2x08 "Jimmy"

Leap Date:

October 4, 1964

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


Sam leaps into one of his most famous roles as Jimmy, a young adult with Down Syndrome who's brother, Frank, has landed him a job on the docks. Sam must keep the job and prevent Jimmy from ending up in an institution.

In this episode we also find out about Al's sister Trudy and her fate, as well as a bit of history about Al's family life.

*Note: Decades after this episode was released, the term "retarded" has become socially unacceptable. At the time of  release, it was the term most frequently used for certain disabilities. The word will be used here only when a direct quote from the episode is needed.


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
Kiss With History

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


Production # 65407

TV Guide Synopsis:
Sam becomes a mentally handicapped man in 1964, and he has to find a way to win acceptance in his new workplace, or be sent back to an institution. Frank: John D'Aquino. Connie: Laura Harrington. Blue: Michael Madsen. Sam: Scott Bakula.

Leap Date:
Wednesday, October 14, 1964

Synopsis & Review:

Sam finds himself upside down in a bedroom, wearing children's pajamas and slippers. A young boy, Corey (played by Ryan McWhorter), shoots him with a toy ray gun and asks if he is going to die, whereupon Sam dramatically plays dead. Corey's father Frank (played by John D'Aquino) comes in and says that Jimmy needs to get dressed for his first day of work and tells him that he will not always be there for him. As he opens the closet door, a mirror shows Sam's new body. Frank says he had to pull a few strings to get Sam the interview, and tells him that if anyone asks, he's just "slow," he's not retarded. Sam realizes that he has leapt into a man with Down syndrome.

Frank goes down to breakfast and greets his wife, Connie (played by Laura Harrington), who complains that she didn't get much sleep the previous night. She explains that she was thinking about Jimmy, and Frank insists that the doctor believes Jimmy is ready to be out on his own. Connie is already uncomfortable with having Jimmy in the house, and it's only been two weeks. Sam arrives for breakfast and Frank plays with him and Corey, much to Connie's chagrin. Sam reads the newspaper and discovers he's in Oakland on October 14, 1964. Frank is surprised to see that Sam is reading the front page rather than the comics. Corey leaves for school and Connie tells him to come home early and not play on the wharf. As he leaves with Sam, Frank assures Connie that everything will be fine, and that Jimmy is family. When Sam gets up, he spills the milk and Connie tells him to leave. As he leaves, Connie mistakes Sam's unfamiliarity for Jimmy's typical behavior. Al appears and talks to Sam outside. He assures Sam that Jimmy is disabled, not Sam, and that Jimmy has the IQ of a 12-year-old. Al tells Sam to act normal because someone at Jimmy's level can read, write and have a job. As they talk, Connie looks out the window and sees Sam seemingly talking to himself. Meanwhile, Al assures Sam that he knows what he's going through and admits that Ziggy has mood swings. However, the computer believes that Sam is there to integrate Jimmy, and in 1964, there was no "mainstreaming" and people preferred to lock up the mentally handicapped. Jimmy was institutionalized and will end up there again unless Sam changes things. When Frank calls Sam over, Al tells him to make sure Jimmy gets the job.

Frank drives to his workplace in the wharf and goes to clock in. One of the workers, Blue, taunts Sam. Frank wants to go after the man, but Sam holds him back. He then explains everything he has to do to Sam, repeating things several times. He insists that he will always love Sam, no matter what. Frank's boss, Charlie Samuels, admits that he has concerns. He speaks very loudly to Sam and warns that people need to watch out for each other. Samuels points out that Sam is disabled, but he insists that he can do the job. Sam gets the job and goes to work. As he greets his work colleagues, Al comes and tells him to do just that: Make friends and prove that Jimmy can function normally. He warns, however, that Sam has more to do and needs to make sure Jimmy can hang in there. Al talks about Jackie Robinson and how he had to endure a lot of abuse before he was accepted as a black baseball player. Sam points out that it might take a while. As he steers a car around a corner, Blue bumps into it with a forklift and insults him.

