On this week's edition of the Official Adventures in Odyssey Podcast, members of the Odyssey team stop by to answer fan questions about Album 65: Expect the Unexpected and Album 66: Trial by Fire. The podcast features executive producer Dave Arnold, producer Nathan Hoobler, and writer/director Phil Lollar. They discuss releasing the 25th anniversary live show, the inspiration behind the episode The Toy, and replacing the actor of David Parker. They also talk about the various episode plots in Album 66, Jason Whittaker, being recognized in public, Morrie's parents, and much more. Check out the podcast interview.
On the new edition of the Official Adventures in Odyssey Podcast, hosts Bob and Jesse announce this year's winner of the John Avery Whittaker Award. The award was created to honor people who have had an impact on the faith of those around them. Samantha Muir nominated the Whit in her life: Robin Berns. Both Samantha and Robin are interviewed on the podcast. Samantha talks about how Robin had compassion on her in the midst of her difficult situation, despite not knowing her personally at the time. Robin talks about her family's policy about taking in people in need into their home. They also discuss their connections to Adventures in Odyssey. Listen to the heartwarming podcast interview.
If you're a fan of Adventures in Odyssey then you're probably someone who knows a good story when you find one. AIO is full of gripping drama, from action-adventure sagas like the Blackgaard Chronicles and Novacom, to Wooton Bassett's hilarious escapades. There seems to be no end to the excitement, the danger, or the laughs. It's quality stories like these that we as fans find ourselves listening to over and over.
And there's more than just Odyssey. Stories like The Chronicles of Narnia, adapted for audio drama by Focus on the Family Radio Theatre, and The Lord of the Rings are particular favorites of mine. That's why in addition to creating the AIO Update to celebrate the great stories from our friends in the town of Odyssey, I've just created a blog dedicated to the best in fantasy books and films. It's called The Phantastic. The title of the blog comes from an archaic version of the word fantasy. So far I have two posts up, one about Christmas in Narnia, and another about fantasy in general. And there's more to come.
Adventures in Odyssey has ventured into the fantastical at times with the Passages series, as well as imaginative episodes like Sir Buddy's Snowy Day and Isaac the Chivalrous. So why not check out the blog? You can also find the Phantastic on Twitter and Facebook.
Before Adventures in Odyssey existed, Focus on the Family was already experimenting with creating audio drama. One production they aired in 1986 is called Gone Fishing and follows the character Larry Turner as he skips work to go fishing, and bumps into another man who gives him a talking-to. You can hear this episode for free on the Official Podcast. Plus, we hear an interview with Chuck Bolte, who voices Larry in this episode and would later go on to play George Barclay. Chuck talks about how he got involved with Focus on the Family and got the actors together for their early productions. He also discusses plenty of fun memories of working with Hal Smith, the first voice of John Avery Whittaker. Check out the podcast.
There is a new special CD collection coming out from Adventures in Odyssey next year. You can see the cover art on the left. The set is called Camp on It and features fourteen previously released episodes about growing strong in your faith. Here's the description: "Join your friends from Odyssey on a special journey of imagination, excitement and discovery. Be inspired by 14 faith-building Adventures in Odyssey audio dramas, and explore 14 days of devotions to help you embark on a lifelong journey with Jesus and live out your faith in practical ways. It’s the most amazing adventure ever!" This special collection will be released in May 2019. At this point we don't yet know which episodes will be included. The set is currently available for preorder from Amazon and CBD.
Porchlight Family Media, the same network that brings you the podcast Audio Theatre Central every month, has launched a new audio drama called Greenhorn Tales. Greenhorn Tales is a show about two young guys, Cam and Nick, living in the small community of Bristol. They share an apartment and are desperately trying to be adults, but are not quite succeeding. They are complete greenhorns at adult life. So far Porchlight Family Media has released the series pilot, titled Moving, Motorcyles and Marching Bands. In the pilot episode of this series, we find Nicholas and Cameron on moving day. As they make their way to secure their new apartment it seems like everyone and everything in town is doing its best to keep them from getting to the Riverview Apartments on time. Right now you can listen to the first episode for free.
Bob Smithouser has co-hosted the Official Adventures in Odyssey Podcast with Jesse Florea for over ten years. But now this month's AIO Club episode, Out to Sea, marks Bob's debut as a script writer on the AIO team. If you're a club member you can hear the show now. In this episode Whit, Eugene, and Wooton are visiting the Florida Keys for an ocean getaway when they suddenly land in a boatload of trouble. Bob has been interviewed in this week's edition of the podcast, along with co-writer Phil Lollar. Bob discusses his background growing up near the ocean, bringing back Captain Quidd from Aloha Oy! (Album 19), and the differences between the early drafts and the final show. He also discusses receiving feedback on his script, rewrites, bringing Phil Lollar on board, making cuts, crafting the surprise ending, and more. Plus, a surprise guest shows up. Check out the podcast interview.
