The Cast and Crew of Quantum Leap

2x10 "Catch A Falling Star"

Leap Date:

May 21, 1979

Episode adopted by: Gelfling1220
Additional info provided by: Brian Greene


As an understudy for the lead role in "Man of LaMancha", Sam must prevent the star of the show from falling off a balcony onstage and ruining his career.

He also encounters his old piano teacher from his boyhood and has the chance to have the romance he always wanted years ago.


Audio from this episode


TV Guide Synopsis
Leap Date

Name of the Person Leaped Into
Broadcast Date
Synopsis & Review

Project Trivia
Sam Trivia
Al Trivia

Al's Outfits Worn in the Episode
Miscellaneous Trivia

Guest Stars
Guest Cast Notes
Guests Who Appeared In Other Episodes of Quantum Leap
Say What?
Quotable Quotes
Best Scenes
Production Credits


Production # 65413

TV Guide Synopsis:
As the understudy for a bawdy stage veteran, Sam reencounters a woman he loved when she was too old for him in his real life, but who's now the stage partner and friend of the actor he's leaped into. Michelle: Janine Turner. Sam: Scott Bakula.

Syracuse, New York

Leap Date:
May 21, 1979

Name of the Person Leaped Into:
Ray Hutton

Broadcast Date:
December 6, 1989 - Wednesday

Synopsis & Review:

Nothing could be more nerve-wracking than being an actor in the theater. Unless, of course, you are Sam Beckett, and leap in a minute before you are supposed to take the stage as Don Quixote in a Syracuse production of “Man of La Mancha”. Luckily, his host, Ray Hutton, is only the understudy to John O’Malley (played by John Cullum), who arrives at the last moment, drunk, but still able to act. John taking the stage causes a wave of sympathy to hit Sam from the crew for not being able to perform, but a very relieved Sam is joined by Al and they watch the play from backstage.

Al has very fond memories of joining the theater after having left the orphanage, and has a great time reminiscing. He tells Sam that he is there to keep John from getting so drunk that he falls off the balcony at the next performance in three days, breaking his leg and ruining his career. Sam worries that he will not get John sober in time and that he'll have to perform. Al tells him not to worry, Syracuse is a long way from Broadway, and with Sam's photographic memory and singing talent, he'll make it and he can not pass up the chance to be a star.

Backstage, Sam recognizes a woman from his past, Nicole (played by Michele Pawk), who was his piano teacher as a teenager and the first woman he ever loved. She left him when he was fifteen to go to Julliard. He thinks she recognizes him, but during their warm greeting she had clearly recognized his host Ray, who is an old friend of hers. Nicole reveals that she has been cast as an understudy for the role of Dulcinea. Sam and Nicole are interrupted by John, who is immediately smitten with Nicole and invites her to the after-party.

At the after party, John makes a spectacle of himself, singing about going to the bar, and introduces Nicole as “the new Dulcinea”, infuriating Michelle (played by Janine Turner), who normally has that role. Sam is sent to the bar by John to get drinks. Sam tries to convince John that he has had enough, but the suggestion is laughed off. At the bar, Michelle tries to get Sam to come upstairs with her, but he rejects her advances. When he returns to Nicole, Sam finds that John has passed out, and so is removed.

Nicole takes Sam to her home, where they talk and reminisce (or rather, Nicole reminisces while Sam pretends to). Sam sits down at the piano and plays a scale that reminds Nicole of a student (him). Sam reveals that he had a crush on his piano teacher. Nicole finds this adorable and says that Ray must have a thing for piano teachers. It's clear that Ray and Nicole have a romantic past, and although Sam warns her that he's not the same Ray she fell in love with, she says that she's changed over the years too, but her feelings have not, and they kiss.

At the rehearsal the next day, Al arrives with a copy of the script of “Man of La Mancha” that only Sam is allowed to see. Al becomes suspicious as Sam reads the lines with great passion, as they accurately reflect his feelings for Nicole. Nicole also reads beautifully and sings "What Does He Want Of Me" flawlessly. Sam and Nicole are both praised by John, who arrives late and immediately asks that Nicole take the role of Dulcinea in the next show, to which the producer agrees. Sam explains to Al that he will not stop John from his accident because he is in love with Nicole and if he stops John from breaking his leg, it would mean he would leap and have to leave her.

