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1x08 "Play it Again, Seymour"

Leap Date:
April 14, 1953

Episode Adopted By: Allison (YankeeSNL01)
Additional info provided by: Brian Greene


You dirty rat! Sam has leaped into a guy that could be the spitting image of Bogart. He's holding a gun over a dead body and the police come in. Oh Boy.

He's there to find the killer, possibly a dropper named Clapper or some other hard harry out there. He's a peeper... a private detective that is...a gumshoe if you will and things get a little sticky when a sultry woman steps into the picture. Did she do it? Was it Seymour? Or did Sam do it? There's a book about it, but it was never finished, so Sam must unravel the mystery before the Clapper claps him. Or something like that.

Audio from this episode:

Sam: Here's lookin' at you, kid.

Episode Menu
TV Guide Synopsis
Leap Date

Name of the Person Leaped Into
Broadcast Date
Synopsis & Review

Project Trivia
Sam Trivia
Al Trivia

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

Miscellaneous Trivia
Kiss with History
Guest Stars
Guest Cast Notes
Guests who appeared in other Quantum Leap episodes
Say What?
Quotable Quotes
Best Scene
Production Credits

Production # 65009

TV Guide Teaser:

Sam, in the body of a Bogie-like shamus, teams up with a "neat kid" to find the hit man who killed his partner. Seymour: Willie Garson. Allison: Claudia Christian. Chuck: Steve Nevil. Lionel: Paul Linke.


New York City, New York

Leap Date:

April 14, 1953

Name of the Person Leaped Into:

Nick Allen, Private Detective

Broadcast Date:

May 17, 1989 - Wednesday (Season Finale)

Synopsis & Review:

Sam leaps into a New York City area private detective with an uncanny resemblance to the Hollywood screen legend, Humphrey Bogart. He must not only find the killer of his detective partner, but also avoid becoming the killer's next victim.

As Sam leaps in, he is holding a gun and standing over the body of a dead man with a bullet in his back. The police burst into the room and place Sam under arrest. While he is taken to a prison cell, Sam discovers that he is a private detective named Nick Allen and that the dead man was his partner, Phil Grimsley. Looking in the mirror of his holding cell, Sam is astonished by the striking resemblance his counterpart shares with Humphrey Bogart. Al tells Sam that his mission is to most likely find Phil's murderer, which offers Sam relief as it means he is not the killer.

Sam begins experiencing a feeling of déjà vu and predicts that he will be set free as the bullet that killed Phil does not to match his gun. Moments later, his prediction comes true as a detective enters the room to release Sam from prison. Al believes Sam's prognostication was simple coincidence, but Sam doesn't think so.

As Sam arrives at Gotham Towers, the apartment building where Nick lives, he continues to experience an inexplicable familiarity with his surroundings. Before meeting them, he is correctly able to identify three men standing around in the lobby: Lionel, the building supervisor, Chuck, the elevator operator, and Seymour, a nerdish boy who works at the newsstand and hero worships Nick. Both Lionel and Chuck offer condolences over Phil's death and ask about Phil's widow, Allison Grimsley, for whom both men hold an attraction. Seymour tells them that he heard a "dropper named Klapper" was responsible for Phil's murder. He is confident that Sam will find the killer.

Sam rides the elevator to his office along with Chuck, who asks him if he'll ask Allison on a date for him but, realizing that his request was distasteful, quickly recants. Sam walks away, shaking his head in disgust. Before entering his office, Sam's sense of déjà vu informs him that someone dangerous awaits him. It is Allison, Phil's attractive bombshell of a widow. Allison throws herself into Sam's arms. She says that, upon hearing that he was arrested, she was worried the police might have discovered the two of them were having an affair. Sam asks if she knows anybody named Klapper, and Allison responds that she heard Phil having a nightmare about him once. Though she is saddened by Phil's death, she is pleased that, with his passing, the two of them can finally be together.

