3x09 "Rebel Without a Clue"

Leap Date:

September 1, 1958

Episode Adopted by: R. Joy Helvie
Additional info provided by: Steve Adams & Brian Greene


Leaping into the "Gang Clown" of a biker gang on the road, Sam must prevent the stabbing of the gang leaders' girlfriend, who Sam  believes does not belong on the open road and must be set free. A visit to Jack Kerouac, a famous American writer, might help matters...


Audio from this episode


TV Guide Synopsis
Leap Date

Name of the Person Leaped Into
Broadcast Date
Synopsis & Review

Sam Trivia
Al Trivia

Al's Women
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
Best Scene
Production Credits


Production # 66407

TV Guide Synopsis:
Sam's on the road with a '50s biker gang, which includes a chick who's hip to Jack Kerouac, but who's gonna get whacked unless Sam can help her. Becky: Josie Bissett. Dillon: Dietrich Bader. Jack Kerouac: Michael Bryan French. Ernie: Teddy Wilson. Sam: Scott Bakula.

One hour south of Big Sur, California

Leap Date:
September 1, 1958

Shane "Funny Bone" Thomas

Broadcast Date:
November 30, 1990 - Friday

Synopsis & Review:

Sam leaps into Shane "Funny Bone" Thomas (the leapee is played by Kristopher Logan) as he is riding with his motorcycle club, Cobras MC. Sam, not having ridden a motorcycle before, veers wildly (almost hitting fellow bikers) before crashing.

The club members assume that it was a joke and one of them – Mad Dog (Mark Boone Junior) – gets angry and wants a fight. The Cobras leader's girlfriend, Becky (played by Josie Bissett) convinces Dillon (Diedrich Bader) to stop Mad Dog from hurting Sam but Mad Dog still cuts Sam's fuel line. The bikers drive off to a nearby diner and tell Sam to meet them there.

Al shows up and teaches Sam enough to get by on a motorcycle. Sam is annoyed to have leapt into someone that he considers to be useless and eventually makes it to the restaurant where he finds out that Becky is destined to be stabbed to death in the next few hours. He tries to talk her out of staying with the club because of how dangerous it is but she refuses to because her home life wasn't great and she is an aspiring writer, inspired by Jack Kerouac, who said that you had to really live and travel the road to become a great writer.

Sam attempts to prevent Becky from riding off with Dillon and the other bikers but gets left behind. Ernie Tyler (Teddy Wilson), the owner of the café, can tell that Sam isn't like the other disrespectful bikers and can't understand why he rides with them. His son has been MIA in Korea even though the war is long over and he refuses to face the truth that he is dead. He makes the mistake of mentioning the cherry bike he saved for his son and the bikers lust over it. Still at the diner, Sam learns that the Cobras headed over to the spot where Becky was killed and races after them.

Becky upsets Dillon and the bikers demand to know if he's going to let her get away with it. She is nearly raped before Sam shows up and she narrowly escapes on the back of his bike. Dillon decides that they must both die and the bikers look for the pair back at Ernie's. Ernie is angry at them for sending Sam to steal his son's bike and the bikers head after Sam in the direction Ernie pointed them in. It is revealed that this is a ruse and that Sam and Becky are still at the diner.

Sam figures that this means that Becky will leave this dangerous lifestyle but Becky insists that Dillon just had a bad day and was drunk and the next day things will be fine. She says that she can't leave him and feel deeply sympathetic by how tortured he is of his own time in Korea. Ernie believes she is being a fool but agrees to let the pair stay the night and hopes that she will come to her senses by morning.

Al arrives and attempts to explain how influential Jack Kerouac is in the conformist fifties but Sam was too young to have remembered what that was like. Fortunately, Kerouac was at a cabin not far away from them and so Sam rides down to beg the writer to talk some sense into Becky. Kerouac hears Sam out but he cannot bring himself to tell Becky not to follow his advice. He doesn't feel he should be responsible for people making bad decisions and he's just trying to inspire people. Disheartened, Sam returns to the diner to find that Dillon and The Cobras have returned and the jig is up.

