All-Americans was the 14th episode in Season Two of Quantum Leap; it also was the 23rd overall episode in the series. Written by series creator Donald P. Bellisario and Paul Brown, the episode, which was directed by John Cullum, originally aired on NBC-TV on January 17, 1990.
Sam leaps into Eddie Vega, a high school football player with aspirations for playing college ball with his best friend, Chuey Martinez. Surprisingly, Ziggy reports that Chuey throws the championship game, along with his chances at a college scholarship. Chuey's mother is behind in her rent, and her sleazy landlord - who also is a big gambler - makes a deal with Chuey that if Chuey throws the game, he'll forgive the debt.
November 6, 1962: At Dr. Samuel Beckett finds himself at El Camino High School in Woodland Hills, California, as he leaps into the middle of a football game as star Mexican-American quarterback Eddie Vega (the leapee Eddie is played in the episode by Corey Smith) playing for the El Camino Jaguars, and receives the ball following a snap. Still disoriented from the leap and getting his bearings, Sam is immediately tackled by members of the opposing team. The ball is jolted free from Sam's hands, and is caught by one of his teammates, Eddie's best friend Chuey Martinez (Richard Coca), who runs the ball downfield. As Sam gets to his feet, Al is by his side, having arrived to watch the game. Chuey throws the ball back to Sam, who looks up to see more opposing team members rushing to tackle him again. Reacting quickly, Sam backs up and throws a wobbly, spiralling pass to Chuey, who catches the ball, avoids two defenders, and scores a touchdown that wins the game for the Jaguars.
Meanwhile, Eddie's father, Manuel Vega (Pepe Serna), and Chuey's mother, Celia Martinez (Ruth Britt), are listening to the game on the radio at Manuel's taco truck. The two of them shout excitedly when their sons win. Manuel picks up Celia and spins her around, then the two of them regain their composure, laughing and smiling at each other as he puts her back down.
Back at the game, a man named Ruben de Guerra (Fausto Bara) is in the stands celebrating the Jaguars' victory. He accepts some money from the man beside him, having just won a bet on the game.
On the field, Al compliments Sam on the shaky but effective pass. The two of them assume that Sam was there to win the game, and wait for him to leap again. When it doesn't happen, Al consults the handlink to see what else Sam may be there for. One of the Jaguar players approaches Sam, and enthusiastically gives him the team's patented victory cheer by shouting, "Roar, Jaguar!" and slamming his fists down on Sam's shoulders, knocking him to the ground. Sam gets to his feet, only to be knocked down again by the same cheer from another of his teammates.
The team heads back to the locker room, and Sam tries in vain to open the combination to Eddie's locker. Chuey, who is nearby at his locker, slams at the door with his hand, opening it for Sam. Sam looks at his teenage reflection on the inside of the locker door, as Chuey asks him if he saw the scouts in the crowd during the game. He tells Sam that the two of them have to stick together - either they both get offered college scholarships, or neither of them will go. Worried about the effects of the tackle Sam received, Chuey checks him for a concussion, then tells him to take it easy tonight, and to stay away from a girl named Carla (played by Marie Caldare). The team coach (Robert Bendetti) approaches Sam, and tells him that his pass to Chuey was the ugliest pass he's ever seen, then admits that he loved it, and gives Sam the "Roar, Jaguar!" salute, causing Sam to wince in pain despite still wearing his shoulder pads.
That night, Sam and Chuey are at a victory party at the housing complex where they live with their respective parents, Manuel and Celia. Sam is approached by Carla, who is one of the El Camino High cheerleaders. She asks Sam for a Coke, then flirtatiously thanks him as she walks away. Manuel warns Sam to stay away from her, because he has to think about college and medical school, not girls. Celia arrives, and Manuel tells her there were scouts at the game from UCLA, which has a good medical school. Celia is happy to hear the news, until Manuel adds that there were also scouts from southern California and Arizona at the game, and that next week's championship game against the Bulldogs will have scouts from as far away as Texas. Celia doesn't like the thought of the boys going to college so far away, but Chuey explains that they have to go where the scholarships are, and they'll be back in the summer and on holidays. He reminds her that Manuel will still be there, and Manuel is eager to help, but Celia is still doubtful. Sam notices Al, and offers to go into the kitchen to get some more food, so that he and Al can talk privately.
