This is the story of the time I met Dr. Dobson.
But, of course, before we get to this most notorious of episodes… we must run through more episodes I’ve mostly forgotten.
Adventures in Odyssey: Episode 109- Two Sides to Every Story
Not much memory of this other than it was fun script and I had a blast with Donna.
Can’t remember if I’ve mentioned it before, so I’d like to take a moment here to discuss a quick rule I have for myself in this quagmire of blogness.
I won’t be mentioning the child cast of the era I worked by name, I will instead refer to these lovely and talented individuals by their character name.
Hold on Dave! Hold ON!!
YOu. jUsT. SAiD. iN. tHe. LAst. pOsT. ThAt. crEDiT. MatTeRs.
It’s true, I did say that.
But, I am not the one who hired these kids, nor am I the one who didn’t credit them in the first place. My reasons for not using their names are that not all the kid actors from that first era have shown interest in engaging with the fan community like I do. To the best of my knowledge only two of the original kids went on to pursue show business as a career. I’m one of those two. But the other kids seem really content to not dabble in the business and would like to keep it that way.
The actor who played my sister is one of these. And I will respect her wishes by NOT publicizing her name. If she feels different, or if any of my other child colleagues find this dumpster fire of a memoir and decide they DO want their names added I will happily do so. In the mean time, I will call Donna “Donna” and Lucy “Lucy” and Jack and the Gay Guy from 1 in 10 as “Jack” and the “Gay Guy from 1 in 10”.
Um… I’ve said too much.
Anyway, where were we?
Adventures in Odyssey: Episode 110- A is for Attitude
Nope. No memories stored in the brain barn.
Adventures in Odyssey: Episode 114- The Big Broadcast
Likewise, the memory shelves are empty.
Although, reading the synopsis was this the episode where KYDS radio was launched? This will factor into The Strangest Day of My Life a post which won’t be written for awhile.
Adventures in Odyssey: Episode 115- An Act of Mercy
*unintelligible mumbling of confusion*
Btw… something to consider over the last 8 episodes in this run of episodes.
Episodes 98, 99; 104, 105; 109, 110; 114, 115
Only one of those back to backs was actually a two parter.
Often I would have two episodes recorded on the same day, I’m sure for ease of the crew. Nothing nefarious here– BUT I had no in-studio tutor. And for each full day of recording I would fall behind in school.
And in the early years when I was in elementary school this didn’t matter at all because I could easily catch up, during middle school and especially high school this became a real problem. Something to consider for future posts…
Adventures in Odyssey: Episode 117- The Trouble with Girls
This was an odd episode to record because it was basically a rewrite of an earlier episode called Bobby’s Valentine. And because Ole Officer Harley represented all those noble lives of those who protect and serve us that can not be mocked, this episode was redone.
I do recall a fan writing a story once about how she had a dream of going down the big slide at Whit’s End and ending up in a pile of tapes of this episode and I wanna state for the record I think that’s awesome. Everyone should have dreams of diving into piles of tapes of my episodes. It’s good for your bone density health or something… prevents cavities.
Ok… here we go.
Adventures in Odyssey: Episode 122- Castles & Cauldrons Part 1
Adventures in Odyssey: Episode 123- Castles & Cauldrons Part 2
This episode occupies some remarkable territory in my twerking brain lobes.
- In the last two posts I mentioned I had shortlists of 3 episodes that I regret recording, and 3 episodes that most inspired me as an audio theatrical artist. This episode is the only episode that qualifies to be on both those lists.
- This is the only time in my life I would meet Dr. Dobson.
- This is also the episode I would have the most cognitive dissonance with as time would progress.
This is the story of:
That Time I Made Satanic Panic Porn And Met Dr. Dobson.
My life is so fucking weird.
Alright. Let’s go back to my 3 points a few paragraphs up there…
So, this episode qualifies for both of my personal Top 3 lists of Most Cringe and Most Inspirational Artistically.
Which makes this probably the most uniquely weird piece of art I’ve ever made in any medium whatsoever. And I’ve done some weird shit over the years!
This is the only episode I ever did that came with a WARNING.
And that WARNING was recorded and relayed to families and children all over the world for decades by none other than Doctor James Dobson himself.
I did not know this at the time.
