Back to Jaw About Odyssey
Paul McCusker, executive producer for AIO, joined us on October 18, 2001 for a chat. In the hour-long chat, he discussed the upcoming season, Eugene Meltsner, Eugene and Katrina, AREM, Novacom, when the story arc will end and more. Check out the transcript below.
<Nathan_Host> I believe our guest of the hour has arrived.
<Patchings> It's me.
<Nathan_Host> Hello, Paul!
<Patchings> Hi, everyone. Am I late?
<OdysseyFan> Nope, we're all just early
<Nathan_Host> I believe our guest of the hour has arrived.
<whitsendpb> The big question is Who is AREM?
<Patchings> AREM is a computer hacker.
<whitsendpb> can you say who
<Patchings> No, I can't answer the identity of AREM.
<howdypardner> Where in England did you live, Mr. McCusker? (I'm a military brat and I lived there for 3 years.)
<Patchings> I lived in Winchester and Hailsham.
<jaredwalczak> Q: How do you get voice actors for AIO radio? Who contacts them? How are they chosen?
<Patchings> The voice actors are generally living around Southern California.
<AIOFG> do you check out fan sites?
<Patchings> I try to check in on the fan sites occasionally.
<Patchings> But more often than not, I'm stuck for time. I rely on Nathan to keep me up to date.
<howdypardner> Who is your least favorite character?
<Patchings> Least favorite character? I don't think I have one.
<AREM> (Q) Is AREM someone we know
<Patchings> I don't think it'd be fair to give you clues about AREM.
<jaredwalczak> Q: Will any characters return this year?
<Patchings> Almost all of the characters will be back this year.
<howdypardner> (q) What are the chances that Tasha or Donovan will ever come back?
<Patchings> No plans for Tasha or Donovan right now.
<AIOFG> (Q) Do you have plans for the people Jason meet on the way to the timothy center during the storm?
<Patchings> We might do something with the characters from "Best Laid Plans."
<jaredwalczak> Q: let me rephrase that - will any characters that have left AIO return?
<Patchings> Are you asking about any particular character? Glossman is in a Mexican jail, you know.
<jaredwalczak> Q: Glossman is in a Mexican jail? You're making that up, right??
<AREM> (Q) Why did Will Ryan leave?
<Patchings> He's very busy with his own projects right now...
<Patchings> And we have big plans for Eugene...
<Patchings> But you have to keep listening to find out what they are...
<jaredwalczak> Q: So you are saying that you expect Will Ryan back in the future (just probably not this season)
<Patchings> We'll have to see what happens with Eugene to say anything about Will...
<howdypardner> (q) Did Amy's husband die, or did he leave?
<Patchings> You'd have to ask Marshal about Amy's husband.
<Patchings> My impression is that he left...
<Patchings> But maybe he died...
<Patchings> I don't remember hammering out the full details when we discussed the story...
<Patchings> Amy sounded bitter, though, didn't she?
<KSseven> What is AIO's position on Divorce and Remarriage?
<Patchings> AIO's position is the same as Focus On The Family...
<Patchings> Divorce is a bad thing.
<Patchings> I defer to what the Bible says on the subject of remarriage...
<Nathan_Host> Here's a question above that seems to be on everyone's minds, Paul. Can you tell us anything about Eugene and Katrina?
<Patchings> Eugene and Katrina are certainly part of the forthcoming Story Line.
<tenjiee> (Q) Is Jared DeWhite coming back?
<Patchings> Jared is always around somewhere...
<Patchings> Hiding in the bushes...
<Patchings> Looking through binoculars...
<Patchings> Tapping phones...
<Wooton816> (Q) I know we've all been asking about future shows, but will Glossman make a return since Blackgaard is gone?
<Patchings> Glossman is in a Mexican jail for selling illegal Velvet Elvis paintings.
<jaredwalczak> Q. "Jared is always around somewhere" - does that mean it's possible for him to return?
<Patchings> You guys should know by now that just because someone hasn't been heard on the show...
<Patchings> Doesn't mean they're gone...
<AIOFG> (Q) In Malachi's Message I, II, &III the angel said "Things will get worse b/f the get better" what will become of that?
