Cousin Albert

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#133: “Cousin Albert”
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12Apply your heart to instruction and your ears to words of knowledge.

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“Cousin Albert” is episode #133 of the Adventures in Odyssey audio series. It was written and directed by Phil Lollar, and originally aired on November 24, 1990.

Summary

Lucy Cunningham-Schultz's cousin Albert Schultz doesn't know how to read and has been hiding it all his life. Lucy tries to convince her cousin to get the help he needs.

Plot

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Lucy's latest interview for The Odyssey Owl is her own cousin: Albert Schultz, Odyssey High School's star basketball player. The only problem is, he doesn't give a good interview. All he tells her is that he loves basketball, and he works as a stocker at Jenkins's Market. So, to get more information, Lucy decides to do a little investigating on her cousin.

Lucy shows up unexpectedly at Albert's job and witnesses him in the middle of what looks like a drug transaction. Albert promises her that the package he's just purchased is not drugs. It's a school report. Lucy is confused — why would Albert spend money on a school report? She presses Albert for an answer, and finally he admits a deep, dark secret: He can't read. He's completely illiterate.

Stunned, Lucy asks how this is possible. Albert explains that school has never been easy for him. What has made it tougher is that his family moves around a lot. He has never been with one teacher long enough to learn reading skills. But Albert doesn't mind. All he's ever wanted to do is play basketball, anyway. His plan is to graduate, then try out for the NBA.

Lucy tells Whit about Albert's illiteracy. She and Whit set up a plan to help teach Albert that reading skills are vital. The plan works, and Albert takes his first step into the world of the literate.

Discussion Questions

  1. Why did Albert stop trying to learn how to read?
  2. Why is reading so important?
  3. How could you help someone who doesn't know how to read?

Cast

Heard in episode

Role Voice Actor
Albert Schultz Jim Maljanian
Mr. Jenkins Bob Hoose
John Whittaker Hal Smith
Lucy Cunningham-Schultz Genni Long
Marvin Phil Lollar
Tony Jeff Parker
Walker Henderson Jim Custer

Mentioned in episode

Character Mentioned By
Chuck Bolte Marvin (a)


Notes

VERSION DIFFERENCE: [view] In the wraps of the broadcast version of this episode, Chris encourages listeners to write in for the address of the organization “Literacy Volunteers of America.”

Trivia
  • This episode introduced the long-running (if rarely-appearing) character of Mr. Jenkins.
  • Though it isn't explained in this episode (or even known by the writers at this point), Lucy is not Albert's biological cousin. Lucy adopted the "Schultz" last name after her mother's remarriage to Mr. Schultz. This is assuming that Lucy's mother did not marry someone to whom Hal Cunningham was related, which could explain why she got remarried so quickly, and could mean that Lucy and Albert were already cousins (though through different relatives) before Lucy became a Schultz herself.
Main article: Lucy's Last Name
Goofs
  • Lucy's explanation to Whit in this episode of why she knows so little about Albert's history could and should be explained much more simply: Albert has only been her cousin for only a year or two at this point! (see Trivia note above)

Quotes

Marvin (a): Our executive producer is a real pinhead.