Later, Frank and Sam eat on the pier and Sam says the guys treat him well. Frank wishes their father were alive to see this and says he'd be proud. The hardest day of his life was when he'd to institutionalize Jimmy. Frank apologizes for not getting him out sooner, but insists that Sam can stay with them as long as he wants. When Sam asks about Connie, Frank says she didn't grow up with someone like Jimmy. While they're talking, Sam accidentally knocks Frank's watch into the water, which he'd gotten from Connie. He gets angry for a moment, but then says that it's not a problem.

As Sam continues to work, Blue and the other workers start an argument. Blue tries to provoke Sam, who finally fights back. Frank breaks them and Blue warns him to keep Sam away from him. The shift whistle blows and they head home. When they clock out, Frank warns Sam to stay away from Blue. Sam insists on clocking out himself but he screws up and ends up tearing it down.

The brothers return home and Connie congratulates Sam. Frank suggests that Sam and Corey play catch. When they're gone, Connie says she doesn't like that he's encouraging Sam to play with Corey, and she worries that he'll hurt the boy. Frank insists that Jimmy loves Corey and would never hurt him.

When Sam and Corey are playing football, Sam accidentally throws the ball into the neighbor's yard. The neighbor's boy, Peter Kirksey (played by Josh Peden), calls Sam a moron and Corey attacks him. Sam tries to break them up and Mrs. Kirksey (played by Elaine Hausman) attacks him because she thinks he is attacking her son. Frank comes over and Mrs. Kirksey says that she will call the police and that Sam belongs in an institution, whereupon Frank orders Sam into the house. Inside, Corey insists that he was the one who got into the fight and that Pete called Sam a dummy. Frank stands up for Corey, but Connie tells her son to make sure nothing like that happens again. Sam tries to apologize and when Frank defends him, Connie gets angry and says they need to watch him every second. She storms off and Frank goes after her. Later, Frank is cleaning the truck and Sam tries to help. Frank warns him to be careful, but Sam insists that he was not trying to hurt anyone. He also asks Sam to be on his best behavior. He notices that Sam has scratched the paint, and then Sam messes up with the hose. Frank sends him inside and he tries to set the dishes. Al startles him and Sam admits that he's hurting Jimmy more than helping him. When Connie comes in, she bumps Sam with the door, causing him to drop her grandmother's platter.

Sam goes outside, angry at himself for his constant clumsy behavior, and Al explains that he just feels the pressure of everyone treating him like a disabled person. Sam insists it isn't going to work, but Al says that there was a girl named Trudy who was worse than Jimmy. He got in fights over it with the other kids, and explains that Trudy was his little sister. Their mother couldn't handle it and ran off with an encyclopedia salesman. Their father tried to keep them together but when his job took him to the Middle East, Al ended up in an orphanage and Trudy was put in an institution. By the time Al found out where she was, she'd died of pneumonia. Al angrily insists that they're not going to lose Jimmy. This deepens Sam's resolve, making him determined to help Jimmy fit in.

When Sam goes to bed, Corey asks him to read him a bedtime story. They start reading a horror comic and Corey wonders why people are mean to Sam. He explains that people don't know him and are scared and that Connie is trying. Sam makes up a story based on Star Wars. The next day, Sam is working at the wharf and Mr. Samuels says that he's doing a good job. Then the boss calls Blue over and tells him to pull batch 1675. Blue claims he's busy but Samuels tells him to do it now. He drives over and pulls batch 7516. Sam notices this and tries to point out his mistake. Blue insults him again and complains to Samuels. When Sam defends himself, Samuels realizes that Blue pulled the wrong batch. Blue claims he thought Samuels pointed at the crate he pulled, and Samuels tells him just to go by the number he said. Sam continues to mop the floor, avoiding any incident. However, Blue drives by and his forklift skids out of control. Blue says there's solvent all over the floor but Sam insists that he turned it off. Frank defends him again, but ignores Sam's claim. He thinks his brother messed up, but stands by him. Blue refuses to continue working with Sam and Samuels tells Frank that he's letting Sam go. When Sam tries to intervene, Frank tells him to stay out of it and says if Sam is fired, he'll quit. Samuels stands by his decision and Frank walks away, and Sam goes after him. Frank finally snaps and says that he can't watch Sam all the time, and that Sam has no idea if he let the solvent leak or not. He orders Sam into the truck and Sam reluctantly gets in.

