April 4, 1960
Episode adopted by: Brinsley
In a 4th leap directly involving a celebrity,
Sam leaps into Marilyn Monroe's chauffeur. Al says he must prevent her from overdosing on
pills and alcohol. He also has to uncover the mystery behind her new assistant's past.
from this episode
Name of the Person Leaped Into
Al's Outfits Worn in the Episode
Kiss with History
Guest Cast Notes
Guests who appeared in other Quantum
Cast members who have passed away
Say what? (things in the episode that make no sense)
Leap Date: April
Marilyn's house - 12305 5th.Helena Drive, Brentwood.
of the Person Leaped Into:
Dennis Boardman, chauffeur to Marilyn Monroe.
Leaping in to find himself standing next to a V8 convertible outside a movie studio and
being bombarded with questions by an eager fan, Sam soon discovers that he has leaped into
one Dennis Boardman, chauffeur to legendary actress Marilyn Monroe, in 1960 Hollywood.
Initially, all seems to be well, as Sam finds respite in this glamorous leap from the
toils and misfortunes of most of his previous leaps, while Al is fascinated with observing
the living legend of Marilyn and her lifestyle.
However, it soon becomes clear they are very
near the date of Marilyn's tragic suicide under mysterious circumstances, a major
historical "wrong" that Sam, coming to care deeply for the lonely and despairing
star, becomes determined to put right. Striving to help Marilyn fill the void of
loneliness in her isolated life at the top, Sam encourages her to take a young country
girl, who appears on her doorstep for a job interview, as her personal assistant. The girl
initially appears to be honest and hardworking, but Sam's increasing suspicions are
confirmed when she begins to gently encourage Marilyn's habits of drinking and taking
Behind an innocent cover story, this country
girl is in reality an ambitious young actress who couldn't make it into real show
business. This conniving young woman is planning to take advantage of her new position as
Marilyn's assistant to rob Marilyn of her career opportunities. Sam must work to convince
a disbelieving Marilyn that the girl is not as innocent as she seems, to expose the girl's
ambitions and to save not only Marilyn's career, but also her life, that is endangered by
her frequent revelries of alcohol and becoming dependent on sleeping pills.
Songs / Music:
Quantum Leap Theme by Mike Post
Musical Score by Velton Ray Bunch
No info on the leapee and his feelings in the Waiting Room in this episode. No info on any
antics going on at the project. However, at one point the handlink gives one of its most
violent squealing fits ever (Al gives it the usual slapping treatment in response).
Sam's reference in his voiceover at the beginning to two of his previous leaps, as
examples of the unpleasant experiences involved in leaping, was a neat touch:
"getting pummeled on the boxing ring" would be "The Right Hand of God"
from the first season, and "working on a chain gang" refers of course to the
fourth-season episode "Unchained".
Sam was too young to be a fan of Marilyn when
she was at the peak of success (she originally died when he was 6.5, and later 9, years
old). However, by the time he was in college Sam was already familiar with her work, and
he used to "sneak off" to the movies, to get lost in the magic of her "big,
luscious blue eyes".
Sam's M.D. training comes in handy again, in
saving Marilyn's life at Lawford's party. The CPR resuscitation and the keeping of the
person walking around are the same treatment Sam used to save model Edie Landsdale from
the effects of her own drug addiction in the third-season episode "One Strobe Over
Not much info on Al or his extra-IC activities on this episode. We do know that, as Sam
says, he was around to enjoy Marilyn's success while she was alive (being in his twenties
in the late 50's and early 60's). We can also find a reference to his tendency to
automatically believe any gossip, rumors and conspiracy theories, found here in his
comment on Barbara's hint of the party guests from Washington D.C.
The title of the episode – "Good-Bye Norma Jean". Marilyn Monroe was only a
screen name, and the celebrated actress was born (1926) Norma Jean Mortenson.
Marilyn mentions her favorite strolling park,
which she visits with Sam in the episode, as the place where part of the 1955 film Rebel
without a Cause (starring James Dean, who is also mentioned by Marilyn as an example
of the proper "way to go") was filmed. I believe the place is named Griffith
Park and Observatory.
