History of albums
- For a list of series albums, see Series albums.
Albums of Adventures in Odyssey has been released in many official and unofficial forms over the years of the show.
The first Odyssey related album was the Family Portraits package. Only two of the thirteen episodes on this album have been re-released with their original "wraps" of commentary by James Dobson. For that reason, until December 2012, when it was digitally released, this was one of rarest and most sought after albums.
Although the Family Portraits album was the first to be released in 1987, it did not include episodes from the Adventures in Odyssey or the Odyssey USA series. The first odyssey album released was in 1988. It was entitled Odyssey USA. It contained some of the first episodes from 1988 with Odyssey USA references and unedited Officer Harley episodes #3: “Lights Out at Whit's End”, #7: “Promises, Promises”, #9: “Doing Unto Others”, #12: “The Tangled Web”, #13: “Bobby's Valentine”, and #14: “Missed It By That Much”.
After the series name was changed to Adventures in Odyssey, the album was re-released and simply titled Adventures in Odyssey. It was advertised in the episode #35: “V.B.S. Blues”. It contained the same episode list originally. When Focus on the Family decided to pull Officer Harley from the series, the album was released again with three of the Harley episodes removed and replaced with the equivalent Harley remakes. Two of the other Harley episodes were "re-edited" to remove Harley. The only Harley episode left in the album was #3: “Lights Out at Whit's End”.
After the original tape releases of album 2-8, it was apparent that a new release of the first album was needed. So in 1992, an album called The Early Classics was released. It had the same episode list has the second release of the Adventures in Odyssey album except #3: “Lights Out at Whit's End” was replaced with #19: “Recollections”. By this album all references to Officer Harley and Odyssey USA were removed. This was the common "album one" for a long period of time afterwords.
When it came time to re-release this album for the Gold Audio CD series in 2005, the Officer Harley remakes were deemed out of place since, although the plots were from the beginning of Odyssey, they included episodes which contained newer characters (such as Eugene Meltsner who wouldn't be introduced until Album 02: Stormy Weather/Album 02: Grins, Grabbers, and Great Getaways). These three episodes were removed from this album and other older and unreleased episodes took their places. Two of the new episodes were #17: “A Member of the Family, Part 1” and #18: “A Member of the Family, Part 2” which had not been rebroadcast since the Odyssey USA days until right before this release. Rather than edit the original Odyssey USA "wraps", a completely new one was recorded, the first new "wrap" for an older episode in many years. The other new episode added for the Gold Audio re-release to make 12 episodes was #27: “A Change of Hart”.
The result of these various re-releases is that the first album is the only one to have featured 19 different episodes since its first release, though only 12 episodes were available at one time.
The Lost Episodes
The Harley remakes (#115: “An Act of Mercy”, #116: “Isaac the Benevolent”, and #117: “The Trouble with Girls”) were temperately displaced after the first gold audio release. #115: “An Act of Mercy” was put in Gold Audio Album 08: Beyond Expectations, because it had characters from around that time period. The other two didn't find a place until the The Lost Episodes release came and included them.
Album 1 Versions
Debatable Album 1 Versions
The Next Album
At the same time that the Odyssey USA album was released in 1988, the second six cassette album was released called Grins, Grabbers, and Great Getaways. This album sold more copies than any other album besides Darkness Before Dawn. The album marginally was released in a yellow case, and it didn't have a bar-code or an album number. It did not have a list of episodes on the back of the album, just a summary. It was simply a collection of episodes just as they aired on the radio. After releasing a series of albums after this up to Cunning Capers, Exciting Escapades, there was no collection that featured some of the first episodes. So in 1992, the now considered albums 2-8, were updated and all were re-released with album numbers and white cases. At the same time, the album The Early Classics, was released. These albums were the albums of 1-8 for years to come. After 1992, albums were released in this format for many years.
The Gold Audio Series
- Main article: The Gold Audio Series
Albums 1 through 15 were originally released only on compact audio cassette; starting in 2003, Focus on the Family re-released those albums as part of the Gold Audio series. The Gold Audio series includes remastered CD versions of the original 15 albums, along with a few previously-unreleased episodes as a bonus. However these are not true re-releases. All the episodes in these albums that originally contained Officer Harley have been replaced with other episodes or edited versions of the original episodes, carrying over the changes first made in The Early Classics when it was released in 1992. The openings to many episodes have been removed or replaced, most evident in episodes such as #17: “A Member of the Family, Part 1” (1988) which now features a newly recorded opening with Whit voiced by Paul Herlinger rather than Hal Smith. Other differences include a different ordering of the episodes to make the chronological listening experience more accurate, and a removal of references to cassettes at the end of multi-part episodes. The changes are most noticeable in albums 0-3, while episodes from albums after 7 feature comparatively fewer changes. Also the albums have been renamed by suggestions from listeners as well other means. However, the album The Lost Episodes is not exactly true, considering every included episode has previously been available for purchase individually, just not always in a collection.