At home, Frank tells Connie the news. He insists he'll get another job, but she wonders what happens when Jimmy messes up that job, too. Connie says he doesn't belong and she urges him to take Jimmy back to the institution. She says they've all tried, but it's not working and never will. Sam is helping Corey fix his bike when Al shows up, angry that Sam was fired. Sam insists it wasn't his fault and refuses to apologize. Al apologizes for getting angry, and Sam says he'll get another job. Frank comes out and tells Jimmy that he's going back to the institution while Frank finds another job. Al checks the files and warns that if Jimmy goes back into the institution, he'll never come out again. Sam agrees, much to Al's surprise and anger. Once Frank is gone, Sam reveals that he stole the truck keys from Frank's pocket. He drives back to the wharf to get his job back, unaware that Corey overheard him. Frank and Connie hear the truck start up and run out to see Sam driving away. Corey rides after him before his parents can stop him.

At the wharf, Sam tries to convince Samuels to hire him back. Corey climbs on some crates to watch as Sam accuses Blue of turning on the spigot to get him fired. Blue denies it, but Sam says that Blue did it because Sam found out his secret. He asks Blue to read the numbers on a crate and the worker refuses. Samuels repeats the request and Blue refuses. Sam then explains that Blue is dyslexic. Blue hates him because he thinks Sam is smarter. Samuels realizes that Blue set the whole thing up, offers Sam his job back, and tells Blue that he's fired. As they go to call Frank, Blue tries to run Sam over. Sam jumps out of the way and Blue hits the crates with his forklift. As Frank and Connie arrive, Corey is knocked into the water and Frank dives in after him. Frank finds his son, but he's swallowed a lot of water. He brings him up onto the pier and Sam tries to pull him up, but Connie tells him to go away. Corey isn't breathing and Sam says he can help. He tells Frank that the boy needs mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and claims that they taught him that at the institution. Frank lets him try and Sam begins the procedure. It doesn't work and he tries CPR. Corey finally chokes up the water and revives as the workers applaud. Al confirms that Sam got Jimmy accepted. Connie thanks Sam and asks for his forgiveness. Frank embraces his brother as Sam leaps. Source

Personal review by MrsBeckett:

This is the same family that Sam leaps into later in the first Evil Leaper episode. Jimmy and Frank are also Tonchi and Pete in "Mirror Image". I always figured that the reason they revisited Jimmy two more times was because this was such a popular episode. It is one of my favorites!

Oakland, California

Jimmy LaMatta

Broadcast Date:
November 22, 1989 - Wednesday

"My Guy" by Mary Wells is sung by Connie.

Project Trivia:
This may be the first time we see a bit of "mind-melding" between Sam and the Leapee.

We get solid confirmation that, at the time of this episode at the Project, Ziggy was indeed a male persona. Al says "We've been having some difficulty with Ziggy, he's going through mood swings.  I think we need to get a girl computer and put it right next to him, one with a nice set of hard disks..."

Sam Trivia:
Sam states that he has never been on a job interview.

Al Trivia:
This is the episode that we learn about Al’s sister Trudy being mentally handicapped and dying in a mental hospital when their father went away.

Al's outfits worn in the episode:
1. Green and Yellow patterned shirt with green buttons on the collar, and a short pale green tie that looks like someone took a bite out of it, dark blue pants with a cigar.

2. Black pants, with a black shirt with red and white dots, a red tie, and a gray plaid jacket.

Miscellaneous Trivia:
This episode began shooting on Tuesday, October 17th, 1989.

John D'Aquino and Brad Silverman are still friends to this day. Watch them and others at the LeapCon '95 convention below:

Brad Silverman really has Down’s Syndrome.

John D'Aquino wrote the script for the season five episode, "The Beast Within."

Kiss With History:
Sam coins the phrase "Special People".

Corey mentions the movie Invaders from Mars. It was a 1953 movie
starring Helena Carter, Jimmy Hunt, and Leif Erickson in which a young boy sees an alien spaceship land near his house, and the Martians soon start controlling the minds of all the adults in town.

The story Sam tells Corey begins "About... a long, long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away. It was a time of civil war. Rebel spaceships, striking from the hidden base..." He is reciting the opening crawl of the original (1977) Star Wars movie (now known as "Episode IV").

Sam invents the "high five" with Corey.