When Marilyn expresses her reluctance to go
to Lawford's party, Barbara mentions some of the guests supposed to be arriving "from
back east… from Washington D.C.". True to his established character as a
gossipmonger and firm believer in popular rumors, Al immediately comments "would that
be who I think it is?". This would be John F. Kennedy, not yet elected president in
April 1960, but nonetheless alive and well, which is a change from the last time Sam has
crossed paths with him, at the beginning of the season. JFK was widely rumored to have
been having an affair with Marilyn.
1. Bright purple jacket and pants, rich purple shirt and silver tie (at the mailbox).
2. Orange jacket, red shirt with bright
orange/gold buttons (at the poolside).
3. Light blue jacket, white shirt and thin
red necktie (in the kitchen).
4. Black jacket, yellow shirt and thin red
necktie (the next morning).
Writer - Richard C. Okie
Director - Christopher Hibler
First Assistant Director – Ryan Gordon
Second Assistant Director – Brian Faul
Co-Executive Producer – Deborah Pratt
Co-Executive Producer – Chas. Floyd Johnson
Supervising Producer – Richard C. Okie
Supervising Producer – Tommy Thompson
Supervising Producer – Harker Wade
Producer – Robin Jill Bernheim
Associate Producer – Scott Ejercito
Associate Producer – Julie Bellisario
Coordinating Producer – David Bellisario
March 2nd, 1993
Scott Bakula as Dr. Sam Beckett
Dean Stockwell as Al Calavicci
Susan Griffiths as Marilyn Monroe
Liz Vassey as Barbara Whitmore (or Mary Jo
Vermullen? The character's real name.)
Joris Stuyck as Peter Lawford
Stephen Root as John Tremaine, Jr.
Tony Young as John Huston
Larry Pennell as Clark Gable
Eric Scott Woods as Rocky
Elizabeth Coffee as Jane (The eager fan
questioning Sam as he leaps in?)
Stephen Bowers as Dennis Boardman / Mirror
Guest Cast Notes:
Susan Griffiths (Marilyn) is a known Marilyn
Monroe impersonator, and has played the role of either Marilyn or her look-alike in
several films and TV shows, the most notable of which are the celebrity-impersonation
documentary "Legends in Concert" and the 1994 hit film "Pulp Fiction".
Liz Vassey (Barbara) first appeared on TV on
the soap "All My Children". Among her other credits are recurring appearances in
"ER", "Brotherly Love" and in films such as "Pursuit of
Happiness" and "The Tick".
Tony Young (John Huston) appeared on several
70's film thrillers such as "Black Gunn", "The Outfit" and
"Policewomen", and also in a movie based on the life of Marilyn Monroe,
"The Sex Symbol". He later appeared in guest roles in several 80's TV shows, of
which his playing of John Huston in QL was the last. It appears this was also his last
participation in film/TV entirely.
Larry Pennell (Clark Gable) appeared on such
shows as "General Hospital", "The Borrower", "Mr. Baseball"
and more recently in the films "Rogue" and "Jackpot". Among his other
TV guest appearances are Bellisario's "Magnum P.I.", "The Beverly
Hillbillies" and "Little House on the Prairie".
Guests Who Appeared in Other QL Episodes:
Liz Vassey (Barbara) also played Paula Fletcher in the fourth-season episode
Cast Members Who Have Passed Away:
Tony Young (John Huston) died on February 26th, 2002, of lung cancer.
"Good-Bye Norma Jean" is in my opinion a unique episode in the history of
Quantum Leap, although it does bear some resemblance, in its setting, mood and concept, to
the mediocre third-season episode "One Strobe over the Line", in which a young
woman has trouble coping with the pressures of another glamorous business world, and
succumbs to a drug addiction. However, that woman was a mere fashion model and a
fictitious character, while "Good-Bye Norma Jean" deals with a worldwide-famous
superstar and a major celebrity taken from the real world, to boot. Marilyn impersonator
Susan Griffiths does a great job in conveying the loneliness, purposelessness and anguish
of the character through her very composedness and restraint, in knowing that, although
the whole world looks up to her, listens to her and is fascinated by her, in reality she
has no one in which to confide and to which she could reveal her true feelings, her true
self. In the face of this anguish, her wealth, her fame and even the sincere love and
adoration bestowed on her around the world are insignificant and cannot help her. Her
plight as she states it has become, over the years, somewhat of a cliché voiced or
implied by many celebrity actors and actresses, about people always relating to them in
light of the characters and personas that they have portrayed on the screen. This is truly
the only way these people (and indeed, most people) will ever be able to view their
adulated idols: they only know the façade of a fictitious character, which was the object
of their initial identification or feeling of affection, rather than the real person
behind the acting talent and the words of the script. Quantum Leap has dealt, a few times
in the past, with such forms of blind adulation for celebrities and with the consequences
of living in the TV and movie culture of the past several decades. This was shown, for
example, through the character of another, slightly more disturbed woman, also named Norma
Jean (probably an intentional choice by the writers, meant to refer to the Marilyn
adulation) in the fourth-season episode "Moments to Live". This is naturally an
important issue if we are to come to terms with the unreality of televised or filmed
fiction, as that poor woman was eventually forced to do.