Dillon is especially angry because he believes that Becky and Sam slept together and they all head outside. Sam tries to protest his innocence but Dillon isn't interested. He is given the chance to fight Mad Dog but the other biker is armed with a knife. Sam still manages to defeat him. Dillon wants his turn next and Becky tries to tell him not to fight back because Dillon can't do anything (even sleep with her) without some form of resistance and Dillon smacks her for revealing that. Sam is temporarily blinded in the fight but with instructions from Al, manages to beat Dillon, too.

The police come and arrest the bikers but Becky is still determined to live her dangerous lifestyle despite Ernie offering to let her work there with him. Sam is ultimately unable to save her but Jack Kerouac himself arrives then, having had a change of heart, and tells Becky that while what he wrote was absolutely true, there are stories to be found in all sorts of things and he didn't literally mean she had to be on a road the entire time.

Becky is willing to listen to her idol and agrees to stay and work for Ernie. She becomes a famous novelist in the future and helps Ernie through the news of his son's death in two years so that he is still alive in the present instead of dying a few weeks after losing hope. Source

Personal Review by R. Joy Helvie:

I like this episode because it has some great dialogue between Scott and Dean. Also, it deals a lot with Jack Kerouac, and knowing that Dean was a beatnik, I'm sure this episode held some nice meaning to him as well.

"Jailhouse Rock" -- Elvis Presley
"The Great Pretender" -- The Platters
"Be-Bop-A-Lu-La" -- Gene Vincent

Sam Trivia:
Sam doesn't know how to ride a motorcycle.

Sam tells Ernie that he lost someone, but got him back. He is referring to saving Tom--which means he remembers saving his brother during this Leap.

Al Trivia:
Al knows tons about bikes; his "first car" was a bike. It was a '48 Harley Knucklehead.

Al is so excited about the bikes that, before he can learn what the goal of the leap may be, rushes to see Sam in order to check out the vintage bikes!

Jack Kerouac's writings--especially "On The Road"--changed Al's life. Al talks about how during 1958--his Plebe year at Annapolis--Kerouac gave a reading at St. John's College. Al and some of his friends went to the reading, and afterward they all partied into the night with Kerouac.

Al's Outfits:
1) Red dress shirt with black triangular design along the button line, black slacks with sparkly, starrish white dot design, brown belt with silver buckle black bolo tie

2) Light purple dress shirt, dark navy blue slacks, black belt, silver clip on collar, maroon and navy blue mottled vest with white buttons, white shoes, silver wristwatch

Al's Women:
Al briefly mentions the girls he would ride with way back when.

Miscellaneous Trivia:
The episode title references the James Dean film, "Rebel Without A Cause."

The credits normally shown at the beginning of the episode after the title and leap date are shown are largely missing from the HD prints on the DVD and Blu-ray copies. After Bader's on-screen credit, there are none further.

Scott Bakula learned from Diamond Farnsworth how to ride the motorcycle in about 30 minutes.

Kiss With History:
Sam meets and talks to Jack Kerouac; Kerouac in turn unwittingly helps Sam finish his Leap.

Jack Kerouac was a real person. Jean-Louis Lebris de Kérouac (March 12, 1922 – October 21, 1969), known as Jack Kerouac, was an American novelist and poet who, alongside William S. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg, was a pioneer of the Beat Generation. During World War II, he served in the United States Merchant Marine; he completed his first novel at the time, which was published more than 40 years after his death. His first published book was The Town and the City (1950), and he achieved widespread fame and notoriety with his second, On the Road, in 1957. It made him a beat icon, and he went on to publish 12 more novels and numerous poetry volumes. Kerouac is recognized for his style of stream of consciousness spontaneous prose. Thematically, his work covers topics such as his Catholic spirituality, jazz, travel, promiscuity, life in New York City, Buddhism, drugs, and poverty. He became an underground celebrity and, with other Beats, a progenitor of the hippie movement, although he remained antagonistic toward some of its politically radical elements.[8] He has a lasting legacy, greatly influencing many of the cultural icons of the 1960s, including Bob Dylan, the Beatles, Jerry Garcia and the Doors. In 1969, at the age of 47, Kerouac died from an abdominal hemorrhage caused by a lifetime of heavy drinking. Since then, his literary prestige has grown, and several previously unseen works have been published. Check out this video of an educational piece on Kerouac featuring his portrayal on Quantum Leap. The Quantum Leap segment starts at 12m16s.