Michelle, angry at being rejected by Sam and now losing her role, plots revenge against Nicole. She lures her co-star Manny into helping her with the promise of sex (he had been trying to woo Nicole for some time). That night, they make it look like Nicole has returned to John's house overnight, which infuriates Sam. The next day, he ignores and snubs Nicole, which angers her, and tells Al that he still will not help John after "what he did" and tells John to "break a leg". Manny feels guilty and tells Sam the truth before the show. As a result, he changes his mind at the last minute and Sam catches John as he falls, preventing any injury. John decides he can not perform and Sam has to go on. He gives a brilliant performance, offering him a last-minute opportunity to reconcile with Nicole. When Sam reaches the top of the stairs, on the last note of "The Impossible Dream", Sam leaps. Source

Personal Review by Gelfling1220:

This is one of the "Classic" episodes of the series. The Music! The Acting! "The roar of the greasepaint, the smell of the crowd!" Among other wonderful things highlighted in this episode is the bond between Sam and Al, particularly in the context of Don Quixote and Sancho – the wandering knight and his best friend, companion and advisor. The story with Nicole shows that even though Sam will always do the right thing no matter how it hurts him, he is also a true human being in being capable of having flaws such as jealousy. Ultimately, it’s hard not to be moved by the music or the message of the impossible dream!


All songs (except Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony) are from the 1965 musical, Man of La Mancha:

I Don Quixote
Man of La Mancha
The Impossible Dream
What Does He Want of Me

Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony

Project Trivia:
Sam and Al listened to "Man of La Mancha" while building Project Quantum Leap. It was the only disc Sam ever played while building the Imaging Chamber.

In the Waiting Room, Ray Hutton is humming various showtunes including one from "Oklahoma."

Sam Trivia:
Sam took piano lessons at the age of 15, where he had his first case of "puppy love" for Nicole, the piano teacher.

First time Sam’s appreciation for tea, specifically Orange Spice, is mentioned.

Al Trivia:
Al used the theater as an outlet when he was at the orphanage. "Other kids, they went into boxing or they studied or they stole. I thought I’d give the theater a try."

Al's Outfits Worn in the Episode:
White Suit, blue shirt, and multi-color tie

Wild print shirt with silver highlights, orange pants, black suspenders, black fedora, black bolo tie

Lavender shirt, black vest with purple swirls/paisley print, pink tie with purple markings, pale pink pants

Miscellaneous Trivia:
Another play considered for this episode was "My Fair Lady", but was rejected in favor of the Sam and Al/ Don Quixote and Sancho metaphor and the message of the Impossible Dream.

On the official soundtrack album, a medley from this episode was re-recorded.

This episode was filmed on the same soundstage used for Jurassic Park.

End Credits: 45-seconds of instrumental music from Man of La Mancha, backed with a specially filmed “curtain call” for the episode. Particularly visible are Don Bellisario (in a grey jacket, beckoning the crew on) and Deborah Pratt (in a red jumper to Stockwell’s right, just moments after she was seen in the cliffhanging leap into A Portrait for Troian), who had previously been heard in Genesis as the voice of Tina. Bellisario would also make an appearance in the following episode as Timothy Mintz. Michael Watkins is also seen in a tuxedo at the red curtain. For the first time, the credits scroll rather than appearing on caption cards.
Eight images of this are featured near the bottom of the screencap lineup on the left side of this page. The full credits video is in our production credits section on this page!

The scrolling format would be used again in Her Charm, Good Night, Dear Heart, The Leap Home, One Strobe Over the Line, Heart of a Champion and Shock Theater. Source

Regular Cast:
Scott Bakula
Dean Stockwell

Guest Stars:
John Cullum as John O’Malley
Michele Pawk as Nicole
Janine Turner as Michelle
Ernie Sabella as Manny
Paul Sand as Charlie
Myra Turley as Dolores
Maria Lauren as Anita
Michael Carl as Ray Hutton (Mirror image)

Actors in the Play:
Marshall Borden as Dr. Carrasco
Rand Hopkins as Pedro
John Huffman as Innkeeper
Ruth Miller as Housekeeper
Michael DeMarlo as Muleteer
Jay Horton as Muleteer
Dafidd McCracken as Muleteer
Sam Rapp as Muleteer

