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2x03 "The Americanization of Machiko"

Leap Date:
August 4, 1953

Episode Adopted By: MikeKraken
Additional info provided by: Brian Greene


Sam is a Navy Petty Officer returning home after two years of being stationed in Japan, within a decade of the end of WWII. His parents and hometown girlfriend know he has brought a surprise with him.

What they don't know: he is now married to a Japanese woman named Machiko.

In the original history, his mother never accepted Machiko and it doomed their lives. Can he change the prejudices of his family and that of another angry member of the community who threatens Machiko's life?

Audio from this episode:

Sam: Surprise!

Episode Menu
TV Guide Synopsis
Leap Date

Name of the Person Leaped Into
Broadcast Date
Synopsis & Review
Project Trivia
Sam Trivia
Al Trivia

Al's Women
Al's Outfits Worn in the Episode

Miscellaneous Trivia
Guest Stars
Guest Cast Notes
Guests who appeared in other Quantum Leap episodes
Best Scene
Say What?
Quotable Quotes
Production Credits

Production # 65406

TV Guide Teaser:

Sam leaps to 1953 as a Navy man returning to his home town, accompanied by his new Japanese wife, whose presence makes waves in the small town. Lenore: K Callan. Henry: Wayne Tippit. Naomi: Elena Stiteler. Sam: Scott Bakula.


Oak Creek, Ohio

Leap Date:

August 4, 1953

Name of the Person Leaped Into:

Charles Lee MacKenzie, aviation machinist, made second class, U.S. Navy

Broadcast Date:

October 11, 1989 - Wednesday

Synopsis & Review:

Sam leaps in, while stepping off a bus and wearing a sailor's outfit. Sam discovers that he has leaped into a young Navy veteran named Charlie MacKenzie (Charlie the leapee is played by Bill Arnold) and deduces that he has just returned home to his hometown, Oak Creek, Ohio, after serving in the Far East. Charlie's father, Henry MacKenzie (played by Wayne Tippit), appears to welcome him home and give him a hug. The two get into Henry's truck and drive off. As they do so, a young Japanese woman named Machiko (Leila Lee Olsen), who happens to be Charlie's new wife, steps off the bus and calls after them, but neither hear nor see her.

As Sam and Henry return to their farm house, they are greeted by Charlie's mother, Lenore MacKenzie (played by K Callan), and Charlie's former sweetheart, Naomi (played by Elena Wohl). Naomi says she has waited two years for Charlie to come home, though Lanore points out that Naomi didn't exactly wait. Naomi believes that the two of them will get married. However, Al appears to tell Sam that he is here to stop Charlie and Naomi's marriage, as they have a miserable life together.

Sam's mission soon becomes complicated as the local policeman, Deputy Herman (Cary J. Pitts), arrives with Machiko, having been approached by her in the street. He says that Machiko is Charlie's new bride. Lanore, Henry and Naomi are shocked, while Sam simply tells everyone "Surprise!"

Sam and Machiko are in the living room with Henry and Lenore, becoming acquainted. Though Henry is open-minded and friendly toward Machiko, Lenore remains hostile and uninviting toward her. Al says that Lenore never accepted Machiko and, as a result, Machiko was forced to return to Japan alone and heartbroken and never remarried. Subsequently, this led to the failed marriage between Charlie and Naomi.

The next morning, Machiko attempts to please Lenore by cleaning the floor and cooking rice for breakfast. However, Lanore rudely dismisses her efforts and insults her Japanese customs. Machiko leaves the room, upset. Sam goes out to comfort her. He says that Lenore will eventually accept her in time. He also tells Machiko that in America, men and women have equal rights and that, as his wife, she is his partner, not his servant. With that, Machiko tells Sam she would like to have American clothes. Sam teaches her to drive his car. Though Sam is keen to teach Machiko American customs and values, he also hopes Machiko will retain her unique Japanese heritage at the same time.

As they arrive in town, a bitter, World War II veteran named Rusty (Patrick Massett), deliberately bumps into Sam on the street and verbally harasses the two of them. Sam ignores him and takes Machiko into the local clothing store. After they leave, with Machiko now wearing new clothes, they find Sam's truck has been graffitied with the words "Jap, go home". Sam eyes Rusty suspiciously and drives back home with Machiko.

