Sam (Scott Bakula) leaps into the body of Ray Hutton, the understudy in a musical production of Man of La Mancha in Catch a Falling Star. This episode was written by Paul Brown, aired on 6 December, 1989 and was directed by Bellisario, himself. This one introduced me to the musical of La Mancha, as well as encouraged me to go out and pick up Cervantes original opus, Don Quixote.
It’s 21 May, 1979, and Sam has leapt into Syracuse, New York, and he’s there to save the life of an alcoholic actor and the show’s lead John O’Malley (John Cullum), who is going to fall and shatters his hip and leg during a performance. Complicating matters is Nicole (Michele Pawk), the understudy for Aldonza.
It seems she was Sam’s piano teacher when he was growing up, and he had a terrible crush on her, it also seems she had a relationship with Ray…
Causing problems behind the scenes is Michelle (Cullum’s Northern Exposure co-star Janine Turner). Michelle is Aldonza in the show, and stirs up all manner of trouble off-stage. She wants Ray for her own, but only as a fling, and seeks to ruin any rekindling of a relationship between he and Nicole.
Al (Dean Stockwell), who we learn did Summer Stock, is much like Quixote’s Sancho, providing support, and commentary.
Of course, once John has been saved, instead of leaping out immediately, there is still one more thing to do, and it’s to take to the stage.
I loved this episode, and every time I watch it, it fires up my desire to perform on the stage again…
A Portrait for Troian sees Sam as a… ghostbuster? Airing on 13 December, 1989, the episode was written by Bellisario and Scott Shepherd from a story by Shepherd and John Hill.
Sam leaps into parapsychologist Timothy Mintz (the mirror image of whom is played by Bellisario) on 7 February, 1971. Mintz is working alongside Troian Claridge (producer and writer, Deborah Pratt) who is trying to contact her dead husband. In the original history, Troian drowned, Sam needs to save her, but there are some strange things going on at the Claridge Estate.
But is the ghost of Troian’s husband calling to her to join him or is there something more rational, and devious going on?
Sam doesn’t trust Troian’s brother, Jimmy (Robert Torti), but the maid, Priscilla (Carolyn Seymour) seems a little spooky… And when we see Carolyn Seymour later in the series, it adds a different layer to the story, but for now…
Al gets freaked out, but also lends his voice to saving Troian, literally, as both she and Jimmy seem to be able to hear him.
The episode plays like a wonderfully gothic horror, and despite the fact that Sam doesn’t believe in ghosts (Al seems to, and is freaked out by a number of things in this episode), there are strange things afoot in the Claridge home, but Sam is determined to find the true, hopefully rational, cause of the haunting of Troian Claridge.
Once again, this ends up being an example of how the series was able to tell a variety of different tales, from a variety of genres, and make them engaging and fun. The episode ends with the lead in to Camikazi Kid, but in actuality, next week, Sam ends up in a fraternity…