Inside, Sam asks Al what happened to him after the game. Al says that while Sam and the other players were celebrating their victory, he was checking out the cheerleaders. Sam has realized that he knows how to speak Spanish, and asks Al to say something in Spanish so he can translate it. Al gives him a phrase which Sam translates to, "My place or yours?" Sam wants to get back on topic, and asks Al what is going to happen to Eddie. Al tells him that Eddie gets a football scholarship with UCLA, which will make Manuel very proud. Sam says Manuel seems interested in Celia, and Al explains that Celia was best friends with Eddie's mother, Rosa, who died while giving birth to Eddie's little sister, Maria (Christy Alvarez). Celia never married, and Chuey thinks that his father died accidentally in Mexico before he was born. Celia illegally crossed the Mexican border into El Paso three days before giving birth to Chuey so he could be born in America. Sam is happy to hear that Chuey now has a promising life ahead of him thanks to Celia and his football skills, but Al has some bad news. Chuey is going to throw next week's game, costing the Jaguars the championship, and ruining his chance at a scholarship. Meanwhile, Chuey is enthusiastically leading the party goers outside in a "Roar, Jaguar!" chant.
Later, Chuey finds Sam sitting alone and looking worried. He asks Sam what's wrong, and Sam asks him if he thinks the team can really win the championship game. Chuey thinks Sam is joking, but Sam says he's got a feeling that they're going to lose. Chuey tells Sam that they've been working too hard to lose the game, and seems genuinely angry that Sam would suggest otherwise.
Meanwhile, Celia is serving food while Manuel tells her about the restaurant he's going to buy. Celia wonders why the restaurant closed down if it's as nice as he says it is, and he answers that the previous owner died. Celia is mortified to hear that Manuel is buying a dead man's restaurant, but Manuel claims that the owner didn't die in the restaurant. He tells her that people die, and someone may have even died in her house, which Celia immediately denies. She heads inside to get some more food, and promises to bring an extra serving for Manuel. Manuel watches her go with a smile.
Sam and Al are watching the party, and Al tells him that he'll always be sixteen in his heart. Sam guesses that Al lost his virginity at sixteen, and Al is amazed and offended that Sam thinks it took him that long. Sam returns to the subject of Chuey, and tells Al that there's no way Ziggy's prediction that Chuey is going to throw the championship game is correct. Al insists that Chuey does throw the game, although what they don't know is why.
Inside the house, Celia is surprised by Ruben, who is there to collect eight hundred dollars in rent that she has yet to pay him. Celia insists that she pays him what she can, and tells him that she isn't getting paid enough at her job to cover the rent she owes him. She promises to pay him the money as soon as she has it. Ruben says he has had enough of her promises, and Celia sadly admits that she doesn't have the money. Ruben suggestively tells her that she doesn't need the money, because there are other ways she can pay him. He leans in to kiss her, but Celia tries to fend off his advances, and offers to write him a check. Ruben is offended by this, and tells her that now he wants the money by noon tomorrow, or she'll be evicted. Celia tearfully begs him to reconsider, assuring him that she'll get the money this week. Ruben asks her what will happen if she can't get the money, and Celia has no answer. They move toward each other again, but are interrupted by the arrival of Sam and Chuey.
Chuey is surprised to see Ruben, and asks him if he bet on the game today. Ruben tells Celia that Chuey helped him win a thousand dollars on the game, although Sam nearly lost it for him with his horrible pass. Ruben asks Chuey about the team's chances in the championship game, and wants to know if any players get injured during practice. Sam interjects, telling Ruben that giving away information like that is illegal, and no scout is going to give them a scholarship if they find out they've been cheating. Ruben responds that he won't tell anybody, and laughs. Before leaving, he tells Celia she has until Friday, then he expects delivery one way or another. Chuey wants to know what Ruben was talking about, and Celia covers by saying that she's sewing some shirts for him. Sam and Chuey look at each other in confusion for a moment, then Chuey and Celia go back out to the party.
Noticing Celia's worried expression, Sam decides to confront Ruben before he leaves. He thinks that Ruben is the reason he's there, and says that whatever is going on between Ruben and Celia is going to affect Chuey somehow. He tells Ruben to stay away from Celia and Chuey. Ruben calls Sam a punk, then laughs, and tells Sam that he's talking like a man. As he gets into his convertible, his expression turns cold, and he says he hopes Sam is ready to be treated like a man. Then he drives away, leaving Sam to stare after him in concern.