After Allison leaves, Sam begins searching through the office and finds an autobiographical manuscript Nick had been authoring. Sam now realizes that he has read the published book, thus explaining his déjà vu and how he knows all the people in Nick's life. Sam tells Al that, according to the book, Nick and Allison were deeply in love but too loyal to Phil to act on their feelings. He believes that he must find Phil's killer so the two of them may live happily ever after. Unable to remember how Nick's book ended, he asks Al to locate a copy to help him find the killer.

As Sam leaves his office, Seymour tells him a source has revealed that Klapper will be appearing at the Blue Island club that night. Seymour eagerly wishes to join him on the hunt for the killer. As the two prepare to step into the elevator, the lift is absent and all that sits below is a long shaft. Sam clings to the cables and pulls himself away from certain death. He turns to see Seymour slumped unconscious against the wall, having fainted at the sign of danger. Lionel and Chuck investigate the faulty elevator. Chuck says that the safety latch was broken. However, Lionel says Chuck is to blame for not doing his job properly and monitoring the lift.

Seymour apologizes for Sam's near-death experience and admits that he has always been a jinx. He was abandoned as a child and raised in an orphanage, where he grew up mostly in a library. Seymour reveals that he wants to be a detective, just like Nick.

When they arrive at the bottom of the stairs, Allison is waiting. She tells them they cannot go to the Blue Island, as that is where Phil went the night he was killed. Sam says he has to go in order to find the killer. Allison insists on coming with him.

That night, the three of them go to Blue Island. Seymour now says that his source reveals that Klapper may be a woman. As Sam goes to the bar to order drinks, Al produces the book that Sam has read. It is a murder-mystery book that was never completed by Nick, as he was killed before publication. Al tells him that Nick was murdered at LaGuardia Airport that night and that, after his death, Allison and Seymour were never seen again. Sam suggests that the murderer must have killed them and hid the bodies. However, Al believes that Allison killed Nick, fled with Seymour, and then murdered him too. Sam is angry that Al would suggest that Allison is the murderer, while Al accuses Sam of allowing his hormones to guide his thinking. Sam lashes out at Al, saying that he is the one who allows hormones and alcohol to cloud his judgment. Al is offended and uncomfortably leaves Sam behind, warning him to stay away from LaGuarida Airport.

Since Klapper has not shown up at the Blue Island, Sam, Allison, and Seymour decide to leave. While Seymour races off to hail down a cab, a gunman emerges from the alleyway and begins firing at Sam. Sam dives for cover and escapes with only a graze to his cheek, while the gunman gives up and flees. When Seymour finally arrives with a cab, Sam blames him for taking so long to arrive. He also accuses Seymour of being a nerd and tells him to stop pestering him. They return to Nick's apartment, where Sam goes off to get his gun, while Seymour flees from the cab, hurt and embarrassed by Sam's comments.

When Sam returns to the lobby, he finds Seymour sobbing. Sam apologizes for his comments and claims to have made them to stop Seymour from coming with him to find Klapper. As the two return outside, they find the cab containing Allison is missing.

Sam and Seymour catch a cab to LaGurdia Airport. Sam takes the opportunity to apologize to Al for offending him. He also admits that Al may have been right, and that Allison may in fact be the killer.

When they arrive at the airport, Sam tells Seymour they should split up. While Sam is mistaken for Humphrey Bogart by a young Woody Allen, Seymour is confronted by Lionel, who pulls a gun on him and forces him into the airport hangar. Lionel has Allison tied up in one of the planes, and soon chokes Seymour to unconsciousness. Al guides Sam to the plane, while Lionel fires random ammunition in his direction. Lionel confesses that he killed Phil so he could be with Allison. When Lionel finally runs out of ammo and has to reload, Sam arrives, sticks a gun in his chest, and arrests him.