Guest Cast Notes:

John Cullum as John O’Malley: John Cullum was born on March 2, 1930 in Knoxville, Tennessee, USA. He is an actor and director, known for Northern Exposure (1990), 1776 (1972) and Before We Go (2014). He has been married to Emily Frankel since May 5, 1959. They have one child. Was the second choice for the role of Holling Vincoeur in Northern Exposure (1990), after Robert Fuller chose not to do the role. A graduate of the University of Tennessee, Cullum also was a standout tennis player, winning the 1951 Southeastern Conference doubles championship with Bill Davis. Nominated for Tony award for Best Leading Actor in a Musical for role in "Urinetown", May 2002. Has won two Tony Awards as Best Actor (Musical): in 1975 for "Shenandoah," and in 1978 for "On the Twentieth Century." He also has two other nominations in the same category: in 1966 for "On a Clear Day You Can See Forever," and in 2002 for "Urinetown: The Musical.". John Cullum was the alternate Don Quixote in the original Broadway show, "Man of LaMancha."

Michele Pawk as Nicole
: Michele Pawk was born on November 16, 1961 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. She is an actress, known for Quantum Leap (1989), Anastasia (1997) and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (1999). She has been married to John Dossett since February 14, 2004. They have one child. She was previously married to Kevin McCollum.

Janine Turner as Michelle: This lovely, fresh-faced Lincoln, Nebraska native was born Janine Loraine Gauntt on December 6, 1962, to stalwart Texans Turner and Janice Gauntt. The younger of two children, she grew up in Fort Worth, Texas, and trained, while a child, in ballet, tap, theater, and modeling (from age 3). A cheerleading beauty into her teens, she moved with her mother to study at New York's Professional Children's School and was lucky enough to be picked up by the famed Wilhelmina Agency as a model (at 15 she was the youngest at the time to ever be signed). After some commercial work, however, she returned to school in Texas and happened by chance to find some minor work on various episodes of Dallas (1978). This led to a Hollywood attempt at age 17 and a major TV break two years later when she won the role of Laura Templeton on TV's popular daytime soap General Hospital (1963), a role that required her long tresses to go from brunette to blonde. This, in turn, fed into another 1980s regular part on Another World (1964). Janine subsequently made her film debut in the daytime parody Young Doctors in Love (1982) that featured her along with other soap stars in cameos. In between, she managed find time to attend Pepperdine University but left when she earned a film role in the movie Tai-Pan (1986). At this stage of the game, she tended to specialize in cute and flighty roles, but all that changed when Janine won the role of spunky, crop-haired Alaskan air taxi pilot Maggie O'Connell opposite Rob Morrow on the eccentric prime-time series Northern Exposure  (1990). It was role of her career, a meaty, delightfully quirky star turn that made her a household name. The show lasted six seasons. Since then, she has been able to subsist on a fairly full plate of TV-movie and film assignments. She's top-lined such women's mini-pictures as Stolen Women, Captured Hearts (1997) and A Secret Affair (1999), while in film playing a lady-in-distress co-star to Sylvester Stallone in the action thriller Cliffhanger (1993), "perfect Mom" June Cleaver in a film remake of Leave It to Beaver (1997) and one of Richard Gere's "women" in Dr. T & the Women (2000). She found another series regular role with Strong Medicine (2000) that lasted two years. Into the millennium, Janine has been featured in such films as Birdie & Bogey (2004), The Night of the White Pants (2006), Maggie's Passage (2009), The Ivy League Farmer (2015), Solace (2015), Occupy, Texas (2016) and a prime role in Runnin' from My Roots (2018). She also appeared for a the 2008 season of the TV series Friday Night Lights (2006). Janine also moved into directing, writing, and producing on the side, while also dabbling in singing. Janine's daughter, former child actress Juliette Gauntt, who appeared in her mother's film The Night of the White Pants (2006), was born from a relationship with Jerry Jones Jr., the Dallas Cowboys' Vice President and General Counsel.

