"Catch A Falling Star"

Leap Date:

May 21, 1979

Episode adopted by: Gelfling1220


As an understudy for the lead role in "Man of LaMancha", Sam must prevent the star of the show from falling off a balcony onstage and ruining his career.

He also encounters his old piano teacher from his boyhood and gets to have the romance he always wanted years ago.


Audio from this episode


Leap Date

Project Date
Name of the Person Leaped Into

Music Artists
Project Trivia
Sam Trivia
Al Trivia

Al's Women
Al's Outfits Worn in the Episode

Miscellaneous Trivia
Kiss with History

Broadcast Date
Guest Stars
Guest Cast Notes
Guests who appeared in other Quantum Leap episodes
Cast members who have passed away
Personal Review
Best Lines
Best Scenes
Say what? (things in the episode that make no sense)
Quotable Quotes




Place: Syracuse NY

Leap Date: May 21, 1979

Name of the Person Leaped Into: Ray Hutton

"I am I, Don Quixote", "Duclinea", "What does he Want of Me?" "The Impossible Dream"

Sam Trivia:
Sam took piano lessons at the age of 15, where he had his first case of "puppy love" for Nicole, the piano teacher

First time Sam’s appreciation for tea, specifically Orange Spice, is mentioned

Sam listened to "Man of La Mancha" while building PQL

Al Trivia: Al used the theater as an outlet when he was at the orphanage. "Other kids, they went into boxing or they studied or they stole, I thought I’d give the theater a try"

Miscellaneous Trivia (how many times Al popped in and scared Sam, how many cigars Al smoked, etc):
Another play considered for this episode was "My Fair Lady", but was rejected in favor of the Sam and Al/ Don Quixote and Sancho metaphor and the message of the Impossible Dream


Al's Outfits Worn in the Episode:
White Suit, black shirt, and multi-color tie

Wild print shirt with silver highlights, orange pants, black suspenders, black fedora, black bolo tie

Lavender shirt, black vest with purple swirls/paisley print, pink tie with purple markings, pale pink pants

Writers: Paul Brown

Director: Donald P Bellisario


Supervising Producers:
Deborah Pratt
Paul M. Belous
Robert Wolterstorff

Paul Brown
Jeff Gourson
Chris Ruppenthal

Marker Wade


Broadcast Date: December 6th, 1989

Regular Cast: Scott Bakula, Dean Stockwell

Guest Stars
John O'Malley - John Cullum
Nicole - Michele Pawk
Michelle - Janine Turner
Manny - Ernie Sabella
Charlie - Paul Sand
Dolores - Myra Turley
Anita - Maria Lauren


Guest Cast Notes (interesting things you've discovered about those who appeared in the episode):
Ernie Sabella, most well known for playing Pumbaa the warthog in the Lion King, reprised his role as Sancho in the 2002 revival of Man of La Mancha on Broadway.


Sam leaps into Ray Hutton, touring actor and understudy to the Syracuse rendition of "Man of La Mancha". His job, it seems, is to keep the leading man, John O’Malley from ruining his career by falling offstage in a drunken stupor. Sam, however, has a different idea when he learns that the new girl hired to understudy the role of Dulcinea is his former piano teacher and childhood crush, Nicole. For Sam, it is a chance to have the romance he never could have. Noticing that Sam/Ray has turned his romantic attentions to the new girl, the jealous leading lady Michelle concocts a scheme that makes it seem as though Nicole has been having a fling with John. Heartbroken, Sam is caught in a dilemma: can he bring himself to save the man who ruined his relationship? And can he forgive Nicole? Come show time on the crucial night, John, as predicted, falls off stage… but is caught by a begrudging Sam. John turns over the role to Sam/Ray for the first time and Sam goes out to perform with Nicole, making his peace. The play ends and the spirit of Don Quixote fills Sam as he leaps out.


Personal Review:
This is one of the "Classic" episodes of the series. The Music! The Acting! "The roar of the greasepaint, the smell of the crowd!" Among other wonderful things highlighted in this episode is the bond between Sam and Al, particularly in the context of Don Quixote and Sancho – the wandering knight and his best friend, companion and advisor. The story with Nicole shows that even though Sam will always do the right thing no matter how it hurts him, he is also a true human being in being capable of having flaws such as jealousy. Ultimately, it’s hard not to be moved by the music or the message of the impossible dream!


Best Lines:

"What matter wounds to the body of a knight errant? For each time he falls he shall rise again and woe to the wicked…Al!"

"Here your grace"

"My armor, my sword!"

"More misadventures?"

"Adventures, old friend"

~ Sam and Al


What do you want of me?

What do you want of her?



I’m with her.

~Nicole/Dulcinea, Al and Sam


You’re out of control, Sam

In case you haven’t noticed, Al, it’s been a long time since I’ve been in control

You know what I mean! You can’t tell anyone who you really are; you can’t change your personal history, you can’t-

I can’t have a life! All I do is live someone else’s life, right their wrongs, fight their fights… Jeez, I feel like I’m Don Quixote!

~Al and Sam


He loved pure and chaste from afar… well, that part was never big with me either



I am not saving that arrogant @ss



This is Syracuse. This is way, way, way, way, way off Broadway. For Syracuse, you can sing!



Best Scenes:
Sam’s rehearsal with Nicole, stumbling through the script and professing his love for Nicole through Don Quixote’s words

Al’s being there while Sam plays on the piano sulking over Nicole’s "rehearsal"

Say what? (AKA things in the episode that make no sense):
If John wasn’t in on Michelle’s plan to ruin Sam/Ray and Nicole’s relationship, why didn’t he tell Sam that the woman in the shower wasn’t Nicole?

Minor technical nit-pick: John never uses the Don Quixote wig, nor is Sam wearing one when he goes onstage for the performance at the end… so why does he suddenly appear to have one on when they cut to him singing? Answer to this nit-pick question by Joshua Chaikin: The explanation for the "appearance" if the wig is simple - it was in the trunk that was brought down the stairs by Sancho/Manny. During the show, while making the transformation to Don Quioxte the actor dons make-up, wig and additional costume pieces taken from the trunk.

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