I arrived to the studio as he was leaving. And for 30-60 seconds… Dave Griffin and Dr. James Dobson awkwardly stand in a hallway pretending to chat.
And my only real memory of this moment of two legends of White Evangelical Propaganda meeting for the first and only time was that Dobson was acting like he had never been in this part of the building before. He kept asking questions about what was what and what’s over there? And what’s in this studio?
And I remember thinking, “Aren’t you the most important dude in the building? Isn’t this whole thing built because of you? And you’ve never been here before?”
The AIO wing was literally a hundred feet from his very glamorous studio.
And it was something I reflected on over the years… as I got older and realized how much the suits of FOTF never came around the studio… maybe that was all the time? Dunno. But, it was odd to me as a 12/13 year old kid that Dobson had never been in the AIO recording area. Did my Exec Prod Dad erect an imaginary electrified fence to protect the show from the dangers of the outside world? Or was the imaginary electrical fence designed to protect the world… from us?!? Bum bum buuuummmm.
And that’s it. That’s the moment where these two champions of indoctrinating children met and mostly didn’t talk to each other. Maybe he said hi to me? I’m trying to remember if he knew who I was or not. Obviously, I knew who he was because his picture was downstairs with the Vice Prez.
So, why would Dobson need to give a WARNING?
BECAUSE THIS EPISODE IS ABOUT HOW DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS WILL TURN YOU INTO A SATAN WORSHIPPING DEMON FUCKER. YOU WILL NEVER STOP HAVING SEX WITH DEMONS IF YOU LISTEN TO THI—
No. WAIT. THAT’S NOT AN ENTICEMENT TO LISTEN TO THE EPISODE IT’S SUPPOSED TO SCARE YOU STRAIGHT!!!
Dungeons & Dragons is such a danger to children that Katie Leigh who plays Connie actually performs in the cartoon of Dungeons & Dragons! Those godless monsters that they hire to manipulate children’s minds for Jesus.
Now… I was 13 by this point? I had no idea what DnD was.
And this is a really good example again of how the material in the scripts really was something I never considered too much.
For me, this two part episode was so much fun to do. It was one of my favorite in-studio experiences. It was an intense episode to record. Very tiring work.
This was also the ONLY time– and I do mean the ONLY time I would ever receive any form of written communication from the crew that I had done a good job.
I may still have it? Some years ago I finally tossed what little correspondence I had from them, mostly pen pal letters from when one of the writers moved to England and I missed him as a 10, 11, 12 year old kid… ah yes, back when I still thought they cared about me or that I mattered. And in my anger I may have tossed some things I held onto for many, many years. I believe this letter was one of those. I may have a picture of it somewhere. If I find it I’ll post it here.
Anyway, it was a single sheet of paper where the crew all wrote, “Great Job, Jimmy!”
That was literally the only pat on the head I ever got. And it was on this episode.
Weeks later when I would receive this episode I was blown away by the sound design. And this would become one of my favorite ever episodes where the work done in the studio really was propped up in a special way by the sound design and music. This was a scary fucking episode!
And I loved it!
If Lincoln was the episode where I got to experience Time Travel…
Cauldrons is the episode where I get to experience Horror/Thriller theme storyline.
And I ate it up.
This would be the only episode I would share with friends, oddly. And really it was because I was such a fan of the sound design. This episode probably more than any other (except one) is responsible for my love of audio production. Because it was such a stark experience to see how the sound design elevated the performances.
And on one of these occasions of sharing the episode with friends I would get an education in what propaganda was.
It was during this era of my life that I had become rather infatuated with drums/percussion. And my mom hired the guy who played the drums in the Worship Band at church to teach me how to play. And he was the only cool older dude I knew.
And he was a serious audiophile. And I thought this is the moment to share with him this cool shit I’m doing.
Gave him the tape after a lesson one day.
Came back the next week and he’s holding the tape in an odd way with an odd expression on his face.
“Dobson put this out?”
He actually subscribed to some of their content and did not know about their Satanic Panic stuff. I didn’t even know what that meant or what it was.
BUT, HE… MY COOL DRUM TEACHER WITH THE MOHAWK WHOSE HAIRCUT SCARED ALL THE PARENTS… PLAYED DUNGEONS & DRAGONS.