Furthermore, the tone of the episode is
rather unique compared to the rest of the show. As Sam states in his voiceover opening
narration, not many leaps allow him the time, place, mood and most importantly, the
assumed identity, for a timeout of relaxation from the more nasty situations he tends to
leap into. These fond ruminations are narrated by Sam while the vista of Hollywood Hills
and its tree-shaded lanes roll by, and the episode's variation of the musical score plays
soothingly in the background. Al is also fascinated by this glamorous leap, and sets out
to "observe" Marilyn's life. A predictable, but nonetheless cute, joke has Al
popping into Sam's room the next morning, fretfully rushing him to Marilyn's private
swimming pool in the same way he usually does when a person far from Sam is in serious
trouble and needs to have Sam get there fast. However, when a breathless Sam comes running
to the poolside to lend aid to a damsel in distress, it turns out Al was excited by
something entirely different.
(Sam has turned down Marilyn's advances and she leaves, tears in her eyes. Al has been
standing in the corridor behind them for some time)
Al (quietly): You're a stronger man than I am.
The best scene of the episode is, in my opinion, the scene in Marilyn's kitchen after the
day of the party, from which the line above is taken. Sam has to turn down Marilyn's
advances and her proposition to him to become "responsible for her" and to enter
a romantic relationship with her. Sam cannot let himself commit to her even though he
clearly wants to, and tells her so. But he can't tell her the real reason for his refusal:
he is naturally afraid that, after he leaps out, the returning real Dennis would not have
such feelings of deep affection for Marilyn and, finding himself romantically involved
with his employer, might decide to break up the relationship and leave her lonely and
despairing – or worse, he might decide to take advantage of his newfound lover's
stardom, her riches and her fame, even though he may not love her at all. These outcomes
will hurt Marilyn so much more deeply than Sam's immediate refusal to her now, and Sam
knows this, having gone through the same story in many of his previous leaps, with lovely
and loving women grateful for the changes he has wrought in their lives and wishing to
develop their relationship with him, and he always has to draw back and apologize for his
reluctance, knowing that his leapee will probably not continue to treat the woman in
question with the same decency and honesty that Sam himself has. However, here the scene
offers a much more poignant loss than usual in the show, even if Marilyn's reaction to
being rebuffed is very restrained and quiet. The tears in her eyes and the expression on
her face at that moment are enough to tell how much she needs a loving and caring presence
at her side right then, to be "responsible" for her for the rest of her life.
Worst Thing about the Episode:
Again, the rejection scene in the kitchen. Couldn't something have been done? I mean,
they've got the guy in the Waiting Room, why not send Al to have a conversation with him
to at least find out if he's fond of Marilyn at all? Okay, if this was another case I
could perhaps have come to agree with Sam that Dennis could never love her exactly as Sam
would, or that's it's a safe bet he won't care for her as a friend and loved one at all,
or whatever. But come on, the whole point is that this woman is going to end up with that
overdosing thing sooner or later, so why not think for a bit, say YES, it *can* be
changed, a loving soul at her side to be "responsible" for her may be all she
needs in order to feel strong, have a purpose and a constant cause joy in her life (love
tends to do that to people) and as a result feel no need whatsoever to commit suicide? So
have Al hop over to the Waiting Room and work on Dennis, get Dr. Beeks in, and if
necessary apply pressure on the guy until he changes his mind - just do whatever it takes
to change the priorities of this leap to saving Marilyn's life by giving her someone to
love who will love her back. Really, I'm surprised at Sam for not coming up with this and
insisting upon it, even though Ziggy may have known all along that the goal of the leap
would be to prevent only the first suicide and extend Marilyn's life in two final years,
so that she could make that movie. A movie?! What about the chance to keep that
"brightest star", that the world was about to lose as Sam said, alive? We've
known Sam to often doubt Ziggy's hypotheses, dismiss them as wrong, and a few times to
even outright rebel against them and try his own way just for spite. Why doesn't he even
think of doing so here?
