A Capsule Comes to Town

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#631: “A Capsule Comes to Town”
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July 17, 2007
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50: The Best Small Town
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“The Town Trapped in the Past”
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A Capsule Comes to Town

“A Capsule Comes to Town” is episode #631 of the Adventures in Odyssey audio series. It was written and directed by Paul McCusker, and originally aired on March 1, 2008.


Connie narrates a documentary about the people and places in Odyssey against the backdrop of a search for a missing time capsule.


On this edition of At Home in My Town, Connie Kendall shows listeners around her hometown of Odyssey, to see what makes it so unique and to answer the question, “Is Odyssey trapped in the past?”

Jack Allen and Eugene Meltsner, members of the Odyssey Historical Society, have discovered evidence of a time capsule buried 100 years ago in Odyssey. In a clipping dated in 1902 from the Odyssey Illustrated Times there is a picture of the people of Odyssey burying the capsule beside an oak tree with the initials EM and LP carved into the bark. To find out where the tree is in Odyssey, Jack Allen visits Eleanor McAlister, the oldest living citizen in Odyssey. She tells them that the tree is in the center of town, right beside Finneman's Market.

While Jack and Connie are on their way to Finneman’s Market, Connie transfers the radio feed over to Mandy Straussberg, who’s at the The Harlequin Dinner Theatre. She interviews Edwin Blackgaard, owner of the theater, and finds out that not only does he rarely perform modern plays, but the ones he does perform are based on old plays.

Meanwhile Jack, Eugene and Connie, are at Finneman’s Market. Eugene performs a x-ray of the ground and finds the time capsule. After several hours Eugene uncovers the time capsule only to find out that it is a container of garbage buried there at the time the parking lot was paved.

Next, Marvin Washington interviews an eccentric detective named Harlow Doyle, who is not really a credit to Odyssey’s not being trapped in the past. Then, Mandy interviews John Avery Whittaker, owner of Whit’s End, who set up a talking gallery of people from the past. Whit says that being interested in the past can help us learn from it.

Meanwhile, Jack and Eugene haven’t given up in their search for the time capsule. Eugene finds out that in 1942 the time capsule was moved from Finneman's Market to the basement of Whit’s End (then called the Fillmore Recreation Center). When they dig up the ground underneath Whit’s shop they find that the Time Capsule is indeed there. After opening the capsule, Jack Allen finds a Bible that once belonged to Eleanor McAlister’s family. He takes the Bible to Ms. McAlister, who is definitely appreciative of this item from the past.

Connie wraps up this edition with a reminder that the past is something worth cherishing, as it will soon never exist at all.

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Heard in episode

Mentioned in episode

Character Mentioned By
Rusty Gordon (Malone) Bryan Dern
Ernest McAlister Eleanor McAlister
Joe Finneman Eleanor McAlister
Mayor Wells Eugene Meltsner
Charles Donigol Eugene Meltsner


  • Edwin Blackgaard mentions a play he put on entitled The Prince of Denmark Street, a modernized version of Shakespeare's Hamlet.
  • The speech made by the painting of Abraham Lincoln is a reference to Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address.
  • The items that Eugene and Jack Allen find in the Odyssey Time Capsule (including a ladies’ gingham sunbonnet and a Heidelberg Alternating Current Belt) were from a 1901 Sears and Roebuck catalog that Paul McCusker used as a reference (though sadly the items were no longer available for purchase). To see a complete list of the items in the time capsule, click here.



Stuart Shepard: Odyssey – an idyllic, small Midwestern town.

Connie Kendall: Odyssey – a town that evokes days gone by; an America of the 1940’s or 1950’s.

Stuart Shepard: Odyssey – where anyone would want to live.

Connie Kendall: You buried that canister of garbage beneath the pavement?
Kenneth Pape: Oh... well, technically it's not garbage, it's just a collection of lunch bags, sandwich wrappers, soda cans, and uh... well, yeah; it's garbage.

Mandy Straussberg: On the east of Main Street, just bordering the vast expanse of McAlister Park, you’ll find a Victorian style ice cream parlor called Whit’s End – a play on words that reflects owner John Avery Whittaker’s background as an English teacher.

Mandy Straussberg: What do you think of the accusation that Odyssey is stuck in the past?
John Whittaker: Stuck in the past? I don’t think we’re stuck there. But you know, there’s nothing wrong with trying to preserve the richness and beauty of what’s come before us. It’s a recurrent theme in the Bible for example, God constantly reminds the nation of Israel to remember. Not for the old time’s sake or nostalgia but because of what the past means to us today.

Connie Kendall: It would seem that in Odyssey at least; all roads lead to Whit’s End.

Connie Kendall: Odyssey is a town – like any town – that recognizes the value of the past, as that past teaches us and helps make today’s experiences that much richer. And whether it’s in a time capsule, or a talking gallery, or an ice cream sundae at an old fashioned parlor; the day-to-day moments we all experience wherever we live will soon be gone. Cherish them now – in the time capsule you carry with you always: your heart.