NBC makes it 1985 again with 91 cent-per-gallon gas to promote its 'Quantum Leap' revival

·4 min read
NBC Quantum Leap 1985 gas prices
Elaine Low
  • To promote the "Quantum Leap" revival, NBC offered gas at 1985 prices for just one day.

  • Los Angeles denizens fueled up for 91 cents a gallon.

  • The wait at 10 a.m. was 40 minutes long, but plenty of Angelenos showed up.

The '80s are having a moment. "Top Gun" is top of the box office, Kate Bush's "Running Up That Hill" is in regular rotation on terrestrial radio thanks to "Stranger Things," and Tom Ford closed out New York Fashion Week with a runway full of sequins and shoulder pads as Madonna looked on from the audience.

It makes sense, then, that NBC would lean into the upcoming premiere of its "Quantum Leap" sequel TV series with a 1985-themed "gas experience" in Los Angeles on Wednesday. The original, which ran from 1989 to 1993 for five seasons, is being rebooted with a new cast led by Raymond Lee, who plays a physicist looking to revive the Quantum Leap accelerator and travel back in time — starting with a jaunt to 1985.

For just one day, the broadcast network took over an Exxon station on Santa Monica Blvd. and Vine in the Hollywood area to offer gas for just 91 cents a gallon — if you could stomach the line going down the block.

A 40-minute line for gas in the middle of Hollywood

NBC Quantum Leap 1985 gas prices
Elaine Low

The clock rolled back to 1985 at 9 a.m. Wednesday, and by 10 a.m. a line of about 18 cars was wrapped around the block at the intersection of Vine and Yucca St. The line curved into a parking lot, where another two dozen or so cars idled as '80s music blasted and promotional staffers walked around handing out Pop-Tarts, water and "Quantum Leap" baseball caps.

While waiting for a pass granting them access to cheap fuel, gas seekers were placed in front of a giant screen featuring throwback trivia, interspersed with a trailer for the new series. (What was the most popular video game of the '80s? Why, "Mario Bros.," of course.)

91 cents a gallon in 1985 vs. $5.40 a gallon in 2022

NBC Quantum Leap 1985 gas prices
Elaine Low

After that wait, drivers were directed about a mile south on Vine to a gas station that declared it was "time to pay like it's 1985," complete with attendants at every pump to help fill up the tank.

From start to finish, I waited about 40 minutes to get to the pump, and other drivers behind me waited for even less time than that during a mid-morning lull.

This isn't the first time a Hollywood studio or network has pulled such a publicity stunt to promote a show. In 2019, a "Maisel Day" event featuring 30 cent-per-gallon gas jammed up traffic so much that police had to shut down the stunt.

As part of what NBC is calling "Quantum Leap Day," it has also partnered with Fandango to offer movie tickets for the 1985-era price of $3.55 apiece.

NBC Quantum Leap 1985 gas prices
Elaine Low

The mood was chipper, despite the wait — and understandably so, given that the average price for gas in LA is currently around $5.40 per gallon. In June, prices climbed as high as $6.44 in California.

Tony Dominguez, a 19-year-old sales associate at Foot Locker, said he heard about the promo on Instagram. He waited for about 20 minutes to get to the pump, and got his money's worth: $9.10 for 10 gallons, the maximum allowed per person.

"I came on E," he said, referring to his near-empty gas tank.

NBC Quantum Leap 1985 gas prices
Elaine Low

Fellow LA resident Kobi Weiss was about to borrow his friend's Costco card to refill his truck, which usually costs $100 to gas up, before he too spotted an ad for the event on Instagram.

While Weiss hasn't seen the original "Quantum Leap" — "I was born in 1994," he told me, by way of explanation — he plans to check out the new edition, which debuts Monday night.

"Of course I will," said Weiss. "After I fill the gas for 91 cents per gallon, of course."

Read the original article on Business Insider