WARNING: IF THIS IS YOUR FIRST VISIT TO THIS BLOG DO NOT CONTINUE READING THIS POST. THERE ARE MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD.
GO TO THE BEGINNING.
READ ME FIRST
I dedicate this post to the Heroes who inspired this project.
Adventures in Odyssey: Episode 256 – Aloha, Oy Part 1
Adventures in Odyssey: Episode 257 – Aloha, Oy Part 2
Adventures in Odyssey: Episode 258 – Aloha, Oy Part 3
One of the interesting phenomena that occurred around the ecosystem of AIO was how people would come in and out of your life for years.
There were so many characters and cast members over the years– literally nearly a thousand, that you would see someone once and then never again. OR they’d waltz into the studio 4 years later and you pick up where you left off.
And in that sense the cast really became like an extended family experience.
Dozens of cast members floating in and out of your life and you may record with them a half a dozen times but spread out over 10 years. And they become like distant cousins.
Steve Burns, who played Rodney Rathbone, was an example of this.
We had worked together only 3 or 4 times before the Aloha Oy Sessions.
And he, like many actors became one of those familiar faces that you knew had their own parallel storylines and they’re recording actively but you never really bump into each other much. Like athletes in different divisions who frustratingly don’t get to compete that much. But, when you do, it’s a familiar comfortable rhythm and you can make highlight reels together.
Steve was a wonderful character creator who made one of the greatest foils of all time for so many characters in the Odyssey world.
For the uninitiated, The Rathbone family mostly consisted of Bart, the father, one of Walker’s 10,000 characters he did on the show.
And his son Rodney. Played by Steve Burns.
A few episodes before Aloha I think they finished out the family by bringing Doris in, played by the brilliant Pamela Hayden.
This is stolen from the Bart Rathbone description: “If the Barclays are a “good” example of an Odyssey family, the Rathbones are the complete opposite.”
So, you’ve had these two great antagonist characters in Bart and Rodney and now you add the equally morally ambiguous Doris to the mix…
Comedy fucking gold.
And their chemistry was wonderful.
Aloha Oy, I always felt was the greatest session of all time.
And coming on the heels of Terror From the Skies… which was probably the single greatest half day of recording I ever experienced.
These two consecutive sessions were the peak of that era for me.
It was 6 years of storylines writers have crafted and building out the worlds and character arcs while the actors had spent 6 years crafting our various avatars and so, by the time these two sessions roll around the whole damned team was at its peak.
Perhaps there have been other peaks as the decades wore on after I left the show, but for me… these were the greatest two sessions I ever had.
Technically, the Aloha Oy Sessions stretched over two days.
God I wish I got to do 12 parters. I’d love to have dived into a story for a whole week.
Aloha was the closest I ever got.
The basic storyline as I recall, is that the Barclay’s win a trip to Hawaii through some promotional con the Rathbones are having at their store. And when the Barclay’s get to the airport those cunning Rathbones have scammed their way into joining the Barclay’s on the trip.
This was such a brilliant set up.
Oh. And Lawrence is coming along for the ride!
The perfect comedic set up.
Everyone involved is at the peak of their time on this show at this point. We’ve all got several years of trust in each other, in the writing, in the directing.
By this point the show was such a smoothly run machine. Everything is clicking.
It was a wonderful space as an actor to thrive in and to be in that sandbox and creatively explore and play.
It was Jazz.
I don’t know how else to describe it.
This session was the Bitches Brew recording of my experience on Adventures in Odyssey.
It was like All Star weekend.
2 superstar teams that don’t usually get to interact, brought in for a game of pure fun.
And everyone is digging the vibe.
It was BonkersSauce™.
And the odd part is… I barely remember it.
I remember the energy more than anything. I remember everyone having the greatest time of their life in that studio over two days.
And this is one of those examples where you get so into a thing and you become so sucked into it that you don’t log any of it in your brain. You just… Jam.
You exist in the space.
My greatest performances over my lifetime, I barely remember them by the time I get home.
Because you’re so in the moment… you’re so caught up in being in the head of the character, or working the technique– was this the episode where we had like 9 people around 6 mics and had to keep quietly dancing in and out and moving to make space… it was a logistical nightmare BUTSOMUCHDAMNFUN.
Was that this episode?
It’s the only one that makes sense in my memory.
