Album 18: A Time of Discovery

246: My Fair Bernard
242: Hymn Writers
224: Greater Love
222: The Jesus Cloth
249: The Case of the Delinquent Disciples
229: The Marriage Feast
243: Family Values
247: Why Don't You Grow Up?
248: Terror from the Skies
225: Count It All Joy
244: The Mysterious Stranger, Part 1
245: The Mysterious Stranger, Part 2


AIO seemed a bit shaky and uncertain at this time in its history.  In the same album, there are wonderfully classic episodes like Greater Love and The Jesus Cloth and rather lackluster episodes like The Case of Delinquent Disciples and Family Values.

The Case of the Delinquent Disciples is probably the weakest episode in the album.   Harlow Doyle hadn't worn out his welcome by this episode.  In fact, in his first two episodes, Harlow worked rather well for two reasons: he had something to do and he was given a good plot and funny lines.  He actually helped to solve the cases in the previous stories and was surrounding by an interesting, if simple, plot.  Here, however, he gets a formula plot and no good lines.  Harlow would find some good uses and a couple bad ones after this.  Family Values is another weak episode on this album, though not for it's lack of humor.  This episode almost seems to have too much of it.  The point of this episode is to tell how to build good families, but God is not mentioned.  That seems a pretty big hole to me.  Why Don't You Grow Up? and My Fair Bernard are better episodes, but still a bit predictable.  One problem with Why Don't You Grow Up is that I was unsure of its purpose.  Was it supposed to depress listeners about growing up?  To try to tell them to try to keep from growing up?  Is being an adult really as terrible as it is made to sound?  A sample quote from the episode: "We work to pay the bills.  It doesn't matter if it's boring."  It doesn't?  Is that saying what we do for a living doesn't matter?

Hymn Writers, The Marriage Feast, Terror from the Skies, and Count it All Joy are the episodes on the album that are good, but are not incredibly memorable.  The Biblical allegories in The Marriage Feast are interesting and well-told.  The stories in Hymn Writers are also well-done, but not as much as It Is Well. Count It All Joy is an interesting story, but one that seems to have been told on AIO before.  Terror from the Skies is a fun, lite episode.

The three very memorable episodes on the album are Greater Love, The Jesus Cloth, and The Mysterious Stranger.  Greater Love contains one of those scenes in AIO history where the voices, sound effects, emotions, and dialog are to perfection: the boating accident.  The just plain spectacular sound design begins as the boys fall into the lake and struggle.  Suddenly they both go under the water and we heard silence.   A splash and they resurface.  The suspense is wonderful.  This has to be one of the most well-done scenes in AIO, at least production-wise.  The Jesus Cloth is an important episode, raising the question of our faith.  Is it truly on Jesus?   In ways, it feels a little more crazy than a typical AIO, but a very important point was made.

Finally, the best episode is The Mysterious Stranger, one of the best AIO mysteries of all.  It's exciting, fun, and keeps you guessing.  The only complaint (though not by me) has been that it is a bit scary.

Favorite Episode: The Mysterious Stranger

Rating: 3 stars

Read the Soda Fountain Review


GOOF ALERT: This album’s cover refers to Edmund Blackgaard, a mistake on Edwin’s name.

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