Thursday, November 22, 2012

25 Reasons Why We're Thankful for Adventures in Odyssey

Well, friends, family, and countrymen, we have arrived at the 25th anniversary of the best small town in America on the radio! Just think, it all started when, 25 years ago, Phil Lollar and Steve Harris began to craft an idea that, on November 21, 1987, "the adventure begins." We've been signed, sealed, & committed ever since! The following list is why we love Odyssey so much..let's take it from the top!

Josh in black, Ally in blue

1. Realism.
Everyone wants to relate to something even by a little to love something. It gives a connection to the audience, draws them in. Odyssey is beloved by fans at home and abroad for providing a "slice-of-life" every day for twenty five years.  Granted, it's not every day you might stop an evil company from taking over the world via mind controlled radio stations, but it is every day we deal with loss, love, and doubt in our faith.

2. Lessons.
How many of you have watched an episode of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo or Duck Dynasty recently?  We're not exactly in an age of educational, entertaining media. But like everything else, Odyssey dares to be different, telling quality stories with important lessons and teaching the FUNdamentals of Christian life! We learn the cause and effect  of our actions and learn how to ask God for forgiveness, to be lost and found! The big picture is made apparent when we learn to love others and see things differently, to live on earth as it is in heaven.

3. Action-adventure/mysteries.
The wonderful thing about Odyssey is that it transcends genres, times, and places. It's a timeless show which incorporates all kinds of genres, making it enjoyable for all ages. One of the most popular genres is action-adventure/mysteries. Jason Whittaker continues to thrill listeners with his exciting escapades...and with The Labyrinth winning Best Episode for Album 55, expect more in the future! We love to go in hot pursuit and help those with no way out, giving others a hand in the deep end. Mysteries are always popular because we get to see our favorite characters working together to figure cool stuff out! Case in point: Wooton and Bernard make a hilarious duo as Sherlock and Holmes on The Other Side of the Glass, while Whit and Connie investigate a stolen government computer while Waylaid in the Windy City. Exciting plotlines move forward other story threads with interesting elements, as we saw with in the Blackgaard Chronicles and in The Green Ring Conspiracy. With daring deeds, sinister schemes, Odyssey continues to enthrall listeners with action-packed awesomeness. Consider it Mission: Accomplished.

4. Emotion.
THIS MAKES IT ALL SOUND REAL MAN. JUST IT JUST *BALLS OUT IN TEARS* Just kidding, but seriously, the emotion and emphasis of the episodes the writers put into each one gives it feeling. It makes the episode what it is. Imagine an emotionless episode, you'd be bored out of your skull! Emotion like Clara made me cry, when Whit said goodbye to that sweet little girl, and the way she said "Good bye Mr. Whit", it gives us the wanting of something more, to make us laugh, to make us scared, to make us wonder. Odyssey embraces emotion; it never shies away, but finds new ways to explore what makes up emotion and how it affects others. Powerful stuff - and it's never on thin ice.

5. Family feeling.
After being around for 25 years, you can't help but be attached to these characters and this town. As a resident Odyssey nerd, "I can tell you what these people are gonna have for breakfast before they even know it themselves." (Monica Stone, Sheep's Clothing) We've seen different and memorable family dynamics throughout the years - from the Barclays (shoutouts to (D)Jave Griffin, Chuck Bolte, Azure Janofsky, Carol Bilger) to the Jacobs (Phil Lollar, Sage Bolte, Erin Bolte) to the Mulligans (Bill Myers, Vaughn Taylor, Chris Castile, Nicole Myers) to the Washingtons (Mark Christopher Laurence, J Karen Thomas, Kendre Berry, Courtney Brown) to the Parkers (Mark Evan Jackson, Amanda Troop, Zach Callison, Sydney Shiotani, Kelly Stables) and many, many more. 

6. The Novacom Saga.
Ah, yes. The pinnacle of Odyssey's history. In this illustrious time, our friends teamed up to save the world as they knew it from mind controlled destruction by an evil corporation called Andromeda, creating a tidal wave of fascinating plot threads, interesting character developments, and memorable characters. Through Danger Signals to Countermoves to Battlelines, we saw how the darkness before dawn was as memorable - and as engaging and character-building - as the sunrise itself. It's another fine day...

7. The characters.
The grandfatherly Whit. The hilarious crazy Wooton. The sweet but clumsy Connie. The intelligent brainy Eugene. The sarcastic, but caring Bernard. And all the other unique characters. They bring Odyssey to its name, an adventure. These characters like the actors give us emotion, relate with us, and experience things we'd never imagine. The heart they have for God inspires and encourages kids and adults to love God more each and every day. Their life consisting of lessons, and experiences give us something to think about. To apply to our own lives. They provide us days to remember!