Lionel is taken away by police, while Sam comforts Allison, who figures they might as well use the tickets Lionel purchased to go away together. Sam tells Allison to board the plane and that he will join her. As she walks off, Seymour approaches him and admits that, after nearly being killed by Lionel, he is no longer interested in becoming a detective. Sam suggests that he become a crime writer instead. Seymour keenly accepts the idea and walks off. Though Sam is eager to join Allison on the plane, Al reveals that Sam's mission was to help launch Seymour as a novelist and that, having done so, it is time to leap... Source

Personal Review by Allison (YankeeSNL01):

This was one of the BEST early efforts, and was a great way to end the first season. The nostalgia factor was really high for this episode, and it reminds me of a story I wrote 3 years ago. Just really fun, and that mirror image really did look like Humphrey Bogart!


"Young at Heart" 
"You, You, You" by Sam Cooke
"Blue Moon"
"As Time Goes By"

Project Trivia:

Al is attempting to locate the book that Sam talked about in the present time.

Sam Trivia:

It's April 14, 1953, just shy of 4 months before Sam's birth. So we now know that Sam can leap into times after his conception, not just his birth.

Al Trivia:

Wants to follow Allison into the powder room.  It's not the last time he wants to do so.

Al's Women:

Al mentions that his first wife was a redhead, and that he's been married four times.

Tina is again mentioned.

A redhead in the billing department is brought up when Al sees Allison.

Al's Outfits Worn in the Episode:

First appearance: Gray suit with black dress shirt, fedora
and glasses with a transparent tie. 

Second appearance: Solid white suit with military style medals attached to the breast of the jacket.

Miscellaneous Trivia:

Los Angeles' Bradbury Building is featured in the episode.

"Oh Boy" is not said until midway through the episode when Allison arrives.

The phrase "Play it again, Sam" was never said in the movie Casablanca, which this episode imitates.

James Cagney also never said "You dirty rat" in the manner that people usually quote.

The leap-out of this episode is into "What Price Gloria?". However, the production crew decided to start the second season with "Honeymoon Express" instead, creating an inconsistency.

Kiss with History:

The neurotic child in the airport at the end was supposed to be a young Woody Allen.

Sam introduces the phrase "main squeeze."

The final scene with Sam and Al at the airport debating if he would get on the plane is based on the scene from Casablanca.

Regular Cast:

Scott Bakula as Dr. Sam Beckett
Dean Stockwell as Al

Guest Stars:

Claudia Christian as Allison Grimsley
Willie Garson as Seymour
Paul Linke as Lionel
Tony Heller as Nick (Mirror image)
Steve Nevil as Chuck
Don Keith Opper as Crooner
Richard Riehle as Lieutenant Lannon
Jeanette Miller as Old Lady
Don Maxwell as Policeman
Kevin Mockrin as Woody Allen
Barbara London as Mama
Ron Ulstad as Bandleader
Hap Lawrence as Bartender
Jeff Olson as N.Y. Taxi Driver

Guest Cast Notes:

Claudia Christian as Allison Grimsley: Claudia Christian began her career on stage as a child in Connecticut. She booked her first television job as a teenager in the hugely popular series "Dallas" and never stopped working. She has been in dozens of films and hundreds of hours of TV. She became a sci-fi icon with her portrayal of "Susan Ivanova" in the Hugo and Emmy award winning series, "Babylon 5". She has worked with legends such as Morgan Freeman, Michael Keaton, Kirk Douglas, Burt Lancaster, Faye Dunaway, Bob Hope, Don Ameche, George Clooney, Nicolas Cage, Sharon Stone and more in her 35+ year career. She lends her distinctive voice to dozens of the world's most popular games and is a published author of non fiction and fiction. Claudia runs C Three Foundation and is a TEDx speaker. In 2014 she produced the award winning documentary "One Little Pill" and is a passionate activist.
Claudia resides in Los Angeles and London.

