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by OdysseyFan

Episode: 387: New Year's Eve Live!

Friday, November 21, 1997

In celebration of Ten Years on the air for Adventures in Odyssey, The AIO Team is planning to record an episode of Odyssey, right here at Focus on the Family, LIVE! I couldn’t miss that. I first heard about it from Katie Leigh, who provides the voice of Connie Kendall. As the Day approached I gathered more information. Yes, all the main actor would be there to record a LIVE episode of AIO! There would be a big AIO Merchandise Sale, everything was 50% - 75% off!. An Autograph Signing Session, a chance to meet the actors and actresses! WOW!

I arrived at Focus on the Family earlier in the day, to take the tour and visit the bookstore and Whit’s End. (More about Whit’s End in Colorado Springs in a future article). We weren’t allowed inside, and so we began to lineup outside. I was there early and so got a place near the front of the line. I chatted with some of the AIO Fans there, and generally was really excited. Well, even though it didn’t start until 6:30 I was in line by 5:45. Hundreds of people were showing up every minute. It started to snow about 6:10, and only the first 50 people near the door were under the canopy. The rest were getting cold, and wet. So at about 6:15 they let us into the building. We rushed upstairs, and soon arrived at the main room; a Chapel & Cafeteria that the people at focus call: The Chapelteria! The main doors were still shut, but a few people peeked inside to see who was there. Most of the main actors, and the Production team. They soon let us into the Chapelteria and we found seats quickly, we had to, within minutes every one of the 1800 seats was filled. People started to put younger kids on the floor, Parents were standing in the back and down the isles. And they were selling Books, Videos and audio albums in the main hall. It was great! Right away Phil Lollar called us to order. He was amazed at the crowd! Especially since Focus had not advertised the event! All the people that came had heard about it from friends.

Listen to the Episode "New Year’s Eve LIVE!" and you will hear the crowd, cheering, and saying "POOF". Something that they completely left out of the episode was Paul Herlinger (Whit) calling us live. He couldn’t attend, and so the script was changed last-minute. He talked a little to us as fans, and said hi to everyone in Odyssey. Of all the people there, no one thought to video-tape the event, something I rue to this day.

After the Show, All the actors and crew moved downstairs to an enclosed desk area. They could all fit in there, but we, the fans, couldn’t actually reach them as we went for autographs. The scene that followed may be have been a little scary for the younger kids. 2000 fans rushed that small area to get autographs. Most people were getting the actors to sign their "Complete Guide", but a few wanted signatures directly onto their favorite shrink-wrapped albums. Well, while I was waiting to get to Katie’s area, She got someone who wanted just that type of autograph. Let me tell you right now. It is almost impossible to write on shrink-wrap with a normal pen. You need a special non-erasable pen. Well, it just so happens I brought one with me to the event. And so, in time of need, I gave my pen to Katie, and told her to keep it, she would need it again. She was just tickled.. It was a real thrill when I finally got to meet her! WOW!

List of Attendees:

Connie Kendall (Katie Leigh)
Eugene Meltsner, Harlow Doyle (Will Ryan)
Bernard Walton (Dave Madden)
Tom Riley / Bart Rathbone/Ceaser (Ed Walker)
Whit (Paul Herlinger)
Joey (Landon Arnold)
Joey’s Wife (Amber Arnold)

Writer: Phil Lollar
Director: Phil Lollar
Live Sound Production Engineers:  Mark Drury & Dave Arnold
Assistant Live Sound Production Engineers: Dave Samuel & Brian Kifer
Songs: Terwilliger Ryan (Will "Eugene" Ryan)
Songs Courtesy of Snappy Tunes Amusement Company