Quantum Leap: Season 5, Episode 18

Goodbye Norma Jean - April 4, 1960 (2 Mar. 1993)

TV Episode  -   -  Action | Adventure | Drama
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As the chauffeur of Marilyn Monroe, Sam saves her life and helps her with her final movie, "The Misfits."



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Title: Goodbye Norma Jean - April 4, 1960 (02 Mar 1993)

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Episode complete credited cast:
Susan Griffiths ...
Barbara Whitmore
Joris Stuyck ...
John Tremaine Jr.
Tony Young ...
Elizabeth A. Coffee ...
Stephen Bowers ...
Dennis Boardman


As the chauffeur of Marilyn Monroe, Sam saves her life and helps her with her final movie, "The Misfits."

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Release Date:

2 March 1993 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The episode's title refers to lyrics from the Elton John song Candle In The Wind, which was a tribute to Marilyn Monroe (Real name Norma Jean Baker). See more »


Barbara Whitmore claims to have seen all of Marilyn Monroe's films, from Dangerous Years (1947) to Let's Make Love (1960). This is an impossibility, as Let's Make Love (1960) was released on 8 September 1960, whereas Sam "leaps" into 4 April. See more »


References The Misfits (1961) See more »

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User Reviews

Why Goodbye Norma Jean and Not Goodbye Marilyn ?! (In The Memory Of The Most Beautiful Misfit in History)

By any chance, I'm not a (Quantum Leap) fan at all, mainly because of (Scott Bakula) in the lead role. But anyway sometimes I sat to watch that as a better work than (Nash Bridges) and (N.C.I.S) which both used to be aired before and after (Quantum Leap) in one channel. And on the other hand, I'm such a crazy fan of (Marilyn Monroe) and as a screenwriter myself I hoped that they would have made an episode involving her and the good old days of Hollywood in the 1950s and 1960s which were jazzy as well as bluesy too. One day I discovered that they did it, so I sat to watch.

At first, (Susan Griffiths) as (Marilyn) captured me. This girl is really talented. But unfortunately I lately noticed that she didn't ever act anything away of (Marilyn)'s shadow, to the scary extent that she acted the same role 10 times till now without doing anything else !? I think it's some kind of strange obsession, otherwise who on earth could dedicate herself just to play only the same role of one star over and over again ?! But she did it well, and in some angels OH BOY she looked like (Marilyn). Only the funniest part when she tried to imitate her walk; that was definitely lousy because no one in the plant earth can walk the way Marlin walks but the original magical Marlin herself.

Well, the plot was simple; Dr. Sam was there to inhibit (Marilyn) from committing suicide at (Peter Lawford)'s house as a hand of fate, so she could play the role of (Roslyn Taber) in (The Misfits - 1961) as she herself was one of the most typical misfits ever. Through the way to that we had the story of that swindler fan who masqueraded as a secretary for the big star to fulfill her cheap plan to take over her roles.. You know.. Thrilling stuff.

(Marilyn) here is so lonely and unsettled good woman who lives with the evil utilization for her, missing a curing love in her life. So she is trying to forget that by a lot of loud notorious parties and excessiveness at drinking or drugs. That was an area which the episode just abbreviated in one phrase (when Sam woke up after a noisy unseen night party), then one scene (at Peter Lawford's house), maybe to focus on the sense of elegy which this episode is all about.

The main conflict is between (Norma Jean Baker) as the fine true human who wants to be an actress more than a star, and the deformed tawdry copy : (Marlin) with all the powers of utilization around her. Therefore what Sam succeeded in was enthusing the ambitious artist in (Norma) to fight back what had already done due to that image of (Marlin), to make her at the climax of the episode go confident to the studio to play the role of (Roslyn) in one rare time for (Norma), as the good face of her, to have victory on (Marlin) as – ironically – her real ugly face. So the title of the episode was (Goodbye Norma Jean) to agree with it all; as a sad episode about the losing of one's good part, and how it could be great if this part managed to appear and rule despite anything. Yet it's an elegy in commemoration of (Norma) who didn't really fulfill much, as we know that all of her dreams came to grief because (Marlin)'s hard moment of weakness on 5 August 1962.

I loved some scenes, like the one in which (Al) was waking (Sam) up, as if it's a disaster, to discover that (Marlin) was swimming nude and what a complete disaster it could be indeed if you were there and wouldn't witness that ! Also the scene when she was walking in the park among the people while no one recognizing her without make-up; that smartly expressed the crisis of the Marilyn mask, and the need to be free without it, so (Norma) got to feel released.

After 3 years of this episode, there was one clever TV movie named (Norma Jean & Marilyn - 1996) which gave the role of (Marlin) to 2 actresses. One for the role of the young (Norma) and the other for the very well known big star of the 1950s (Marlin). This was so intelligent as a good showing of the main problem in that woman's life which maybe destroyed her, and it was the same angle that this nice episode of (Quantum Leap) looked at Marlin with, by powerful love and sorrow.

A real goodbye to the good parts of (Norma) and (Marlin) whoever the one we loved and will keep on loving.

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