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Rate the Episode
5 Stars 83%  83%  [ 25 ]
4 Stars 13%  13%  [ 4 ]
3 Stars 3%  3%  [ 1 ]
2 Stars 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
1 Star 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
Total votes : 30
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 Post Post subject: 355: The Search For Whit
Posted: Wed Nov 15, 2006 10:07 pm 
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BACKGROUND
On January 28, 1994, Hal Smith - the beloved voice behind the most beloved Odyssey character ever: John Avery Whittaker – died. At the time, the staff at AIO had no idea what to do with this sudden death of their main character. Several of the next episodes involved Whit and they had no immediate plan for his absence. They had originally recorded A Mortal Coil to be the episode where Whit dies if Hal died, but they had already used it and didn’t feel right about simply killing him off anyway. They decided to send Whit away to the Middle East on an archeological expedition for a time (an undisclosed amount) under the pretense that this was God’s will in this season of his life.
Meanwhile the writers replaced the character traits that Whit brought to AIO with two characters, Jack Allen and Jason Whittaker. As the two settled into their new home in Odyssey, the producers of the show looked for a new Whit. It was hard. How do you replace a man who has been called “One of the most prolific voicepersons in entertainment history”? If they could find someone to replace him, they would, but the situation allowed for Whit to possibly never come back.
Some time later, Chuck Bolte – the Executive Producer of AIO – found the name of a documentary narrator named Paul Herlinger. Chuck was shocked to discover how similar his voice sounded to his old friend Hal. He invited Paul to come out and try a test episode, playing the voice of Whit. The episode was not intended to bring Whit back to Odyssey after long last, but only to provide the audience and production team a body of work they could judge Paul’s fit for the role. He agreed. On May 18, 1996, John Avery Whittaker crackled over the radio waves once again in A Search For Whit.


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TIDBITS

-Eugene’s line “I can’t believe we missed him again” was in reference to the two times Whit left messages on the machine in The Time Has Come (once at the beginning, once at the end). The difference here, of course, is that those were “cut and paste Whit” of Hal Smith dialogue, where as this episode contains only Paul.

-Apparently Mr. Sikes was the mailman after Randall and before Wooton.

-For those always wondering what a Microcassette Recorder was (they aren’t used much anymore) here’s a picture
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- The Dead Sea Scrolls were a bunch of manuscripts from the 1st Century AD found near the Dead Sea right after WWII. The documents helped prove the authenticity of the Bible by providing copies of hundreds of sections of scripture: most notably, Psalms and Deuteronomy.

- Just in case you were wondering, that really is “How I do is nothing great” backwards. I tested it myself.

-Eugene says that the Q document would be the find of the century. But Whit himself said it would be only the greatest find since the Dead Sea scrolls (1940’s-50’s).

-Jason’s referring to the “someone bigger than my dad” as the U.S. Government still shows he’s learned little from his experience in the Blackaard fiasco. He still leans on his contacts and suave rather than to go to God first with everything. It’s part of what makes Jason’s character so deep. This theme comes up again in Shining Armor where, hopefully that time, he learned his lesson.

-Alfred Brownlee was the friend of Whit’s that sent him the Jesus Cloth. According to Whit, he never found anything really good.

-This is a mere two episodes after Jason and Tasha almost eloped and decided to put off the wedding. We can assume there was more in Jason’s hesitancy in calling her than merely “not wanting to bother her.”

-Making a phrase play backwards is simple for a computer and pretty easy for sound equipment before computers, but for small hardware like a microcassette? One simple way for Whit to make only that part of the tape backwards is to take the tape apart and flip the filament as it gets to that phrase. If Eugene wanted to change it back, he would only have to take the tape apart, re-flip the filament and play it. However, on the plane he merely pushes a button to play it forward then backwards. It is possible for a microcassette player to have a reverse switch but not very likely.

-Alfred Brownlee is played by Rob Daniels who also played Reverend Andrew in Underground Railroad and The Time Has Come.