8. The sound design.
The sound designers are the hidden treasures of Odyssey. We don't acknowledge their contributions enough, but every episode is made all the more realistic by the designers bringing in sound to bring the world of Odyssey to life. We've seen incredible innovations in sound from The Imagination Station to Sgt. York, going beyond expectations, and I look forward to seeing (or hearing) them continue to take sound into new dimensions for listeners!

9. That score.
John Campbell is a fantastic composer. He takes us along for the ride on musical journeys that coincide with the characters we love on Odyssey's journeys, which is why he's so musically talented. If there ever comes a day when he releases a compilation of all his instrumental work done on Odyssey, I'll be the first in line. He's so great that's he made my list of all-time favorite composers, which includes Gershwin, Rachmaninoff, Thomas Newman, Michael Giacchino, and Hans Zimmer.

10. The Actors
These are the people who bring smiles to our faces, the laughs out of our mouths, and the emotion in our hearts. The actors put their whole hearts into speaking their roles. Odyssey feels like hanging with my own family because these actors are so incredibly talented. Much cred goes out to Hal Smith, Walker Edmiston (Wish you were here!), Katie Leigh, Will Ryan, Dave Madden, Alan Young, Paul McCusker, Earl Boen, Andre Stojka, Corey Burton, and the rest of the gifted cast who bring to life fascinating characters every day on the radio. They bring our virtual realities to life, crafting their part of stories that could only happen in your wildest dreams or in flights of imagination. These actors' performances are why we get so excited when Eugene Returns!

11. Imagination Station
Are you ready for a place of wonder, a time of discovery, and a passport to adventure? Then step inside Whit's greatest invention, which lets you feel like you're actually back in historical or Biblical times, and makes it possible to meet your heroes! Some of my favorite episodes have occurred inside this machine, such as The Perfect Church. The idea of going to other times...other places is a powerful part of our imagination and is brought to life in Odyssey!

12. Kids' Radio
Kids' Radio episodes must be incredibly fun to write. You're basically allowed creative freedom, as anything can happen on the radio. It's another one of the risks and rewards that make up what Odyssey is today, and inspired me on my own radio show! (By the way, if you're interested in listening, check out the Welcome! column on the right and click on the link on the links section.) From Hidden in My Heart to The Devil Made Me Do It, creativity never seems to diminish here. Love Candid Conversations with Connie! I'm so glad they're back on the air.

13. Online fan community.
All fans of Odyssey have a special bond. I felt it in Dallas and I even feel it online, which bonds even stronger when we have a shared love for God first and Odyssey later! We're all passionate, well-versed, smart, and fun to talk to, and I love talking to all Odyssey fans on the ToO, Soda Shop, Campbell County message boards, Facebook, and right here on the blog, and this past summer has been the wildest summer ever, with new Odyssey blogs springing up!

14. Whit
Odyssey would not be the same without Whit. Whit's the one we all love, who's so grandfatherly and wise. He gives us all the advice and teaches us in a way that makes us understand fully. In The Highest Stakes, Part 2, Whit was willing to pay Carson's debt even if he was a stranger. His imagination for kids and the way he relates to them draws people in. Whether anyone comes to Odyssey once Whit's gone, it wouldn't be the same. It would NEVER BE THE SAME. Whit represents the show in many ways: he is ageless, timeless, wise, humorous, and a strong Christian man. We've seen him transcend time in different interpretations of the character played by Hal Smith, Paul Herlinger, and now Andre Stojka, who together create a complex man who continues to be a strong role model for Odyssey and all of us to follow. That's why we were so glad when the search for Whit found him once again.

15. Humor + The Ceiling Fan 
You'd think that a show targeted for 8-12 years old would only make that target demographic laugh - and that's many of them do. Odyssey manages the rare feat of making people of all ages laugh - from the hilarious Broken Window to Bernard's sarcasm to comedy even in the face of tragedy (a la To Mend or Repair). And while we're talking about humor, we might as well bring up The Ceiling Fan, the funniest Odyssey homage podcast on the Internet airwaves.

16. Christian worldview.
In a world that continues to mock Christianity, Odyssey moves into the light, showing the Christian worldview not shown in much media. I thank Odyssey for sticking with us 25 years through thick and thin and showing us a journey of choices while keeping us entertained at the same time in a moment of truth. Well done!