Guest Cast:
Josie Bissett as Becky
Diedrich Bader as Dillon
Teddy Wilson as Ernie Tyler
Michael Bryan French as Jack Kerouac
Scott Kraft as Biker
Mark Boone Junior as Mad Dog
Joshua Cadman as Biker
Kristopher Logan as Shane “Funnybone” Thomas (Mirror image)

Guest Cast Notes:

Josie Bissett as Becky: Josie Bissett is recognized internationally for her role as the popular 'Jane Mancini' on FOX-TV's "Melrose Place," which ended its successful seven-year run in May 1999. To date, she has graced over 50 magazine covers, including such publications as TV Guide, Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, Shape's Fit Pregnancy and New Woman. She appeared for five seasons on ABC Family Channel's hit breakout teen-pregnancy drama series "The Secret Life of the American Teenager," created and executive produced by Brenda Hampton ("7th Heaven"). Josie played 'Kathleen Bowman,' mother to good girl 'Grace' (Megan Park). Josie recently starred as 'Sonia Clifton,' a veterinarian who discovers that her husband is having an affair, in telefilm "Pregnant at 17." She also had a starring role in "A Mother's Instinct," both for Lifetime. She previously starred opposite James Brolin in Hallmark Movie Channels' first-ever original holiday movie, "Christmas with Tucker," which premiered in late 2013 as part of their "Most Wonderful Movies of Christmas" new holiday initiative. "Christmas with Tucker" is the Most Watched Hallmark Movie Channel Original Premiere among HH's and W25-54 in network history! Josie also starred opposite Matthew Settle in the original Christmas film "Paper Angels," which premiered on UP TV in November 2014. On the big screen, she made her feature film debut in Oliver Stone's "The Doors," in which she played the wife of Doors' guitarist Robbie Krieger. Her subsequent films include the coming-of-age comedy "Book of Love" and the psychological thriller "Mikey." In addition to acting, Josie has hosted numerous shows. She most recently co-hosted Lifetime Television's morning talk show, "The Balancing Act." She previously hosted "Parenting & Beyond," a show that offered parents creative solutions to everyday problems, so that they can have more quality time to enjoy their family and watch their children growing up. She also hosted the PBS educational special, "Teach More, Love More," which followed four families, each with a child in one of the four critical stages of early childhood development -- newborn, infancy, toddlerhood and preschool. As host, Josie guided viewers through the program which explores the joys, fears and a myriad of questions that accompany the beginning of life. "Teach More, Love More" included interviews with nationally renowned experts such as Dr. T. Berry Brazelton. Josie has been the face of several national commercial campaigns, including Neutrogena's skin care line and Dr. Scholl's Pedicure Essentials, an entire line of 14 different products designed to pamper the feet. Additionally, she was a spokesperson for Murad Skin Care's Resurgence® Regimen, the first comprehensive line of products formulated exclusively to help revitalize and rebuild hormonally aging skin.