While Henry and Lanore are returning home from church along with the Reverend Earl Felcher (Chuck Walling), and his wife, Betty (Marjorie Stapp), Sam and Machiko are back on the farm performing chores. Machiko is out in the yard, putting clothes on the line, topless, while Sam is sorting through bails of hay in the barn. Naomi approaches him flirtatiously and makes a pass at him. Despite trying to ward her off, the two fall from the pile of hay, onto the ground. Machiko arrives to see if they are okay. At the same time, Henry, Lanore, Earl and Betty arrive at the farm. Machiko turns around to face them, exposing her naked chest, prompting Betty to faint and Lanore to respond with outrage and humiliation.

Sam explains that Japanese women often perform chores topless in hot weather and tells them she did not mean to offend anyone. Earl says they are not offended, and leaves with Betty, encouraging everyone to attend the church picnic the following day. Lenore is not so forgiving. She is so humiliated that she refuses to go to the church picnic where she will be gawked at, just like her late daughter, Eileen, was ostracized before she died.

Naomi explains that she was the only one of Eileen's friends who stood by her when she was ostracized by the town for getting pregnant out of wedlock. Nonetheless, Eileen committed suicide by driving her car off a cliff. Sam thanks Naomi for being supportive of Eileen, but tells her that he is married now and what they had is over.

A hardened Naomi enacts revenge upon Machiko. At the church picnic the next day, she tricks Machiko into calling the town Mayor, Maryor Lionel Ellis (Keith Mills) and his wife "Fat". Realizing that her comments have offended them, Machiko tells Naomi she is not a nice person, and runs off upset.

Machiko approaches Sam and tearfully says she has shamed him. Sam tells her she could never shame him, and invites her to watch a game of baseball to cheer her up. As Sam steps up to bat, Rusty, who is an expert baseball player, throws two difficult pitches, one of which nearly hits Sam in the head. The Ref tells Rusty to play fair. Sam manages to hit the ball on the third swing while Rusty, intent on revenge, attempts to tackle Sam while he is running to third base. Sam asks what's his problem, Rusty responds that he hates Japs. The two prepare to lunge at each other but are held back by the surrounding townsfolk.

As Sam, Henry and Machiko return home, a windy storm gathers overhead. Sam and Henry go to clear the animals into the barn, while Machiko joins Lanore in the storm cellar. Lanore receives a phone call from a townswoman, informing her of Machiko's insult to the Mayor. Lanore is outraged and tells Machiko she never wants to see her again. Hurt, Machiko runs off and soon finds herself alone on an isolated road where Rusty, who happens to be driving by, offers her a ride.

Upon realizing that Machiko has run off, Sam sets out to look for her. Al tells him she is with Rusty and Sam drives to Rusty's home. Rusty has stopped the car outside his house and bitterly recalls how his career as a baseball player was destroyed after he was injured in the war by the Japanese. Rusty produces a knife and prepares to cut off Machiko's arm as a form of vengeance. Sam arrives and pushes Rusty away from Machiko. Rusty throws a rock in Sam's direction which hits Machiko through the front windscreen of the car and knocks her unconscious. Sam and Rusty end up in a violent confrontation, with Sam ultimately beating Rusty until he collapses.

Sam, Henry and Lenore wait outside while Machiko remains in critical condition at the hospital. Sam tells Lenore to go into the room and offer Machiko support. However, Lenore cannot bring herself to do so; Eileen was brought into the same room the night she died. She tried to reach out to Eileen, but she did not hear her, and died soon after. Since she was unable to reach her own daughter, Lenore cannot reach out to Machiko. Henry reveals that Lenore is not so much angry at Machiko, but angry at herself for failing to prevent Eileen's suicide.

Days later, Machiko is fully recovered, and Sam is awaiting her arrival at the church, where the two of them are to be remarried in America. Sam is nervous that he will be forced to make a vow of marriage to Machiko before leaping, but Al tells him he will leap as soon as Lenore finally accepts Machiko. As Machiko arrives at the altar, with the Reverend about to commence the wedding ceremony, Lenore suddenly enters the church, dressed in Japanese garb in an attempt to show acceptance toward Machiko. Lenore gives Machiko a bow of respect, which Machiko reciprocates, while Sam smiles and leaps... Source

Personal Review by MikeKraken:

One of many of "Quantum Leap" episodes that deals with racism, though this one is more on the light-hearted side at times such as Machiko's understandable mistakes. However, the scenes with Rusty are usually quite dark, as he hates all Japanese because of his injuries (lost baseball arm) during the war that prevented him from playing in major-league baseball. The fight in Rutsy's garage is very intense! All in all, it is an excellent episode, and exposes many of the prejudices held by many people of the time.