AND HE WAS NOT HAPPY THAT DND PLAYERS WERE BEING ACCUSED OF DEMONIC POSSESSION AND SATAN WORSHIPPING BY FOTF.
And that… would be the last time I would ever let anyone listen to an episode of the show I made.
Ever, I think.
My kids have never heard the show as a result.
That was 32 years ago.
It was a really shitty feeling to make something that you’re proud of… only to have someone wiser call it out for the propagandistic bullshit that it is and to realize that you were a pawn in someone else’s agenda.
And that would be the first time I would really start to question the material. And wonder if all the episodes were actually good or not. That was a question that had never entered my mind up to that point. I’m just here to make the words on the page come alive. I’m not actually responsible for what they mean or their purpose because often/always that purpose or meaning is never shared with me.
It sucked. To have something that you are really proud of… turn into something that embarrasses you or that makes you feel shame for participating.
And if there is a single sentence that encapsulates my entire feelings about my tenure on the program and my history in it… it’s the above sentence.
As the years wore on this was the episode that would make me cringe more than any other. Because I still LOVED the performances I gave in it. Busted my ass trying to make that nonsense scary and exciting. That’s not easy to do all. day. long. They were right to send me a “congrats” letter. I killed that performance.
When the Fan Era enters my life, though, this is the episode that gets the most pushback and mockery. And rightly so, it’s utterly ridiculous that Fucking Evangelicals™ fight against this nonsense when so many real problems exist.
But, a common pattern that you’ll find in the Fucking Evangelicals™ Way o’ Life is that they LOVE to be outraged by shit that doesn’t matter- like DnD- while they ignore everything that does actually matter- like pandemics.
One day… years ago… I’m on Reddit. And I stumble into a DnD thread talking about the Satanic Panic of the 80’s and I was just mindlessly scrolling through the thread when someone comments about Castles & Cauldrons and how much it literally terrified them. And how angry they were years later that this show had tried to scare them away from something that later became one of their most passionate and favorite creative outlets in their life.
And the whole thread piled on as many had also heard it as kids.
Not a kind remark in the bunch.
And it hurt.
It hurt because I don’t like hurting people. I like to entertain them! I like to make them happy. Or fall in love. Or be scared in a safe way like monster movies.
And here was a product I had participated in making that really caused some harm for people. Nightmares in some cases. One girl was terrified her older sibling was going to hell for playing it because Dobson scared her into thinking her older sibling was worshipping the devil. How fucked is that?!?
Do I think anyone was scarred for life? No. But, I made something in good faith as an actor, where the subject matter was NOT in good faith. And it was presented to fans in good faith by the parent company.
And it brings up a very important point that we’re gonna see going forward:
The relationship between the Fucking Evangelicals™ and Art.
And how they don’t understand Art. They’re ignorant about Art and why it matters. They feel threatened by that which they do not understand. And they educate their kids to be illiterate in this subject as well.
And it will affect so much of how the Fucking Evangelicals™ interact with the world. The Bible. The Constitution. Hollywood. Public Education. Taxes. National Endowment of the Arts. Etc. These are all areas where Fucking Evangelicals™ don’t understand how Art works or the human need for it.
In their world, if all Art is not 100% about God then it’s a tool by Satan to… make you play Dungeons and Dragons, apparently.
NOTHING THE FUCKING EVANGELICALS™ DOES MAKES ANY SENSE AND I THINK IT’S BECAUSE THEY DON’T UNDERSTAND ART. DaveTheory101™
Ken Ham built a life-sized replica of Noah’s Ark in one of the poorest states in America where the culture is completely held hostage by Fucking Evangelicals™ if you’re looking for proof that these people take Art literally in an unhealthy way.
I can sense some of you rolling your eyes because I’m taking shots at Fucking Evangelicals™ and saying things that you probably think are unfair and gross over-exaggerations about your subculture, right?
EXACTLY LIKE HOW DND FANS MUST FEEL WHEN THEY HEAR EPISODES LIKE THIS WHERE PEOPLE TAKE SHOTS AT THEIR SUBCULTURE THAT ARE UNFAIR AND GROSS OVER-EXAGGERATIONS.
And if there’s a point I want to drive home here… everything you’re gonna feel mad about me shitting all over your subculture…
THIS IS WHAT FUCKING EVANGELICALS™ DO TO E.V.E.R.Y.B.O.D.Y.