-As Alfred explains the two organizations after the Q document, keep in mind that he is explaining himself and Professor Charles. Note how he says, “at the heart of both organizations is not a love of scripture but a desire for power.” In other words, he is explaining his own sinful intentions. As he explains how both organizations are hoping Whit will turn up now that Jason and Eugene are here, note that he is really hoping that Jason and Eugene will help him find Whit.

-Eugene’s reference to Connie’s putting up acronyms all over Whit’s End sounds a lot like something she would have done back in Thy Kingdom Come.

-How the writing team introduced us to Paul’s voice was very interesting. They first played it over a tape so you’re not quite sure what he sounds like. Then you next hear Paul’s voice using a middle eastern accent. Once he drops the accent and speaks in his normal voice, we aren’t as shocked to find out that this isn’t Hal but someone else.

-Professor Charles is voiced by Tom Williams who also played Barry Lionel, Ralph Reems, and Alex’s Grandfather.

-I have to admit that I sympathize with Eugene about being hesitant to find the bones of Jesus. Whit’s question “In what have you put your faith?” is a deep one getting at the core of basic unbelief. Do we place our faith proof from the world that we see with our own eyes, or in something out of this world. Apparently, Whit and Jason have their hearts in the right place for it doesn’t seem to bother them at all.

-Doesn’t Alfred watch movies? Charles’ “yeah right” following Alfred’s “you mean we” should have clued him in that something was a little off.

- It is discouraging that Jason and Tasha “break up” over the fact that Tasha simply loves the agency and wouldn’t sacrifice it for him (an issue brought up in Love is in the Air). I’ve always thought that it should have ended with Tasha realizing how much Jason loves God and how he couldn’t sacrifice that for her. Regardless, this is the last we ever see of Tasha Forbes.

-Eugene quotes Isaiah 40:8

--------------------------------------------
REVIEW
At the end of the episode, Whit responds with the line “You’ll never know when I’ll turn up.” This gives little satisfaction to the fan enamored with Paul’s performance but it was necessary to not thrust Paul into the faces of Odyssey fans expecting him to fill huge shoes. This episode was meant as a trial, and afterwards the AIO crew went on a few months hiatus. They wanted to see how people reacted to the new Whit and if they should invite Paul to be a regular on the show.
As letters poured in, the response from fans was extremely positive. Everyone loved Paul and many couldn’t tell the difference between him and Hal. The producers had struck gold. Immediately they set out to write several episodes that would slowly bring Whit back to Odyssey and where he belonged.
In my opinion, Paul is no substitution for Hal. He is a very talented and capable actor and does a fine rendition of John Avery Whittaker, but it is not the same. I see Hal’s Whit and Paul’s Whit as two completely different (though slightly similar) characters: almost like Whit’s long lost brother. Whit is not the same and never will be.

As far as the episode itself goes, the quality of the writing and production is one of the best in AIO history. Paul McCusker wrote and directed all three parts and out did himself. Eugene’s dialogue was some of the best we’ve ever had of him outside of his interactions with Bernard. I constantly compared the writing of Eugene in Search for Whit to how Phil Lollar wrote his character in The Cross of Cortez. There is no comparison. Paul does an outstanding job of bringing Eugene to the smart yet comic character we all love. I haven’t seen much of this Eugene since Will Ryan returned, and I can only fault the writers for this. Paul’s best writing in the entire show was perhaps the scene with Jason, Eugene and Gary Burkhead. Why can’t we see more of this nowadays? After three episodes of setting Eugene and Jason’s moods, Paul climaxes his writing in the tunnel scene when they both provide excellent comic relief for the seriousness of the showdown scene.
As far as production goes I have nothing but praise as Mark Drury did parts I and III while Dave Arnold did part II. Mark did a great job of making Paul Herlinger sound slightly off on the tape and I really loved the touch of detail when the volume was muffed down when Jason put on headphones on the plane. One thing I also noticed was the difference between Mark’s shower sound effect and Dave’s. I’m not sure how either of them got their material, but if you listen to Dave’s you’ll notice that there is the initial sound of water pouring and then a second later, the sound of it going down the drain is clearly heard. Mark’s sound effect only has the water pouring.
All in all, the team did a great job on giving the Odyssey fans a well crafted episode around Paul Herlinger’s test. Can you imagine if Paul’s introduction to Odyssey was in a poorly written episode? Whit still might be in the Middle East. They put a lot of work in to making this episode a special one and, as I said, Paul out did himself with the writing.

