News: July, 2005

July 29, 2005
Good News... for myself! I will be absent from the Town of Odyssey and the Soda Fountain for the next couple of weeks. I shall be backpacking through Kananaskis, near Banff, AB and won't have access to anything resembling a computer for that time. I hope everyone is enjoying their summers and look forward to coming back home. Though, I won't be able to forget Odyssey while I'm away... I'll be backpacking with Odyssey's own Nathan Hoobler! I'm sure we'll get some photos up for everyone to take a look at when we return :o).

July 23, 2005
A couple of fan site updates today. First, EugeneFan has posted an article (along with pictures!) of the Eugene Live! event in Colorado Springs from a couple of weeks ago. If you're looking for some more information about what you may have missed out on, check out his site!

And Frank from Frank's Breakfast Inn has posted a clip of her playing the ukulele and singing a tune. So check that out too! :o)

July 16, 2005
The other day I was looking over the release dates for several Adventures in Odyssey products and realized something... there is a lot of products being released in the next several months. Unfortunately, it's very hard to keep track of which products are being released and when. So to make it easier for everyone, I am launching a new section today! It is appropriately titled Release Dates and can be accessed on the navigation bar on the left side from "Releases". I hope everyone will both enjoy and be able to utilize this feature... oh, and, check out the month of August. There is a rather surprising un-announced title that you heard about here first!

July 14, 2005
So now that Eugene Live! has wrapped up, how did it go? While I can't tell you from experience (though I really wish I could!), I do have an exclusive first hand account of the event submitted by a fan who was in attendance!

* * * * *


- Introductions, including by MC Shari (who works in Marketing/Partnerships, or something similar, for Focus on the Family) and an announcer "J. Quackenbush Hornblower" (?) clearly voiced by Will Ryan

- "My Dog Has Fleas" and five other songs (!)

- Young fan brought on stage, new song "I'm Glad You're Not a Duck" performed

- Four more songs, with a few extended gags thrown in

- Marshal Younger introduces "Odyssey Sings" episode, plays 5-minute clip

- Q&A with Paul McCusker/Will Ryan

- "The Rose of Antelope Valley" performed

- The Kokomo Kinderchor joins Will for final three songs

- Shari closes with giveaways and info about autographs


Best set-up: The fact that Will Ryan stayed in-character as Eugene almost the entire show

Most stops in one song:
Over a dozen, in "I Just Met a Girl Named Katrina". Done on purpose... I think.

Best use of prop:
Ukulele as microphone, for boy who came up on stage. "Eugene" -- who spoke into the real microphone but was handling his ukulele as if it were the mic -- had everyone convinced that the boy had a low voice and was named "Baccia Galupe"!

Biggest Crowd Pleaser:
"I'll Never Sneeze Again". Everyone started clapping to the beat, which came up a few other times.

Best (and only) instrumental:
"Prestidigitation Number One for Tenor Ukulele." Who knew that much sound could come from one small instrument?  

Most intriguing thing: 
Four new songs were played. All quite fun but nothing from the Christmas CD, I don't think.

Best "supporting character": (tie) Ellwood W. Dellwood and Little Quackers the Imaginary Duckling. "Eugene" did some elaborate gags which involved playing sound clips over the house speakers. His old-style phone ("My cell phone," he quipped: "I've been trying to sell this phone for years") appeared to be ringing at various points in the show. His "Ellwood W. Dellwood" character -- same voice as Harlow -- benefited from being live, as Will did both Eugene and Ellwood back-and-forth. Little Quackers was done with sound clips, but we learned at the autograph time that Will's agent "Ken" does that Donald Duck-ish voice (he demonstrated to lots of laughs).

Best ribbing of "Eugene":
Paul McCusker's remark, "Next summer look for Glossman Sings, which will have such hits as 'My Dog Has Rabies.'" "Eugene" and McCusker discussed the most popular fan questions from WhitsEnd.org, and they played href="http://boss.streamos.com/real/focusonthefamily/aio/audio/monologue.rm" target="_blank">this clip to answer "Where has Eugene been?"

The Imaginary Band. "Eugene" built up the fact that an Imaginary Invisible Band would be joining him at the end. Sure enough, for the last few songs, Odyssey's boy genius resorted to using tracks... and it added a lot. Impressive timing and energy all the way through.

Best song NOT performed:
(tie) "The Moonlight, a Tuba and You" and "Play Me a Ukulele Tune". "Moonlight" would've been difficult as a Eugene-solo -- even with the Imaginary Band -- but "Play Me" could've been used in that first part.