Willie Garson as Seymour: Rarely at a loss for work, Willie Garson appeared in more than 300 episodes of television and more than 70 films. Best known for his long runs on television as Mozzie on White Collar (2009), Stanford Blatch on Sex and the City (1998), and Henry Coffield on NYPD Blue (1993), he also appeared as the grifter with a heart of gold, Gerard Hirsch, on Hawaii Five-0 (2010). Born in New Jersey, he started training at the Actors Institute In New York, before majoring in psychology and theater at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. After graduation, he quickly started landing guest roles on such shows as Cheers (1982), Family Ties (1982), Thirtysomething (1987), L.A. Law (1986), as well as continually recurring in a wide array of shows including The X-Files (1993), Twin Peaks (1990), Two and a Half Men (2003), Stargate SG-1 (1997), Pushing Daisies (2007), The Practice (1997), Ally McBeal (1997), etc., etc., etc. His favorite long-form role on TV was Dr. Kreutz for Steven Spielberg in the acclaimed miniseries Taken (2002). Garson also appeared in many episodes of Boy Meets World (1993) and Girl Meets World (2014). On the big screen, other than reprising his Sex and the City (1998) role for two features (Sex and the City (2008) and Sex and the City 2 (2010)), he collaborated with the Farrelly brothers on three films, There's Something About Mary (1998), Kingpin (1996), and Fever Pitch (2005), as well as appearing in Soapdish (1991), Groundhog Day (1993), Mars Attacks! (1996), The Rock (1996), Being John Malkovich (1999), and many others. He was often used by such varied directors as Spike Jonze, Michael Bay, the late great Mike Nichols, and Ron Shelton. Next up is Feed (2017), touching on a subject Garson was very proud to be a part of. Upcoming films include 7 Days to Vegas (2019), and Magic Camp (2020). As a director, Garson directed episodes of White Collar (2009) and Girl Meets World (2014), and, with Warner Brothers, had TV shows in development as producer/creator. Garson continued to perform with various bicoastal theater companies such as Naked Angles, Manhattan Theater Club, the Roundabout Theater, and the Geffen. He was also very involved with many charities, including AMFAR, Camp Joslin for Diabetes, Doctors Without Borders, Habitat for Humanity, and especially the Alliance for Children's Rights, which facilitates adoptions in LA County. This had a special place in the Garson family, as Willie adopted his son Nathan in Los Angeles in 2010, and twice served as national spokesman for National Adoption Day. He passed away September 21, 2021 in Los Angeles, California

Paul Linke as Lionel: Paul Linke was born on May 6, 1948 in New York City, New York, USA. He is an actor and writer, known for Parenthood (1989), Motel Hell (1980) and K-PAX (2001). He has been married to Christine Healy since 1991. They have one child. He was previously married to Francesca Cagiati Draper.

Quantum Leap Podcast: Paul Linke Interview

Tony Heller as Nick (Mirror image): Tony Heller is known for Quantum Leap (1989) and My Man Adam (1985).

Steve Nevil as Chuck: Steve Nevil is known for Airplane II: The Sequel (1982), The Howling (1981) and Quantum Leap (1989).

Don Keith Opper as Crooner: Don Keith Opper was born on January 1, 1949 in Chicago, Illinois, USA. He is an actor and writer, known for Critters (1986), Critters 4 (1992) and Critters 2: The Main Course (1988).

Richard Riehle as Lieutenant Lannon
: Richard Riehle was born in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, to Mary Margaret (Walsh), a nurse, and Herbert John Riehle, an assistant postmaster. He is of German and Irish descent. Richard attended the University of Notre Dame, where he became heavily involved with the University Theatre. Appearing in such productions as "Luther", "Antigone", "Rhinoceros", "Romeo and Juliet", and "How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying", he also took on the task of stage manager on many of these productions, and it was not unusual to find him helping to build the sets or manage the costumes during this period. Graduating with a B.A. (cum laude) in 1970, Richard traveled to Salzburg and Innsbruck to study German, a language in which he is fluent. Progressing to Academy of Dramatic Art in Rochester, Michigan, Richard has had extensive experience as a stage actor, as well as teaching acting, and made his Broadway debut in 1986 with "Execution of Justice". One of his major triumphs in the theatre has been alongside Kevin Spacey in the acclaimed 1999 revival of O'Neill's "The Iceman Cometh", in which he played the drunken, corrupt ex-cop Pat McGloin. Brief appearances in Rooster Cogburn, The Duchess and Dirtwater Fox, Joy Ride, and Twice in a Lifetime, as well as in such TV fare as Escape From Hell (1977), Joe Kennedy: The Forgotten Kennedy (1977), and the NBC series "Hot Pursuit" (1984) have disguised an expanding repertory theatre portfolio. Richard has also contributed to such diverse undertakings as Bay Area Radio's Eugene O'Neill Project (playing Smithers to Joe Morton's Brutis Jones in "The Emperor Jones") and the Adams-Jefferson Project of Carleton College, participating in a series of recordings of the correspondence between the two US Presidents. To this day, Richard has maintained his involvement in theatre workshops and encouraging the dramatic arts under the auspices of the Mark Taper Forum and A.S.K. However, since his scene-stealing cameo as the Quartermaster in 1989's Glory, with his trademark bushy mustache and heavyset frame, Richard has acquitted himself as one of the best, and busiest, character players on TV and in the movies.