<Patchings> I think things often tend to get worse before they get better.
<AREM> (Q)Will Jason meet Barry in South America?
<Patchings> Jason will be meeting someone in a remote location.
<Patchings> I can say that much.
<Patchings> Maybe AREM and Katrina will slip away together...
<Patchings> Then Eugene can marry Connie...
<Nathan_Host> How about Eugene and Connie?
<Patchings> How about them?
<howdypardner> Is Connie ever going to go to college?
<Patchings> Connie is awfully busy right now.
<Patchings> I don't know how we'd squeeze college into it.
<Patchings> At least, not in the immediate future.
<Patchings> Isn't she still sixteen?
<Nathan_Host> (Q) Here's a question lots of people have wondered on the
Town Hall. Why isn't Paul McCusker writing many AIO shows now?
<Patchings> I'm not writing because we have enough good writers on the show...
<Patchings> I'm writing a lot for FOTF Radio Theatre.
<KSseven> For example, The Eugene/Katrina story line seems to be YOUR story line
<Patchings> I don't know how it became my story line...
<Patchings> I really wanted them to wrap it up while I was away...
<Patchings> But no one did.
<Patchings> I don't know why.
<AREM> Why not?
<Patchings> Honestly, you'd have to ask Phil, Marshal and the rest of the gang about that.
<jhpark> are you planning to do all of the chronicles of narnia (or have you finished them already?)
<Patchings> Yes, the rest of the Narnia stories will be out next year.
<Patchings> Nathan... have you told them your news?
<Nathan_Host> No...I haven't told the news yet.
<Patchings> Well, maybe you should.
<Nathan_Host> I will be joining Focus as a staff writer in January.
<Patchings> We're looking forward to his return.
<Nathan_Host> I've told several of you online already.
<Patchings> Maybe he can makes some sense of our story line.
<Nathan_Host> Anyway, getting back to Paul. :)
<Patchings> Nathan, are you blushing?
<jaredwalczak> Q: can you release any titles of the new shows after Relativly Annoying?
<Patchings> I think Nathan has the titles on his site.
<Nathan_Host> (Q) Can you tell us any clues about the upcoming shows? Such as...how soon will we hear about Novacom again?
<Patchings> We have a few shows that tie into Novacom...
<Patchings> But not in obvious ways...
<Patchings> Our plan is to get back to traditional stories...
<Patchings> Once we finish this Novacom business...
<Patchings> Which we plan to do by June...
<Nathan_Host> (Q) So the Novacom saga will end in June?
<Patchings> Our plan is to answer a lot of the questions...
<Patchings> And bring everything to a BIG finish no later than June...
<whitsendpb> I got the new set with the with the triangle epiode out of order did you know about that paul on the CDs
<Patchings> I knew we had a glitch on the Triangle in the new set...
<Patchings> Sorry about that...
<Patchings> It was a technical fault in our mastering...
<Patchings> We're trying to fix it...
<howdypardner> (Q) Is there going to be any interaction btwn Jason and Whit? It seems like they never ever talk.
<Patchings> Yes, Jason and Whit have some business to take care of.
<howdypardner> (q) Is Jana coming to Odyssey any time soon? She's been gone 4-EVER!
<Patchings> No plans for Jana right now.
<Patchings> But we were talking about the long lost "Member of the Family" episodes today.
<Wooton816> (Q) There isn't any end in sight for Odyssey is there
<Patchings> No plans to end Odyssey.
<jhpark> (q) i've read that one reason why the old kids don't come back is because htey can't do their young voices... can't the kids grow up? or would that be too confusing?
<howdypardner> It would make Connie jealous...
<Patchings> Kids can grow up...
<Patchings> But, in reality, when their voices change..
<Patchings> It puts them into an age-range far above our 8-12 audience...
<Patchings> We can't make Odyssey a teen show...
<AREM> Will there be more great Blackagaard after Novacom?
<Patchings> Blackgaard is dead.
<Patchings> Didn't you know?
<AREM> I meant Blackgard like storys
<Patchings> Our hope was that the Novacom stories would overtake the Blackgaard stories...
<Patchings> If not in affection, but in drama...
