Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Quantum Leap -- Episode 14: Good Morning, Peoria


Sam Leaps Into: 
Chick Howell, a disc jockey.

Objective:
Help the radio station manager save the station in the face of an advertiser who is upset with their rock and roll music.

Date:
9-9-59

Location:
Peoria, Illinois

Memorable Quote:
Good Morning Peoria!  OW!  This is howlin' Chick Howell!  AHWOOOOOO!   ~Sam

Highlight:
Fun scene where Sam starts acting crazy on the radio to the astonishment of his co-workers. Bakula shows off some impressive vocal skills -- I wonder how much of what he did was improv.

Lowlight:
The newspaper paper editor / hardware store guy wanting to do whatever it took to keep rock and roll off the airwaves was already a bit of a stretch, but I was willing to go with it until he took out the axe and started chopping down the station door.  And amazingly not one of the rock and roll kids or police officers on the scene tried to stop him.

Other thoughts, observations, and questions I didn’t ask when I was in fourth grade:
  • I was never much of a sitcom guy once I hit the teenage years, but the only one that I watched consistently in the 90's was Home Improvement.  Great show with a great cast, and it was fun to see Patricia Richardson (aka Jill Taylor) as a guest star here. She's fantastic in this episode, and I love the deadpan looks that she gives Sam when he's screwing up in the beginning.
  • Speaking of deadpan looks, it never gets old when someone is perplexed by seeing Sam talking to himself.
  • The Chubby Checker part is fun but also mildly confusing -- if he gives the station a demo tape of "The Twist" (which is later played), then why is the dance move seemingly new to Chubby when Sam shows it to him?
  • When the brick comes through the window, it looks like there are mannequins in the street although I'm not totally sure.  I think at least that the first two people are fake (the guy on the right has his body turned in such a way that makes me think he might be real).

  • I've mentioned the show's use of the Back To The Future / Universal Lot a few times now, and I'm pretty sure that the diner in this episode is the same one from the movie.

Final Analysis:
Strong episode here.  It's laugh out loud funny, there's great oldies music, and I like the glorified 1950's world that they created (even if at times it's a little over the top like when the teenagers are jumping around in the streets like 5 year-olds).  I'm ranking this for now as my #3 episode.

17 comments:

  1. This episode is like a weird crossover of "Good Morning, Vietnam" and "Great Balls of Fire". (If they'd added getting rid of dancing, it would include "Footloose" too.)

    This one is pretty fun to watch. Esp'ly as Sam keeps coming up with ways to keep the station running to broadcast.

    And it's kind of hilarious when he puts on Pat Boone during his 'rock' show.

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    1. Are you going off of memory or have you been rewatching these? And overall where does QL rate for you in your pantheon of shows?

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    2. I went by memory for several from s1, the rest, I've been re-watching. I do remember a lot of them from watching first-run and repeats.

      I really liked QL when it was on in the 90's - for the first 3-ish seasons anyway. I was pretty disappointed w/ s5 - the Lee Harvey Oswald episodes specifically (and possibly a bit of s4, but I don't remember a lot of s4). As far as shows go - it was pretty impressive at the time and a bit more forward-thinking than some other things on. And it's re-watchable. A little kooky in places, but still watchable. Which ranks it higher than several other shows from the same era that don't share that trait (a lot of the sit-coms of the time).

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    3. Yeah I agree that it's rewatchable and holds up quite well. I don't remember s5 very much, and so far none of these episodes from s1 or s2 have been familiar. But later this season we're going to finally start getting into episodes where I can remember more than 1 or 2 things.

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    4. I don't remember when I came into the show, late s1, maybe, but I did see a lot of s2 first run, for sure "What Price, Gloria" and "Blind Faith". I know it ran on Wednesday nights near "Unsolved Mysteries" for a long time.

      Also - it has one of the best theme songs in 90's TV history. =)

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    5. Interesting you mention "Unsolved Mysteries". I always thought that had one of the best themes songs in TV history!

