About Christmas TV History

Saturday, July 16, 2022

Christmas in July 2022: Quantum Leap (1992)


Merry Christmas in July! It is Day #16 of the month-long celebration of Christmas entertainment. As announced before, each day this month I will be sharing brief reminisces about Christmas TV episodes, specials, and movies with a IT'S A WONDERFUL SUMMER attitude. Yes--this month I'm sharing brief essays about TV adaptations of the 1946 movie "It's a Wonderful Life" along with TV programs with significant references to the movie. Just a little something different and a way for me to show off the diversity of holiday stories I've collected in the encyclopedia Tis the Season TV (the updated and expanded 2nd edition being released soon).   


Scott Bakula plays the time traveling Sam and Dean Stockwell is the hologram companion Al.

Today's discussion is on the 4th season episode "It's a Wonderful Leap" from the hit sci-fi/fantasy series Quantum Leap starring Scott Bakula and Dean Stockwell. This episode's story is not set at Christmas and it's not a Christmas story either. Instead, it's about a guardian angel. This may be the TV program most loosely associated with It's a Wonderful Life in the Christmas in July marathon, however this episode's story clearly draws upon the 1946 holiday movie for inspiration. Let's take a closer look.


Sam finds himself in the body of cab driver Max Greenman and he accidentally hits a woman claiming to be a guardian angel!

In this episode, Sam leaps back to May 10th, 1958, where he finds himself in the body of Max Greenman, a taxi cab driver trying to earn a precious taxi medallion to run his own cab company. Driving his cab, Sam/Max meets a woman named Angela when he accidentally runs her over! When Sam pulls her out from under the cab, she is completely unharmed and explains that she is a guardian angel. Sam is hesitant to believe that Angela is an actual guardian angel but when she reveals she can see and talk with Al too--Sam comes to believe that they are both on the same mission. Sam and Angela are both looking to protect the cab driver Max from an armed robber who may take his life.  


Sam is skeptical that Angela is an actual guardian angel but he acknowledges his own time travel situation also defies reason!


Liz Torres is a delight as the guardian angel Angela.

Angela the guardian angel is played by the great character actor Liz Torres. Here, Angela is a Puerto Rican New Yorker from the 1920s who used to be a professional singer. She's charming and knowledgeable, making it difficult for Sam to doubt her when she says she's a guardian angel. Adding another layer of meaning to her character, Angela sings the Gershwin tune "Someone to Watch Over Me" while keeping Sam/Max and his father Lenny company.

Although this fourth season episode does not take place at Christmas, the episode's title references the movie It's a Wonderful Life, it centers on a guardian angel character, and Angela even talks about the guardian angel Clarence from It's a Wonderful Life movie.

The cast includes Scott Bakula as Dr. Sam Beckett, Dean Stockwell as Al, Liz Torres as Angela, and Jerry Adler as Max’s father Lenny.


A reboot of Quantum Leap is going to start airing on NBC in the fall of 2022--will you be watching? Merry Christmas in July!


Joanna Wilson is a TV researcher and book author specializing in Christmas entertainment. More about the TV programs mentioned on this website can be found in her book "Tis the Season TV: the Encyclopedia of Christmas-themed Episodes, Specials, and Made-for-TV Movies." Her latest book "Triple Dog Dare: Watching--& Surviving--the 24-Hour Marathon of A Christmas Story" was released in 2016. She is currently updating and expanding the encyclopedia for an upcoming release. Her books can be found at the publisher's website: 1701 press.com

*Support this website and its research by purchasing the books at 1701 press.com



  1. I especially love when you remind me of episodes I haven't seen in a long time!

  2. Don't recall this one, but I did watch the show off and on back then. I am looking forward to the new version, hope it is good!