Project Trivia:

Handlink: (thin with small indent)

Sam Trivia:

We find out that Sam knows Japanese, one of his seven modern languages, when he speaks it with Machiko (which Mrs. MacKenzie calls "jibberish"). Al tells Sam that he speaks "seven modern languages, and four dead ones".

Sam has leaped in four days before he was born.

Sam says "Oh, Boy" twice. First in the barn and second at the wedding.

Al Trivia:

Al tells Sam that he didn't sweat the first time Sam got married, then laughs it off as a joke. (Presumably to keep the secret he promised Donna.) In "Star-Crossed", Sam states that he did sweat before the wedding. It seems in the history change, Sam was more comfortable at his wedding.

Al's Women:

Al  is more protective of the female main character in the episode. In fact, he gets upset with Sam, when he thinks Sam is cheating on Machiko.

Al's Outfits Worn in the Episode:

First appearance: Black suite with cuffs rolled up on the coat; purple and yellow tie; ring on right ring finger; silver medallion pinned over left breast; watch with black leather band and white face. (no Imaging Chamber Door to appear or leave)

Second appearance: Red dress shirt and pants; suspenders covered with buttons; ring; lit cigar. (no ICD again)

Third appearance: Black vest; black string-tie; white dress shirt; black pants; black belt with small, silver buckle; ring; same watch; lit cigar (puffs it once). (no ICD again)

Fourth appearance: Same clothes as before, but this time no cigar.

Fifth appearance: Black tuxedo, no cigar

Miscellaneous Trivia:

"The Americanization of Emily" from 1964 is the basis for the episode title.


Regular Cast:

Scott Bakula as Sam Beckett
Dean Stockwell as Al Calavicci

Guest Stars:

K Callan - Lenore MacKenzie
Wayne Tippit - Mr. MacKenzie
Leila Hee Olsen - Machiko MacKenzie
Elena Stiteler - Naomi
Patrick Massett - Rusty
Chuck Walling - Reverend Felcher
Marjorie Stapp - Betty Felcher
Clive Rosengren - George O'Bannon
Pat Ast - Delores
Cary Pitts - Deputy Herman
Keith R. Mills - Mayor Lionel Ellis
James Oden Hatch - Eugene
Bill Arnold - Charles Lee MacKenzie (Mirror Image)

Archive Footage Credits:
Dan Aykroyd as Himself - Beldar (SNL archive footage) (uncredited)

Chevy Chase as Himself - Gerald Ford (SNL archive footage) (uncredited)
Jane Curtin as Herself - Prymaat (SNL archive footage) (uncredited)
Betty Ford as Herself (archive footage) (uncredited)
Gerald Ford as Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)
Lorne Greene Himself (Bonaza TV series footage) (uncredited)
Bruno Kreisky as Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)
Bill Murray as Himself / Richard Dawson (SNL archive footage) (uncredited)

Guest Cast Notes:

K Callan as Lenore MacKenzie: Born in Dallas, Texas, K Callan's first professional job was at the Margo Jones Theatre. She first gained national attention as Peter Boyle's mousy wife in the legendary Joe (1970). Her career includes film, television and theater. Other memorable films include American Gigolo (1980) and A Touch of Class (1973). A regular guest star in countless television movies and series, her favorite television roles include the lesbian Veronica in the Emmy-winning "Cousin Liz" episode of All in the Family (1971), Superman's mom on Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (1993) and the wife of an Alzheimer's patient on Nip/Tuck (2003).

Wayne Tippit as Mr. MacKenzie
: Wayne Tippit was born on December 19, 1932 in Lubbock, Texas, USA. He was an actor and assistant director, known for JFK (1991), Dancer, Texas Pop. 81 (1998) and Nurse Betty (2000). He was married to Carole Macho. He died on August 28, 2009 in Los Angeles, California, USA.