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    6. I love that one too. I'm a big fan of theme songs in general. I have 3 CDs full of them (tho I'm not a fan of the version of the MacGyver theme they used - it's too synth'y and not piano-y enough). I like theme songs for shows I never watched even. =)

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    7. Was it from a specific season of "MacGyver" that they had the overly synthy Mac theme on the CD? I despise the wussed-up version of the theme song that occasionally reared its head in season 3, specifically before "Lost Love, Part 1".

      Not sure if you've ever been to TelevisionTunes.com but they have an excellent selection of just about every theme song ever, although some versions don't have perfect audio. I forwarded it to a coworker a couple of weeks ago and I bet he spent four days listening to the songs.

      Some of my all-time favorites include:

      Hart to Hart
      Simon and Simon
      The Fall Guy
      Hardcastle and McCormick
      The Equalizer
      Miami Vice
      Spenser: For Hire
      Wiseguy
      Quantum Leap
      Dallas
      Falcon Crest
      Perfect Strangers

      As for 90s shows, there was a two-season syndicated action-adventure series called "Soldier of Fortune, Inc." that ran from 1997 to 1999. Mediocre show but just a perfect action-adventure show theme song.

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    8. I haven't been to television tunes and I think I now may be like your co-worker and be there for 4 days. I haven't heard most of the themes you just mentioned so I'll have to check some of those out. A few favorite themes of mine that come to mind are Five-0, Mission Impossible, and Charles in Charge.

      As a non-theme aside, did you ever watch a show called "Martial Law?" For some reason it popped into my head today and was an example of a less well-known show that I liked when it was on. In general I like kung-fu shows/movies and wish there were more of them. Another somewhat obscure show that my mom and I liked was "Due South" about a Canadian mountie in Chicago.

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    9. I haven't been there, but the one on the CD is the one like this: http://televisiontunes.com/MacGyver.html - that took away all of the orchestra and actual instruments and replaced them with tinny, digital counterparts. =(

      These are the CDs I have: https://www.amazon.com/Televisions-Greatest-Hits-Vol-50s/dp/B000000GOI (I dunno if I have the 50's one, but I have vol II and the 70s-80s one for sure).

      I <3 the theme from The Fall Guy. I'm also a fan of Greg Evigan singing part of the theme from "BJ and the Bear" -> http://televisiontunes.com/BJ_and_The_Bear_-_High_Quality.html - it's ttly kooky, but, based on what my mom told me about the show, it fits the premise. (I think Greg Evigan sang the theme song for nearly every show he was on - he sang "My Two Dads" and "P.S. I Luv U" too.)

      But some of my faves are both versions of H50, The Pink Panther, Cheers, St. Elsewhere, Dallas (just listening to it, you know the camera is sweeping over large swaths of land that belongs to some super rich dude), L&O, and Midnight Caller (some amazing blues/jazz saxophone and trumpet - it's pretty sweet). Lots of the 80's Mike Post ones are fun - like Magnum and The A-Team

      For pure nostalgia value - "The Greatest American Hero" (terrible show that I loved as a kid) and "Airwolf".

      I could probably go on and on w/ this list. I really miss the old tv themes and the fact that shows cared b/c the theme was like a 'brand' for them. It's why the H50 reboot has an updated version of the theme b/c the show-runners were told not to change it for fear of alienating the fanbase.

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    10. I totally agree about missing the concept of a theme song. I imagine that in today's world they forsake the theme song in favor of extra ad revenue, but the theme song really does serve an important branding function as you say.

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    11. Agreed on "Greatest American Hero". Classic theme song. Interestingly the song was sung by Joey Scarbury who was employed by Stephen J. Cannell Productions, and Cannell attempted repeatedly to capture lightning in a bottle again with songs sung by Scarbury in his other shows. "Hardcastle and McCormick" included a few of his songs, including their brief second season theme song until fans demanded the original song return. "The A-Team" had a couple of Scarbury songs performed as a musical backdrop as well.