Jeanette Miller as Old Lady
: Jeanette Miller was born on July 30, 1932 in Pensacola, Florida, USA. She is an actress, known for Legion (2010), Four Christmases (2008) and Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999).

Don Maxwell as Policeman
: Don Maxwell is known for A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Child (1989), Turner & Hooch (1989) and The Prince of Egypt (1998).

Barbara London as Mama
: Barbara London is known for Frankie and Johnny (1991), The Biz (2002) and Quantum Leap (1989).

Ron Ulstad as Bandleader
: Born August 9, 1934 in Sacramento, California, Ron graduated from C.K. McClatchy High School. He spent two years in the United States Army, stationed in Japan during peacetime. Upon returning home he met his first wife, Judy, to whom he was married over twenty years. It was during this time Ron began pursuing acting classes and had some modeling jobs in Sacramento. After their divorce, he moved to Los Angeles and continued studying acting, and found extra work and continued modeling. Around the time he started getting some roles in TV, he met and married his second wife, Linda Baca. Film roles followed, realizing Ron's lifelong dream of appearing in movies. He retired, and then returned home to Sacramento following the death of his wife from cancer. He now resides in Palm Springs with his daughter. DiedDecember 9, 2021 in Palm Springs, California.

Hap Lawrence as Bartender
: Hap Lawrence is known for Oppenheimer (2023), NCIS (2003) and Bardo: False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths (2022).

Jeff Olson as N.Y. Taxi Driver
: Jeffrey Olson was born in 1952 in Salt Lake City, Utah. He went to Skyline High School and took state in wrestling. He was an actor, radio deejay, emcee and comic impressionist for over 30 years; both in Utah and Los Angeles. He won Showtime's "America's Funniest Person" award in the 80's. He appeared in dozens of commercials, TV series, movies.

Guests who appeared in other Quantum Leap episodes:

Willie Garson, who played Lee Harvey Oswald on the episode of the same name (5th season opener in 1992).

Paul Linke, who played Ben Masters in "The Boogiem*n."

Richard Riehle played Clifford Vargas in "Leaping in Without a Net"

Say What? 

The Dodgers opening game that the police officer talks about was not played until five months after the setting of this episode.

Sam takes a newspaper from Seymour's newspaper stand, but when he gets off the lift, he no longer has it.

Even though Al says there is no cure for Gonorrhea yet, a cure had been around for centuries in various forms.

The stunt double can be seen when Sam is swinging from the lift.

The actors hair stay remarkably dry during the storm.

