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Full episode details for Shining Time Station Season 2 (1991)

Scare Dares

Production #22 (2.01) - First Aired: 1991-NOV-18 (US)
Written by Ellis Weiner
Directed by Stan Swan

Summary by M. Cooper

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Episode Characters/Stars:

  • Stacy Jones (Didi Conn)

  • Billy Twofeathers (Tom Jackson)

  • Schemer (Brian O'Connor)

  • Mr. Conductor (George Carlin)

  • Matt Jones (Jason Woliner)

  • Dan Jones (Ari Madger)

  • Tanya Cupper (Nicole Leach)

  • Kara Cupper (Erica Luttrell)

  • Becky (Danielle Marcot)

  • Midge Smoot (Bobo Lewis)

  • The Jukebox Puppet Band

Episode Synopsis: It’s Halloween at Shining Time Station. Matt and Tanya’s cousins Kara and Dan come to visit. Mr. Conductor’s cousin takes up residence. Billy Twofeathers is hired as the new engineer. Dan worries that the others won’t like him unless he’s unafraid, so he tries taking foolish dares to prove himself.

Detailed Episode Summay: SHOW

Matt and Tanya (who have grown since their last appearance) are writing to their cousins Dan and Kara about the recent goings on at Shining Time. The station is busier than ever. Harry Cupper was transferred to Fort Farley, so a new engineer named Billy Twofeathers has been hired. Schemer is still his old self, and Stacy has never been happier running the station.

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The events of the Season 1 special "'Tis a Gift" are mentioned. Mr. Nicholas needed help in his workshop after returning to the North Pole, so Mr. Conductor went with him. His cousin, who also goes by Mr. Conductor, has arrived to take his place. According to Tanya, "there's always a Mr. Conductor living here, or else it wouldn't be Shining Time Station."

Dan and Kara come to visit the station just in time for Halloween. Kara appears first with Matt and Tanya in their Halloween costumes. Tanya is a witch, Matt is a king, and Kara is an engineer (as she wants to be one when she grows up). Kara is introduced to Stacy, who gives her a warm welcome. Dan however is not there, so the kids go off to look for him. Dan appears, but without a costume. Stacy encourages him to explore and look for one. Dan looks in on Billy playing a mysterious tune on a carved whistle. Shyly, he hurries away before Billy can notice him.

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Meanwhile, Schemer is getting into the Halloween spirit too by selling pumpkins in his arcade. They're all rotten, so he's painting them orange. Stacy lectures him about his dishonest idea, but Schemer likes to think of it as giving the pumpkins a disguise. To him, the spirit of Halloween is about making money selling costumes and pumpkins and getting free candy. Stacy mutters something, and when Schemer leans in to listen, she yells "BOO!" "Now that's the spirit of Halloween," she says to the easily-frightened Schemer, who has gotten orange paint all over his hands thanks to her joke.

In the Jukebox, the band discusses dressing up in costumes, with Rex and Tex remembering about going as each other one year. They all hurry to their dressing rooms to get into costume.

Mr. Conductor descends from the ceiling dressed as a spider in front of Dan and Kara, mistaking them for Matt and Tanya. When he realizes his mistake, he disappears, saying with a disembodied voice that he's only in their imagination. The kids explain that they're related to Matt, Tanya, Stacy and Harry and have been told all about his stories and magic. Mr. Conductor, now knowing they like stories, trains and magic, properly introduces himself. He's dressed as a spider because he's going trick-or-treating, "here, there and everywhere." Kara asks if the Island of Sodor celebrates Halloween. Mr. Conductor replies that they even have ghosts.

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To explain this, he tells them the story of Percy's ghostly trick on Thomas. He disappears afterwards to go trick-or-treating in the Tropics. Dan boasts that Thomas was silly to be afraid of ghosts. This makes Kara think that nothing scares him.

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Midge Smoot arrives and asks Stacy if she's heard about anything lately. She's been visiting her sister in Doodlehaven and wants to catch up on the latest gossip. Stacy tells her that "Every day is a different story," leaving her wondering what the story is and who's telling it. She sets down her hat on the ticket counter and runs off to look for a story.

Kara, wanting to see if Dan really is unafraid of anything, dares him to snatch a banana off Midge's hat. Wanting to prove himself, he sneakily places it amongst Schemer's rotten pumpkins. An hour later, Midge realizes the banana is missing. Schemer discovers it among his  pumpkins and attempts to eat it. Believing Schemer took it, Midge angrily snatches it away from him. Schemer blames the kids for stealing it and Midge scolds him, telling him to pick on someone his own size. He stoops down to her level, and she bops him on the head with the banana.