-----------------------------------------------
Q’s
1. Do you think everyone’s initial reaction to Paul was that they really liked his voice or that they really wanted Whit back and he sounded like he might work? What was your initial reaction?

2. Would you feel the same as Eugene if you were in his situation? Do you think you would have been frightened or hesitant to want to find Jesus’s Bones? What does that say about your faith?

3. If a fifth gospel was found somehow, would we be forced to put it on equal par with Matthew, Mark, Luke and John? What makes those four so special?

4. Do you think Jason did a good job of witnessing to Tasha (not only in this episode but in others as well)?

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Last edited by STRYPER on Tue Nov 21, 2006 10:07 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Posted: Wed Nov 15, 2006 10:15 pm 
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grate review!

i didn't know that the origional voice for Whit had died. Ofcourse, he died 1 year after i was born so i guess i have alwase heard that same whit, strange...

*stares bewilderd* the things i never knew...

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Posted: Wed Nov 15, 2006 11:22 pm 




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The Search for Whit, I believe, brings a question to our hearts. What if the lastest discovery really proved Jesus wrong? Would our faith be shattered? Or would it stand strong. Will we use our armor of God to battle the devil's attempts to quench the faith, for this is all nothing but attacks from the evil one, who fro the very beggining was full of pride. He wanted to overthrow God. He has attempted, hundreds of times, but failed My quesiton to you, citizens of dssey. Will you stand strong in these attacks?

This episode reminds me of what is happnening witht he Da Vinci Code. Is what someone says the fact? Just someone who is against Christ? Beware of the anti-Christ.

That brings another question. Would we stand strong in persecution? Or would be lukewarm and give up our faith once. Are we Philadaelphia or Sardis? I pray we shall be like Phaladaelphia in the ned time.

Anyway, good episode. Five stars in all. It provokes certain questions in our hearts. I enjoyed Whit. Didn;t see much difference. Eugene was theperfet person to go with Jason. It really tested his new-found faith.


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Posted: Thu Nov 16, 2006 8:10 am 
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great review stryper =D> except you're going to make my review look bad #-o

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 Post Post subject: Re: 355: The Search For Whit
Posted: Thu Nov 16, 2006 8:46 am 
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Wow--great review!!! *wants to go and listen to hear the shower drain* lots of interesting facts I would never have known

1. I don't know what my initial reaction was! Seeing as I probably didn't hear this ep (or don't remember it) when it first aired, everything "old" AIO were re-runs for me. (though they're some of my favorites :-s ) I'm sure if I was older when they did the Whit "switch" I would have a different opinion, but for me, they sound a lot alike. I can tell the difference sometimes if I'm actually thinking about it (especially the laughing...I think Hal laughed more than Paul does)

2. Yes, I definitely would've freaked out. It would make me feel like my faith was all wrong and give me lots of doubts...Satan continues to throw out things to confuse us, and I think through "A Search for Whit" AIO prepared people, or rather, made them understand (especially the kids) what they'd be going through as they got older--all the "challenges" to the faith.

3. No, not at all. I think Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are so special because they are in the Bible! God spoke to them, told them what to write, and chose them to go in His Holy Book forever.

4. No, not really. In fact, I don't rightly remember Jason EVER witnessing to Tasha! I think he could've done a better job of it, but, that's just Jason.
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This ep. gets 5 stars...always has...always will! I really don't think I have any problems with it. I love all the little twists and turns, how the Agency is involved (that always makes things exciting) yet, how it still has a Biblical base, which is their goal. They did a good job of not getting caught in the drama and having a good moral lesson.

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 Post Post subject: Re: 355: The Search For Whit
Posted: Thu Nov 16, 2006 10:57 am 
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STRYPER wrote:
-Doesn’t Alfred watch movies? Charles’ “yeah right” following Alfred’s “you mean we” should have clued him in that something was a little off.