Album 65: Expect the Unexpected just finished airing on the radio and online, and next up is Album 66: Trial by Fire. It will soon be available on the AIO Club later this month, come out on digital download in February, and then on CD in March. Here is the summary for Album 66: "After years of searching for his true identity, Buck Oliver may finally get some answers when a painting from his mother suddenly shows up in Odyssey. But along with clues about his family, he also is subjected to the dangers of his past. Elsewhere the Parkers are forced to evacuate their home, and Connie and Jules face roommate troubles. Dramatic conclusions and fresh beginnings abound in these six entertaining and inspiring adventures in Odyssey!" And now, thanks to the AIOWiki, we know the episode titles and descriptions as well:
Last year Focus on the Family released the Adventures in Odyssey Bible. The translation it uses is the New International Readers Version, which is perfect for readers in AIO's target age range of 8-12. In addition to the biblical text, the AIO Bible also includes plenty of Odyssey content such as Whit's Wisdom, Candid Conversations with Connie, Wooton's Fun Facts, Jason's Jargon, book introductions from Eugene, colorful illustrations and maps, and more. And now, a New Testament edition has been released, including all the extra Odyssey-related special features. It is currently available for purchase, just in time for Christmas.
The AIOWiki Podcast has released an interview with Grayson Smith, the winner of last year's Get in the Show contest. Grayson appeared in the 30th Birthday Live Show and in the AIO Club episodes Rewinding the Big Picture, the first episode of Season 5, and The Last Straw, the ninth episode. On the podcast Grayson discusses how he grew up as a fan of the show and the episodes he's listened to, the benefits of being homeschooled, and his busy acting career. He also talks about various acting tips, his experience on the cruise, playing music, his many hobbies, Get in the Show, and more. Check out the podcast interview.
Actor Townsend Coleman, the voice of Odyssey's favorite spy Jason Whittaker, was just interviewed on an episode of the Official Adventures in Odyssey Podcast. Townsend discusses his experience recording the live show on the Focus on the Family cruise last year, interacting with the listening audience, and the time he rappelled out of a twelve-story apartment building with nothing more than a garden hose. He also talks about being a contestant on a game show, how action scenes differ from other scenes, Drake the Cosmic Copper, being emotionally impacted while recording the Album 65 episode The Toy, Jason's future, and more. Check out the podcast interview.
It's been precisely one year since fans joined the Focus on the Family cruise in the Bahamas to celebrate 30 years of Adventures in Odyssey and 40 years of FOTF. During the cruise the Odyssey actors performed a special live show, which featured appearances from Whit, Connie, Eugene, Jason, Wooton, Dale Jacobs, Jules Kendall, Grayson Smith, the host Chris, Philip Glossman, and many more. Some months back the Official Podcast released a video with highlights from the cruise, including the first 15 minutes from the live show. Whether you were one of the lucky ones on board the cruise or not, now is the perfect time to think back and reminisce about Adventures in Odyssey's 30th birthday celebration. You can watch that video below. The full live show is available for members of the AIO Club.
On the latest video edition of the Official Podcast, writer and director Marshal Younger talks about what inspired the Album 65 episode The Sandwich Initiative, which features the Parker family. Marshal discusses how, many years ago, his three-year-old daughter decided she wasn’t going to eat her breakfast. This set off a multi-hour standoff between father and daughter that later inspired the Odyssey episode. Watch the video podcast to witness the battle of wills as well as an incredible story from an Adventures in Odyssey listener. You can check out the video below.
The Washington family hasn't appeared together on Adventures in Odyssey since Album 50, which is over ten years ago. Marvin recently returned last year on the AIO Club episode Unfair Game, and now Ed is back in the Album 65 episode The Toy. The voice actor behind Ed Washington, Mark Christopher Lawrence, was just interviewed on the Official Podcast. Mark discusses his style of stand-up comedy, performing at churches, getting recognized for his voice, and the most engaging Odyssey fan he's ever met. He also talks about his latest episode, memories from recording in the studio, tips for aspiring comedians and much more. Check out the podcast interview.
