Quantum Leap: Season 2, Episode 18

Pool Hall Blues - September 4, 1954 (14 Mar. 1990)

TV Episode  -   -  Action | Adventure | Drama
8.1
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 118 users  
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Sam leaps into an old pool playing acquaintance of Al's and must win a pool game so that his granddaughter doesn't lose her bar.

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Title: Pool Hall Blues - September 4, 1954 (14 Mar 1990)

Pool Hall Blues - September 4, 1954 (14 Mar 1990) on IMDb 8.1/10

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Cast

Episode credited cast:
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Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Alton Blair Carter ...
Lester Brown
...
The Brush
...
Charles Griffin
...
Violet Walters
J.W. Smith ...
Eddie Davies
Annie Waterman ...
Miss White
Teddy Wilson ...
Jimmy Grady
Robert 'Rags' Woods ...
Charlie 'Black Magic' Walters
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Storyline

Sam leaps into the body of Charlie 'Black Magic' Walters, an aging pool pro who tries to help his granddaughter make a success of her club without resorting to pool playing. Al is thrilled at the turn of events having met Black Magic Walters in his youth. Unable to get a legitimate loan from the bank, Magic is forced to play the local loan shark to wipe out the debt. The only problem is that Sam can't play pool. Al comes up with a very practical way of ensuring Sam's success but he's left on his own when a technical glitch gets in the way. Written by garykmcd

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1950s | number in title


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14 March 1990 (USA)  »

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Don't Fret, Miz Violet, It Be Ovah Soon Nuff, It Sho Do.
2 September 2006 | by See all my reviews

That a show into the 1990s could regard Black persons from the 1950s as nothing more than pool hustlers for Sam (Scott Bakula) to emote and pity over is just the third in the trilogy of bigotry that this show has displayed.

First, Sam became a Klansman and sought to hang himself with a victim to prove his point. Wonderful fantasy from the land of Oz, but it would have never happened for real.

Second, Sam became Morgan Freeman as Hoke and drove Miss Daisy around, until he was allowed to sit at the lunchcounter with her.

This may come as a tremendous shock to people, but the white folks who did all the suh-thuhn discriminating and lynching and White Only signing, . . . . they weren't Jewish.

This pool episode aired this past week on Sci Fi, and Sam being completely unable to look upon these people as anything else other than Black shows the character's (and perhaps the actor's) inability to be non-discriminating.

Oh, he was in a different realm, as he is every time he leaps. It wasn't his territory.

Yes, but in the vast majority of his leapings, he manages to fit in to an extent.

He's still in the wrong neck of the woods as I watch this episode, halfway over.

Oh, Dean Stockwell as Al is just too hip, too with it. He's coaching Sam all the way.

Al understands these people! They cool, baby. Yea, swing it! We jazzin' now, momma! Already we've seen a black man working at the loan office, and gotten the old clichéd hint that he's forgotten how he had to struggle to get to that position.

Why don't we have Sam leap into that man's body, to show how he manages, instead of seeing more of these stereotypes like Lady Sings the Blues here? I was going to give the episode a 1 (awful) rating, but decided I would give it a point apiece for Shari Headley and the late, great Teddy Wilson.

The episode has ended and is followed by Sam in the circus with a Russian family. Already he has managed to question, disagree and engage in more dialogue (with no assistance from Al), barely a minute into the episode, than he did with those Americans in this previous episode.

Again, in the next episode, the Russian father has had to endure name-calling and laughter, being referred to as goulash.

If that had happened in THIS episode, . . . . . Sam would have to get serious, stare the . . . . the . . . . the BIGOT square in the eyes and tell them they were no better and they better NOT do that again.

The circus episode has whimsical little voice-over narration from Bakula, but the poolshark episode had Sam completely and totally separate from their lifestyle.

The recognition of races and what is and isn't race, and what is and isn't a person, does indeed have many faces.

Watching a show like Quantum Leap reveals one of them. And a big one that causes a lot of trouble even today.


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