17. Gary Locke
Odyssey has had numerous artists create visions of our favorite characters, but Locke has successfully translated all of our characters in a similar style just in time, with his fantastic work on repack art. 

18. The Official Podcast.
Meanwhile, in another part of town, every other week, we're in for behind the scenes updates, interviews with the casts, and hearing from Bob and Jesse! 

19. The Odyssey Scoop.
The most informational Odyssey fan site out there. Check it out!

20. Reviews.
I look forward to going online each weekend and discussing the latest episode of Odyssey, either on the ToO or by reading some of the other blog reviews, like at Just Another AIO Blog, The Changing Times, Twists and Turns (more news than reviews), Out of Control in Odyssey (What can I say? ;), AIO Thoughts, At Whit's End, Dave's AIO Blog, and the Voice of Odyssey! Someone should totally start an Adventures in Odyssey Analysis college course.

21. Brock and Diane.
If you've heard the saying "Sugar and spice make everything nice," you obviously haven't met Brock Eastman and Diane Ingolia, who put sugar and spice to shame. Brock and Diane light up the Official Podcast with their hilarious guest/cameo appearances throughout the year with their charismatic, warm personalities. And just look at how well Brock/Evan does those Social Shoutouts and Diane emceeing for GITS! A masterclass in likability for your viewing and listening pleasure (Diane's on A Time for Action and The Top Floor, Albums 46 & 48)!

22. The Story Team!
We gotta thank these people, man. These creative, talented writers, directors, and producers create the world of Odyssey. They shape the episodes with different ideas and thoughts, but with one goal. I honestly love these guys. I really do. These people bring in humor, drama, great lessons, and imagination to bring AIO to the air. They create characters with personality, and history. You can tell from the episodes they put in a lot of themselves, making it the best they can for their audience.  I thank Phil Lollar, Paul McCusker, Dave Arnold, Kathy Buchanan, Nathan Hoobler, Marshal Younger, Bob Hoose, and the entire writing team for continuing to bring Odyssey to life year after year; the sky's the limit!

23. Whit's End.
Oh how I've wished we had a Whit's End in the Bay. A place where we can get free ice cream sodas and advice, where we can escape and try out new inventions, go inside the Imagination Station. The fact that there are no plans for Whit's End helps us realize that our world continues to unlock new bits of information every day, and that while we might not know it all, He does, and it's all perfectly meant to be in the grand design.

24. Focus on the Family.
They're especially helpful for you to have that perfect date with Dad and girls' night out for Mom. I'm thankful for FOTF, who continues to aim to protect and serve the family, bringing people together to say "Welcome home," needed more than ever in a time of divorce, mass abortion, depression, and cynicality. If that's even a word. Thank you for producing an encouraging, values-based, smart show for kids (of all ages)! Now about that spinoff for teens...(just kidding, I don't want to be ungrateful!)

25. Our Heavenly Father!
How could we not love Odyssey without Him? Without God, we'd never have the loving, funny, wise and impacting episodes as we have now. He is the Ultimate Inspiration and Storyteller; the Creator of poetry, prose, and powerful writing. He's also the bestselling author of the Bible, which tells the greatest narrative ever told: the Gospel, which should make us go clashing cymbals as we see the meaning of God's love.

"Thank God for Odyssey!" - Whit, The Forgotten Deed

Looking forward to another great twenty five years, if it's God's will. Happy birthday, Odyssey!

Purchase any of the albums mentioned here (from 1-56) at CBD!
Visit any of the blogs/websites mentioned by looking at our "Friends of Odyssey" section.

Very big updates to follow next week on our (hopefully you'll find it just as) exciting new feature. Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

Please feel free to comment and let us know why you're thankful for Odyssey.


  1. That was fantastic. It summarized everything about this show sooo much, and I can't believe how many album names you fit in here! Bravi!

  2. That.was.awesome. nuff said

  3. Great list guys! Very well written.

  4. Thanks for all the wonderful compliments! We really appreciate it!

  5. Brilliant. This was a perfect way to celebrate the 25th Anniversary! Thank you for the post; I enjoyed it immensely! The only thing that I would add to the list is Cryin' Bryan Dern! He's why I'm thankful for Odyssey. ;)

    1. "Well, whoopety doopety doo!"
      "I have a root canal I'd like to get to. Who's next?"
      "I wonder if maybe that song needs something. I dunno, maybe, uh, WORDS? And I think the accordion player could use a sedative..."

      Corey Burton, we miss you. Please come back!

    2. Cryin Brian Dern= My favorite character.
      "Come back Brian, am I losing you...." :)