The next day, Carla and the other cheerleaders are playing songs on a record player and practicing their cheer routines as the football players take the field for their own practice. Carla says hi to Sam as he passes, but Sam doesn't respond, to the disappointment of Al as he watches on. Sam, who is carrying a folder onto the field, insists that he is trying to learn the team's plays. Chuey approaches Sam, and tells him the coach wants him to lead the team's calisthenics session, and to do it right, or he'll have to run fifteen laps around the football field. Al remarks that he hates calisthenics, unless they're being led by Jane Fonda, which gives Sam an idea. He asks Carla to play one of her records, and attempts to lead the team in a Fonda-esque aerobics workout. The other players are confused, but eventually make a half-hearted effort to follow Sam's movements, while Al dances along behind Sam. Soon enough, the coach arrives and angrily orders Sam to run fifteen laps.
While the rest of the team is practicing their plays, Sam is running his laps. He asks Al about Ruben, and Al explains that Ruben is a slum lord who owns several small houses and rents them at high prices to people who don't have anywhere else to go, mainly illegal immigrants like Celia. Ruben also makes frequent bets on high school football and basketball games, and according to Al, he is going to pay Chuey to throw the championship game against the Bulldogs. Sam stops running and again expresses his disbelief, but Al insists that Chuey will only catch one pass in the entire game, and the Jaguars will lose by five points. On the field, the coach notices Sam having stopped and seemingly talking to himself, and orders him to run another twenty laps.
Later, Chuey is in the locker room while Sam is still running laps. Ruben comes in, and starts talking to Chuey about having enough money to help support Celia. Chuey says that when he becomes a doctor, he'll have enough money to buy Celia whatever she wants. Ruben tells Chuey that Celia is being underpaid at her job, and owes him three months rent. Chuey is surprised and saddened by this news. Ruben tells Chuey that he is the man of the family, and Celia isn't a legal American citizen. Chuey asks Ruben to give him some time to get the rent money, but Ruben tells him that by next week, Celia will owe him a thousand dollars. Chuey remembers that Ruben won that much by betting on the Jaguars' last game, and proclaims that he can win more than that when the Jaguars win the championship. He insists that their winning is a sure thing, but Ruben responds that losing is a sure thing. He offers Chuey a deal: if the Jaguars lose the game, he'll forget about the money Celia owes him. He then motions to Chuey to keep quiet as Sam walks in.
Angry to see Ruben and Chuey together, Sam pushes Ruben aside and tries to talk to Chuey, but Ruben punches Sam. Sam fights back, and the two of them crash into a row of lockers, knocking them over. The coach arrives, having heard the ruckus from outside, and he and Chuey break up the fight, pushing Sam and Ruben apart. The coach wants to know what's going on, and asks Ruben who he is and what he's doing in the locker room. Chuey covers for Ruben, telling the coach that Ruben and Sam were fighting over a girl. The coach tells Ruben to stay out of the locker room, and Ruben leaves. The coach tells Sam and Chuey that if the team didn't need them, he'd suspend them both, then leaves in anger. Sam tells Chuey that he can't throw the game. Chuey pretends not to know what Sam is talking about, but when Sam presses the issue, Chuey pleads with Sam not to throw him the ball.
The day of the championship game arrives. The Jaguars run out onto the field, to the applause of their fans. Celia and Ruben are both in the crowd. Manuel is nearby working in his taco truck, listening to the game on the radio. The Bulldogs kick off, and the ball falls toward Sam and Chuey. Chuey avoids the ball, calling for Sam to catch it, which Sam does before quickly being tackled. Chuey helps Sam up, and the two of them stare at each other intently. Sam calls a play, and from the snap, throws a long pass to Chuey, who leaps and catches it successfully. Sam is pleased with Chuey's effort to win, until Chuey claims to be hurt, and is assisted from the field. Celia looks concerned, while Ruben smiles.
The game continues with Chuey sitting on the bench, and the Jaguars are not faring well. Chuey looks despondent as the Bulldogs dominate more and more of the game, and Sam tries in vain to keep the Jaguars in the contest. Sam is sitting on the bench when Al arrives, having been watching a Super Bowl game. The Jaguars are behind by five points, just as Al predicted, and the game is almost over. Sam explains how Chuey took himself out of the game, and Al tells Sam to do the same thing. Sam realizes that because Eddie and Chuey are so close, Chuey won't be able to watch his best friend ruining his own chance at a scholarship without doing something to help. Sam takes off his helmet, and tells the coach that he can't play. Chuey is shocked, and tries to convince Sam to change his mind. A concerned Manuel joins Celia in the stands. Chuey tells Sam not to throw to him, and the two of them re-enter the game together. Ruben starts looking worried.
