Disco Inferno was the 2nd episode of Season Two of Quantum Leap, also the 11th overall series episode. Written by Paul Brown, the episode, which was directed by Gilbert M. Shilton, originally aired on NBC-TV on September 27, 1989.
April 1, 1976: Sam leaps into stuntman Chad Stone (the leapee is played by Kevin Light), whose younger brother, Chris, is destined to be killed in a dangerous movie stunt. While seeking to save Chris' life, Sam must adjust to the demands of being a big brother, a role that unlocks a vital piece of Sam's Swiss-cheese memory - that he too has a big brother, a revelation that both delights and haunts Sam.
Sam leaps in while on the dance floor of a disco. A hitman enters the club and pulls out a gun, shooting Sam in the chest. Sam is flung backwards through a glass wall and lands on a safety pad. At that moment, a voice yells "cut" and Sam realizes that he was not shot, but rather, flung backward via cables attached to his body. His name is Chad Stone, a stuntman working on the film set of a low-budget movie called "Disco Inferno", along with his counterpart's younger brother, Chris (played by Kris Kamm), and father, the stunt coordinator, Ray Stone (Michael Greene).
Ray is annoyed that the safety pad was moved, endangering his son's life, and blames Chris for the failure. Rick, the director (Peter Onorati) tells them to move along so he can film the next scene, but Ray is angered by Rick's indifference to safety procedures and announces his resignation, bringing his two boys with him. Rick tells Chris that the fire stunt on the film in two days is his big opportunity and tries to get him to stay, but Chris defers to his father's judgment and leaves.
While walking around the set, Sam meets Traci DeVine (Arnetia Walker), a black music producer handling the film's soundtrack. Traci gives him her business card, along with a mood ring, which reveals Sam to be in a distressed state. Chris, meanwhile, meets a young, attractive college girl named Shannon. Though Chris tells her most girls normally go for his older brother, Shannon says she isn't like most girls, and instead holds a clear interest in Chris.
Sam finds Al having fun on the dance floor, and the two talk about his mission. Sam is mortified to have leaped into the seventies, a decade he finds intolerable, while Al admits that the seventies were among the best years of his life. Sam wants to accomplish his mission as soon as possible so he can leap. Al tells him that Ziggy's computer systems have crashed, however, he has one bit of data: Chris will die sometime in the next two days, though the cause, time, and place of his death are unknown.
While Sam is contemplating the notion of playing the role of big brother to Chris, he suddenly remembers that he too has a big brother, whose name is Tom. But other than the name, Sam cannot remember anything else about him. He asks Al for information, but Al reminds Sam that it is against the rules for him to give Sam personal data concerning his own life.
As Sam, Chris, and Ray are leaving the set, Chris is in a bad mood. His father's decision to quit the film means he is denied the opportunity to perform the upcoming fire stunt on the movie and thus earn his stuntman's card. Ray suggests Chris take Sam's upcoming movie stunt on the film, Earthquake, scheduled for the following day. However, Sam, aware of Chris' impending fate, says no.
Chris is angered with Sam and refuses to speak with him. Sam is reminded that he too would get mad when he felt his older brother, Tom, was bossing him around, and realizes that it is simply one of the responsibilities of being a big brother.
Sam overhears Chris playing guitar in his room and realizes he has a talent in music. Remembering how Tom convinced him to go to M.I.T to pursue his talent in physics, Sam tells Chris that he should follow his own talents.
Shannon shows up to their home to see Chris. Chris asks Sam not to hit on her, as is Chad's normal habit, and Sam agrees. The three are watching Saturday Night Live and, during one sketch, Chevy Chase imitates President Ford and his penchant for clumsiness. Shannon says that if Ford falls over again, as he has before, he will lose the Presidency. Sam talks to her about politics and the upcoming Presidential election, and Chris becomes jealous by the way he and Shannon are bonding.
Sam spots Al on the balcony and leaves Chris and Shannon alone. Al senses that Sam has a fondness for Chris. Sam tells Al that Chris reminds him of himself and his own relationship to Tom. Al says he still does not have any data about Chris' death.