The beauty of this whole episode is that, like All Star Weekend, the writers basically were teeing up the ball so perfectly that the cast could hit grand slam after grand slam after grand slam.
It was gluttony.
It was an Actor feast that we gorged upon like some epic Roman bacchanal until we were drunk and covered in the detritus of our excess.
It was doing lines of coke at Studio 54 with Cher and the cast of Welcome Back, Kotter and then the Harlem Globe Trotters arrive.
All of our brain lobes were twerking like hummingbird wings.
^ I like writing sentences like this. I don’t know why. I have problems.
It was the most fun I’ve ever had as an actor.
And, a note to content creators and writers who may stumble upon this project.
Actors… you wanna get the best out of them? Write. fun. things. to. do.
The kinds of production days where people can spend all day laughing… instead of crying their eyes out or dealing with heavy subjects… sometimes your cast just needs to fucking party. Especially with Odyssey because there’s so much depth and earnestness and heavy moral lessons.
I always most-enjoyed the imaginative and fun episodes.
Give me Lincoln. Dungeons. Someone to Watch Over Me. Moses. Terror.
Damn. I had so many great episodes I was privileged to do.
But this session topped them all in terms of pure fun and collective collaborative energy.
It was the greatest session of all time.
And it remains probably one of the most favorite episodes of all the fans over the years.
I bet if you asked fans what 10 episodes they take to a deserted island… I’ll bet 80% of the fans put this in their top ten.
It’s such a beloved episode.
Because we had so much fun making it.
The kinda work where at the end of the day your cheeks are hurting from laughing and it’s fucking up your ability to articulate at 4:30 PM. And your sides hurt. AND LIKE COKE ADDICTS YOU DON’T WANT IT TO END.
Every actor should get to experience that once in their life.
The energy of this session was so insane that we shortened the time line of the page count. Typically when you write a script you can equate 1 page per minute of run time. That’s film/tv usually. Audio theater is way wordier than that.
But, still a 30 page script should give you a 22 minute run time.
I think we were jamming that material so hard it turned into 18-19 minutes.
I believe they had to add content in post-production because we were so high we were like little meth addicts doing everything at 125% speed.
I wish I could remember it.
Did you notice… how I don’t really remember a lot of the episodes during this period?
We did kinda blur through a dozen or so in the last post, didn’t we?
Yeah, soooo… uh… about that.
You’re probably wondering why I’ve gathered us all here today.
This is some Whale Vomit.
I appreciate each and everyone of you that has taken the time to read this project.
From the bottom of my heart thank all of you who have shown interest and encouraged me.
It’s been a long 30 posts for me.
And I’m really wiped out.
We’ve come a long way in this little blogject, haven’t we?
It’s a hell of a story, isn’t it?
I’ve tried to craft something here that I hoped audiences who love the show and readers who have never heard of it could all enjoy in the same space.
I have tried to make you laugh and cry and feel things because that’s what I do as an Artist.
I like to make people happy.
I love to entertain them.
I have a philosophy about the best entertainment.
I learned it from the best.
If you want to make Art that affects people you have to make it entertaining first.
And while you entertain audiences, you slip in your messages and points.
But, if the entertainment sucks… nobody is gonna stick around to pay attention to the moral of the story.
And if there was one thing Odyssey has been brilliant about teaching me over the years, it’s how to make a high quality entertainment product so that you can hook people into the fun of the show, and then deliver the moral message at the end and wrap things up nicely in a bow.
A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down.
Kinda like… this.
I learned from the best of the best.
I earned my stripes in the Lounge of Legends.
As such, you’re probably also wondering why I’m being such a dick to evangelicals when it seems like god literally gifted me the greatest experience of all time and gave me the greatest talent that would make anyone envious and I should be on my knees thanking the evangelicals. Right?
What gives, Dave?
You’re not wrong.
I am being a dick to the Fucking Evangelicals™
And I did have the greatest experience of any kid in the history of the world.
THIS IS THE CLIFFHANGER.
After experiencing the greatest session of all time…
The next day…
I tried to end my life.
I would be placed on a 5150 hold.
(a danger to self or others)
And admitted to the adolescent wing of a psychiatric hospital.
And my life would effectively be destroyed.
This is the journal of the Actor who played Jimmy Barclay.
My name is Dave Griffin.
And I am a Suicide Survivor.
And this is my story.
If you need help… 988 Suicide Helpline
The first week of October is Mental Illness Awareness Week.
You are not alone.