*laughs*

STRYPER wrote:
Q’s
1. Do you think everyone’s initial reaction to Paul was that they really liked his voice or that they really wanted Whit back and he sounded like he might work? What was your initial reaction?


I didn't start listening to Odyssey much at all until June of 2000, so I wasn't there for a reaction.

I did hear the Hal eps first, and when I first heard this (one of the first Paul eps I'd ever heard), I really didn't notice much of a difference.

Now I most certainly do, and agree with you; Whit will never be the same. However, the voice is still really close, and Paul is a great actor anyway, so we've got nothing much to complain about. I can live with the difference.

STRYPER wrote:
2. Would you feel the same as Eugene if you were in his situation? Do you think you would have been frightened or hesitant to want to find Jesus’s Bones? What does that say about your faith?


Depends on when in my life. A couple years ago, I'd be scared to death. Now, while it would still be a chilling moment, I could go ahead with this all without damage to my faith.

STRYPER wrote:
3. If a fifth gospel was found somehow, would we be forced to put it on equal par with Matthew, Mark, Luke and John? What makes those four so special?


Absolutely not.

A recent fifth gospel was found (and it took me a good 12 hours to think of the name, which shows how much I cared about it); the Gospel of Judas.

It absolutely astounded me that it was made into such a big deal. First off, we'd known about that false gospel for centuries, yet it wasn't found until just a few decades ago.

Then you have to stack this up to the Four True Gospels. We have over 25,000 early manuscripts, written in Greek, of these Gospels. Then you have Judas; we have one partial copy. Not to mention that it doesn't line up with the Bible at all.

There are many more false gospels out there; three that come to mind are Thomas, Phillip, and Mary Magdelene. I am convinced that Satan had unbelievers write these in the early days of the church to try to destroy the true gospels, and the true gospels came through it well, as our copies show.

We should take such writings as seriously as Luther took his excommunication. With nothing more then a grain of salt.

To answer that last question, the four Gospels are special because they are in the Bible and record Jesus' life. We can also know that they are accurate b/c of how well they line up with one another.

STRYPER wrote:
4. Do you think Jason did a good job of witnessing to Tasha (not only in this episode but in others as well)?


Hm. This really isn't something I've thought of.

I guess the answer would have to be no. Based on some of their conversation though in "A Question About Tasha" I can assume that he did witness to her, but it occured off-air so to speak. Probably didn't happen enough on-air though.

*really likes this new idea ^_^ *


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 Post Post subject: Re: 355: The Search For Whit
Posted: Thu Nov 16, 2006 1:07 pm 
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Great review! You did a great job. =D>

STRYPER wrote:

Q’s

1. Do you think everyone’s initial reaction to Paul was that they really liked his voice or that they really wanted Whit back and he sounded like he might work? What was your initial reaction?

2. Would you feel the same as Eugene if you were in his situation? Do you think you would have been frightened or hesitant to want to find Jesus’s Bones? What does that say about your faith?





For number 1, I can't really remember what my initial reaction was, because I was only a 4 yr old when it first aired. For number 2, when I was like 8 or 9 I listened to it again, and I remember my first thoughts to this ep (as a new believer) were I'd be worried sick if they found the bones of Jesus. But now my thought has changed, and I differently would have to side with Whit and Jason.


agent3xq wrote:
great review stryper =D> except you're going to make my review look bad #-o


I know what you mean. ](*,) He's making mine going to look really bad. #-o I guess I'll just have to practice. :-

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Posted: Thu Nov 16, 2006 4:25 pm 
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Just a trivia tidbit. Jason called Alfred Brownlee ALBERT twice at the end--maybe more, but I noticed those two times.

Favorite quotes:

"Hide and seek was a nightmare when we were kids. We spent weeks looking for him!"

"Your Mother will be very disappointed in you, Benjamen.

Wouldn't be the first time."

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Posted: Thu Nov 16, 2006 5:14 pm 
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My favorite episode of all time.

I listened to it so often, I dreamt the story.



"Calllm down, Benjamin..."

