The Cast and Crew of Quantum Leap

"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

Project Trivia
Sam Trivia
Al Trivia

Al's Outfits Worn in the Episode
Miscellaneous Trivia

Broadcast Date
Guest Stars
Guest Cast Notes
Guests Who Appeared In Other Episodes of Quantum Leap
Personal Review
Best Scenes
Say what?
Quotable Quotes


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 6th, 1989 (Wednesday)

I Don Quixote
Man of La Mancha
The Impossible Dream
Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony
What Does He Want of Me

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.

During the rolling credits, a staged curtain call for the episode was done featuring the cast and crew. Notably, Don Bellisario and Deborah Pratt both appear here. Eight images of this are featured near the bottom of this page in the photo lineup.

Regular Cast:
Scott Bakula
Dean Stockwell

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

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

Guest Cast Notes:
John Cullum was the alternate Don Quixote in the original Broadway show, "Man of LaMancha."

Ernie Sabella, most 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.

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

John Cullum directed the episode "All Americans."


Paul Brown

Donald P Bellisario


Supervising Producers:
Deborah Pratt
Paul M. Belous
Robert Wolterstorff

Paul Brown
Jeff Gourson
Chris Ruppenthal

Marker Wade

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 Director:
Ellen Lubin Sanitsky

Art Director:
Peg McClellan

Set Decorator:
Robert L. Zilliox

Costume designer:
Jean-Pierre Dorleac

Supervising Sound Editor:
Paul Clay

Sound Mixer:
Mark Hopkins McNabb

Stunt Coordinator:
Diamond Farnsworth

Mark Abbott

Assistant Camera:
Peter Gulla

Camera Operator:
Ed Nielsen

Costume Supervisor:
David Rawley

Costume Supervisor:
Donna Roberts-Orme

Oboe Soloist:
Tom Boyd 

Music Editor:
Tom Gleason

Transportation Co-Captain:
Dennis Junt 

Script Supervisor:
Winnie Rich 

Writer: 'Man of La Mancha' dialogue:
Dale Wasserman

Music by:
Velton Ray Bunch
Jerry Grant

Theme by:
Mike Post

Sam leaps into Ray Hutton, touring actor and understudy to the Syracuse rendition of "Man of La Mancha". His job, it seems, is to keep the leading man, John O’Malley from ruining his career by falling offstage in a drunken stupor. 

Sam, however, has a different idea when he learns that the new girl hired to understudy the role of Dulcinea is his former piano teacher and childhood crush, Nicole. For Sam, it is a chance to have the romance he never could have. 

Noticing that Sam/Ray has turned his romantic attentions to the new girl, the jealous leading lady Michelle concocts a scheme that makes it seem as though Nicole has been having a fling with John. 

Heartbroken, Sam is caught in a dilemma: can he bring himself to save the man who ruined his relationship? And can he forgive Nicole? 

Come show time on the crucial night, John, as predicted, falls off stage… but is caught by a begrudging Sam. John turns over the role to Sam/Ray for the first time and Sam goes out to perform with Nicole, making his peace.

The play ends and the spirit of Don Quixote fills Sam as he leaps out.

Personal Review:
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!

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"

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"

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