<Patchings> I don't know that Novacom is better than Blackgaard as a story line.
<Patchings> We're not trying to do that. But everything has its time and place.
<Patchings> Blackgaard was a great story line.
<Patchings> Though confusing sometimes.
<Patchings> We figure we can be just as exciting and confusing as that with Novacom.
<jhpark> (q) are episodes not i yet in albums (there have been a few over
the years) going to be released in an album sometime soon? How about the albums that are only tapes as CDs?
<Patchings> We're going to repackage most of the older albums.
<Patchings> Put in bonus material.
<Patchings> New covers.
<Patchings> That sort of thing.
<Nathan_Host> (Q) What sort of Bonus material?
<Patchings> Some of the trivia fillers...
<Patchings> We're now producing...
<Patchings> Behind the scenes stuff...
<howdypardner> (Q) When a fan sends in a script, do you always send at least a rejection notice back?
<Patchings> I would hope that, if you ever submit a story to us, you'd hear back from someone...
<howdypardner> Okay, 'cause I sent a script in about 2 years ago, and I never heard anything back...I guess it got lost in the mail.
<Patchings> Two years!!!!!
<Patchings> Thank heaven I wasn't here then.
<Patchings> Okay, I'm going to fire everyone tomorrow.
<Patchings> Two years... honestly.
<Nathan_Host> You might try sending it again, Howdy.
<Patchings> Yes. Send in the story again. In January. To Nathan.
<jhpark> (q) so the plan is to get the older albums out on CD too? I may just have to wait before buying the tape albums then... I was planning to burn them onto CDs
<Patchings> Yes, the older albums will come out on cd.
<AIOFG> can you confirm that the next album is Countermoves?
<Patchings> Counter Moves is the current title, yes.
<Wooton816> what about Wooton? Is he going to become a major character like Nick?
<Patchings> That's up to you guys.
<Patchings> Should Wooton go or stay?
<jaredwalczak> Wooten should leave ---- NOW!
<Nathan_Host> I like Wooton.
<tenjiee> STAY STAY STAY
<howdypardner> I dunno - I'm an intellectual-type, so people like Wooton get on my nerves REALLY quickly.
<whitsendpb> have to hear more shows with him
<tenjiee> please don't get rid of wooten
<jaredwalczak> wooten isn't so bad in himself...but him working at whit's end is strange
<AIOFG> (q)can you confirm that the next movie is: "The Caves of Qumran," video #3 ?
<Patchings> "Qumran" is the next video.
<jhpark> But the ones that aren't in an album yet... will they be in albums?
<Patchings> We might package a "lost episodes" collection.
<Patchings> I heard the first aio radio the other night.
<Patchings> Pretty good, I thought...
<Patchings> A little rough around the edges maybe...
<Patchings> But that's cool.
<Patchings> That's the thing. Making it better...
<Patchings> Learning as you go...
<AREM> (Q) Who aswers the Ask the Producers Questions?
<Patchings> A little old man we keep chained in the back.
<KSseven> (Q) ok, I just have to bring this up, will we every get to hear the lost parts of "The Great Wishy Woz"?
<Patchings> A full version of Wishy Woz is on the album.
<Patchings> Unless there are some lost parts I don't know about.
<KSseven> I mean with the stuff that didn't make the final version
<Patchings> Which stuff?
<KSseven> like the Ding Dong Song
<Patchings> Nathan, did we cut that out?
<Patchings> Is it gone forever?
<Patchings> I'll have to ask John.
<Nathan_Host> There were a couple parts of Wishy Woz that were lost.
<Nathan_Host> Including that song.
<Nathan_Host> (The main reason it was cut, though, was because it was so fast and, well...the actors had a hard time keeping up.)
<Patchings> (Oh yes. Now I remember.)
<Patchings> A good idea gone bad.
<jaredwalczak> Will Dave Madden have a major role this year?
<Patchings> We hope to get Bernard back in soon.
<jaredwalczak> Q: then did bernard leave temporarily?
<Patchings> Bernard is still around.
<Patchings> But he hasn't had much to do in the current story line.
<AREM> Will Novacom stuff Continue for years?
