I find out more details about the first person who played Whit, his death,
and how the show was affected? Is that why Whit went to the Middle east? -
Submitted by Beda
Avery Whittaker was originally played by Hal
Smith. Hal was well-known for his role as Otis Campbell on The Andy
Griffith Show. In the last part of his life, he and a new radio program
called Odyssey USA teamed up to create a character named John
Whittaker, better known as Whit. This show later became Adventures in
Odyssey and Hal brought this character to life from 1987-1994.
Unfortunately, due to the fact that he smoked, it brought about his death in
1994. The AIO team was so upset and unsure what to do that the finally
decided that it would be best if Whit just left Odyssey. After all, AIO
surrounded the character of Whit for years. Having him die would be the
demise of the program. So they sent him away. To the Middle East he went. In
the episode Gone..., AIO
took the liberty and inserting old lines from Whit to make it seem like he
was boarding a plane and leaving Odyssey, which he did. It was a successful
and possibly one of the most upsetting episodes ever created.
A few years passed on the
program, and with Whit's death, there needed to be some sort of temporary
replacement for Whit. Jason Whittaker and Jack Allen were brought into the
program and they became favorites by fans just as Whit did. Finally, AIO was
blessed to find a similar voice to Hal
Smith's, thanks to an AIO fan, and the rest is history.
Search for Whit marked Whit's return, later returning to Odyssey in
Sweet Home. Both occasions (Whit's departure and his return) managed to
be melancholy moments in AIO's history. And that, I guess, is that.