Diedrich Bader as Dillon
: Diedrich Bader was born in Alexandria, Virginia, but moved to Paris, France, with his family at age two. While in the "City of Light" he developed an appreciation for movie legends like Fred Astaire and Charles Chaplin. So, when a fragile "Chaplin" movie reel burned in the theater's projector, four-year-old Bader hopped on stage and entertained the crowd with an imitation of the "Little Tramp." The standing ovation he received set the course for the rest of his life--he knew he wanted to perform. He returned to the United States for high school and attended North Carolina School of the Arts. During spring break he was discovered by a casting director in Santa Fe, New Mexico. That meeting led to an audition for a small role in a TV pilot. Bader landed a starring role instead. Although the pilot wasn't picked up, Bader moved to Los Angeles and began auditioning for other roles. He landed guest spots on several series, including Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987), The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (1990), Cheers (1982) and Quantum Leap (1989). Filmmaker Penelope Spheeris liked his tongue-in-cheek delivery when he read for her action-adventure spoof series, Danger Theatre (1993). She hired him in that role and for the feature film The Beverly Hillbillies (1993), which she directed. Bader played the dual roles of twins Jethro and Jethrine Beaudine. He also filmed the political thriller The Assassination File (1996) for the Encore Entertainment Group. Bader was excited to work on the project, as it allowed him to be shot in the head -- a first for the actor. Bader's father, William, was Chief of Staff for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and is president of the Eurasia Foundation on Capitol Hill. His mother, Gretta, is a sculptor whose portrait of the late Sen. J. William Fulbright sits in the National Gallery in Washington, DC. Bader's wife is actress Dulcy Rogers; they reside in Los Angeles, CA.

Teddy Wilson as Ernie Tyler: Teddy Wilson was born on December 10, 1943 in New York City, New York, USA. He was an actor and writer, known for Good Times (1974), Blood In, Blood Out (1993) and Life Stinks (1991). He was married to Joan Pringle. He died on July 21, 1991 in Los Angeles, California, USA.

Michael Bryan French as Jack Kerouac: Michael Bryan French was born in Lackawanna, NY and raised in Elmira NY. In his early career he worked as an associate member of The Wooster Group and then moved on to work on Broadway in Neil Simon's, Biloxi Blues and Off-Broadway at The New York Shakespeare Festival, Playwrights Horizons, The Vineyard Theater and Soho Rep as well as numerous regional theaters around the country including, The Actor's Theater of Louisville, Old Globe of San Diego, Merrimack Regional Theater and many more. After moving to Los Angeles in 1990, his performance emphasis turned to TV and Film before returning to his NY roots in 2010.

Scott Kraft as Biker: Scott Kraft is known for PAW Patrol (2013), Fresh Beat Band of Spies (2015) and Rolie Polie Olie (1998). He has been married to Nadine Van der Velde since 1992. They have two children.

Mark Boone Junior as Mad Dog: Mark Boone Junior was born on March 17, 1955 in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA. He is an actor and producer, known for Memento (2000), 30 Days of Night (2007) and Batman Begins (2005). Is frequently cast in the films of good friend Steve Buscemi. Played corrupt cops in three films: 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003), Full Clip (2004) and Batman Begins (2005). He is of German, Scottish, and English descent. Plays a member of a bike gang in both Sons of Anarchy (2008) and an episode of Quantum Leap (1989). At the 2013 Abu Dhabi Film Festival, while promoting the festival opener "Life of Crime" he stated that while he is not much of a comic book reader, he is proud of "Batman Begins", and said that he appreciates them when they are done well. Daniel Schechter, director of "Life of Crime", is a huge fan of "Batman Begins".

Joshua Cadman as Biker: Joshua Cadman was born on November 12, 1955 in the USA. He is an actor, known for The Sure Thing (1985), Goin' All the Way! (1981) and Surf II (1983).

Kristopher Logan as Shane “Funnybone” Thomas (Mirror image): Kristopher Logan was born on November 30, 1960 in San Diego, California, USA. He is an actor, known for Demolition Man (1993), Star Trek: Generations (1994) and The Dead Pool (1988).

Guests Who Appeared In Other Episodes of Quantum Leap:
Teddy Wilson also played Jimmy Grady in "Pool Hall Blues"

Say What?
In Sci-Fi Channel's syndicut of the episode, they showed the first two guest cast names at the beginning, then cut out all the other opening credits.

Diedrich Bader's first name is spelled "Dietrich" in the opening credits and in the TV Guide advertisement.

The Imaging Chamber door doesn't make the opening sound when Al first appears.

