Wednesday, October 13, 2004

A Cautionary Tale

Once upon a time, there were four friends who liked Quantum Leap.

The year was 1990. The four women - Dimitra, Karen and twins Tracy and Teresa - were already in a local Doctor Who fan club founded by Tracy, who was also the club's president. Karen had recently begun taping Quantum Leap, and loaning the tapes to the twins.

on location in Norco, August 1990By August, the four friends were all so hooked on the show that they wrote a proposal for a fan club and drove to California. Over the next two days they took the Universal Studios tour in custom-made T-Shirts, got a call sheet and found their way to the shooting location in Norco, met Scott Bakula and guest star Patrick Warburton, went back to Universal, snuck off the tour and went looking for the Belisarius Productions office.

For some reason, the buildings on the Universal lot are labeled so haphazardly that it's impossible to find a building by address. They wandered around until a Universal employee with a golf cart made it his mission to help the friends find their destination. He failed, but it was an interesting experience for the nascent Leapers, who had half-expected to be thrown off the lot. They eventually made it to the Belisarius bungalow on foot, and put their proposal into Harriett Margulies' hands.

Within a week, Karen received a letter containing producer-creator Don Bellisario's unofficial blessing to start an unofficial fan club.

The club itself began on Thanksgiving, 1990 with the printing of the first four Project Quantum Leap "passes."  The newsletter, The Observer, came out about six weeks later. Karen was Project Chairman and editor. Teresa did most of the actual work, and Tracy did some of the writing. Dimitra did some of the driving. The friends made further trips to the Los Angeles area, interviewed lots of writers and producers and actors, attended conventions, and pulled all-nighters at home getting the zine out.  Dimitra's car was broken into outside a taping of The Arsenio Hall Show, which the friends didn't get into anyway.

Eventually, burnout set in.  Quantum Leap was canceled in 1993, despite fans' letters and a calla lily campaign the year before. Teresa and Tracy drifted into soap opera fandom.  Dimitra became a Wiccan, got married, changed her name to Samatha, got divorced, and started a custom clothing business. Tracy died. Teresa moved away. Karen stopped reading Quantum Leap boards when they started being all about Scott Bakula and interfan sniping. She started working on her second novel again, and eventually went back to school.

Margaret Colchin took over the work Teresa originally did, and produced a monthly news update called Coming Attractions. Sharon Major took over editing The Observer when Karen couldn't face doing it any more. Sharon and Margaret both did a great job, considerably outlasting their predecessors in their commitment.

Sharon had a problem, though, with one of her major contributors. The former editor started a series of articles on the music of Quantum Leap, but got bogged down by the need to watch many episodes of the show to write each issue's installment. Another series on unproduced scripts required less viewing, but even that seemed like too much effort, especially once Karen went back to school. Blogging seemed so much easier, so much less restrictive, and so much more interesting than yet another article about Quantum Leap. Having already begged off designing any more Observer covers, the ex-editor started avoiding her kfbofpql screen name so that she wouldn't have to face emails from her successor, politely asking for the promised articles.

Eventually the inevitable happened. In this week's mail was an envelope containing an issue of The Observer, containing, for the first time, no articles at all by Karen Funk Blocher.

If this were a fairy tale, Karen would be punished at this point. Shame on her.

Karen

1 comment:

ryanagi said...

Oh my...it's the end of an era. [BTW, Seeing a photo of Scott still makes my heart skip a beat. LOL]