The next day, Sam is on the set of the movie, Earthquake, about to perform a stunt in which he must fall several stories from a building. Sam is terrified and reluctant to go ahead with the stunt. One of the female stunt performers arrives just as the scene commences, and nudges Sam over the edge, while she jumps. Sam manages to cling to a scaffolding, while the other actors on the movie pretend to reach for him. Sam loses his grip and falls several stories, on to a large safety mat.
Chris is jealous and angry that Sam got to perform the stunt, and not him. Sam tells him that he should pursue his talent in music instead. He has contacted Tracey DeVine, who has gotten Chris a chance to play in front of a large crowd at a downtown country music club. Chris plays guitar and sings before the crowd, with Sam and Shannon watching on. Ray, however, believes Chris is wasting his time pursuing music, and goes to the bar to get drunk. After Chris departs from the stage and goes to the bar to seek his father's approval, the two end up arguing, and Chris punches his father in the face. Upset and determined to win his father's approval, Chris contacts Rick and tells him that he is available to perform the fire stunt the following day.
Back home, Sam admits to Al that he is struggling in his task of being Chris' big brother. He says that he never appreciated Tom's efforts to look out for him until it was too late. Suddenly, Sam has a haunted feeling and remembers that Tom is dead. Al nods and tells him Tom died in Vietnam.
The next day, Chris and Shannon arrive on the "Disco Inferno" movie set. Shannon is concerned and tells Chris he should wait for his father and brother to check out the stunt first. Chris responds that it is what the both of them would want him to do.
Meanwhile, Sam is worried, as Chris hasn't returned home since his fight with their father. Sam forces Ray to admit that Chris has talent in music. Ray concedes, but says that he doesn't believe Chris should waste his life away by pursuing it as a career. Sam contests that Chris's life will be ruined if he is forced to become a stuntman. Ray realizes that the only reason he became a stuntman was to prove to his father that he could do it. Sam realizes that Chris may similarly seek to prove himself by performing in the fire stunt, and the two race off to stop him.
Rick continues to disobey safety precautions and tells the crew they aren't going to do a rehearsal. He tells Chris that the stunt requires him to jump over a balcony while a pot behind him explodes. However, after yelling "action," the explosion becomes an inferno and engulfs the entire balcony, including Chris. Sam and Ray arrive on the set, and Sam sets out in search of Chris in the burning rubble. Al helps guide Sam through the thick flames to find Chris, who is unconscious and pinned underneath some wood. Sam frees him and rescues him to safety.
Chris regains consciousness and tells his father that, because of the stunt, he has now earned his stuntman's card. As Chris is taken off by an ambulance, Ray confronts Rick and punches him in the face for incompetence, while Tracey comforts Sam, noting that his mood ring now indicates he is in a good mood.
Back at their home, several days later, Chris is recuperating with a cast on his leg and watching television with Shannon and Ray. Sam talks to Al briefly in the kitchen, revealing that at times he feels a little homesick and wishes he could go leap home and return to his own life. To soften some of his homesickness, Al produces a photograph of Tom and Sam together, while Tom was dressed in his Navy Seals uniform preparing to leave for Vietnam. Sam thanks Al for sharing it with him and goes back to join the others to watch television.
Sam and Ray begin to discuss Chris's future, with Ray saying that Chris will come and work with them as a stuntman now that he has his card, while Sam suggests that Chris's future lies with his music. Ray incredulously asks if Sam knows the future. Al tells Sam that President Ford is about to trip down a flight of stairs on live television. Sam announces that, if Ford trips down the stairs, then it proves he knows the future, and that Ray should get behind encouraging Chris in music. Ray agrees. Right on cue, Ford trips, and Sam gives Chris the thumbs-up, before leaping...
Kisses with History
Sam appears on the set of Earthquake with the footage of Sam spliced together alongside actual footage from the film. However, this sequence represents a problem: the film was released in 1974, while the episode is set in 1976.
This episode takes place on April 1, 1976; however, in the later scene where Sam and his "brother" Chris are watching an episode of Saturday Night Live, Chris says the show is live. This episode of Saturday Night Live, including the Coneheads on Family Feud sketch, didn't air until January 21, 1978. In addition, the President Ford clip afterwards is from an entirely different episode.
- That's The Way I Like It (performed by KC & The Sunshine Band)
- Kung Fu Fighting (performed by Carl Douglas)
- The Hustle (performed by Van McCoy)
- Wild Fire
- Out Of Sight