Album 16: Flights of Imagination


211: The Mortal Coil, Part 1
212: The Mortal Coil, Part 2
213: Best Intentions
209: Columbus: The Grand Voyage
214: The Living Nativity
216: Like Father, Like Son
221: It Is Well
219: Treasures of the Heart
220: This Is Chad Pearson?
228: A Game of Compassion
226: An Adventure in Bethany, Part 1
227: An Adventure in Bethany, Part 2


This episode begins with one of the most powerful, thoughtful, and even challenging AIOs ever.  It's one of those ones that leaves you thinking for a long time afterwards.  It begins with a spectacular concept.  What if a computer program could give us just a glimpse of what life after death would be like?  While basically the entire first episode focuses on Whit's story, the second episode is probably even better.  It focuses on Whit's imagined "heaven" and on Eugene's reaction to a taste of hell.  Eugene's story is especially poignant.  No human mind can comprehend the horror of that place.  Even a taste must have been horrifying.   Certainly a spectacular AIO episode and one that can be listened to over and over.   The only very disturbing thing about this episode did not occur in the episode itself, but in the Complete Guide to AIO.  See the episode for more information.

Best Intentions is a good follow-up episode, a complete change from The Mortal Coil, but a great episode nevertheless.  Harlow Doyle is okay, here, but began to loose his originality.  It felt like the writers were just depending more and more on his zaniness instead of thinking up funny lines for him. 

The excellent episodes continue with Columbus: The Grand Voyage and The Living Nativity.  The Grand Voyage is an great adaptation of the story from history, filling in many details that most of us didn't know.  The Living Nativity is Marshal Younger's first contribution to the AIO world.  This first one, like many of his following scripts, is funny and entertaining while presenting a powerful message about Christianity.  Whit's solution is an interesting one to a difficult problem.

Like Father, Like Son and A Game of Compassion are good uses of the Myers family.   Both present interesting dilemmas, and we can feel with the characters.  I knew that the issues of Like Father, Like Son would come up sometime in the course of the series and they are well handled here.  Treasures of the Heart, is another good Barclay episode obviously aimed at the Air Jordan shoes which were out around that time.   How can the Barclay family be so good in so many episodes?  It's probably that fact that they know each other so well. The cast's easy interaction is rare among series, either radio or television.  The reason is that it hasn't been learned in a few weeks (or improvised in the studio); these actors have been working together for years.  This is Chad Pearson? is another Marshal Younger episode that shows his streak for parody.  Listen closely to those scenes about soap operas; they are very funny.  The episode is touching in the way that it shows that all the "superstar" really wanted was for some one to treat him, well, like a normal person.  He just didn't know that at first.

Finally, It is Well tells the story of John Spafford with such sincerity and conviction that its hard not to be caught up in it.  We can really feel Spafford's pain and heartache at the shipwreck site.  I never before knew the story of that wonderful hymn we sing at church.  Last of all, the excellent Adventure in Bethany episodes close of the album with another shining example of AIO Bible stories.  A great album, probably the best one between "Other Times...Other Places" and "Wish You Were Here".

Favorite Episode: The Mortal Coil

Rating: 3 1/2 stars

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