The Cross of Cortes, Part 1
Whit receives a mysterious package from Mexico. He opens it and discovers it’s from Dan Isidro, his missionary friend from Nicaragua. Eugene wonders why Dan is in Mexico. The accompanying letter reveals that he is on furlough there. Since Whit and Eugene have planned a trip to the region, Dan has invited them to spend some time with him and requests that they bring along the enclosed parcel.
Whit and Eugene examine the parcel more closely and discover that it’s an ancient map. Dan’s letter cautions them to not let it out of their possession or sight. Whit and Eugene study the map and recognize certain landmarks and symbols. Among them are the ancient city of Tenochtitlán, which is modern-day Mexico City, and two volcanoes called Corazón del Diablo, “Heart of the Devil,” which has under them the symbol of a cross!
Whit and Eugene head off to Mexico to find Dan. When they arrive there, almost immediately they are met by Inspector Roberto Cordova. He claims Isidro stole the map! Once Cordova leaves, Dan sneaks in through Whit and Eugene’s hotel window. Dan tells Whit that Cordova is not a member of the Mexico City police, but of the Nicaraguan police. He has no authority in Mexico and, like Dan, is after the map.
The ancient map leads to an important find: the Cross of Cortes! It was worn by Hernando Cortes when he defeated the Aztec nation and conquered Mexico. Legend has it that the cross contains supernatural powers. It makes the wearer invincible.
Unfortunately, Dan can’t read the map any better than Whit or Eugene can. So he’s contacted an interpreter named Mendoza, who meets them at a bullfight the next day. Mendosa is a woman, and she is taken with Eugene, much to his discomfort.
But Eugene grows even more uncomfortable when Mendosa tells him what happens at a bullfight. Eugene doesn’t want to see the fight and excuses himself to go to the bathroom. But on the way, one of Cordova’s men directs Eugene to the bull pens and locks the door behind him! A furious bull then chases Eugene out into the ring!
- Why did everyone want the Cross of Cortes?
- Do things like crosses really have supernatural power?
- Why is the cross so important to Christians?
Heard in episode
|Cordova's henchman||Phil Lollar|
|Dan Isidro||Rick Najera|
|Eugene Meltsner||Will Ryan|
|John Whittaker||Hal Smith|
|Maria Mendosa||Luisa Leschin|
|Inspector Roberto Cordova||Nathan Carlson|
Mentioned in episode
|Connie Kendall||Eugene Meltsner|
|Leonard Meltsner||Eugene Meltsner|
|Thelma Meltsner||Eugene Meltsner|
- These two episodes were tied for 8th place in an audience poll where listeners named their favorite episodes.
- Much of the story elements of this episode are derived from the "Indiana Jones" movies, in particular the search for the Holy Grail in "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade". Similar plot elements include a search for a religious relic, a villain who is also after the same relic, and a woman who finds herself involved in the situation, etc. A very specific parallel plot elements occurs near the end, when the sought-after relic ends up balanced on the ledge of deep pit, and the main characters have to decide whether to risk retrieving it.
- Main article: List of Indiana Jones references
- Eugene mentions that his parents were lost on an archeological trip.
- Eugene references that it is his "turn to go" on a trip with Whit. This is a reference to Whit and Connie's trip to Chicago in #155: “Waylaid in the Windy City, Part 1”, which was preceded by his taking a trip to Chicago with Whit in #142: “Train Ride”.
- This episode takes place away from Odyssey: Episodes That Take Place Away from Odyssey
- This episode was made into an AIO Activity Pack, Cross Of Cortes.
Eugene Meltsner: I'm much better with French and Greek.
John Whittaker: What is the Cross of Cortes?
Eugene Meltsner: Mr. Whittaker, it's the crucifix worn by Hernan Cortes when he defeated the Aztec nation and conquered Mexico.
John Whittaker: Well that much I do know.
Eugene Meltsner: Well legend holds that the cross is embodied by some sort of supernatural power.
John Whittaker: Power?
Eugene Meltsner: Yes, making the wearing almost invincible in battle, much as the sword Excalibur did in the King Arthur stories.
John Whittaker: Oh...
Dan Isidro: Yes, only the cross really exists.
John Whittaker: [reading from a letter] 'Just in case you were thinking about backing out of the trip, ha ha....' Don't ask, Eugene.