Ernie Sabella as Manny: Ernie Sabella is an American actor and singer from Westchester County, New York who is widely known for voicing Pumbaa the Warthog, Timon's best friend from The Lion King franchise except for the 2019 reboot. He also acted in Mouse Hunt, That's So Raven, In & Out, Cheers, and Seinfeld. He is married to Cheryl, a computer programmer. Ernie Sabella, also well known for playing Pumbaa the warthog in the Lion King, reprised his role as Sancho in the 2002 revival of Man of La Mancha on Broadway.

Paul Sand as Charlie: Paul Sand was born on March 5, 1932 in Santa Monica, California, USA. He is an actor and director, known for Eerie, Indiana (1991), The Main Event (1979) and Sweet Land (2005). At age 18, went to Paris and studied with mime Marcel Marceau. He's the son of a Mexican father and a Russian mother. After being discovered and promoted by Mary Tyler Moore and her production company he starred in his own show called "Friends and Lovers". Later he worked on Broadway with Mary Tyler Moore cohort Valerie Harper in Paul Sills' "Story Theatre".

Myra Turley as Dolores: Myra Turley is known for Flags of Our Fathers (2006), Meet the Fockers (2004) and Nightcrawler (2014).

Maria Lauren as Anita: Maria Lauren is known for Quantum Leap (1989), Knight Rider (1982) and American Idol (2002).

Michael Carl as Ray Hutton (Mirror image): Michael Carl is known for Quantum Leap (1989), Warbirds (1988) and Time Wars (1993).

Actors in the Play:

Marshall Borden as Dr. Carrasco
: Marshall Borden was born on August 10, 1935 in Howell, Michigan, USA. He is an actor, known for Quantum Leap (1989), A Christmas Carol (1982) and Say It in Russian (2007). He has been married to Lee Meriwether since September 21, 1986. He was previously married to Carole Lee Fox.

Rand Hopkins as Pedro: Rand Hopkins was born on February 18, 1945 in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. He was an actor and writer, known for The People vs. Larry Flynt (1996), Quantum Leap (1989) and The Boy King (1986). He died on January 3, 2005 in Pine Lake, DeKalb County, Georgia, USA.

Michael DeMarlo as Muleteer: Michael DeMarlo is known for Beverly Hills Cop II (1987), Quantum Leap (1989) and Fair Game (1989).

Jay Horton as Muleteer: Jay Horton is known for Quantum Leap (1989), The Bold and the Beautiful (1987) and Murder, She Wrote (1984).

Dafidd McCracken as Muleteer: It was simply by circumstance that Dafidd met Harold Clurman. Dafidd and Mr. Clurman, the legendary founder of The Group Theatre, were both at the University of New Mexico when one afternoon Dafidd, a political science major at the time, slipped into the theatre department and took a seat in Mr. Clurman's Master class. As good luck would have it no one asked Dafidd to leave and as he listened to Clurman's passionate style of social and artistic ideals Dafidd was quickly struck with such a soaring certainty about what he wanted to do with his life that within three days he had switched his major from political science to theatre arts. Dafidd made his film debut in 1987 in an uncredited role in John Schlesinger's The Believers. His fist TV part came in 1988 in a recurring roll on the Young and the Restless. Since then he has moved freely between film, TV, and stage as an actor, director and writer. He also occasionally coaches privately and has taught at a few select universities around the country.

Sam Rapp as Muleteer: Sam Rapp is known for Quantum Leap (1989) and Mr. What's It to Ya (2023).

Guests Who Appeared In Other Episodes of Quantum Leap:
Maria Lauren appeared in "Leaping In Without A Net" as Carmenina.

John Cullum returned to direct the episode "All Americans."

Say What?
At the beginning of the episode, Sam and Nicole see each other from the wings opposite each other. After the Quantum Leap theme song, ithe episode opens at the end of the play on Sam and Nicole running to each other backstage. Did they stay apart for the entire performance and intermission?

If John wasn’t in on Michelle’s plan to ruin Sam/Ray and Nicole’s relationship, why didn’t he tell Sam that the woman in the shower wasn’t Nicole?

