Back to Jaw About Odyssey
Adventures in Odyssey music is some of the best of any series created for radio or television. The music adds to the episode in uncountable ways, usually giving us that emotional impact or extra humor that we need. One of the most important aspects of the music has been the opening song and introduction.
The AIO introduction song has undergone changes as Adventures in Odyssey progressed through the years. The song has always had the familiar AIO tune written by John Campbell, but the actual song has been changed significantly in pacing, length and content. In the beginning, it always began with Whit working on a contraption that, without fail, flopped every week. Eventually Whit got it to work a few times but then didn't know what to do with it.
Around the third year, the theme song was lengthened and various instruments were changed and added. The theme song became more big and dramatic, but took up more time from the episode itself and really didn't "do" anything except provide a consistent, exciting beginning from week to week.
Throughout 1990, AIO went through an occasional extremely annoying trend during which they dropped the them song completely and began with a "Today on Adventures in Odyssey" segment with "highlights" from the episode. It's distracting on AIO111: First Love, but it's completely terrible on AIO108: Isaac the Courageous and AIO132: Thanksgiving at Home. On these two episodes the "Intro" segment runs for about a minute and a half and gives away every plot point and most of the good lines from the episode. There's no tension about what will happen later in the episode since the introduction already told us so. It's like watching a movie with someone who always tells you what will happen in the next scene. Additionally, we are robbed of the continuity of the intro song.
Thankfully, this pet peeve was only used on a few episodes. Starting with AIO180: Isaac the Pure, most AIO episodes have used the familiar device of having short episode outtakes during a "lull" in the song. For the first few years, these outtakes seemed to be used to introduce the subject material of the episode. They gave the audience an idea of what the episode would deal with and which direction it would take. However, during the last four years or so, these intros have turned into "fluff". Usually during the newer episodes, they are simply a collection of very short one-liners that make a silly little collection together. Granted there are still a few episodes that use the intro to introduce subject matter, but most go for fluff.
I'm not sure which method I prefer. With the "episode intro" method, the intro sometimes gave away too much. In the introduction for AIO234: Our Daily Bread, we hear George say the line, "I got laid off." This takes all the surprise from when the statement is repeated in the actual episode and ruins a scene where Mary and the children try to figure out what to do with the extra money they are expecting.
However, all the short little silly lines don't really contribute to the episode as a whole, especially when it's a serious episode. I guess one of my favorite introductions remains on AIO280: Gone.... Whit introduces the episode and a few lines are given that just show the listener that this will be an important episode, though no hint of Whit's departure leaks out. The surprise when Connie says "Whit...left Odyssey" is still intact.
Some of the best news ever for AIO introductions came not too long ago with the introduction of a new AIO theme. I love the old theme, but after hearing in front of 400 episodes, it can get old. John Campbell had just the thing: a new exciting, fun, and innovative theme song, mixing many of the musical ques from the old one, but adding a few more "whimsical" moments into the song. The first time I heard this song, I was listening to RealAudio on the Internet and I kept rewinding to hear the song again and again. We all owe a lot to John Campbell. He's another on the list of AIO geniuses!