The character of Penny Wise, now known as Penny Bassett since marrying Wooton, was first introduced to Adventures in Odyssey in Album 53: The Green Ring Conspiracy. Listeners had a lot of questions about her, including whether she was involved in the plot to counterfeit money. One question that kept coming up, even after the mystery of Album 53 had been solved, was about Penny's faith. Is Penny really a Christian? It's a legitimate question, which is why members of the AIO team have attempted to answer it again and again. And that's also why the AIO Update has put together a new Odyssey Q&A video to deal with this very issue. A few weeks ago we asked the question: Will Buck and Jules Get Together? Now we ask: Is Penny a Christian? Watch the video below to see how the AIO writers handle this question.
Lamplighter Theatre is known for adapting forgotten classics from the past into family friendly audio dramas. They have recently released a few new productions, such as The Giant Killer, an allegorical tale featuring a medieval knight on an epic quest, and Escape from the Eagle's Nest, an adventure in India and Afghanistan. Now they have released their latest production, Treasure of the Secret Cove. In this story you'll find mystery, drama, heroism, villainy, greed, tragedy, revenge, betrayal, heartbreak, and redemption. An independent wife and a self-absorbed husband, a tempted-but-pious parson amidst a village of greedy citizens, along with a daring plan, a concealed treasure, and a secret cove, will keep you in thrilled suspense. This powerful drama addresses life’s significant questions concerning the salvation of one's soul. You can find it on CD and MP3 download.
The latest Adventures in Odyssey album release, called Album 65: Expect the Unexpected, first aired on the AIO Club this summer and in September it was released on digital download on FOTF, iTunes, and Amazon. It came out this month on CD and now today it has begun airing on the radio and online at whitsend.org. The album includes episodes featuring a mysterious police investigation, an off-the-wall Parker family picnic, another adventure with Buck Oliver and the Meltsners, and more. The first episode is called The Shame About Fame and airs today. In this show Olivia Parker and Zoe Grant start a new talk show and reluctantly choose Jay as their first guest. However, when Jay starts choking live on their show, the girls become famous for for reasons they didn’t expect. Meanwhile, Connie and Jules have conflicting opinions on their next potential roommate: Jillian Marshall. Listen to it now. Over the next six weeks a new Album 65 episode will air every Saturday. But as you can only listen to each episode for a limited time, just remember to check back on whitsend.org every week.
This month the Adventures in Odyssey Club released a new exclusive episode called Beyond Repair, in which Pastor Wilson Knox tries to help a conflicted young woman, Alicia, who decides to visit her father in prison. The episode is affiliated with the ministry of Prison Fellowship and project Angel Tree. Now the Official Podcast has just put out an interview with Patti Hammonds, senior manager with Angel Tree. She talks about the true story that inspired this episode, why a Christmas show is airing in October and how we can share Jesus' love by helping others. She also discusses the kids involved with Angel Tree, the importance of second chances, and sharing the gospel. Plus, we hear a preview of Album 65. Check out the podcast interview.
The Imagination Station is perhaps John Avery Whittaker's most well-known invention. Kids have stepped inside to travel throughout history to times and places such as the early church, the American Revolution, and the South Pacific during World War II. And villains like the mysterious Chairman of the Novacom Saga have sought to harness its technology to advance their plans. The Imagination Station remains an important part of Adventures in Odyssey and a great tool for teaching people about the Bible and world history. A number of years ago Focus on the Family launched the Imagination Station book series with a target audience of kids ages five to eight. Each book includes an exciting adventure to the past and plenty of illustrations along the way. And this month marks yet another addition. The next title in the series, Freedom at the Falls, has just been released. In this story Patrick and Beth wind up in 1860s America, the time of the Civil War. There they meet key historical figures of the period and help conduct escaping slaves along the Underground Railroad to freedom in Canada. This is the first in a three-part story arc focusing on Civil War America. Freedom at the Falls will be followed in March 2019 by the book Terror in the Tunnel. Many families around the world are enjoying this series, which has sold over 900,000 copies so far.
With all the epic adventures that have occurred on Adventures in Odyssey over the years, there can be little doubt that the town of Odyssey is an exciting place. Despite some characters' assertions that nothing ever happens there, you only have to look at the past few albums before you realize the opposite. From the Green Ring Conspiracy to The Ties That Bind, it seems like fans of the show get to enjoy one epic saga after the next. In the AIO Update's latest editorial, called A Time for Aftermath, we take another look at some of Odyssey's dramatic action sequences and focus on what happens next: how characters deal with and live in the midst of the consequences. After reading this editorial, you can head over to our editorials page to browse the archives of past opinion pieces that we've posted.