<Patchings> Not for years.
<Patchings> Months, maybe.
<jaredwalczak> Q: will they be new characters?
<Patchings> Oh yeah.
<Patchings> We've got some new characters coming.
<AIOFG> who will David Griffin play in the new episodes
<Patchings> David Griffin has a fun part coming up...
<Patchings> In an episode called "Plan B."
<Patchings> Rather... "Plan B" part two...
<Patchings> Or maybe it's part three...
<Patchings> I don't remember now.
<Patchings> Plan B is a four-parter.
<jhpark> wow, a 4 parter???
<Patchings> Yep. We've got some exciting things coming up.
<AIOFG> (q) any main characters will ever die on Odyssey.
<Patchings> No plans to kill anyone today.
<Wooton816> you aren't toying with me are you? four parts?!
<Patchings> Four parts.
<Patchings> Would I lie?
<jhpark> nathan did you write it? :)
<Nathan_Host> I wrote parts of the 4 parter.
<Nathan_Host> Marshal wrote most of it.
<Patchings> It begins in...
<Patchings> I think it's the 8th show of the season...
<Patchings> Or thereabouts...
<Patchings> Which means it should air in March?
<Patchings> I don't have my schedule handy.
<Nathan_Host> I think Plan B will be late January, early Feburary, if I remember correctly.
<Nathan_Host> I'm not positive, though.
<Patchings> We're planning to run all new episodes for the next 12-14 weeks.
<Patchings> I think.
<jhpark> paul, do you have any favorite authors? fiction or non?
<Patchings> I love CS Lewis...
<Patchings> I read a lot of Stephen King when I was younger...
<Patchings> But I don't recommend him...
<Patchings> I pick up some new authors now and then...
<Wooton816> How about Left Behind?
<Patchings> I didn't read "Left Behind..."
<Patchings> CS Lewis was a direct inspiration for Radio Theatre...
<Nathan_Host> (Q) What is your favorite book that you have written?
<Patchings> Favorite book?
<Patchings> Of mine?
<Patchings> I like them all for different reasons...
<Patchings> And would rewrite some of them for different reasons...
<Patchings> So I don't know for sure.
<AREM> Paul sounds very different than Hal
<Patchings> Paul is very different from Hal.
<Patchings> Similar voice quality.
<Patchings> But not the same.
<Wooton816> I don't like Paul's laugh as much, though...
<Wooton816> he laughs, Hal chuckled.
<Patchings> No, Paul doesn't laugh like Hal.
<Nathan_Host> (Q) Asked above, what do you think you would do if (heaven forbid) something happend to Paul Herlinger?
<Patchings> We've made no plans for Paul's death...
<Patchings> If you know what I mean.
<Patchings> In other words: we haven't talked about it.
<Patchings> Paul's in excellent health, by the way.
<Wooton816> ooo, Mortal Coil Backup, Part 3
<Patchings> That's right, Wooton...
<Patchings> "Uh, could you just say this line in case you die?"
<howdypardner> (Q) Are all the AIO actors Christians?
<Patchings> No, not all of our actors are Christians.
<Patchings> On either show.
<Patchings> Odyssey and RT, I mean.
<Patchings> We like working with non-believers.
<Patchings> Maybe they'll get to know Jesus a little better...
<KSseven> (Q) What is the deal with the Short skits, Why aren't they on the Split Episodes in the Albums and R yall trying to put most of them into like BTVs and such?
<Patchings> I'll be brutally honest here...
<Patchings> I wasn't a big fan of the Shorties...
<Patchings> They were very funny and well-produced...
<Patchings> But they cut in on the drama...
<Patchings> And getting into the characters deeper...
<KSseven> so, would yall consider putting them in likeBTVs and Kids Radios and such
<Patchings> We put some into a recent BTV...
<Patchings> And I might put them in to some of the albums...
<Patchings> as bonus material...
<Patchings> We really want to re-think the albums...
<Patchings> I'd love to put more in them than we currently have...
<Patchings> Collector's stuff...
<Patchings> Things like that...
<Patchings> But that might mean they'll cost more.
<Patchings> Which doesn't make anyone happy.