Say What? (Things
that Make No Sense):
If Marilyn's 1960 suicide attempt, predicted by Al at the beginning of the leap and foiled
by Sam thanks to his vigil at Lawford's party, would have succeeded, how could Marilyn
have finished making her last movie, the one originally not titled The Misfits? Al
later mentions that her finishing of the movie happened in the original history too –
that is, supposedly, before Sam was there to convince her to take Barbara as her
assistant. Moreover, we know that Marilyn's suicide attempt was unrelated to Barbara's
presence and her takeover of Marilyn's career opportunities – at the mailbox at the
beginning, before they enter the house and meet Barbara, Sam asks Al to check for the
proximity of the suicide date, and Al replies they are "close to it". Sam is
upset by the implications of this proximity and sends Al to find out just when that tragic
day is due. Granted, Al only returns with the definite answer after Barbara is
hired, but it appears clear from his and Sam's words that the date in question (probably
April 8th, 1960, the day of Lawford's party) was around the time they know it
to have occurred in their original history too, and clearly not two years later. Later, at
the end of the episode, after Sam has exposed Barbara, the suicide date is established as
the one known to us from our own reality – August of 1962. This means that Marilyn
could not have committed suicide at any other date during 1960-61, after having finished
making the movie. So, did Marilyn commit suicide in the original history, in 1962, as in
our own world? If not, and Sam's involving of Barbara is the cause for the 1960 attempt,
why then don't Sam and Al comment on the significant change in dates? On the other hand,
if Marilyn really did commit suicide in 1960 even without Barbara's help, how could she
have finished making that last movie, as Al states she did in the original history too?
Al (eagerly): I'm gonna do a lot of observing
on this leap.
(Sam has been rushed by a frantic Al to
Marilyn's swimming pool, only to find her skinny-dipping. Sam quickly spins around so as
not to be caught looking)
Sam (irritated, whispering): You brought
me out here for *this*?
Al: Are you kidding? This is like looking at
Helen of Troy, or, or Boticelli's Venus…
Sam (furious): Wrong!!
(Barbara comes out to the poolside wearing
a short bathrobe)
Al: Whoa! Double your pleasure, double your
(Marilyn has come out of the water, was
wrapped in a towel by Barbara and has left with her)
Al (disappointed): I hate towels.
Sam: What made you decide to study acting?
Marilyn: Watching my own movies.
Sam: People adore you.
Marilyn: Adore… that's great, if you're
some kind of stone statue.
Sam: No… no, that's not what I meant.
People really care about you. You're one of the most loved people in the world… ever.
Marilyn: Then why can't I feel it?
Sam: Al?... Would you think I was crazy if I
told you that…
Al: If you told me what?
Sam: … Never mind.
Al: I'd say, welcome to the human race, Sam.
Every man that ever met her fell in love with her. Just… take good care of her and
don't let her die. Nobody that beautiful should *ever* die.
Peter Lawford: Look, why don't you quit while
Sam: I'm just saying that I think she should
take the movie. The public is crying for a new Marilyn Monroe movie!
Marilyn: After my last picture, they're just
(Sam has drawn back from Marilyn's kiss)
Sam: It's not that I don't want to. I
mean… every man on the planet wants you.
Marilyn: They don't want me. They want
Marilyn. But I'm not her! She's somebody that I put on, like a cashmere sweater or a mink
coat. Somehow, I think you're the first man I've ever met that really understands that.
(Marilyn is annoyed when Sam tells her she
shouldn't go to Lawford's casino revelry)
Marilyn: Nursemaid, cop, driver. Is there
anything you don't do?
Al: You got fired?!
Sam (mutters in despair): That's right.
Al: When I left, Marilyn was practically
proposing to you, what ha-- Oh... a woman's scorn?
Al (annoyed, slapping the squealing
handlink): Come on, Ziggy.
Sam: What's wrong with Ziggy?
Al: …Typical. She says that the
Hollywood types are too unpredictable to predict.