Saturday, August 6, 2016

Quantum Leap -- Episode 42: Future Boy

Sam Leaps Into: 
Kenny Sharp, an actor in a sci-fi children's show.

Keep his older co-star safe and out of a mental institution.


St. Louis, Missouri

Memorable Quote:
Look at me...I'm standing here...I'm dressed like a giant tv dinner talking to a hologram!  ~Sam

The very end where Captain Galaxy reads a letter from "Little Sam Beckett in Elk Ridge, Indiana." It's a memorable moment and one that stuck with me from when I was a kid, and it's very clever how they set it up earlier in the episode when Sam explains his version of string theory to Moe and which Moe now conveys to "Little Sam."

While Moe was eccentric in a mad scientist kind of way and clearly needed some help taking care of himself (e.g. driving off the road or burning soup), he didn't seem even remotely crazy, and it was hard to buy into the premise that his daughter wanted him committed to a psychiatric ward.

Other thoughts, observations, and questions I didn’t ask when I was in fourth grade:
  • Great opening to this episode as Sam fumbles his lines while the director is going nuts.
  • I wonder if the twisted ankle was to cover for a real injury to Bakula -- not sure why else they'd include it in the script.
  • The sound effects on QL are very well done, and I like how at the 11 minute mark we can hear the opening and closing of Al's door without seeing it, and the sound is enough to tell us exactly what is going on.  Other distinctive and consistent sounds related to Al that we hear during this scene include when he moves, when he hits his handheld device, and when something passes through him.
  • Irene said that she drove 10 hours from Milwaukee to St. Louis when her dad was having trouble, but it's only about 5 and a half hours (unless she was including the way back).
  • Another fun scene where we see Sam filming a commercial as Mr. Scrub-O. "Boy, if only the guys at M.I.T. could see you now," Al says.
  • Strong scene at the roller skating rink when a kid asks Captain Galaxy and Future Boy if they can travel back in time to close his gate and save his dog, and Sam comes up with a nice answer.
  • The actor, Alan Fudge, playing the doctor appeared in two episodes of MacGyver: he was Webster in Slow Death and Michaels from Dalton Jack of Spies.  I didn't recognize him at all.

Final Analysis:
Plenty of fun to be had in this episode.  It's maybe not quite the episode I had remembered it as (again, Moe's lack of craziness made the main storyline hard to buy into), but it's still a classic, all of the Captain Galaxy/Future Boy moments are gold, and the ending is special.  Ranking it 7 out of 42.


  1. I didn't care for this one at all. The children's show backdrop got the episode off to a silly start for me and I couldn't get into it in a consistent way at any point afterwards. Hard for me to buy that the show's director was flipping out on the set but his frustration seemed to stem over everything except the fact that "Future Boy" was badly flubbing his lines and humming through that commercial that he was supposed to be singing. I guess Moe's early theories on time travel were pretty cool and the reading of the letter from a "young Sam Beckett" were a nice touch, but nothing else in the hour interested me. In fact, the whole premise that Sam was supposed to stop Moe from getting hit by a train just completely dissolved at the end when it stopped being narratively convenient. I'm putting this one way down there between "Play It Again, Seymour" and "Good Night, Dear Heart".

    As for the cast, Richard Herd who played Moe/Captain Galaxy was best known for playing Mr. Wilhelm, an executive for the New York Yankees, on "Seinfeld" but well before that was the captain on "T.J. Hooker" for the first two seasons. As for Alan Fudge, funny how a mustache can change someone's appearance. I'm not sure I'd have recognized him here either if not for seeing his name in the opening credits.

    1. I can see where you're coming from. This is one of those episodes like Miss Deep South that gets bonus points for me because it's one I have fond memories of watching often with my mother.

  2. Bakula actually did sprain his foot while filming "Runaway." They wrote in ankle injuries over the next few episodes to cover that up. His foot was still injured by "Private Dancer," so they basically shot his foot full of painkillers. The crap that man went through for his art...