Leila Hee Olsen as Machiko MacKenzie: Leila Lee Olsen is known for Child's Play (1988), Quantum Leap (1989) and Manchurian Avenger (1984).

Elena Wohl (as Elena Stiteler) as Naomi: Elena Wohl was born on April 25, 1963 in Manila, Philippines. She is an actress, known for Spotlight (2015), The Invention of Lying (2009) and Quantum Leap (1989). She is married to Dave Wohl. They have two children.

Patrick Massett as Rusty: Patrick Massett co-wrote Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001) starring Angelina Jolie. His television career began with Veritas: The Quest (2003) at ABC, which he and his partner John Zinman, Co-Created and Executive Produced. He then went on to Co-Executive Produce Emmy Award Winning, Friday Night Lights (2006) at NBC, The Chicago Code (2011) at FOX, and Last Resort (2012) at ABC with Executive Producer Shawn Ryan. He Co-Executive Produced The Blacklist (2013) starring James Spader at NBC. Patrick was an Executive Producer/Showrunner at NBC's The Player (2015) starring Wesley Snipes. Alongside his partner, John Zinman, Patrick co-wrote Gold (2016) starring Matthew McConaughey, directed by Stephen Gaghan. Patrick and John served as show runners on Last Light for Peacock starring Matthew Fox. They also penned Wind River Rising, the sequel to the critically acclaimed, Wind River, which is scheduled to be released in late 2023. He guest starred in two unrelated television series featuring a regular character named Sam Beckett: China Beach (1988) and Quantum Leap (1989).

Chuck Walling as Reverend Felcher: Chuck Walling was born on July 2, 1929 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA. He was an actor, known for Quantum Leap (1989), Hunter (1984) and Santa Barbara (1984). He was married to Helen Erwin. He died on April 4, 2019.

Marjorie Stapp as Betty Felcher: Marjorie Stapp was born on September 17, 1921 in Little Rock, Arkansas, USA. She was an actress, known for The Adventures of Sir Galahad (1949), The Blazing Trail (1949) and Kronos (1957). She was married to Robert Alan Browne. She died on June 2, 2014 in Laguna Woods, California, USA.

Clive Rosengren as George O'Bannon: A South Dakota native, Rosengren earned a BA from Augustana University in Sioux Falls, and an MA from North Dakota State University in Fargo, North Dakota. After a 13-month stint with the U.S. Army in South Korea, he spent a decade as a stage and commercial actor in Minneapolis, before moving to Cleveland, where he performed six seasons with the Great Lakes Shakespeare Festival. Prior to moving to Los Angeles, he spent a year at the Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts in Santa Maria, California. He currently lives in southern Oregon and has a 1,000+ title movie collection and an extensive crime fiction library.

Pat Ast as Delores: Pat was a native New Yorker who worked as a receptionist and clerk in a box factory. She met Andy Warhol later and starred in his film "Heat" with Joe Dallesandro and Sylvia Miles. Later she met a fashion designer, Roy Halston and worked in his Madison Avenue store. From there, she decided to move to Los Angeles in the mid-1970s and appeared in such films as "Reform School Girls", "The Incredible Shrinking Woman", and "Foul Play". Pat diedOctober 3, 2001 in West Hollywood, California.

Cary Pitts as Deputy Herman: Cary J. Pitts is known for Outbreak (1995), Quantum Leap (1989) and Frontline (1983).

Keith R. Mills as Mayor Lionel Ellis: Keith Mills is known for Secret Admirer (1985), Trial and Error (1997) and Quantum Leap (1989).

James Oden Hatch as Eugene: James Oden Hatch is known for Quantum Leap (1989), The Linguini Incident (1991) and China Beach (1988). He guest starred in two unrelated television series featuring a regular character named Sam Beckett: China Beach (1988) and Quantum Leap (1989).

Guests who appeared in other Quantum Leap episodes:

Patrick Massett (Rusty) plays Ralph Beaumont in "A Single Drop of Rain".

Best Scene:

During Al's second appearance when Sam and Naomi are "rolling in the hay", and Machiko discovers them while she's topless after running in front of the minister's car.

Say What?