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Kara and Dan are busy hanging streamers along the bench in front of the signal house mural. Kara tells Dan he could have gotten into trouble for stealing the banana. Dan protests she made him do it, but she replies he didn't have to. As she goes off, Mr. Conductor appears outside his front door dressed in a kilt. He asks Dan if he's found a costume yet. Dan recalls that Stacy told him he could find one around the station, but so far he hasn't found anything yet.

Mr. Conductor replies that ideas have a way of coming from least expected places. He then introduces Dan to the mysterious Anything Tunnel in the mural, which plays an animated music video about secret fears and kids who like to tease others by daring them to do things.

 

Dan protests that people won't like him if they know he's afraid. Mr. Conductor replies that he likes him anyway, and admits he was afraid of both him and Kara until he got to know them. Dan, confused, says that Mr. Conductor didn't have to be afraid of him. Mr. Conductor replies he knew he didn't have to be, and he isn't afraid now, but he still was. As a final joke, he plays a loud tune on his bagpipes as he disappears.

Later that evening, the kids arrive at the station for trick or treating. Kara introduces Stacy to her friend Becky. Dan still hasn't appeared, so Becky and Stacy go look for him at the front of the station. Mr. Conductor appears dressed as a cowboy. He's running late for trick or treating in Abilene, Kansas, because he stopped by the Island of Sodor to visit Percy. The little green engine was frightened from buffer to buffer. When Tanya asks what he was afraid of, Mr. Conductor tells the story of how Percy thought he saw a dragon. Afterward, Mr. Conductor explains that everyone gets afraid, even engines. Then he sparkles away singing about Abilene.

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Stacy and Becky return with Dan, who still doesn't have a costume. Matt asks if he's afraid of missing trick or treating. Kara replies Dan told her he wasn't afraid of anything. She dares him to open Billy's desk drawer to prove he isn't afraid. As he goes inside Billy's office, Billy himself appears, causing the other kids to run outside.

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When Billy asks Dan why he's in the workshop, Dan admits he went in on a dare. Wisely, Billy tells him that one can get into a lot of trouble taking dares. Billy unlocks the desk drawer and pulls out the wooden flute. Reassuring Dan it's nothing to be scared of, Billy plays a simple tune on it. Billy then tells Dan about his Native American tribe where it's a tradition for a man to carve a flute and make his own special song, which he plays for the woman he wants to marry and to their children as a lullaby. He gives the flute to Dan, but he can only make faint sounds, causing them both to laugh. Billy tells him music can turn sorrow to happiness, and then helps him come up with a costume.

Meanwhile, Schemer feels uneasy in the dark, quiet station, so he puts a nickel in the Jukebox. The band doesn't play immediately, as they are admiring Didi's ghost costume. Schemer tries shaking the machine, but causes a Jack O'Lantern on top of the Jukebox to fall on his head. The band plays "Midnight Special," but flee in terror when "Didi" is revealed to be an actual ghost!

The kids return to the station, only to be frightened by Dan in his new costume. When asked if he wants to do one more dare, he says he's done taking dares from anyone. Schemer suddenly appears frantically trying to get the pumpkin off his head. This scares the kids away. When he finally gets the pumpkin off, he nonchalantly puts it on the ticket counter, calling Halloween "baby stuff" that he's far too dignified for.

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Suddenly, the pumpkin begins eerily glowing, causing him to run away screaming. Mr. Conductor appears from behind the pumpkin laughing, congratulating himself on his well-played trick.

Episode Morals:

  • Everyone is afraid of something.

  • Taking dares only leads to trouble.

  • Meeting someone new can be scary, but you should still try getting to know them.

 

Featured Jukebox Puppet Band Song:

  • Midnight Special

Featured Anything Tunnel Song:

  • "What Am I Afraid Of?"

Featured Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends Stories:

  • Percy's Ghostly Trick (Ghost Train)

  • Thomas, Percy and the Dragon

Episode Notes:

  • For Halloween, the Jukebox Puppet Band dresses as Zorro (Tito), a princess (Grace), Robin Hood (Tex and Rex), and Carmen Miranda (Didi)

  • This is the first appearance of George Carlin as Mr. Conductor. The first Mr. Conductor (as played by Ringo Starr) went off to help Mr. Nicholas at the North Pole in the Christmas Special “’Tis a Gift’.