Minor technical nit-pick: John never uses the Don Quixote wig, nor is Sam wearing one when he goes onstage for the performance at the end… so why does he suddenly appear to have one on when they cut to him singing? Answer to this nit-pick question by Joshua Chaikin: The explanation for the "appearance" if the wig is simple - it was in the trunk that was brought down the stairs by Sancho/Manny. During the show, while making the transformation to Don Quioxte the actor dons make-up, wig and additional costume pieces taken from the trunk.

In the final scene, there is a shot of the stage with Dulcinea dancing. It's supposed to be Nicole, but instead it's clearly Michelle, as Nicole appears in the wings. This clip was made for the beginning of the episode and was inserted here instead.

Quotable Quotes:
You're out of control Sam.
In case you haven't noticed, it's been a long time since I've been in control.
-- Al and Sam, "Catch a Falling Star"

Chicks and dogs and pigs better scurry ...
It's ducks and geese, not pigs and dogs.
Are you sure it's not pigs and dogs?  They scurry too.
-- Al and Sam, "Catch a Falling Star"

Get the correct lyrics from the broadway Musical Oklahoma here:

What matter wounds to the body of the knight-errant? For each time he falls, he shall rise again--and woe to the wicked!
--Sam Beckett as Don Quixote, "Catch a Falling Star"

You can’t tell anyone who you really are; you can’t change your personal history, you can’t-
I can't have a life.  All I do is live someone else's life; right their wrongs, fight their fights.  Geez, I feel like I'm Don Quixote.
-- Sam, "Catch a Falling Star"

The roar of the grease paint, the smell of the crowd.
I think that's the other way around.
You never did Summer Stock.
-- Al and Sam, "Catch a Falling Star"

What matter wounds to the body of a knight errant for each time he falls he shall rise again and WOE to the wicked.
-- Sam as Don Quixote, "Catch a Falling Star"

We're not launching any rockets- it's just a musical!
-- Dolores, "Catch a Falling Star"

I'm not saving that arrogant ass!
-- Sam, "Catch a Falling Star"

I'd love to be standing in your makeup.
-- Al, "Catch a Falling Star"

You know how the road is, you tend to leap around a lot.
-- Sam, "Catch a Falling Star"

That was our song, when we started Quantum Leap ... we're building the imaging chamber, that's the only disk you ever played, Man of La Mancha.
Even if I remember the lyrics, can I sing?
-- Al and Sam, "Catch a Falling Star"

What do you want of me?
(I'm with her.)
-- Nicole and Sam, rehearsing a scene, and Al, "Catch a Falling Star"

I may look like him, but she was with me, my heart, my soul.
-- Sam, “Catch a Falling Star”

Break a leg ...
-- Sam to the star, "Catch a Falling Star"

Women!  They just don't understand the old double-standard!!
-- Al, "Catch a Falling Star"

I've seen that look before!  You're wearing that `the earth moved last night' look.
-- Al to Sam, "Catch a Falling Star"

Here, your Grace.
My armor. My sword.
More misadventures?
ADVENTURES, old friend.
-- Sam and Al, "Catch a Falling Star"

It's not up to you to stay here, it's up to HIM!
-- Al, “Catch a Falling Star”

But HE loved *pure* and *chaste* from *afar*....  Well, that part was never big with me, either.
-- Al, "Catch a Falling Star"

Best Scenes:
Sam’s rehearsal with Nicole, stumbling through the script and professing his love for Nicole through Don Quixote’s words

Al’s being there while Sam plays on the piano sulking over Nicole’s "rehearsal"

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:
Paul  Brown
Directed by:
Donald P. Bellisario

Executive Producer: Donald P. Bellisario
Associate Producers: 
David Bellisario
Director of Photography: Michael Watkins
Production Designer: Cameron Birnie
Edited by: Gary Griffen
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
Contributing Musical Composers: Velton Ray Bunch and Jerry Grant
Sound Editor: Paul Clay
Music Editor: Tom Gleason

Uses from Man of La Mancha Courtesy of: Dale Wasserman, Joe Darion, Mitch Leigh

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 eighteenth installment of The Quantum Leap Podcast, Albie and Heather discuss Season two episode Ten “Catch a Falling Star” There’s first impressions, an episode recap, thoughts and opinions, and listener feedback. The first article from our newest contributor Jill Arroway about the strange end of episode cliffhangers, and an article from Hayden McQueenie that expands on the Burger Theory. There will be Music.

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