Quantum Leaping
Through History

Quantum Leap covered four decades between the 1950's and the 1980's as well as a leap into the Civil War period! Here are all the encounters with real-life history!

Watch the special feature
"A Kiss With History" on
The Complete First Season DVD!








  • The neurotic kid in the airport near the end of "Play it Again, Seymour" was supposed to be a young Woody Allen in April, 1953. In actuality, Woody was 18 years old in 1953.



  • In the scene before we find out that Sam has disappeared in "Sea Bride," the public announcement system says, "Paging Mrs. Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret Thatcher." (Margaret Thatcher became the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in 1979.)

  • Once again as a famous person, Sam leaps into Elvis Presley just two days before he gets discovered on July 5th. (Memphis Melody)
  • Also in Memphis Melody, Sam is waiting with Al to go onstage when we hear the announcer say "Now come on, let's give a hand to little Billy C. all the way from Hope, Arkansas!" This is of course Bill Clinton, the former president of the United States. However, the writers must have overlooked the fact that Bill didn't change his last name from Blythe to Clinton until he was 15 years old. He was 8 years old in this episode. Watch a video of this scene here.





  • A new manned flight altitude record of 126,200 ft. was set by Capt. Iven C. Kincheloe flying the Bell X-2 in 1956. The show (Genesis) portrayed the X-2 breaking Mach 3 but in reality it was an X-3 aircraft that broke the barrier.

  • Sam started idea for Trivial Pursuit (Genesis)

  • Sam gives a young Buddy Holly the lyrics to Peggy Sue. (How the Tess was Won)

  • When Sam is in the Bermuda Triangle, Al tells him that the ship "Cyclops" disappeared in 1918... 26 years before the co-pilot was supposedly picked up by it in 1944. (Ghost Ship)




  • As a cab driver, Sam meets a young Donald Trump and his father, while giving the boy the idea for Trump Tower in New York. (It's A Wonderful Leap)
  • In September, Sam meets writer Jack Kerouac. (Rebel Without a Clue)





  • On April 4th, 1960, Sam tries to prevent the death of Marilyn Monroe. She actually died two years later in August of 1962. (Good-bye, Norma Jean)

  • On May 14th, 1960 and American spy plane was shot down over Soviet airspace. Al tries to convince Sam to change that event in "Honeymoon Express."



  • On January 31, 1961, (one week after this episode takes place) Ham the chimp blasted off from Cape Canaveral and traveled 157 miles in a Mercury capsule before splashing down in the Atlantic ocean. Three months later the first American human, Alan Shepard, followed him into space. (The Wrong Stuff)

  • Sam meets a three year-old Michael Jackson in the bathroom in June and teaches him the moonwalk. (Camikazi Kid)



  • In October 1962, the Cuban Missile Crisis was going on. (Nuclear Family)



  • Sam meets Sylvester Stallone and gives him an idea for "Rocky" in the episode "Leap of Faith."

  • Sam leaps into Lee Harvey Oswald. (Lee Harvey Oswald)



  • February 7th, 1964 - The Beatles arrived at JFK airport in New York (Blind Faith)

  • February 9th, 1964 - The Beatles performed on 'The Ed Sullivan Show' for the first time. (Blind Faith)

  • President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Bill into law on July 3, 1964, the day before Sam leaped into Butchie. (Runaway)

  • Sam meets horror novelist Stephen King on October 31st, 1964 and gives him the ideas for Carrie, Cujo, and Christine. He would have been 19 years-old in the episode. (The Boogiem*n)



  • On August 11th, Sam leaps into the Watts riots in "Black and White On Fire."

  • Doctor Zhivago" is playing at the cinema when Sam and Frankie's family walks down the street. Dr Zhivago was one of the biggest films of 1965. (Double Identity)

  • The Great Northeast Blackout of 1965 took place on November 9th. Double Identity reveals that the power outage was started by a hairdryer.





  • On October 20, several hundred people marched to the Justice Department in Washington DC to turn in a thousand draft cards. On October 21, thousands of people demonstrate against the Vietnam war in Washington DC. The coordinator was Jerry Rubin (co-founder with Abbie Hoffman of the anarchist radical 'Youth International Party'). Sam Beckett refers to Hoffman in the episode "Animal Frat."



  • Hurricane Camille hits the Gulf Coast on August 17th, 1969. (Hurricane)



  • California's Sylmar quake. It was the worst recorded quake in the city's history. Heaviest death toll was in San Fernando Valley, epicenter of the jolting.  Scientists at California Institute of Technology said the quake measured 6.5 on the Richter scale. (Portrait For Troian)



  • Sam enters the Watergate Hotel on June 23rd during the Nixon controversy. (Star-Crossed)



  • Sam performs the Heimlich Maneuver on Dr. Henry J. Heimlich, thus giving the doctor the idea, which he publishes that year. (Thou Shalt Not)



  • Sam bets on the event where Gerald Ford trips coming off of an airplane ramp in "Disco Inferno."



  • Sam leaps into noted sex therapist Dr. Ruth Westheimer. (Dr. Ruth)

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