      "BJ and the Bear"? I figured we were similar in age but if you remember that show you must be older than me! Glad someone is :)

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    12. I'm not old enough to have seen BJ on tv... my mom watched it though.

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  2. After a 36-hour battle with the ever-unpredictable and mega-user-unfriendly NBC.com site, I can finally comment on this episode.

    I liked this episode too. Probably wouldn't rate it as high as #2 but it would be in my top-five as the conflict played out nicely with plenty of fun to be had along the way, particularly as Sam discovered how naturally the deejaying came to him. Agreed that the grumpy old men going to the lengths they did to get rock 'n' roll off the local airwaves was a little hard to buy. Maybe Buddy Holly aroused rage that furious into the older generations in the late 50s but it seemed over the top. As for Chubby Checker scene, I assumed the implication was that Chubby hadn't thought out the dance move to add to the song until Sam showed to him, silly as that is, but it was much harder for me to buy into a 50-year-old real-life Chubby Checker making a cameo pretending to be the 20-year-old version of Chubby. I actually saw Chubby Checker at my county fair in the summer of 1987, only two years before this episode aired.

    Patricia Richardson's character was intriguing here too, although I had a hard time seeing why Sam had such a visceral dislike towards her at the episode's opening moments considering some of the far more obnoxious oafs he has to deal with. Surprised you were a big fan of "Home Improvement" back in the day. I liked some of the late 80s and early 90s sitcoms but never really got into that one. Two years before this "Quantum Leap" episode, Richardson played a high-end escort on an episode of "The Equalizer". Sam's inventiveness in keeping the station on the air despite all the resistance heightened the conflict and the fun. All in all a good hour....or if you're watching it on NBC.com, a good 36 hours.

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    1. Good point on 50 year old Chubby playing 20 year old Chubby -- probably would have been better to find a younger Chubby. As for Home Improvement, I liked Tim Allen and his grunts, and I also liked Al and the Tool Time schtick. And my dad liked it too (and he was less of a sitcom guy than I am) and we would watch it together.

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  3. Quantium Leap: Good Morning, Peoria
    This episode is great because of the music, the sets, and the costumes.
    The title is a version of Good Morning, Vietnam with Robins Williams, a D.J.in the army. He also bucks the establishment and plays the music that the soldiers wanted to hear. If you have never seen this movie, it is a must see.
    The Rock and Roll era of music followed the gentle love songs, like April Love sung by Pat Boone. The music in this episode was great:
    • Buddy Holly and the Crickets
    • The Twist by Chubby Checker
    • Tutti Fruitti by Little Richard
    • All Shook Up by Elvis Presley
    • Rock around the Clock by Bill Haley and the Comets (The opening song for the 1970’s TV sitcom, Happy Days.)
    The costumes and the settings:
    • The Ford Edsel parked on the street. Edsel Ford was the only recognized child of Henry Ford. The Edsel has the recognizable front grill. Unfortunately, it was not well received and was only manufactured from 1958 to 1960.
    • Girls wearing poodle skirts with saddle shoes and bobby socks
    • Pepto Bismol and a Stanley thermos on the DJ’s console.
    • Now for the obvious: pay phones, vinyl records, rotary phones, and straw holders on the lunchroom tables.
    Favorite Lines:
    • Sam says to Rachel: “The only two things I take seriously are Quantum Physics and Time Travel.”
    • Someone is referred to a “Kemosabe.” Tonto referred to the Lone Ranger as Kemosabe. It was quite common for a person to use this word when talking to a person in charge.
    • Sam wants to play music by the Beatles. Rachel says, “Who are they? You mean the Crickets.” The Fab Four tipped their hats to Buddy Holly when they named their group, The Beatles.
    Now for the science:
    The copper gutter makes a great electricity conductor once Sam scrapes off the patina.

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    1. I haven't seen Good Morning Vietnam despite being a big Robin Williams fan -- I'll add that to my list.

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