Friday, April 25, 2008

Jamie's quantum leap (or, why didn't Donny Osmond co-star with Lorne Greene?)

Eye of Polyphemus makes a quantum leap. While noting that Quantum Leap assumes that Dr. Sam Beckett can only leap within his own lifetime, Jamie states the following:

[The ION Network] aired the first season episode, “Play It Again, Sam,” an homage to film noir detective stories set on April 14, 1953....

It has been established Beckett’s birthday was August 8, 1953--four months before this episode occurred. One could consider the discrepancy a slip up because it happened in the show’s initial thirteen episode tryout. But is that really true?

Jamie then states a couple of things about show creator (and first episode writer) Donald P. Bellisario:

It is doubtful the beginning date would not have been established by [Bellisario] well before he established the date for “Play It Again, Sam.” August 8th ought to stick out well in his mind, too. It is his actual birthday.

[Bellisario] is a devout Mormon. The odds are quite good is is personally pro life. The date of “Play it again, Sam,” implies, by the show’s established rules, Beckett’s life began at conception.

Well, is the One-Eyed Guy completely blind on this topic? A set of fan fiction FAQs is inconclusive:

Can Sam Leap outside of his own lifetime?

The canon clearly says yes ("The Leap Between the States," "Play it Again Seymour," and "The Americanization of Machiko" are all set before August 8, 1953, though the latter two would fall during his mother's pregnancy, if his life is started at his conception), but most fans are a bit uncomfortable with it. The justification used in "States" was similar DNA to his great-great-grandfather, who he Leaped into.

And if Bellisario is a Mormon, it doesn't sound like he was raised one:

His father ran the tavern, where he grew up listening to the war stories of vets returning from WWII....He has been married four times, and has seven children and eight grandchildren.

However, a set of Battlestar Galactica FAQs, while noting that Bellisario wrote or directed half of the episodes, also notes the Mormon slant of the show (which is attributed to creator Glen Larson, not Bellisario). Here's a sample:

1. In Battlestar Galactica, twelve tribes of man founded the Twelve Colonies after departing from Kobol. A lost thirteenth colony colonized Earth. In The Book of Mormon, around 600 BC, the prophet Lehi took a remnant of the tribe of Joseph from Jerusalem to ancient America, during the time of the Babylonian captivity and the scattering of the twelve tribes of Israel.

2. In "Lost Planet of the Gods," it is revealed that the mankind originated on Kobol, the mother world of all humans. Kobol is a rearranging of the word Kolob, which is the star "nearest unto the throne of God" (see The Book of Abraham, Ch. 3, found in The Pearl of Great Price.) The "Star Kobol" was also the ship on which armistice talks between the Colonials and the Cylons were held.

Five other parallels are documented here.

Of course, it's entirely possible that divorced people can be pro-life. But Quantum Leap, like any other show, has had its share of factual errors:

Star-Crossed - June 15, 1972 (series 1)

When he circles around Sam and Donna, hologram Al casts a distinct shadow on both of them - a shadow that shouldn't be there. Submitted by Jean G

Disco Inferno - April 1, 1976 (series 2)

In this episode that takes place in April of 1976, everyone sits around watching an episode of Saturday Night Live with Bill Murray on it. Murray didn't join the cast until 1977.

Blind Faith - February 6, 1964 (series 2)

In the opening scene it is 1964 in New York City. A shot through Brooklyn Bridge shows the World Trade Center towers in the background. The Trade Center was not started until 1968 and not completed until 1973.

More here. It's interesting to note, though, that no one has yet claimed that the April 14, 1953 date is a "factual error."

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