We are introduced for the first time to John Avery Whittaker with a long monologue to the listening audience, a rare occasion within the series. Whit relates a brief history of his time in Odyssey as well as a brief lesson on the town's history on his walk back to his house. By the time he gets within sight of his house, his phone starts to ring, and the narrative switches as Whit runs into his house to answer the phone.
Once inside, Whit answers the phone and we are introduced to Tom Riley. The conversation goes onto Whit talking about his planned night with Robert Louis Stevenson. Tom, however, doesn't quite grasp the concept that Whit is talking about a book and not the author himself, which leads to a comical exchange, which is then interrupted by a noise in Whit's garage.
Whit goes to investigate, and finds little Davey Morrison from across the street in his garage with a sleeping bag and other items for a camp-out. Whit talks to him and Davey says that he is going to run away, buy a house and get a job somewhere. Whit asks him if his parents would miss him, and Davey says that they probably don't even know he is gone. Whit then discovers that Davey ran away from home because his parents had been fighting a lot recently, and it got bad today because he hit a boy at school and came home with a note. Davey told Whit that after he came home with the note, his mother and father locked themselves in another room and yelled loud enough for Davey to listen, and hear them call each other unfit parents, and say that they should get a divorce.
As Davey calms down and agrees to go back home, he sees his dad's car in the garage and asks Whit if that means his Dad is home to stay. Whit consoled the young Davey and said that even though he couldn't promise him the sun would come up the next day, Davey should know that his dad will always be his dad. And his mom will always be his mom and no matter what happens they will always love him and that God loves him more than anyone else. After this Davey runs across the street back home.
The episode ends with Tom and Whit looking out the window at Whit's End at the children playing and Whit comments that half the children come from broken houses. Tom makes the comment that "they" say divorce is better for the kid if the parents just can't get along. Whit strongly disagrees, and recalls times with his wife, Jenny Whittaker, when they had very bad arguments, but at no time was there any thought of splitting up. He also says that the divorce argument doesn't stand up when you come face to face with a little guy who just lost half his family.
- Discussion Questions are not available for episodes in the Family Portraits collection
|John Whittaker||Hal Smith|
|Tom Riley||Walker Edmiston|
All the episodes within the Family Portraits collection were originally broadcast within the Focus on the Family radio show and had an introduction and post-discussion with Mike Trout and Dr. James Dobson. The warp-arounds usually featured a discussion of the material covered in the episode and its application and relevance. For this episode Dr. Dobson introduced Steve Harris, the creator of the "new vehicle coming off of the assembly line."
- Jimmy, an employee at Whit's End, makes his first appearance in the series and later returns in FP #01: "The New Kid in Town", though Whit calls him 'Bob'. Bob reappears as 'Jimmy' in #17: “A Member of the Family, Part 1”.
- The opening introduction states that Odyssey is "a small Midwestern town" in Ohio. Despite the fact the state is never mentioned again once Odyssey USA and later Adventures in Odyssey launches.
- Whit states that he moved to Odyssey in '71 and fell in love with the place as soon as he first laid eyes on it.
- The first mention of the founding McAlister family is made when Whit talks about the town's name. It was not based on the epic poem by Homer, but the townspeople got together about 100 years ago to give the town a name. When it came around to "Doc" McAlister he said, "It's in a beautiful valley. A place everybody ought-a-see." This same quote is repeated much later in #636: “A Class Reenactment”, in which it is attributed to Horace McAlister.
- During the course of the episode, Whit and Tom have their little discussion about Robert Lewis Stevenson, which is repeated in #7: “Promises, Promises”, although it is slightly different.
- The wrap-around of this broadcast contains Dr. Dobson and Steve Harris talking about the program and their ambitions for the entire Family Portraits series.
- This was the only episode where the same person was writer, director, and production engineer: Steve Harris.
NOTE - These episodes were an experiment so no clear long term mythos was planned out. While many facts of Odyssey that started in Family Portraits remain true, there were some points that were re-written or dropped.
- Whit's End
- This episode has Whit stating in his opening monologue that he had no idea what he was going to do to make a living when he moved to Odyssey with his wife. He took inventory of his assets and realized he loved books and knew how to talk. Also, his wife Jenny could make a good cup of coffee and "some of the best apple pie you've ever tasted." Stating that he had no business sense what-so-ever, he decided to open a bookstore, coffee-shop, conversation place called Whit's End.
- In a future episode, #19: “Recollections”, we learn that Jenny was trying to save a building called the Fillmore Recreation Center which would later become Whit's End. She died in the middle of her efforts due to a complication from an infection in her kidneys. We also learn that Whit was involved with a large company called Universal Press Foundation and helped them to build Universal Encyclopedia proving that Whit did indeed have good business sense. Whit ended up buying the building for UFP away from the Webster Development Firm who also was trying to purchase the building.
- Whit's House
- Davey Morrison mentions that he "crawled through the doggy door" to get into Whit's garage. though no episode to date has revealed a dog ever being owned by Whit.
- There are no quotes listed for this episode. ».