. Its devoid of the usual intelligent and creative storyline that made me a fan. This silly episode is another over done, melodramatic, interracial love story. Unfortunately, the script and story is so embarrassingly bad that its difficult to watch. The episode takes place during the Watts Riot. But the story completely misses the point of that tragic historical event. The blacks are shown as the bad guys and racists while the whites are shown as the victims. Talk about total role reversal! All the black characters are either militant thugs or martyrs. Why couldn't the writers have written this episode where the black character is a hero? And the white girl is portrayed as this loving, kind, person who wants to help blacks but is discriminated against due to the color of her skin. Are they serious? Its absolutely asinine. And they use a talent like CCH Pounder to play a stereotypical "black mom" character who looks down on her own people rather then taking up arms against her oppressors. In one scene she holds a gun against her son's friend but wont take up arms against the whites who killed her husband. Just a shamefully bad episode.

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