Rumor Has It

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#29: “Rumor Has It”
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James 3:5-12

5Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.

6The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. 7All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, 8but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God's likeness. 10Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. 11Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring?

12My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.

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Rumor Has It

“Rumor Has It” is episode #29 of the Adventures in Odyssey audio series. It was written by Paul McCusker, and originally aired on June 4, 1988.


Jack Davis and Lucy Cunningham-Schultz wonder about a strange family in town and Jack is convinced they are up to something.



There is a new family in town, and they are giving all the kids at Odyssey Elementary the creeps — especially Jack and Lucy. They have to walk by the family's house every day, and Lucy is spooked by the young boy she sees staring at them through the window. At school, they hear further rumors about the family from Alice Pringle. Alice's brother saw the strange family's father leaving the house early in the morning, carrying what looked like a big sack with a body in it. Jack deduces that the father is a Mafia scientist.

Later at Whit's End, Whit tells Jack and Lucy the name of the family: Kirban. Whit says they are very private people, which just makes Jack even more curious to find out about them. Lucy, on the other hand, wants nothing to do with the family. She even refuses to walk by the house with Jack the next morning. At school, Jack informs Lucy that the boy wasn’t in the window that morning. Just as Lucy wonders where the boy went, the teacher introduces a new student...John Kirban! No one even gets close to John all day, which makes Lucy feel guilty.

After school at Whit's End, Jack reveals plans to spy on the Kirbans and wants Lucy to help him. She refuses. Jack storms off angrily, bumping into Connie on the way. Connie talks to Whit and tells him that she saw John Kirban sitting on the curb by himself, crying. Whit goes to Lucy and asks her to do him a favor: walk to school the next morning with John Kirban! Lucy tries, but when she reaches the Kirban’s house, John's father nearly slams the door in her face, telling her that John isn't going back to school that day or any other.

Lucy runs from the house, terrified, and runs into Jack. He tells her not to worry — he's going to spy on the Kirbans that night and expose the whole Mafia/mad-scientist family! But thanks to a stray cat and several trash cans, it is Jack who winds up exposed — caught by Mr. Kirban! A police officer is summoned, and gets to the bottom of things. The bag the father carries out to his van contains... a carpet. Mr. Kirban is a carpet maker. The family seemed unfriendly and mysterious because they are from a different country. Jack is released back to his parents' custody, Whit decides to buy a new carpet, Lucy has a new friend in John Kirban, and everyone learns that you can’t always believe what you hear.

Discussion Questions

  1. What was Jack and Lucy's first mistake when it came to the Kirban family?
  2. Why is it wrong to listen to rumors about people?
  3. What does the Bible say about gossip?
  4. When someone starts to tell you a rumor, what should you do?


Heard in episode

*Appears only in the original Odyssey USA version (1988)

Mentioned in episode

Character Mentioned By
Jake Hudson Jack Davis
Cynthia Barber Jack Davis
Glen Wilkins Jack Davis
Walter Finch Jack Davis



  • The broadcast version of this episode has Chris on Main Street conducting a gossip survey.
  • The Official Guide states that this episode contained David Harley (as the police officer at the end of the episode) when it first aired. However, several fans have speculated whether this fact is actually true, considering that Harley “left town” in #26: “Harley Takes the Case, Part 2”.
  • This episode marks the debut of long-recurring characters Jack Davis and Lucy Cunningham-Schultz (the longest-running kid in Odyssey according to episode appearances). In 1993, their respective actors Donald Long and Genni Long got married.
  • Jack Davis is the name of Paul McCusker's stepfather. (Source: acknowledgments in McCusker's "A Season of Shadows")
  • This episode marks the end of the practice of having different characters every episode, though having generic characters every episode is still practiced every so often.
  • Jack compares the character of Mr. Kirban to Frankenstein.
  • This episode was adapted into a Hindi video episode called ज़बान संभल के (Careful Tongue). It can be found here.
  • There is no requirement that a license is needed from the state for homeschooling. (However, this was true at one point in the state of California.)
  • Given the fact that this episode was released (and is presumably set) in the month of June, it seems highly unlikely that the Kirbans would have their son John enter school at the end of the year. This might explain why this episode was delayed being released until Album 03: Heroes, which contains episodes set in autumn, rather than being included with its contemporary episodes in Album 02: The Wildest Summer Ever.



Jack Davis: I'll bet those things he carries out in the middle of the night are his experiments. Just like Frankenstein.

Connie Kendall: Hi Whit, sorry I'm late!