Quotable Quotes:

Don't tell me you were a biker, too.I like this episode because it has some great dialogue between Scott and Dean. Also, it deals a lot with Jack Kerouac, and knowing that Dean was a beatnik, I'm sure this episode held some nice meaning to him as well.
My first car was a bike, I had a '48 Harley Knucklehead.
Named after you?
I'll pretend you didn't say that.
-- Sam and Al, "Rebel Without a Clue"

Is there anything you haven't done, Al?
Well there's one thing that's impossible to do on a bike.
-- Sam and Al, "Rebel Without a Clue"

Have you ever lost anybody?
Yeah, but I got him back.
-- Ernie Tyler and Sam, "Rebel Without a Clue"

Free love, I can see why he was *your* hero.
-- Sam to Al, "Rebel Without a Clue"

On the wheel of life we all go around we are many people at many times.
-- Jack Kerouac, "Rebel Without a Clue"

This was my first leap back as a dirtball.
-- Sam, "Rebel Without a Clue"

You never know what's around the next corner.
Probably a head-on with a semi.
-- Al and Sam, "Rebel Without a Clue"

I gotta sit down and slip into a coma.
-- Sam, "Rebel Without a Clue"

The fifties were conformist, materialistic, repressive, boring and stupid.
-- Al, "Rebel Without a Clue"

Sam's Best Line:
SAM: Don't tell me you were a biker, too?
AL: Uh, well, my first car was a bike. I had a '49 Harley Knucklehead.
SAM: Named after you?
AL: I'll pretend you didn't say that.

Al's Best Line:
SAM: Is there anything you *haven't* done, Al?
AL: Well, there's one thing that's impossible to do on a bike.

Best Scene:
I love it when Al is talking to Sam about "On The Road". It really feels that it was more of Dean talking rather than Al.

Production Credits:

Theme by: Mike Post
Music by: Velton Ray Bunch
Co-Executive Producer: Deborah Pratt
Co-Executive Producer: Michael Zinberg
Supervising Producers: Harker Wade
Co-producers: Paul  Brown, Jeff Gourson
Produced by: Chris Ruppenthal
Created by: Donald P. Bellisario
Teleplay: Randy Holland & Paul Brown
Story: Nick Harding & Paul Brown

Directed by: 
James Whitmore, Jr.

Executive Producer: Donald P. Bellisario
Associate Producer: 
James S. Giritlian
Executive Story Editor: Tommy Thompson

Director of Photography: Bradley B. Six, A.S.C.
Production Designer: Cameron Birnie
Edited by: Robert E. Pew
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
Sound Editor: Paul Clay
Music Editor: Donald Woods

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 © 1990 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


It’s ahead full-throttle in the thirty-ninth installment of The Quantum Leap Podcast, as we rev up for season three, episode eight, Rebel Without A Clue.

Join hosts Albie and Heather as they discuss Sam’s Leap into biker-gang clown Shane “Funny Bone” Thomas, where he must rescue an idealistic young woman named Becky from being murdered by abusive gang leader Dillon. Desperate to save her, Sam enlists the help of iconic Beat Generation poet Jack Kerouac.

Then stick around for an interview with the actor who played Kerouac, Michael Bryan French. Michael talks with Albie about his long acting career, and what it was like to work on the show.

There’s also a new Quantum Deep segment from Hayden McQueenie, Radio Sightings by Christopher DeFilippis, episode trivia, and more–including a huge announcement about the rediscovered lost ending of the series finale Mirror Image!

00:00:01: Intro
00:02:20: First Impressions
00:06:25: Episode Recap
00:13:17: Main Discussion
00:49:13: Michael Bryan French Interview
01:06:53: Quantum Retrieval: Teaser
01:07:36: TOTLB Promo
01:09:23: Vintage Audio–Behind the Scenes at Quantum Leap
01:15:11: Scott Bakula ID
01:15:17: Quantum Leap Radio Sightings: “How The Tess Was Won”
01:20:10: Quantum Deep: Al Calavicci: Legend or Liar?
01:38:07: Trivia with Albie and Hayden
01:48:52: News–Mirror Image Lost Ending Found!
01:57:32: Feedback
02:01:50: On The Next Episode: A Little Miracle
02:04:38: Credits
02:05:53: Bloopers

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