How Stephen King Became A Quantum Leap Character
How Stephen King Became A Quantum Leap Character

NBC time travel series Quantum Leap saw Dr. Sam Beckett encounter famous historical faces many times, including in one episode author Stephen King.

NBC time travel series Quantum Leap saw Dr. Sam Beckett encounter famous historical faces many times, including in one episode author Stephen King. King has done a lot over his long career, becoming a pop culture icon along the way. He’s published more than 60 novels and 200 short stories, and also written a little less than two dozen screenplays for movies and TV shows. He’s also appeared onscreen as both characters and himself, played in a rock band, and become ridiculously rich.

King was already so famous by 1990 that he ended up included as a character in an episode of Quantum Leap. Created by Donald P. Bellisario, Quantum Leap mostly focused on Sam helping fictional people put right what once went wrong, but in some episodes, Dr. Beckett and his hologram sidekick Admiral Al Calavicci had encounters with real-life people. Sam even leapt into a few in the later seasons, such as JFK assassin Lee Harvey Oswald, Elvis Presley, and Dr. Ruth.

Quantum Leap wrote King into its universe as a character in the season 3 Halloween episode “The Boogieman,” which itself has an exceedingly odd history, including a supposed “curse.” Here’s what happened when Sam and Al met the King of horror.

How Stephen King Became A Quantum Leap Character

How Stephen King Became A Quantum Leap Character
How Stephen King Became A Quantum Leap Character

In “The Boogieman,” which aired as season 3, episode 5 of Quantum Leap on October 26, 1990, Sam leaps into a horror writer named Joshua Ray. During the episode, spooky, seemingly supernatural events occur, and people keep dying before Sam can save them. It turns out that Satan, disguised as Al, has been behind everything. Or has he? Sam was knocked out early in the episode, and it’s left a bit vague as to whether Sam’s encounter with The Devil was just a dream, or rather some kind of vision. Present throughout the episode, usually when weird things are happening, is a teenager named Stevie, Joshua’s assistant, and an aspiring horror novelist.

At the end of “The Boogieman,” it’s revealed that Stevie’s last name is King, leading Sam and Al to exchange a nod of recognition. Stevie also has a St. Bernard named Cujo, and Sam had driven a red Plymouth Fury earlier on and made a reference to Christine that Stevie of course didn’t get, since the book hadn’t been written yet. The episode is set in small town Maine as well. Of course, this isn’t based on Stephen King’s actual life, and is more a wink at what someone might imagine King’s adolescence to have been. Still, it’s a fun end to an episode with a surprising amount of creepy moments.

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