  • This is the first appearance of Tom Jackson as Billy Twofeathers, who replaces Harry as the resident station engineer.

  • This is the first appearance of Erica Luttrell as Kara and Ari Magder as Dan. They are both Tanya and Matt’s cousins in the show.

  • This is the first appearance of Danielle Marcot as Becky.

  • This is the first episode to use a story from Series 3 of Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends. "Percy's Ghostly Trick" is also the first story narrated by Carlin that was originally told by Ringo Starr. 

  • This is the first time the window behind the ticket booth is shown from the outside.

  • The song "What am I Afraid of?" was released on video as part of "Shining Time Station Singsongs Vol. 1."

  • This season features a new series opening with a larger purple font for the credits and illustrations of a bird and butterfly and the sign "Welcome to Shining Time Pop. 5,007 give or take". The new closing also features the sign "You're leaving Shining Time. Come back soon."

Oh, what a Tangled Web

Production #23 (2.02) - First Aired: 1991-NOV-19 (US)
Written by Sean Kelly
Directed by Stan Swan

Summary by J. Gratton

Episode Characters/Stars:

  • Stacy Jones (Didi Conn)

  • Billy Twofeathers (Tom Jackson)

  • Schemer (Brian O'Connor)

  • Mr. Conductor (George Carlin)

  • Dan Jones (Ari Madger)

  • Kara Cupper (Erica Luttrell)

  • Becky (Danielle Marcot)

  • J.B. King (Mart Hulswit)

  • Felix Perez (Aurelio Padron)

  • The Jukebox Puppet Band

Episode Synopsis:  Everyone gets the acting bug when Felix Perez anticipates the arrival of a new actor for his Shining Time Stars Community Theater. Dan and Kara blur the lines between acting on stage and pretending in real life which results in lies and deception. They convince Becky that they have important jobs at the station which leads to trouble when Schemer then blackmails Dan and Kara into becoming his 'personal assistants' using the fear of Stacy and Billy finding out against them. Mr. Conductor then has to work hard to convince them to tell the truth and that you don't need to tell lies in order to impress someone.

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Detailed Episode Summary: SHOW

J.B. King is intently searching for Mr. Conductor inside the station and calling out for him, going as far as using his authority as Indian Valley Railroad Superintendent to order him to reveal himself. Mr. Conductor does appear above Mr. King as he's looking for him beneath the waiting room bench. Mr. Conductor vanishes as Stacy and the kids emerge from the workshop and Stacy is surprised to find Mr. King in that position.

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Mr. King regains his composure and tells her that his inspection revealed that the station is mice-free. He informs her that the Sunset Flyer has been rerouted and won't arrive until the next day, and that he had decided to drop in to inspect the station. Stacy reassures him that everything is in good hands as the sound of a bus horn is heard. As J.B. King leaves the station, he bumps into bus driver Felix Perez who apologizes in Spanish and receives the same from the superintendent.

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After exchanging greetings, Felix is disappointed to learn that there are no passengers needing a ride into town. He asks if anyone special got off the Sunset Flyer, and Stacy tells him that the train has been delayed until tomorrow. When Dan asks if he was expecting someone, Felix reveals that he was waiting for an actor who'll add a touch of realism in his new play. Dan is puzzled and asks his aunt if Felix is either a bus driver or an actor. Stacy replies that Felix is indeed a bus driver, an actor and also a director. Felix chides her for never coming to audition for one of his plays. Stacy bashfully doesn't want to discuss it and returns to her ticket desk.

Felix asks Dan and Kara to envision a marquee with the words "The Shining Time Stars Community Theatre presents Stacy Jones and Felix Perez in Romeo and Juliet, by William Shakespeare." Felix dashes over to Stacy's desk and on bended knee recites a few of Romeo's lines from the play. Stacy begins to answer the next few lines as Juliet, then realizes that she was caught up in the moment and playfully slaps him, saying that working at the station doesn't give her enough free time to act any more.

Felix insists that Stacy would be perfect as Juliet just as he is to play Romeo. Schemer comes in boasting that be has real acting talent and was born to play Romeo. He misquotes a few lines from Shakespeare's Richard III: "Some horseradish, some horseradish. My kingdom for some horseradish". Felix tries to tell him that those lines come from a different play, but Schemer is unapologetic. As he leads Felix away, Schemer asks when he'll be able to start and how much money he'll get, then adds his demands for his own dressing room along with a personal assistant.

