A Class Act

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#218: “A Class Act”
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[[:Category:{{{genre}}} Episodes| {{{genre}}}]]

James 2:1-4

1My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don't show favoritism.

2Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in shabby clothes also comes in. 3If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, "Here's a good seat for you," but say to the poor man, "You stand there" or "Sit on the floor by my feet,"

4have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?

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“A Class Act” is episode #218 of the Adventures in Odyssey audio series. It was written and directed by Paul McCusker, and originally aired on January 9, 1993.


Edwin Blackgaard finds himself in dire straits financially and reluctantly agrees to teach an acting class in Odyssey – after he receives an anonymous donation.


Edwin Blackgaard’s Harlequin Theater is in trouble. He can’t ever seem to get a big enough audience. He is almost ready to throw in the towel when he receives an anonymous letter, it offers him a large sum of money to teach an acting class. There’s only one catch: He cannot exclude anyone who wants to attend. Edwin is hesitant at first but soon decides to give it a try. He tells his loyal and trusty minion, Walter Shakespeare, to inform everyone in Odyssey that his class is in session.

But, oh! What a class! Consisting of Connie, a budding but terrible playwright; Eugene and his ukulele; Charles Edward “Chunky” Thompson; Jack Davis, now a pizza delivery boy; and Shannon Everett (Ellis), with her adoring father, Edwin is forced to be nice to all of them because he doesn’t know who his benefactor is. He lets them rehearse an awful play Connie has written. It is certain to damage Blackgaard’s reputation as a teacher, and perhaps even the reputation of the Harlequin Theater itself.

Instead of using his best judgment and confronting the situation directly, Edwin deduces that the benefactor could only be Shannon’s father, since after all, he is the only one with money. So Edwin replaces Connie’s play with one of his own and treats everyone like dirt, except Shannon. Edwin makes Shannon the star and caters to her every whim. Unfortunately, this also means he doesn’t give her any direction. As a result, her performance is terrible.

Edwin thinks that Shannon’s father won’t care as long as Shannon has the lead role. But Mr. Everett is outraged that Edwin would allow Shannon to make a fool out of herself. Shannon’s father refuses to give the Harlequin any money and storms out of the theater in disgust. Edwin is now right back where he started leaving him with a hard lesson about not sacrificing his integrity for money.

Discussion Questions

  1. Why didn’t Edwin think he could be completely honest with everyone in the class?
  2. hat would you have done in Edwin’s place?
    • Why?
  3. What does integrity mean?
    • Why is it important?


Heard in episode

Mentioned in episode

Character Mentioned By
Regis Blackgaard John Whittaker
June Kendall Eugene Meltsner


  • In recording “A Class Act,” AIO ended up going way too long, and unfortunately, they had to cut some hilarious scenes of Edwin and his students’ bad acting. Since the episodes of this era were recorded on reel-to-reel and destroyed later, no copy of these scenes exist.
  • Several outtakes from the recording of this episode are featured on the 500th episode, mostly featuring dialogue mistakes by Hal Smith with reaction by Earl Boen.
  • When Connie mentions Charles helping out with the Kids' Radio program, she is referring to his part in #210: “On Solid Ground”.
  • This is Will Ryan's 100th episode acting.


Edwin Blackgaard: You want to play a particular kind of turnip, Eugene?

Charles Thompson: That was just me talking. I do that a lot.

Edwin Blackgaard: Tell the good people of Odyssey that Edwin Blackgaard is going to teach the people how to... act!

Eugene Meltsner: I thought it was highly imaginative of him to do a production of "Oklahoma" set in Alaska!

Edwin Blackgaard: I see by the gaggle of parents gathering at the door that we are over our time.

Edwin Blackgaard: I've scraped more talent out from under my fingernail.

Edwin Blackgaard: Eugene is a poor... whatever he is who also works at Whit's End.

Eugene Meltsner: What is this, sir? <reading off the script> I'm a techno geek <uptight>, who wants to be a musician but doesn't have the talent!?!

Edwin Blackgaard: There's no point looking a gift horse in the mouth... even if it needs dental work.

Edwin Blackgaard: Is this what it's come to, Shakespeare? To waste my time and talents listening to country folk butcher lines from "Our Town" and "Arsenic and Old Lace" and "The Importance of Being Earnest"?
Walter Shakespeare: Yes, sir.
Edwin Blackgaard: I'd rather die.
Walter Shakespeare: Fair enough, sir. I'll just make us some tea while we wait for the bank to repossess all our furniture.