- This article is about the fictional town. For the radio drama, see Adventures in Odyssey. For the internet forum, see The Town of Odyssey.
Odyssey is the fictional setting for the Christian-themed radio program Adventures in Odyssey. Though its exact size is never specified, it can be inferred from numerous Adventures in Odyssey episodes that Odyssey has a population between 40,000 and 55,000 (it was published as 34,770 circa 1990 and is marked as the population in Whit’s End at Colorado Springs). Its location within the United States is never specified on the program, although the first and third episodes of "Family Portraits" state that it is located in Ohio (see below). It is located in Campbell County (the seat of which is Connellsville), a fictionalized county bearing no known connection to any of the five counties bearing that name in the United States. The current mayor is Spencer Hicks. Click here to see a list of all the characters who have been mayor.
Odyssey is located near Connellsville in Campbell County. The first full account of the history of Odyssey was presented in #92: “The Ill-Gotten Deed”, which concerns a book of the same name written by John Avery Whittaker. In the late 1700's and early 1800's it was inhabited by a small band of Indians according to The Odyssey Times in the Official Guide. According to Whittaker's The Ill-Gotten Deed, much of the land Odyssey occupies was originally owned by the father of twin brothers Horace and Grover McAlister, who left it to his sons in his will in the 1834.
The land was located in the Wey-Aka-Tal-ah-Nee-Tee Valley, which, when translated from a fictional Native American language, means "Land-that-stinks-like-swamp." In reality, the valley was not a swamp, but simply suffered poor drainage during the rainy season from a large lake at the top of the large hill surrounding the valley. The Indians are thought to have come from a land that was swampy. Horace McAlister competed with his brother for the land. Grover beat Horace to the land and learned that it was worthless because of the swamp like rainy season and tricked Horace into taking the land as a gesture of good will after Horace saved Grover's life from a group of attacking Indians. However, Horace was a learned outdoors-man and fixed the drainage problem with the help of other farmers by digging several drainage ditches.
In the future the townsfolk all gathered to give the town a name. After much debating it was Ol' Doc McAlister who stated, "It's in a beautiful valley. A place everybody oughta see!" The name stuck just with a spelling change.
|“||Whit chose to settle in Odyssey for several reasons. Its relatively small population (approximately 35,000 people) makes it ideal for civic involvement, which was therapeutic for Jenny. Because it is surrounded by farmland, Odyssey has a small-town feel about it, and most folks there still live by the traditional values that often characterize such places. The kids, of course, make every effort to appear as cool as can be, despite their basically rural roots. And, yet, it's close enough to a major metropolitan area (about 150 miles away) for a family to take advantage of the cultural opportunities offered by a large city, should they choose to do so.
Odyssey also has cultural advantages of its own. It has a well-supported civic center that boasts a 350-seat theater and a 1 500-seat music hall. An amateur theater troupe performs four or five full-scale productions per year, and a variety of traveling orchestras and musical groups make the town one of their stops when touring through the Midwest.
Odyssey is also no slouch when it comes to economy. While agriculture is a major industry in the area, there are also more than a few industrial and manufacturing plants in town. Some of these include Odyssey Automotive (the largest manufacturer of turn-signal flasher units in America), Commark Corporation (a marketing communications firm), and Valmar, Inc. (a company that makes both electronic and manually-operated occupational "games" that test an employee's mental and physical dexterity).
The town also has a fairly large shopping mall with all of the usual department stores and specialty shops. There is one Church,(Odyssey Community Church) There are three schools, Odyssey Elementary, Odyssey Middle School, and Odyssey High School. There's also a private school called Odyssey Academy. And there are a number of small but lucrative businesses scattered throughout the community, such as Hal's Diner, The Electric Place, J & J Antiques, Finneman's Market, Greenblatt's Department Store, Holstein's Bookstore, Pete's Gas and Chow, Odyssey General Hospital, Hillingdale Haven Retirement Home, Odyssey Post Office, and, of course, an unusual place called "Whit's End."
Although the specific state containing Odyssey is located is never specified during Adventures in Odyssey, the precursor miniseries Family Portraits lists the state as Ohio. (#FP01: “Whit's Visitor”, #FP03: “The New Kid in Town”) Even if this is not to be considered canon for AIO, many other hints throughout the program suggest that Odyssey is indeed somewhere in this state:
- Located in the Midwestern region (“Star Quest”)
- Located north of both Tennessee and the Ohio River (#314: “The Underground Railroad, Part 1”)
- Located between Cincinnati and the US-Canada border (#315: “The Underground Railroad, Part 2”)
- Located west of West Virginia (#530: “Silver Lining”)
- Located between Chicago and New York (#886: “Unsinkable, Part 1”)
- Located within overnight driving distance of Ashburn, Virginia (#579: “Always”)
- Located near a state border (#129: “Not One of Us”)
- Located in a state that contains the following highways:
- Located in a state that has a sales tax (either that, or Odyssey has a city sales tax). Ohio does have a state sales tax. (#609: “Prequels of Love”, et al)
- There are a lot of references to Chicago. Fourteen episodes take place in Chicago, twelve characters have family ties to Chicago, and four characters have favorite sport teams from Chicago (Grady McKay, Xavier Washington, Dion Farkus, and Leonard Norman).
- In #142: “Train Ride” it is a day's journey by train from Chicago to Odyssey.
- In #387: “New Year's Eve Live!” it is about 8½ hours by bus from Odyssey to Chicago.
- In #294: “Unto Us a Child Is Born” Katrina drove from Odyssey to Chicago in the same day for a family brunch.
- Several times characters have flown between Odyssey and Chicago, Connie and Whit in #155: “Waylaid in the Windy City, Part 1”, Jack and Joanne in #485: “Plan B, Part 2: Collision Course”, Stephen and David Straussberg in #627: “Life, in the Third Person, Part 2”.
It is hard to reconcile traveling to a place by plane, or a day's trip via train with it being driveable in 8½ hours or less.
- In #129: “Not One of Us” Bart Rathbone speaking about Sloughburgh says "It's only a few miles, just across the state line." However in #512: “The Pact, Part 2” we learn from Tom that Loon Lake, a place "just across the state line" is "a couple of hours away."
KYDS Radio call letters
Although the town has been referenced as being in the Midwest, the radio station operating within Whit's End is given the call letters KYDS and KODY. In actuality, call letters prefixed with the letter K are reserved for stations based on the west side of the Mississippi River. However, a radio station in Philadelphia, PA has the call letters KYW, so this may not apply to Odyssey. Then again, what does?
Assuming Odyssey is in Ohio, there are episodes that pose problems with that location.
- In #140: “The Vow” George and Donna Barclay flew from Odyssey to Washington D.C. with layovers in Chicago and Pittsburgh. It is possible that they got a cheaper flight, by going to Chicago (the opposite direction) first, then stopping in Pittsburgh, then their destination D.C.
- In #142: “Train Ride” it was a day's journey by train from Chicago to Odyssey. Thus putting Odyssey far outside Ohio (in a whole day a train could travel over 700 miles).
Places in Odyssey
- Main article: Organizations in Odyssey
The majority of Adventures in Odyssey episodes take place in the town of Odyssey, most commonly at the popular ice cream shop "Whit's End".