Why didn't Machiko get off the bus with Charlie?
Or perhaps she did... When Charlie is being embraced by his father in front of the signage at the bus station, a woman is seen in the foreground out of focus passing from right to left. Just after that, Machiko approaches them to within a couple of feet, as seen through the windows of the truck.

Sam says Machiko will be in pumps by New Year’s, but she’s already worn pumps earlier in the episode.

Machiko is running in the storm, but remains fairly dry.

It seems like Charlie would have told Machiko about the death of his sister.

Rusty tells Machiko that the Orioles wanted him to play baseball. However, they were called the St. Louis Browns up until 1954.

Quotable Quotes:

Machiko: "I think all men in Japan must be retired."

Sam: "I could use a couple new shirts... um, you wanna drive into town?"
Machiko: "You teach me to drive a car? Charlie-san! Yes, please!"

Machiko: "Good brakes, nay?"
Sam: "Must be made in Japan."

Sam: "Is - is that an old Japanese custom?"
Machiko: "No, I shake bugs off."

Al: "Tell her to put an egg in her shoe and beat it."

Al: "The only thing that'd shock her would be a cattle-prod."

Machiko: "Congratulations on your prosperity. You and your wife are very, very fat."

Al: "You know, I just love weddings... maybe it's because I've done it..." *counts on fingers* "five times."
Sam: "Al, I'm sweating here."
Al: "You didn't the first time."
Sam: "I'm married?"
Al: "Just kidding."

Best Line:

Sam's thoughts: "Americanizing Machiko seemed like the best way to help Lenore accept her, but she had an inner beauty, uniquely Japanese, that I hoped she would never have to lose in order to blend in with all the other daisies."

Production Credits:

Music by: Mike Post
Supervising Producers: Deborah Pratt, Paul M. Belous, Robert Wolterstorff
Co-producers: Paul Brown, Jeff Gourson, Chris Ruppenthal
Produced by: Harker Wade
Created by: Donald P. Bellisario
Written by: Charlie Coffey

Directed by: Gilbert Shilton

Executive Producer: Donald P. Bellisario
Associate Producer:
David Bellisario
Director of Photography: Michael Watkins
Production Designer: Cameron Birnie
Edited by: Kenneth Dennis
Unit Production Manager: Ron Grow
First Assistant Director: Paul Sirmons
Second Assistant Director: Rob Mendel
Casting by: Ellen Lubin Sanitsky
Set Director: Robert L. Zilliox
Costume Designer: Jean-Pierre Dorleac
Costume Supervisors: David Rawley & Donna Roberts-Orme
Sound Mixer: Mark Hopkins McNabb
Stunt Coordinator: Diamond Farnsworth
Sound Editor: Paul Clay
Music Editor: Tom Gleason

Panaflex Camera and Lenses by: Panavision

This motion picture is protected under laws of the United States and other countries. Unauthorized duplication, distribution or exhibition may result in civil liability and criminal prosecution.

Copyright 1989 by Universal City Studios Inc. All Rights Reserved.

The characters and events depicted in this photoplay are fictitious. Any similarity to actual persons living or dead is purely coincidental.

Bellisarius Productions and Universal, an MCA Company


In the eleventh installment of The Quantum Leap Podcast, Albie and Heather discuss Season two episode three “The Americanization of Machiko”. There’s first impressions, an episode recap, thoughts and opinions, an essay by Hayden McQueenie, listener feedback and a great interview with K Callan, Lanore McKenzie from “The Americanization of Machiko”.

Let us know what you think… Leave us a voicemail by calling (707)847-6682 and Send in your thoughts, theories and feedback, Send MP3s & Email to Also join us on and

Break out your kimonos, because we’re Revisiting The Americanization of Machiko!

Join hosts Allison Pregler, Matt Dale and Christopher DeFilippis to discuss Sam’s Leap as a sailor whose surprise Japanese bride forces a family to confront grief and prejudice, and begin a journey towards healing acceptance.

We’re also thrilled to bring you an encore presentation of our interview with K Callan, who plays Lenore McKenzie in this episode. Albie spoke to K about her time on Quantum Leap and her legendary stage and screen career.

Tell us what you think!
Leave us a voicemail by calling (707) 847-6682.
Send feedback and MP3s to
Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
Or drop us a line at Quantum Leap Podcast, P.O. Box 542, Bayport, NY 11705.

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