Guest stars:
John D'Aquino as Frank LaMatta
Laura Harrington as Connie
Michael Alldredge as Mr. Charlie Samuels
Ryan McWhorter as Corey LaMatta
Michael Madsen as "Blue" Tamino
Brad Silverman as Jimmy
LaMatta (Mirror image)
Elaine Hausman as Mrs. Kirksey
Josh Peden as Peter Kirksey
Douglas M. Nelson as Dock Worker
James Wellington as Longshoreman

Guest Cast Notes:

John D'Aquino as Frank LaMatta: John D'Aquino was born on April 14, 1958 in Brooklyn, New York, USA. He is an actor and producer, known for Cory in the House (2007), 3rd Rock from the Sun (1996) and Xena: Warrior Princess (1995). A film and television actor, John is well known for his role as Lieutenant Benjamin Krieg on the NBC-TV series seaQuest DSV. D'Aquino was born John Aquino in Brooklyn, New York. Now living in California, his Young Actors Workshop has turned out several notable young actors and holds weekly classes, casting workshops and summer camps.

Laura Harrington as Connie LaMatta: Laura Harrington was born on April 29, 1958 in Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA. She is an actress and writer, known for Maximum Overdrive (1986), The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension (1984) and Paulie (1998).

Michael Alldredge as Mr. Charlie Samuels: Michael Alldredge was born on April 13, 1941 in Taft, California, USA. He was an actor, known for Scarface (1983), V (1983) and Robot Jox (1989). He was married to Liza Jane Prince and Judith Lue Pilant. He died on December 19, 1997 in Los Angeles, California, USA.

Ryan McWhorter as Corey LaMatta: Ryan McWhorter is known for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990), Arachnophobia (1990) and Pet Sematary (1989).

Michael Madsen as "Blue" Tamino: Michael Madsen is an enigmatic force in the entertainment industry, widely regarded as one of the most intense and compelling actors of our time. With an electrifying presence both on and off the screen, Madsen has captivated audiences worldwide with his mesmerizing performances, making an indelible mark on the realm of cinema. Known for his rugged charm and brooding charisma, Madsen has perfected the art of bringing complex characters to life, seamlessly transitioning between nuanced vulnerability and unbridled intensity. Michael Madsen continues to command attention and leave an indelible impact on the industry. Born with an innate talent for acting, Madsen's journey in the entertainment industry has been nothing short of extraordinary. His powerful performances have earned him critical acclaim and a dedicated fan base, cementing his status as a true Hollywood icon. Madsen's distinctive ability to effortlessly portray characters with a captivating blend of sensitivity and grit has led to collaborations with renowned directors and fellow actors, garnering him numerous accolades and nominations. His unparalleled versatility has allowed him to effortlessly navigate between genres, delivering unforgettable performances in films such as "Kill Bill: Vol. 1," "Thelma & Louise," and "Donnie Brasco," among others.

Brad Silverman as Jimmy LaMatta (Mirror image): Brad Silverman was born on May 16, 1966 in Glendale, California, USA. He is an actor, known for I Am Sam (2001), Quantum Leap (1989) and Curb Your Enthusiasm (2000).

Elaine Hausman as Mrs. Kirksey: Elaine Hausman was born on June 8, 1949 in Sacramento, California, USA. She is an actress, known for Falcon Crest (1981), Quantum Leap (1989) and The Equalizer (1985).

Josh Peden as Peter Kirksey: Josh Peden is known for Quantum Leap (1989), The Wonder Years (1988) and The New Lassie (1989).

Douglas M. Nelson as Dock Worker: Son of Gene Nelson, growing up around show business, there was little doubt that it was where Douglas' aspirations were heading... His first home was in Encino, CA... At the age of four, they moved to Sherman Oaks...next door to Dick Clark. Some of his friends and neighbors were also in the entertainment industry... Barbara Eden, Lorne Greene, Henry Fonda, Richard Dawson, Gisele MacKenzie, John Ericson & Milly Ericson, Quinn Martin, Jim Backus, and Leslie Nielsen. Douglas' next home was in Beverly Hills, where he spent most of his school years. In 1971, the family did move to NY for a year, while his father, Gene Nelson starred in "Follies" on Broadway. After returning to BH, Douglas returned to El Rodeo Elementary, and then finished his schooling at Beverly Hills High School. While attending Santa Monica College, he was cast in The Last American Virgin (1982). After that, he decided to pursue acting, full-time... Douglas found the "Sal Dano Acting Workshop", where he was taught the craft of being a true actor. He studied with Sal for over fifteen years... In 1998, he started working on General Hospital (1963), and continued his role as Officer Hollis, for three years.