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Posted: Thu Nov 16, 2006 6:02 pm 
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I've never been able to figure out what the third sentence in that line says -- it sounds vaguely like "we have <garbled>".
But it's been bothering me ever since I first heard the episode. XD

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Posted: Thu Nov 16, 2006 6:20 pm 
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I always thought it said "We have options. Come on up to the control room."

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Posted: Thu Nov 16, 2006 6:25 pm 
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Me wrote:
I always thought it said "We have options. Come on up to the control room."



Same here.


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Posted: Thu Nov 16, 2006 9:59 pm 
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Laurie wrote:
Me wrote:
I always thought it said "We have options. Come on up to the control room."

Same here.

But it seems to have more syllables than that... "We have other options?"

/me is silent

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She is a citizen of The United States of America. She is a member of The State of Minnesota. She is a member of The Town of Odyssey.
"Sonuna" Taranimak likes Bauxite, Copper, Green jade, the color navy, cloaks, ballistas, cats for their aloofness and hydras for their seven heads. When possible, she prefers to consume Dr Pepper and ramen.
She lives at a relaxed pace. She tends to avoid crowds. She has a fertile imagination. She is completely disorganized. She is very distant and reserved. She tends not to openly express emotions. She needs caffeine to get through the working day.


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Posted: Thu Nov 16, 2006 10:02 pm 
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Laurie wrote:
Me wrote:
I always thought it said "We have options. Come on up to the control room."

Same here.

As did I. :-k

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Posted: Thu Nov 16, 2006 11:17 pm 
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Sonuna Hydris wrote:
Laurie wrote:
Me wrote:
I always thought it said "We have options. Come on up to the control room."

Same here.

But it seems to have more syllables than that... "We have other options?"

/me is silent


But he just said something O:)


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Posted: Thu Nov 16, 2006 11:23 pm 
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Sonuna Hydris wrote:
Laurie wrote:
Me wrote:
I always thought it said "We have options. Come on up to the control room."

Same here.

But it seems to have more syllables than that... "We have other options?"

/me is silent


I'm pretty sure it's only those three words. Any difficulty in understanding probably comes from his inflection... which isn't how I would say those three words :-k

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Posted: Fri Nov 17, 2006 11:47 am 
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Nice work STRYPER. Is there any way we can listen to the episode online? ;) (link) ;)

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Posted: Fri Nov 17, 2006 11:57 am 
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Lord_Kappa wrote:
Nice work STRYPER. Is there any way we can listen to the episode online? ;) (link) ;)


You might try OnePlace. I just checked and Part 2 is still up.


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Excellent review! =D>

As far as Whit's voices go, I agree with Stryper. Hal's Whit and Paul's Whit are, in my mind, two different people. But Paul still does a good job. Also, I don't remember when I heard this for the first time, but I believe I heard after listening to other, later episodes with Paul as Whit, because I remember once, a long time ago, thinking that Tasha's last appearance was in A Question About Tasha.

Speaking of Tasha, her exit from AIO was very abrupt (and yes, Jason should've witnessed to her more...though I am glad they didn't end up together).

I have to admit, I don't know what I would do if a 5th gospel were found, or I was suddenly put in Eugene's shoes. I'd like to say that that wouldn't change anything, but I probably would doubt and worry.

That brings me to another point. While I agree that Whit and Jason were stronger in their faith, and therefore less susceptible to being bothered by these strange events, it seemed strange when one of them would casually mention "the bones of Jesus," as if finding them were an everyday occurrence.

That said, this is a great episode, and though it doesn't make my Top 10, I still gave it 5 stars.

One interesting trivia tidbit is that Alfred Brownlee was mentioned in a past episode: [i]The Jesus Cloth[/[i], and in that one there is no evidence of him being any more than an old friend of Whit’s. I wonder if he was a “bad guy” back then too…

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Laurie wrote:
Lord_Kappa wrote:
Nice work STRYPER. Is there any way we can listen to the episode online? ;) (link) ;)


You might try OnePlace. I just checked and Part 2 is still up.


Actually all three parts are still up in the archive.


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