And so when you find yourself getting twitchy by what Dave is writing… ask yourself whether you treat any subcultures poorly.
What subcultures are you ignorant about?
And does that ignorance foster fear in you?
And what does fear lead to?
What did the wise and powerful advise us about fear?
No, I’m not talking about Moses or Jesus…
I’m talking about Yoda.
Fear leads to anger.
Anger leads to hate.
Hate leads to suffering.
Lotta suffering going around these days.
And if I have one final thought here:
Fucking Evangelical™ subculture is almost exclusively identified to me by FEAR.
Fucking Evangelicals™ Afraid of Reallyprettymucheverything.
It’s not the best acronym. But it is accurate.. so… accuronym?
I’m trying to save democracy here.
Anyway… as we get closer and closer to my moment of outing myself, keep in mind that the fundamental thing I’m going to learn about the Fucking Evangelicals™ and their Effin’ Evangy Kidz™ is that they live, act, behave, and politic almost exclusively from a fear-based perspective.
They don’t think they’re like this. It’s their internal cognitive dissonance. Like how they’re really racist but convinced they’re not.
They think they put their fears into the Lord and they’ll act like they’re not anxious. But bring up restrooms for trans people and you’ll see very quickly how much the Trusting in the Lord Rather than Succumbing to Anxiety part disintegrates.
And this episode is a really interesting window into the pathology of Evangelical Fear.
And how much this cult is easily led astray by fear and outrage and LOOK AT THIS NEW SHINY OBJECT TO WORRY ABOUT.
This is a tactic as old as time and one they have perfected.
And it’s what drives the heart of the GOP/MAGA/QANON bullshit that has taken over this religion on these shores and is destroying our government and country.
And really, my whole thesis is that the Fucking Evangelicals™ ALREADY WERE MAGA AND QANON 35 years ago. They were already believing in ridiculous shit and trying to stir up outrage way back then.
Remember, this all started because Fucking Evangelicals™ were afraid of black people going to their schools.
Fucking Evangelicals™… the Trusted Iago of American politics.
Who is Trusted Iago?
Only the greatest villain ever put to a script.
Google it and learn thyself some Shakespeare… which I hate. But in this case he created something that is a useful analogy to my thesis so I’m willing to throw Ole Willy a bone.
Iago is such a great villain precisely because he gains the trust of his audience, Othello. Much to Othello’s (and Iago’s) eventual destruction.
And maybe if Fucking Evangelicals™ would take the time to learn about Art such as plays like Othello then maybe you would be more adept at discerning (hey there’s a religious word that no one pays attention to any more) who to trust and more importantly, who not to trust.
It’s an odd thing to have something like this on your resume.
I participated in Satanic Panic Propaganda.
And I do not feel good about that.
It brings up one last point worth considering…
Again, I never knew what the episodes would be about. My parent would be outside fully trusting in the crew and staff to take care of their son. I don’t think my parents have ever listened to an episode either other than sitting in the studio and listening to it be made. So, they never cared what the episodes were about.
And maybe it might be worth considering whether it’s a wise idea for children to do this kind of stuff. It’s not a good feeling, 30 years later, to know you unwittingly made propaganda for the Sky is Always Falling Crowd.
Two posts ago I called upon the powers that be to remove Mission for Jimmy from the canon.
This one… I’m gonna argue that they keep this one IN the canon.
Because this is such a glorious monument to Ignorant F.E.A.R.
It’s a perfect example of propaganda.
And I hope it plays on, forever teaching the next generations about how things the Fucking Evangelicals™ teach you to be afraid of is often something to NOT be worried about much at all.
Because in the end… as I would read story after story of people who had been scared shitless as children learned that this thing they were taught to be afraid of, once they tried it out they realized it wasn’t so scary. And it made them question how much of the entire Fucking Evangelical™ system is bullshit.
And I think that’s my greatest hope for this episode. That it will be something that teaches you to NOT be afraid of what the F.E.A.R. mongering crowd tries to scare you about.
It’s a good eye-opening episode. But for precisely the opposite reasons of Dobson’s WARNING.
Kids… it’s not DnD you need to be afraid of.
The Fucking Evangelicals™ are waaaaaaaaay scarier.