A Rathbone of Contention

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#160: “A Rathbone of Contention”
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[[:Category:{{{genre}}} Episodes| {{{genre}}}]]

Proverbs 21:5

5The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.

Proverbs 26:27
27If a man digs a pit, he will fall into it; if a man rolls a stone, it will roll back on him.

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A Rathbone of Contention

“A Rathbone of Contention” is episode #160 of the Adventures in Odyssey audio series. It was written and directed by Phil Lollar, and originally aired on July 27, 1991.


Bart Rathbone tries many shortcuts to get his new business, The Electric Palace, opened in only a few weeks.



A new business is going up on the old site of Blackgaard's Castle. It’s called “The Electric Palace,” and its proprietor is Bart Rathbone! Bart is on such an aggressive schedule to get the place up and running that he’s cutting major corners. First, he hires Rodney to take care of the promotion. Rodney hires Lucy to write fliers, but he never bothers to pay her. Then, Bart “borrows” Eugene to set up the computer. And when Bart's certified electrician can’t make it in time for the building inspector, he pulls Eugene off the computer installation to do the wiring for the building. Eugene protests — he doesn’t know enough about electricity to wire a whole building! But Bart insists, so Eugene ends up giving it a try.

When Whit finds out about Bart and Rodney’s shoddy business practices, he tries to stop them. But before he can, the building inspector comes. He okays everything in the structure but notices that the place is still operating off a generator. Bart says they were just about to switch over to city power. He orders Eugene to throw the switch. Everything seems fine for a moment. Then the place goes haywire, nearly blowing up! The Electric Palace doesn't get passed by the inspector — and Bart has plenty of time to dwell on the folly of taking shortcuts.

This plot section is too short and should be expanded. »

Discussion Questions

  1. Why is it usually best not to take shortcuts?
  2. What are the benefits of taking your time?
  3. Have you ever taken a shortcut on a project when you knew you shouldn't?
    • When?
    • Did you learn from your mistake?


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Mentioned in episode

Character Mentioned By
Regis Blackgaard John Whittaker
Richard Maxwell John Whittaker


  • This episode includes many subtle hints referencing the Blackgaard saga, making this episode more central to the saga than is first apparent. Bart Rathbone describes the Electric Palace as a store with "every conceivable electronic device for every conceivable need." Careful listeners will remember that Dr. Blackgaard says the exact same phrase in #155: “Waylaid in the Windy City, Part 1”, and that Blackgaard even suggested opening an electronics store in Odyssey in #156: “Waylaid in the Windy City, Part 2”. That, and the fact that the Electric Palace will be owned by Webster Development Firm (Dr. Blackgaard's company), should alert listeners that Dr. Blackgaard isn't quite finished with Odyssey yet. Also telling is that the Electric Palace will be constructed on the same site as Blackgaard's Castle.
    • Given that Dr. Blackgaard owns the Electric Palace, it's quite possible that he is the person to who Bart is talking to on the phone, which might explain why Bart sounds nervous.
  • At the end of the episode, when Rodney Rathbone is apprehended by Officer O'Ryan, there is an allusion to Dragnet when Rodney calls O'Ryan "Joe Friday."
  • This episode marks the first time Bart complains about Rodney's use of "pop."
  • The art on the back of the next album released, "Album 13: It All Started When..." (originally album #12), shows Eugene working on a fuse box. This art was most certainly supposed to portray Eugene's role in this episode. However, it was used on the wrong album!


Lucy Cunningham-Schultz: Rodney, you scared me.
Rodney Rathbone: Why, doing somethin' you're not supposed to?

Bart Rathbone: Our grand opening is in three weeks. Turn around and show 'em, Rodney.
Rodney Rathbone: Okay.
Eugene Meltsner: Opens in three "weks?"
Bart Rathbone: Uh, that's supposed to be three weeks. Rodney!
Rodney Rathbone: They got the point!

Lucy Cunningham-Schultz: There's only one "l" in "electric."
Bart Rathbone: I told ya, Rodney.
Rodney Rathbone: Hey, I'm in charge of promotion, not spellin'!

Lucy Cunningham-Schultz: Come one, come all to the grand opening of the Electric Palace! You'll find high-voltage savings on current models. Prices so low, they're shocking! Bolt over to the Electric Palace and see "watt's" happening. Just say, "charge it!"

Rodney Rathbone: I just want something a little more... punchy, that's all.
Lucy Cunningham-Schultz: Punchy?! If it were any more punchy, it'd have two black eyes and a broken nose!
Rodney Rathbone: Hey, that's good! Can you put that in somewhere?
Lucy Cunningham-Schultz: No, I don't think so.