Can 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

John 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. The Search for Whit marked Whit's return, later returning to Odyssey in Home, 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.


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