DeFlip Side #188: A Bold New Leap

DeFlip Side #188: A Bold New Leap.mp3

Welcome everyone. I’m Christopher DeFilippis and this is DeFlip Side.

It’s hard to believe, but 2018 marks the 20th Anniversary of my debut on Destinies: The Voice of Science Fiction. It was back in February 1998 that I first sat in the old WUSB studios with Howard to discuss my then new Quantum Leap novel, Foreknowledge.

I became a show regular shortly thereafter, and in the time since I’ve had a blast here on DeFlip Side, geeking out with you all on Science Fiction, science fact and all things nerdy and genre in between.

Which is why I find it especially surreal to be here, two decades later, going back to where it all began — with a bold new Leap in my audio adventures.

I’m proud to announce that I’ve become a new regular host on the Quantum Leap Podcast. You can now hear me twice a month, talking about how Dr. Sam Beckett put right what once went wrong, as my co-hosts and I continue the podcast’s episode-by-episode analysis of the cult classic TV series.

As for those co-hosts, I couldn’t ask for better. Let’s start with Allison Pregler. Allison is a long-time Quantum Leap fan and the host of her own You Tube series Movie Nights, featuring her hilarious take on so-bad-they’re-good movies. Also, she recently made what is arguably the most significant discovery in Quantum Leap fandom ever. More on that in a second.

My other co-host is Matt Dale, the man who literally wrote the book on Quantum Leap. Matt is the author of Beyond The Mirror Image: An Observer’s Guide to Quantum Leap, a massive 800+ page encyclopedia featuring just about everything there is to know about the show. Well, almost everything. Which brings us back to Allison’s discovery.

Fair warning – all of this centers on the Quantum Leap series finale “Mirror Image,” so if you’re afraid of spoilers, you may want to skip ahead a bit. Anyway, as every fan knows, Quantum Leap ended with Sam saving Al’s marriage to his first wife Beth. Then a title card comes up saying that Al and Beth would soon be celebrating their 40th Wedding Anniversary – and oh yeah, by the way, Dr. Sam Beckett never returned home.

It was an ending that shocked, saddened and angered many fans. And in the years since, a couple of alternate production scripts popped up that showed that there might have been more to the story. Namely, another ending where Al and Beth are together back at Project Quantum Leap in the wake of Sam’s disappearance, talking about how Al is going to find Sam and bring him home. There’s even another version where Al winds up Leaping himself — into the far future — in his quest to find Sam.

For years, fans have asked show creator Don Bellisario if the scenes were ever filmed and where he intended to go with all this. But Don has said that the scenes were never shot, and even that they never existed, despite those production scripts. It left fans baffled for years — until Allison Pregler came along.

In pursuing her Quantum Leap fandom, Allison bought a ton of old behind-the-scenes set photos from Quantum Leap. And as she went through the hundreds of negatives, she found something huge — well, huge for us Leapers anyway: photographic evidence of those legendary scenes. She uncovered dozens of shots of Dean Stockwell on set as Al, with his TV wife Susan Diol who played Beth. Judging by some of the on-set props, which were featured prominently in “Mirror Image,” and Susan being made up to look older, it could be nothing else.

Now enter Quantum Leap Podcast creator and host Albert Burdge. I’ve been a somewhat regular contributor to the podcast for the last couple of years, and when Albie found out about all this, he asked me to host a special episode with Allison, to talk about her discovery. And that’s when I reached out to Matt Dale, to use his Quantum Leap expertise to help us put this into a broader historical context.

And a funny thing happened. When we got on mic, we all just clicked. Albie, who has had to step back from the podcast recently, asked us to host a couple of more shows and now it’s official. And Allison, Matt and I are having a blast.

Admittedly, we’re a little late to the party. As we take up the reigns, the podcast has reached the middle of Quantum Leap’s third season. And while it’s kind of strange to be starting so late in the series run, I’m not too upset. Because we’ll soon be diving into some of the show’s most iconic episodes.

And we invite you to join the fun. Subscribe to the Quantum Leap Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, GooglePlay or whatever else the kids are using to listen to podcasts these days. You can also visit the show’s website at QuantumLeapPodcast.com. And you can find links to the latest episode on right here on my website.

And in case you need just a little bit more to enticement, our “Mirror Image” discovery show had a very special guest: Susan Diol, who played Beth. It was amazing to talk with her as she saw Allison’s photos for the first time and started to remember that day on the set. It was one of the most pure fan thrills I’ve ever experienced.

In fact, this whole experience has been kinda surreal — to be back so suddenly and so solidly in Quantum Leap fandom, decades after I first took the plunge. It has me feeling like Sam Beckett, Leaping back within my own lifetime to reconnect with a very special part of my past. And that reconnection has opened a door to an exciting new future. I hope you’ll all join me as I make my next Leap.

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