Sam gets the Jaguars together in a huddle, and calls a play in which he will throw the ball to Chuey. As the players take their positions, Chuey tells Sam that he'll drop the catch, to which Sam replies, "That's up to you." As Chuey takes his position, he looks up at Ruben for a moment. Sam receives the ball, and Al yells at him to duck as a Bulldogs player attempts to tackle him. With one second remaining, Sam throws the ball, and Chuey tries to catch it, but it's out of his reach. The ball goes out of bounds, and the game is seemingly over before the referee flags an illegal play against the Bulldogs, giving the Jaguars another possession. Sam calls another play, and leads a "Roar, Jaguar!" chant. He throws a long pass to Chuey, who catches the ball for a touchdown, winning the game and the championship for the Jaguars. In the stands, Manuel and Celia are ecstatic, while Ruben looks angry. Sam and the rest of the Jaguar players lift Chuey into the air in victory, before another "Roar, Jaguar!" salute from a teammate knocks Sam to the ground again.
Later, a victory party is happening outside Celia and Chuey's house as Sam and Al watch Chuey dancing with Carla. Sam wonders why he hasn't leaped yet, but when Ruben arrives accompanied by three men who go into the house to start removing Celia's belongings, Sam realizes he still has work to do. Ruben warns Sam that while he lost a lot of money on the championship game, Celia is going to lose more. Celia rushes over, accompanied by Chuey and Manuel, and begs Ruben not to kick her out. Manuel offers to pay Ruben the money Celia owes him, but Celia refuses, telling him that money is for his restaurant. Manuel says the restaurant can wait, and adds that Celia hates the restaurant idea anyway. Celia thinks it would be better to buy more taco trucks instead, and Al tells Sam that she's right, because their catering trucks could turn into a million dollar business, as long as Sam finishes this job.
Ruben and his movers come out with the first pieces of Celia's belongings, and Sam tells him to put everything in Manuel's yard. He announces that Chuey can sleep in his room, and Celia can sleep with Manuel. Chuey is offended by the suggestion at first, but Sam explains that if Manuel and Celia were to get married, it would solve all her problems. Celia smiles, and tells Manuel that she wouldn't be marrying him just to solve her problems, because she loves him. Manuel and Celia embrace, to the delight and applause of Sam, Chuey and the other party goers. Al tells Sam that Manuel and Celia are going to survive financially, and have four more children along the way.
Ruben threatens to call immigration and turn in Celia as an illegal immigrant, which makes Chuey angry. Sam assures Chuey that because Manuel is an American citizen, the marriage will make Celia a legal citizen too. Chuey hugs Sam, then leaves to follow Celia and Manuel, leaving an unhappy Ruben watching them go over Sam's shoulder. Al urges Sam to "do it", and Sam spins around to give Ruben a "Roar, Jaguar!" salute. As his fists slam down on Ruben's shoulders, however, he suddenly leaps.
Sam remembers that he can speak Spanish.
Kiss with History
Rival East L.A. and Boyle Heights football game Roosevelt Rough Riders v. Garfield Bulldogs "The Classic" school colors and uniforms resemble that of the era.
As originally aired on NBC, this is the first episode to feature Deborah Pratt as the narrator for the prologue at the beginning of each episode.
Al carried a cigar throughout most, if not all, of this episode.
In the scene at the party after Sam gets the Coke, he leaves to talk to Al and the scene cuts to an exterior view of the party. It's actually a scene from the movie "La Bamba." The guy on the Indian bike is Esai Morales.
During one scene, Al tells Sam that he was watching Super Bowl XXX and the Pittsburgh Steelers were "trailing by 3." Ironically, in real life, the Steelers did play Super Bowl XXX, and they rallied to trail 20-17 before losing to the Dallas Cowboys 27-17. This established that the date from Al's point of view was January 28, 1996, just a more than six years in the then-future.
At the end of the episode, Sam leaps into Jesse Tyler, the black chauffeur from season 1 episode 6, "The Color of Truth". As originally presented on NBC, this was the third time Sam leaped into Jesse Tyler. NBC re-ran "The Color of Truth" on January 24, 1990, one week after this episode premiered.
- Big Girls Don't Cry (performed by The Four Seasons)
- Tequila (performed by The Champs)
- Let's Twist Again (performed by Chubby Checker)
- Sleepwalk (performed by Santo & Johnny)
- La Bamba (performed by Richie Valens)
- The Stripper (performed by David Rose & His Orchestra)