Quantum Leap (1989–1993)
2 user 3 critic

The Color of Truth - August 8, 1955 

As the black chauffeur of an elderly southern woman, Sam must overcome prejudice to prevent the death of a black woman.


Michael Vejar


Donald P. Bellisario (created by), Deborah Pratt




Episode cast overview:
Scott Bakula ... Dr. Sam Beckett
Dean Stockwell ... Admiral Al Calavicci
Susan French ... Miz Melny Trafford
Royce D. Applegate ... Sheriff Blount
Michael D. Roberts ... Willis Tyler
James Ingersoll James Ingersoll ... Clayton Trafford
Kimberly Bailey ... Nell Tyler
Michael Kruger Michael Kruger ... Billy Joe Bob
Jeff Tyler Jeff Tyler ... Toad
Jane Abbott Jane Abbott ... Miz Patty
Elyse Donalson Elyse Donalson ... Nurse Ethel
Howard Matthew Johnson Howard Matthew Johnson ... Jesse Tyler (as Howard Johnson)
Christopher J. Keene Christopher J. Keene ... Doctor
J.T. Solomon J.T. Solomon ... Effie


Sam leaps into the body of an elderly black man, Jesse Tyler, in the US South. It's 1955 and racism is institutionalized. Not realizing initially that he is black, Sam commits a major error when he takes a seat in the local diner, raising the ire of a couple of local rednecks. Sam learns that Jesse is chauffeur to Miss Melny Trafford, a highly respected local citizen. The US civil rights movement has yet to begin, but Sam decides he's going to take action. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis



Did You Know?


Michael D Roberts who plays Jesse Tyler's Son, Willis, also plays Issac King in Season 5's "The Leap Between the States" See more »


Al says that he was a civil rights activist. But when he sings the civil rights anthem "We Shall Overcome", he sings "Deep in my arms". The lyric is "Deep in my heart". See more »


[Sam and Miz Melny are discussing civil rights issues]
Miz Melny: Nobody's gonna change the way things are.
Sam: But they will. Blacks are gonna unite...
Miz Melny: "Blacks"?
Sam: Blacks. That's what they'll- That's what we'll be called instead of Negroes.
Miz Melny: What's in God's name's wrong with being called a Negro?
Sam: Maybe it's just a little too close to nigger.
Miz Melny: [sternly] I've *never* used that word, Jesse. Not to your face or behind your back.
See more »


Featured in Quantum Leap: Shock Theater - October 3, 1954 (1991) See more »


We Shall Overcome
Written by Charles Albert Tindley
Performed by Dean Stockwell
See more »

User Reviews

The Color of Truth - August 8, 1955
12 March 2020 | by Prismark10See all my reviews

This is probably one of the best remembered episodes of Quantum Leap. It was also shown just after the Oscar winning Driving Miss Daisy was released in the cinemas.

Sam leaps into the body of Jesse Tyler in the Deep South in 1955. Sam neglects to check whose body he has leapt into and sits in the chair at a diner.

It is a whites only diner and Jesse is an old black chauffeur for elderly Miz Trafford whose food order he was supposed to pick up.

Sam's actions arouses racial hatred and his family is targeted. Al thinks that Sam is there to prevent Miz Trafford being involved in a car accident, but Sam gets involved in civil rights.

I guess that the producers thought that Quantum Leap could be used as a history lesson and highlight prejudice and racial hatred in the past. The youthful me who watched this when the episode was first broadcast would had agreed with them.

The older more cynical and jaded me these days, less so. I did think the writing was clunky. Sam Beckett is supposed to be so clever yet he has zero knowledge of segregation in 1950s America. Drinking from a whites only fountain is just plain unforgivable and led to his granddaughter nearly being killed.

Of course the other reason why i'm so caustic is. For years I have heard sci fi fans going on about how progressive shows like classic Star Trek and Quantum Leap were. How they used stories to highlight issues of race and sex.

Yet a vocal section of the same fans never stop going on about political correctness gone mad in current shows like Star Trek: Discovery or a female led Doctor Who.

These so called fans are happy to ride on the coattails from the risks Roddenberry or Bellisario took in the past.

3 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 2 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.




Release Date:

3 May 1989 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed