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alsplacebartender 02-18-2003 01:57 PM

308 The Great Spontini
 
The Great Spontini
May 9, 1974


Oakland, California


As a traveling amateur magician raising a daughter alone, Sam must find a way to keep the daughter from being taken by her mother when she returns three years after abandoning the family. In order to do that, Sam has to perform a deadly magic trick in order to get the money he needs to buy a permanent home for them. But when his daughter attempts the trick in desperation, it may mean the end of her life.


Written by: Cristy Dawson & Beverly Bridges
Directed by: James Whitmore, Jr.


Rate and comment on this episode!

Vince Beckett 10-05-2005 10:49 PM

This was an ok episode. Didn't stand out that much, but still good.

Sam Beckett Fan 02-23-2006 03:51 PM

this episode i can mildly relate to. it shows how divorce can be tough on a child of an old enough age. unlike Jamie however, i was onlny three when my parents decided they just didn't have anymore in common and things were not working out, or rather my mom decided it and took off, but not intentionally. i relate becasue even though there was no nasty custidy battle for me because my parents got a long quote beautifully, and i don't remember anything of the divorce events, i still have had a tough time coping with it, as i never much saw my father often as i grew older in the elementary years, until it came to now when i was only seeing him once a week for lunch or dinner depending, up until his unexpected death on october 5, 2005. i understand how it sucks to have split parents becasue i was the only one of my friends. plus it was great to see how Sam faught so hard for her, and agianst Steve and the curtina things he said to steve about Maggie and Jamie still being his family no matter what and no lawyer had the right to take that away, and keep him away from them.

Snish 05-22-2007 07:24 PM

Just wanted to add some trivia about this episode...

It's based on an episode of The Magician, called "The Illusion of the Evil Spikes." "Evil spikes" refers to the Table of Death illusion that Sam was going to do to get on the show. In the actual episode, Bill Bixby did the trick himself (he did all of his character's magic tricks on the show). The date of May 9 is too late, though--the episode had already been broadcast on April 15, 1974, so it's much too late for The Great Spontini to be part of the filming.

I'm guessing that this episode was written by a couple of Magician fans--they're not regular QL writers. I happen to be a fan of Bill Bixby too, so I see this ep. as a nice little homage to him. He was still alive when they made it. I hope he knew about it, and I'll bet he got a good laugh out of the crack about "Incredible Hulk."

isz 07-25-2007 04:53 PM

It was only an Average episode,in my opinion,but i still liked this episode very much. I don't know it had this...magic.:)

Sam Beckett Fan 08-17-2007 02:37 PM

I have this song on my comp that makes me think of Maggie, its really pretty.

Listen To Your HeartI know there�s something in the wake of your smile
I get a notion from the look in your eyes, yeah
you�ve built a love but that love falls apart
your little piece of heaven turns too dark

listen to your heart
when he�s calling for you
listen to your heart
there�s nothing else you can do
I don�t know where you�re going
and I don�t know why
but listen to your heart
before you tell him goodbye

sometimes you wonder if this fight is worthwhile
the precious moments are all lost in the tide, yeah
they�re swept away and nothing is what is seems
the feeling of belonging to your dreams

listen to your heart
when he�s calling for you
listen to your heart
there�s nothing else you can do
I don�t know where you�re going
and I don�t know why
but listen to your heart
before you tell him goodbye

and there are voices
that want to be heard
so much to mention
but you can�t find the words
the scent of magic
the beauty that�s been
when love was wilder than the wind

listen to your heart
when he�s calling for you
listen to your heart
there�s nothing else you can do
I don�t know where you�re going
and I don�t know why
but listen to your heart
before you tell him goodbye

Listen to your heart....mm..mmm

I don�t know where you�re going
and I don�t know why
but listen to your heart
before you tell him goodbye

Sam's Crow 07-13-2008 03:45 AM

This episode had its moments, I loved the bit where Al was just lying on the "table of death".

ohboy 07-13-2008 11:00 AM

That lawyer made me mad throughout the show. Oh, and I agree with Sam's Crow. The part where Al was on the table of death was hilarious! Even funnier, though, was the look on Sam's face. :lol

Janna Galaxy 07-15-2008 05:32 PM

Personally, I love the bit when the handlink "dies" :D

ohboy 07-15-2008 05:44 PM

Oh, that was funny. Not so much that it died, but does anyone else remeber those children's toys where a person would push down on a lever, and a circle full of animals would spin, and where ever it stopped, the sound of that animal would be heard? It really reminded me of that :roflmao:Not that they all sounded like animals, but because it was sort of random.

Sam's Crow 07-15-2008 11:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Janna Galaxy
Personally, I love the bit when the handlink "dies" :D

That was an other funny part of it. Mind you, he was beating the hell out of it.:crash

Trudy 01-20-2012 05:51 AM

Just finished re-watching this episode and I'm disappointed for a couple of reasons:

1. Sam gets together with Spontini's ex.
This bothered me to some degree because he was emphasizing how he could make a great single father; I thought it would have been interesting for him to be a single father. The fact he got together with the ex was incredibly predictable, too; can't we have a good ending where not everything is neatly wrapped up in one nice package?

2. Another episode where Sam is a jerk to Al.
I guess having recently re-watched "MIA" and "Leap Home" Parts One and Two, I might be more sensitive to Sam being a jerk than I might normally. It feels like whenever Al questions Sam or disagrees with him that Sam has to snark off and bring up some part of his past to throw in his face. His remark about Al's mother is totally uncalled for, and Sam never, ever apologizes for it. That bothers me, especially when Al's so willing to give so much up for Sam's behalf.

Lightning McQueenie 01-21-2012 06:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Janna Galaxy (Post 42994)
Personally, I love the bit when the handlink "dies" :D

I have a feeling that this episode must have originally been shown later than was intended, because it is this moment when the handlink is supposed to permanently change, yet he uses the gummy bear handlink in a few earlier episodes...

Trudy 01-21-2012 06:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lightning McQueenie (Post 58906)
I have a feeling that this episode must have originally been shown later than was intended, because it is this moment when the handlink is supposed to permanently change, yet he uses the gummy bear handlink in a few earlier episodes...

Wow, didn't actually notice this. Nice catch!

OhBoy4 06-22-2012 10:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Snish (Post 31903)
Just wanted to add some trivia about this episode...

It's based on an episode of The Magician, called "The Illusion of the Evil Spikes." "Evil spikes" refers to the Table of Death illusion that Sam was going to do to get on the show. In the actual episode, Bill Bixby did the trick himself (he did all of his character's magic tricks on the show). The date of May 9 is too late, though--the episode had already been broadcast on April 15, 1974, so it's much too late for The Great Spontini to be part of the filming.

I'm guessing that this episode was written by a couple of Magician fans--they're not regular QL writers. I happen to be a fan of Bill Bixby too, so I see this ep. as a nice little homage to him. He was still alive when they made it. I hope he knew about it, and I'll bet he got a good laugh out of the crack about "Incredible Hulk."

My problem with the crack was (and they wouldn't have been aware of this in 1974, I know) Bill Bixby didn't portray the Hulk. He played Dr. David Bruce Banner. Lou Ferrigno was our ill-tempered green friend and Dr. Banner's alter ego.

iMonrey 08-28-2013 03:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lightning McQueenie (Post 58906)
I have a feeling that this episode must have originally been shown later than was intended, because it is this moment when the handlink is supposed to permanently change, yet he uses the gummy bear handlink in a few earlier episodes...

Yes, I was going to point out the same thing. I think we had already seen the "gummy bear" handlink in Black on White on Fire, the previous episode. I'd been looking for it to make its debut, and it makes sense to show up first here, because Al "kills" the old one.

Also, there's a blooper: when Al is in the trailer, he's holding the older version of the handlink, which had already died; and when he centers on Jamie backstage at the club, he's suddenly holding the "gummy bear" version.

Lightning McQueenie 08-30-2013 11:27 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by iMonrey (Post 60066)
Yes, I was going to point out the same thing. I think we had already seen the "gummy bear" handlink in Black on White on Fire, the previous episode. I'd been looking for it to make its debut, and it makes sense to show up first here, because Al "kills" the old one.

Also, there's a blooper: when Al is in the trailer, he's holding the older version of the handlink, which had already died; and when he centers on Jamie backstage at the club, he's suddenly holding the "gummy bear" version.

While on the subject of handlinks, it's interesting to note that at the Project, they actually manage to repair the dead handlink, because we see Gooshie using it in Lee Harvey Oswald :)

Donofrio_QLTD 09-15-2013 10:54 PM

Good episode but nothing special, in my opinion. It was fun to watch, either way. Love every time something pops out of Sam's hands. My favorite part, aside from Ziggy "dying", was when Sam took off his jacket and many things that came out from it were dropped on the floor. Quite hilarious.

My favorite character was of course Jamie. I found her actually quite relatable and engaging. Maggie and her lawyer fiance were both very annoying and one-dimensional, and didn't like the ending at all. It seemed so rushed to me and quite conventional and predictable, even for QL standards, and there were times in this episode where it seemed that Sam was not written very well, either. I love the work of Beverly Bridges, even though she was not so regular, but for her first episode she started off just fine.

I always thought that the actress who played Jamie at that time would've made a great Arcadia "Arkady" Darell if they ever made a movie out of "Second Foundation", the third and last book from the "Foundation" series by Isaac Asimov. She was a great character there. Brilliant, intelligent, playful, sneaky, etc., and I don't know why but when I read that book I couldn't help but picture that actress every time Arkady appeared.

The Table Of Death was quite inspiring for some suspense/horror stories I wrote when I was 17. I had never heard of it until I saw this episode.

My rating: Average.

blue enigma 09-15-2013 11:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Donofrio_QLTD (Post 60257)
My favorite character was of course Jamie. I found her actually quite relatable and engaging. Maggie and her lawyer fiance were both very annoying and one-dimensional, and didn't like the ending at all. It seemed so rushed to me and quite conventional and predictable, even for QL standards, and there were times in this episode where it seemed that Sam was not written very well, either. I love the work of Beverly Bridges, even though she was not so regular, but for her first episode she started off just fine.

Yeah, I liked Jamie, too, and the girl who played her did a good job. With only a couple of exceptions I thought they did a good job casting kids throughout the series.

I agree that Maggie and her lawyer were one-dimensional, especially her lawyer, but I'm curious: what did you feel was off about Sam? I'll have to watch it again, but I don't remember getting that impression. There's one scene where he says something to Al about his mother that's kind of hitting below the belt -- is that the part you're talking about?

Donofrio_QLTD 09-15-2013 11:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by blue enigma (Post 60258)
Yeah, I liked Jamie, too, and the girl who played her did a good job. With only a couple of exceptions I thought they did a good job casting kids throughout the series.

I agree that Maggie and her lawyer were one-dimensional, especially her lawyer, but I'm curious: what did you feel was off about Sam? I'll have to watch it again, but I don't remember getting that impression. There's one scene where he says something to Al about his mother that's kind of hitting below the belt -- is that the part you're talking about?

Oh, yeah, definitely. That's one, but most of the time throughout this episode I found him a bit too high-toned towards Al, like Al didn't deserve the land Sam was walking on. That changed towards the ending, but I saw this a lot at the beginning. Glad this character approach was dropped after this ep.

blue enigma 09-15-2013 11:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Donofrio_QLTD (Post 60259)
Oh, yeah, definitely. That's one, but most of the time throughout this episode I found him a bit too high-toned towards Al, like Al didn't deserve the land Sam was walking on.

Yeah, I get you. Sam could be self-righteous at times -- that's one of his main character flaws I think -- he definitely was in the scene I mentioned. Although it wasn't a constant thing I think he got that way several times with Al, especially in the fourth and fifth seasons, though maybe it was toned down a little. Stand Up is actually one episode where I definitely picked this up, which is another reason why I couldn't warm up to that episode.

Donofrio_QLTD 09-16-2013 04:23 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by blue enigma (Post 60260)
Yeah, I get you. Sam could be self-righteous at times -- that's one of his main character flaws I think -- he definitely was in the scene I mentioned. Although it wasn't a constant thing I think he got that way several times with Al, especially in the fourth and fifth seasons, though maybe it was toned down a little. Stand Up is actually one episode where I definitely picked this up, which is another reason why I couldn't warm up to that episode.

Yeah, every time I saw that in Sam it made me think "WHAT is his problem?" Sam is NOT perfect himself. In fact, he's far from that. One of the reasons I'm more fond of Al. He's more Down-to-Earth, in my opinion.

blue enigma 09-16-2013 10:18 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Donofrio_QLTD (Post 60273)
He's more Down-to-Earth, in my opinion.

That's a good description. With Al it really is 'what you see is what you get' for the most part. I think this is part of why they compliment each other so well, though. Al's groundedness keeps Sam's head from getting completely lost in the clouds.

Sam Beckett Fan 10-02-2013 01:45 AM

This is a sweet episode with a wonderful father/daughter bond.
Jamie Spontini is a well written, likable character; a strong minded, take charge kid who knows what she wants and doesn't allow herself to be pushed around.
The situation was well written and believable, somewhat like in Mrs. Doubtfire. Father with unstable home environment and employment automatically written off as unfit parent.

Honestly I don't believe any episode nozzle (to use Al's word lol) in this series pisses me off like that attorney does and no less with each time I watch. The bastard was clearly searching for excuses to make a man he doesn't even know out to be a bad guy or threaten to take away visitation rights for no damn reason. In the scene where Sam nearly got into a brawl with him I wish he would have freaking broke his nose!

The mother kinda of irritated me as well with the whole "I had no choice" bit. Now I am no expert and we of course don't know the nature of her living conditions immediately after leaving the family however when my mother left my father she ended up living with her parents, my grandparents for at least a year yet she had me with her. I was three years old. So I find it hard to imagine Maggie being unable to have an 8 year old with her where ever she ended up especially since it's pretty clear that she had planned to come back for Jamie.
In fact the claim that Harry's living conditions were inappropriate should have also worked against her because she left the child in said conditions. Reckless abandonment right there.
Though as I said since we don't know what her circumstances were this is just a rough assessment. The backstory there has a blank space in it where the possibility could easily fit. Either way she left of her own accord (not kidnapped or the child verbally threatened) regardless of the fact that her reason was understandable and even more so she left Jamie behind. Both were choices she made.
Best line in the episode:
"I didn't walk out on my daughter."
Well said Sam.

Another favorite aspect of this leap besides the father/daughter relationship is Sam's refusal to settle for the expected minimal success when there was clearly an additional opportunity presenting itself. He could tell from the beginning that these two people were still in love and couldn't ignore that.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Donofrio_QLTD
but most of the time throughout this episode I found him a bit too high-toned towards Al, like Al didn't deserve the land Sam was walking on.

Would you mind elaborating, what's the instance you feel this way about? I am not following. Though I did feel that the comment about Al's mother was a bit below the belt and certainly unnecessary. Where did that come from Sam? Not cool!

Honestly Sam is quite a bit unfair and selfish towards Al such as with Beth in M.I.A (however not without regret). Though any character, especially one like Sam who has barely been shown to have a hint of darkness (which is in heavy contrast to second Leaper Alia who was more evenly distributed) would not be believable if not flawed in some way.
Personally I find the brilliance of their team in the fact that they are exact opposites in practically every way. It's because of this that they compliment each other so beautifully and of course are so hilarious.

So whatever it is you are referring to it's no doubt a necessary character flaw.

Donofrio_QLTD 10-03-2013 05:25 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sam Beckett Fan (Post 60522)


Would you mind elaborating, what's the instance you feel this way about? I am not following.

...

So whatever it is you are referring to it's no doubt a necessary character flaw.

Sure. What I mentioned before. Sam in fact DOES have flaws. It happened sometimes that he was so focused on doing the "right" and the "moral" thing that he immediately discarded any comments or visions from Al, even if they were for the better. Kind of what happened in "Good Night, Dear Heart", when Al points out that Sam is getting a bit too obsessed with all the Hilla movies, and he just keeps going. Or in "The Leap Home", the "don't give me that crap, Al" line when he tells him that maybe he wasn't there to save his family. Sometimes, and mostly during this season and in this particular episode as well, I found Sam not being a very good listener, except for the most important things (talking about life and death). Also, and I don't know exactly why, but he gave me the impression that sometimes he kept judging Al for his past, for the way he lived it. The comment on his mother stems away from this self-centeredness and from his (mistaken) notion that he had the word on what was best for the life of everybody. It also happens in "Dreams" at some point. He overlooks Al's opinions and Al just has to give in. I know Al is not perfect, either, and sometimes he's going to be wrong, too, but I'm talking about the reaction from Sam. It's almost as if he hates being wrong or proven wrong because he always has to be right about everything. A major flaw and one of the things I dislike about him. I disagree it's a "necessary" flaw. It's a subtlety I don't particularly enjoy. Understandable, maybe, but not exactly necessary. It's probably just another way for Sam to continue learning... So 90's, if you ask me. :b


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