Best stage presence:
The Kokomo Kinderchor. There must've been little practice involved, but this young group did a fine job of singing and moving along. The gospel beat of "Lift Up Your Heads" inspired one of the singers to start a rhythmic "wave" which a few others joined in on... a real church choir in action!

Best use of visuals:
"Have You Ever Been to Odyssey?" A montage of Odyssey characters was played (see image).

Perfect ending:
"Lift Up Your Heads." Anyone want to start a Eugene Sings! Gospel petition?

Nice touch:
The prize tickets were taped under the chairs! A few people left mid-way though, and they missed out. The tickets were large, resembling Charlie's golden ticket in Willy Wonka. No trips to the chocolate factory were given away, however. : )

Most interesting fact learned in autograph line:
Fans from New Mexico, Texas and New York traveled all the way to Colorado for Eugene Live!

* * * * *

Thanks again to "Jack Allen of Oswald Heights" for sending that in! You can also check out images and a short write-up at EugeneReturns.com. I'm glad to hear the event was such a success!

July 11, 2005
Today is the big day! At 2:30 mountain time in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Will Ryan (as Eugene) will pick up his ukulele and entertain an audience at Focus on the Family. Unfortunately I won't be in attendance, but EugeneReturns.com will have pictures of the event later this week and I believe EugeneFan over at Eugene Forever will be posting thoughts on his website as well (when he returns from his vacation). You can find more information about the event on his website.

I would also like to mention that the voting for the Spring 2005 season has closed. The results will be posted soon... thanks to all who voted!

July 09, 2005
Adventures in Odyssey fans are in for a special treat today with the airing of "Odyssey Sings!", a brand new episode created to promote the Eugene Sings! album as well as the live event at Focus on the Family this Monday. As usual, you will be able to find this episode on Oneplace. On top of that, you can check out a brand new commercial for Eugene Sings! here at the Soda Fountain! And for those curious, the special "Odyssey Sings!" episode will be available in the next Adventures in Odyssey album (#45) and as a sampler CD in February.

But the fun doesn't stop there. For Father Gilbert fans, you will be happy to know that a brand new episode is also airing today. It is the first of two parts airing this weekend and next, of a story entitled "The Silver Cord". If you're a fan of Father Gilbert or want to check out Focus on the Family's other original drama (geared towards an older audience), do yourself a favor and check this episode out on Oneplace! It will be available on CD in January 2006.

July 02, 2005
Ryan wrote in to let me know that the cover art for "Just in Time" has been released. For those who aren't up to date, "Just in Time" is the Gold Audio re-release of "Amazing Antics, Dynamic Discoveries" and the art featured on the front cover is a scene from "Better Late than Never". After a little digging, I discovered the new cover art for "Other Times, Other Places" as well as "It's Another Fine Day..." are also available. All three are below (you can click for a larger version):

I'll try and get a full list of bonus features for you soon, though you may be able to find out some for yourself by reading the red stamp on each cover. All three albums will be available this October.

July 01, 2005

I hope everyone is enjoying the Bruce Day Gallery I posted yesterday. If you haven't seen it yet, definitely check it out! And last week I received my copy of Eugene Sings! in the mail. If you missed any of the sample clips that were posted at EugeneReturns.com throughout the month, here they are below:

"Have You Ever Been to Odyssey?"

"My Dog Has Fleas"

"I Just Met a Girl Named Katrina"

"Love One Another"

"The Moonlight, a Tuba, and You"

"I'll Never Sneeze Again"

"The Only Thing Missing is You"

"Lift Up Your Heads"

"Play Me a Ukulele Tune"

"A Very Short Song"

"Pulchra Nympha Tu!"

"O-D-Y-Double S-E-Y!"

"The Rose of Antelope Valley"

There was also an interview posted today (which you can listen to here) and Eugene reveals that Connie Kendall will be featured in the Eugene Sings! Christmas album! So what did I think of this first CD? I thought it was very good. Several of the songs were very catchy and I found myself singing them throughout my the day at work. Unfortunately there were songs or moments that felt outside of the realm of Adventures in Odyssey. For one thing, Eugene doesn't have a dog, yet sings about his dog having fleas and hearing a tune by "Little Quackers, the imaginary duckling" made the album feel cartoonish. It's clear that Will Ryan has just adapted several of his songs from the Elmo Aardvark series to use for this album, but overall, I still highly recommend this musical compilation. There are plenty of great songs (including a secret bonus track) and it's a fun CD for the whole family to listen to. Besides, who can complain for $13.00? So pick up your copy!


Album #50: The Best Small Town

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