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#48: “Heroes”
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Hebrews 7:26

26Such a high priest meets our need--one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens.

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“Heroes” is episode #48 of the Adventures in Odyssey audio series. It was written and directed by Paul McCusker, and originally aired on November 12, 1988.


Jimmy Barclay looks up to Melvin (Lightning) Livingston, the star basketball player. When Lighting is accused of using drugs, Jimmy stands up for him but doesn't know what the truth is.



Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Former basketball star Melvin (Lightning) Livingston has moved to Odyssey after retiring from the game. Frank Malone, a reporter from The Odyssey Times, interviews Lightning at the site of his new sports store. Frank tries to find out why the star retired from the game so young. Lightning refuses to answer questions about his retirement. He says he'd like to conduct some basketball workshops with the youth of Odyssey - much to the great satisfaction of Jimmy Barclay, Lightning's greatest fan.

Malone isn't satisfied with that, however. He digs further, talking to Livingston's only friend in town, Whit. But Whit has no comment for Malone about Lightning's retirement, either, even when Malone suggests that the star quit the game because of a drug problem. Unfortunately, Jimmy is also present and is upset to hear this. Jimmy says the assertion is a lie, but Malone vows to reveal the truth.


Jimmy attends Lightning's basketball workshop. His devotion to the man grows, despite Lightning's attempts to quell it. Later, at Whit's End, Harold Wilby slams Lightning, accusing him of using drugs. Jimmy flies into a rage and yells at Howard, who tells Jimmy to go ask Lightning about it himself.

Jimmy rushes to Lightning's sports shop and confronts Lightning about his rumored drug problem. Jimmy can't believe it, but Lightning admits that it's true. Jimmy runs off, upset.

The next day, Lightning makes a statement from the steps of City Hall, admitting his problem and crediting Jesus with changing his life. Unfortunately, Jimmy misses the press conference because he's apologizing to everyone he yelled at the previous day.

When Jimmy gets home, Lightning is there waiting for Jimmy. Lightning confesses he made a terrible mistake using drugs, but Christ turned his life around. He asks Jimmy for forgiveness. Jimmy does, having learned a valuable lesson - that the only hero any of us will ever need is Jesus.

Discussion Questions

  1. Frank Malone said, “the people have a right to know.” Why did he say this?
    • Was he correct?
  2. Why did Whit believe that the stories about Lightning’s former drug abuse shouldn’t have been printed in the paper?
  3. Was it wrong for Jimmy to make Lightning his hero?
    • Why or why not?
    • Do you have a hero?


Heard in episode

Mentioned in episode

Character Mentioned By
Mary Barclay Jimmy Barclay


VERSION DIFFERENCE: [view] The broadcast version of this episode has Chris at the set of action adventure show named "Hardknocks." In it, a stunt scene is set up, but then the "big name" actor called off and a stunt man is called in. Chris feels cheated.




Melvin (Lightning) Livingston: I realized that people are people: sooner or later they'll let me down. But I've also realized that the only hero I ever need to have is Jesus Christ. He's the only one that will never let me down.

Melvin (Lightning) Livingston: And who are you?
Jimmy Barclay: Uh, uh, me?
Melvin (Lightning) Livingston: Yeah, you.
Jimmy Barclay: Uh, uh, my name is, uh, uh.
Bruce Wilkins: <in a whisper to Jimmy> It's Jimmy. Jimmy Barclay.
Jimmy Barclay: Yeah! Bimmy Jarclay!

Frank Malone: There are all kinds of rumors about why Lightning retired from basketball early.
John Whittaker: Mr. Malone, even the kids around here know that spreading rumors is a bad thing.

Connie Kendall: You know, Howard, there's dumb and there's real dumb. That was real dumb.