James Wellington as Longshoreman: Originally from the east coast, James Wellington spent his early adult years in the casino gambling industry. Since becoming a performer in the late 1980's he has become an established character actor with recurring roles on NYPD Blue, Young & Restless and Las Vegas with guest spots on dozens of other television productions. He is also credited with distinctive roles in films such as Mean Guns, Too Fast, Too Young and the  critically acclaimed Daydreamer with Aaron Paul. James has a strong supporting role in the feature Red Sky, directed by Mario Von Peebles and an important role in The Gambler with Mark Wahlberg. His voice credits include the lead role in the award winning animated filmThe Agitated.

Guests who appeared in other Quantum Leap episodes:
Brad Silverman also appeared in "Shock Theater", "Deliver Us From Evil", and "Mirror Image."

John D'Aquino also appeared in "Deliver Us From Evil", and "Mirror Image."

Laura Harrington also appeared in "Deliver Us From Evil" as Connie.

Ryan McWhorter
also appeared in "Deliver Us From Evil" as Corey.

Say What? 
In 1964 it was not possible to cook a pot roast in "about an hour" as Frank suggests.

A 1980's poster of Thor is seen in the bedroom.

Soap magically appears on the truck in the scene where Sam and Frank are washing the truck.

A large box looms at the edge of the dock when Corey falls in. It disappears a moment later.

Sam performs CPR incorrectly, which in a real-world scenario, could have injured Corey.

Sam didn't jump in the water to save Corey. Very out-of-character.

Quotable Quotes:
Al: There was a girl named Trudy. She was retarded, Sam. Her IQ was lower than Jimmy's. And all the kids in the neighborhood, they used to tease her. Kids can be cruel. They'd call her names, like dummy and monkey face. And I hated it. And I used to get in fights all the time over this. But that's what big brothers are for, right? My mother couldn't handle it. That's probably why she ran off with this stupid encyclopedia salesman. But my dad tried to keep us all together. And he was a construction worker. He went from job to job, and then when it took him to the Middle East, I wound up in an orphanage, and she wound up in an institution. When I was old enough, I went back there for her, but it was too late. She was gone, Sam! Pneumonia they said. How does a 16-year-old girl die from pneumonia in 1953, Sam? We're not gonna lose Jimmy! Right?

Good looking guys like us, we make women nervous.
-- Frank, "Jimmy"

Some people believe in Fate, that nothing we do, for better or for worse, can change the course of our lives - but after leaping about in time I've seen that just the opposite is true, sometimes you can right things that went wrong, and miracles can happen.
-- Sam, "Jimmy"

Man- you die cool!
-- Corey, "Jimmy"

Once upon a time in a galaxy far, far away ...
-- Sam, "Jimmy"

Don't die or you'll never see 'Star Wars'!
-- Sam, "Jimmy"

We've been having some difficulty with Ziggy, he's going through mood swings.  I think we need to get a girl computer and put it right next to him, one with a nice set of hard disks ...
You would.
-- Al and Sam, "Jimmy"


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 M. Belous & Robert Wolterstorff
Directed by:
James Whitmore, Jr.

Executive Producer: Donald P. Bellisario
Associate Producers: 
David Bellisario
Director of Photography: Michael Watkins
Production Designer: Cameron Birnie
Edited by: N. Mario Di Gregorio
Unit Production Manager: Ron Grow
First Assistant Director: Ryan Gordon
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

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 sixteenth installment of The Quantum Leap Podcast Albie and Heather discuss Season two episode eight “Jimmy”  There’s first impressions, an episode recap, thoughts and opinions, listener feedback, an amazing interview with John D’Aquino who portrayed Frank LaMotta in “Jimmy”  and Deliver Us From Evil and  a great interview with Brad Silverman  who has guest starred on Quantum Leap on four occasions. In three episodes he played the part of Jimmy LaMotta. The other, the character of Pete from the series finale Mirror Image. Also an article from Hayden McQueenie.

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