The original broadcast had Sam leaping into "What Price, Gloria?" but this was later changed to "Honeymoon Express." Here's the fixed leap-out:

Quotable Quotes:

I don't know if I could love a man who killed my husband.
-- Allison, "Play it Again, Seymour"

Al, we've got Clapper.
Careful, Sam, there was no cure for that in 1953.
-- Sam and Al, "Play It Again, Seymour"

I'm just wondering how in 20 years 'main squeeze' gets from Seymour to Black slang.
-- Al, "Play it Again Seymour"

Can I help it if I look good in black? Besides I hadn't planned on dressing tonight.
-- Allison, "Play it Again, Seymour"

Who's Al?
A friend, a *real good* friend.
Well, let's not get all mushy about it.
-- Seymour, Sam, and Al, "Play it Again, Seymour"

Allison is a killer!
-- Al, "Play It Again, Seymour"

Al, so help me, if you start in on one of your sleazy sex stories, hologram or no hologram, I'll slug you.
-- Sam, "Play It Again, Seymour"

Some women have kinky taste in men, thank God.
-- Al, "Play It Again, Seymour"

You want to have safe sex with her, you'd better wear a bullet proof vest.
-- Al, "Play It Again, Seymour"

I'm going to check the ladies room.
Somebody's gotta do it.
-- Al and Sam, looking for Allison, "Play It Again, Seymour"

Your instincts got you married FIVE times ...
-- Sam, "Play It Again, Seymour"

Best Scene:

The beginning, when Sam is holding the gun over the dead body.  Couldn't get any scarier than that!

Production Credits:

Music by: Mike Post
Supervising Producer: Scott Shepherd
Co-producer: Deborah Pratt
Produced by: Harker Wade
Created by: Donald P. Bellisario
Teleplay by: Scott Shepherd,
Donald P. Bellisario
AStory by: Tom Blomquist, Scott Shepherd,
Donald P. Bellisario
Directed by: Aaron Lipstadt

Executive Producer: Donald P. Bellisario
Associate Producers:
David Bellisario, Jeff Gourson
Executive Story Editor: Paul Brown

Director of Photography: Henry Lebo
Art Director: Cameron Birnie
Edited by: Alan Shefland
Unit Production Manager: Paul Cajero
First Assistant Director: Roberto Villar
Second Assistant Director: James Dillon
Casting by: Ken Carlson
Set Director: Robert L. Zilliox
Costume Designer: Jean-Pierre Dorleac
Costume Supervisors: David Rawley & Donna Roberts-Orme
Sound Mixer: Mark Hopkins McNabb
Stunt Coordinator: Diamond Farnsworth
Sound Editor: Sam Gemette
Music Editor: Mark Green
Panaflex ® Camera and Lenses by: Panavision ®

This motion picture is protected under laws of the United States and other countries. Unauthorized duplication, distribution or exhibition may result in civil liability and criminal prosecution.

Copyright © 1989 by Universal City Studios Inc. All Rights Reserved.

The characters and events depicted in this photoplay are fictitious. Any similarity to actual persons living or dead is purely coincidental.

Bellisarius Productions and Universal, an MCA Company


In the eighth installment of The Quantum Leap Podcast, Albie and Heather discuss Season one episode nine “Play It Again, Seymour”. There’s first impressions, an episode recap, thoughts and opinions, a special interview with Claudia Christian, best known for her many film roles and as Commander Susan Ivanova on the science fiction television series Babylon 5. She also played Alison in the Quantum Leap episode “Play It Again, Seymour”, and we have listener feedback.

Let us know what you think… Leave us a voicemail by calling (707)847-6682 and Send in your thoughts, theories and feedback, Send MP3s & Email to Also join us on and

For more information on Claudia’s book please go to

Pack your roscoe and keep your peepers peeled for a dropper named Clapper because we’re Revisiting Play it Again, Seymour!

Join hosts Allison Pregler, Matt Dale, and Christopher DeFilippis as they open up like pencil pushers from Toledo on their third martini about Quantum Leap’s season one finale — which finds Sam as a gumshoe who has to solve the murder of his dead partner.

We’re also proud to bring you an encore of our interview with Claudia Christian who plays the smoldering Allison in this episode. Claudia was the first-ever Quantum Leap guest star Albie interviewed for the podcast, so enjoy Leaping back to this bit of QLP history.

Tell us what you think!
Leave us a voicemail by calling (707) 847-6682.
Send feedback and MP3s to
Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
Or drop us a line at Quantum Leap Podcast, P.O. Box 542, Bayport, NY 11705.

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