<AIOFG> question do you like introducing eps?
<Patchings> I don't like my voice, to be honest.
<Patchings> So I'm not keen on talking.
<Patchings> There are people who sound better than I do.
<Patchings> But they cornered me into playing Glossman...
<Patchings> Against my will...
<Patchings> And then they make me do these little voice over things...
<Nathan_Host> (Q) Paul, did you have any idea when you agreed to play Glossman that he would be in a bunch of shows?
<Patchings> He was supposed to be a one-off character.
<Patchings> In Recollections.
<Wooton816> Glossman isn't coming back, is he?
<whitsendpb> maybe glossman will sneak out and come back to odyssey
<Patchings> Glossman is long long gone...
<Patchings> Mexican jail.
<jaredwalczak> Q: Why do u keep saying mexican jail?
<Patchings> We have done that episode... where Glossman is arrested...
<jhpark> hmm... do you find that christian actors play Christian characters more easily? or is it pretty much the same?
<Patchings> Not necessarily.
<Patchings> I think a good actor, Christian or not, should be convincing.
<Patchings> Though some argue that Christians make very good bad guys...
<Patchings> Because they understand the true nature of evil...
<Patchings> One would hope a Christian would play a Christian better...
<Patchings> But it isn't always true...
<howdypardner> Are you going to do any more eps about Whit's past?
<Patchings> Whit has a lot of past to be explored.
<Patchings> We're still discussing a "Young Whit" mini-series...
<Nathan_Host> (Q) Paul, how would you compare your writing for Radio Theatre with your writing for Odyssey?
<Patchings> It's completely different.
<Patchings> For one thing, I'm adapting material that isn't... well....mine.
<Patchings> I just spent the past three weeks adapting "At Home in Mitford..."
<Nathan_Host> Is adaptation generally "easier" or more difficult?
<Patchings> Adaptation can be harder...
<Patchings> To accurately get the spirit of the work...
<Patchings> Without it becoming my own...
<Patchings> That's the trick.
<Patchings> To stay true to the source material.
<Nathan_Host> How does (sorry, can't remember the name) author of Mitford feel about the adaptations? Does she approve them?
<Patchings> Yes, Jan Karon.
<Patchings> She's a wonderful woman.
<Patchings> And has been very helpful in our adaptation.
<whitsendpb> is there any plans to bring back phil lollar he did a lot of great shows
<Patchings> And yes, Phil is great.
<Patchings> But no plans for him to write for Odyssey.
<Patchings> When he produced the show a couple of years ago...
<Patchings> He made it clear he wasn't interested in writing any more episodes...
<Patchings> He wanted to move on to other things.
<Patchings> But I know he's been busy with some other very successful programs.
<KSseven> One last question before I go, Is England a good place to live?
<Patchings> Yes, I loved England.
<Wooton816> Are any AIO actors Canadian?
<Patchings> A couple are Canadian.
<Nathan_Host> Paul, we don't want to impose on your time, how long can you stay?
<Patchings> I've got a few more minutes...
<Patchings> Anything else I can answer before I go?
<Nathan_Host> (Q) Will any of the future shows have a parental warning
<Patchings> We don't intentionally create shows with parental warnings.
<howdypardner> On Missionary Impossible, Jason says he rode an elephant in Kabul.
<howdypardner> Any chance that you might change that?
<Patchings> Why should we change it?
<AREM> Where is Jason a missionary?
<Patchings> Jason is a trouble-shooter.
<Patchings> He goes from place to place to help out...
<howdypardner> Where does Shining Armor take place?
<Patchings> Shining Armor takes place somewhere in the...
<jaredwalczak> Q: can u tell us what specific country it will be in?
<Patchings> Could be South Africa...
<Patchings> South America...
<Patchings> South Park...
<Patchings> Or not.
<jaredwalczak> Thanks for spending your time chatting with us, Mr. McCusker...hope you can chat with us again soon!
<Patchings> Nice chatting with all of you.
<Nathan_Host> Thanks for coming. Come back soon!
<Nathan_Host> It was great.
<Patchings> Take care. Let us know what you think of the upcoming shows...
<Patchings> You're our lifeline...