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Stacy interrupts by asking Felix for a ride into town to buy some wood polish. She shouts out to Billy that she's going to town and asks the kids to stay with Billy and to answer the telephone if it rings. As she and Felix leave, an exasperated Schemer exits by the platform entrance.

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Dan wonders if it would be fun to act in a play, and Kara adds that Stacy used to be an actress and found it hard. Dan disagrees, thinking that acting is nothing but pretending. He spies Becky coming into the station and Kara suggests that they fool her by acting as if they had real jobs. Becky greets her friends and asks them if they want to come out to play. She's left puzzled when Dan addresses her as a "young lady" in a different tone of voice. Kara explains that Dan is under a lot of pressure as the Assistant Manager at the station.

Unbeknown to them, Schemer is listening to this exchange through the station window. When Becky expresses her doubts to Kara, Dan tells her that it's not the proper way to talk to the Assistant Engineer. Dan and Kara suddenly have a cool attitude towards Becky when she still expresses her doubts about their jobs. As her friends ignore her, Becky adds that she's having a big party that evening with all of her friends and that there will be lots of treats. Her house is small, and she'll need a lot of space for the party. Dan offers her the station to host her party. When Becky doubts that she'd ever get permission to have the party at the station, Dan interjects by giving her permission as the Assistant Manager. Mr. Conductor appears behind Becky gesticulating to Dan and Kara before vanishing again as she thanks them.

Dan answers the telephone and speaks to J.B. King on the line. Dan introduces himself as his new Assistant Station manager as Schemer listens in disbelief at the station's archway. J.B. King tells Dan to pass on the news to Stacy that the Sunset Flyer is back on schedule and to update the timetable accordingly. Hearing Dan speak to Mr. King convinces Becky that they indeed have real jobs, and since she doesn't have one she informs them that she's leaving to write invitations and will have to get back to them later about the party.

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Kara realizes that they've created a mess by letting Becky believe that they have real jobs and has been given permission to have her party at the station. Dan hopes that Becky will forget just as Schemer announces that Becky might but he won't as he mocks their job titles. The kids tell Schemer that they'll do anything if he doesn't tell on them. He then recruits them as his personal assistants, and won’t tell on them as long as they play along. Schemer gives Kara a rag to polish the arcade machines, and equips Dan with a feather duster to dust his shoes.

Inside the jukebox Rex and Tex get into an argument about lying by claiming that one of them never lies. Tito interrupts the arguing by suggesting that Rex and Tex go "lie" down, and begins cackling at his pun.

Mr. Conductor appears dressed in naval gear to inform the kids that he's off to sail in the regatta on Swan Lake. He asks the kids if they can take a break from cleaning to listen to a story, and Kara replies that they can since Schemer is nowhere to be seen. Mr. Conductor tells them that the story will interest them and goes into how Diesel made up stories to get Duck into trouble. Mr. Conductor tells them afterwards that Sir Topham Hatt did not believe any of Diesel's lies and brought Duck back to make a happy ending.

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Kara says that there is a big difference between telling lies to get someone in trouble compared to only pretending. Mr. Conductor counters that convincing Becky that they had jobs got them into trouble anyway. The kids are ashamed and Kara asks if he can use his magic to make the lie go away. However, he cannot help them and counsels them to use their own magic by telling Billy and Stacy the truth, and disappears.

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A hand rings a tiny bell and Schemer is seen laid out in a deck chair sipping drinks and ordering Dan and Kara about in an posh British accent. He's in the mood for music and orders Kara to play a song on the jukebox using her last nickel. Inside the jukebox Didi leads the band to sing a rousing rendition of "Mama Don't Allow".

As Schemer snores away in his deck chair, Mr. Conductor appears complaining that the swans prevented him from putting his boat in the water to join the regatta. He asks the kids if they've spoken to Stacy and Billy yet, but they haven’t had a chance to. Mr. Conductor asks the sleeping Schemer to roll over out of earshot as he tells them the story of how James' boastful made-up stories were eventually found out. At the end of the story, Mr. Conductor tells them that it will work out for them too, but suddenly sneezes and disappears in a cloud of gold dust. as Stacy and Billy come into the station.

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Stacy scurries to put on her Stationmaster cap just as J.B. King rushes in asking if the Sunset Flyer has arrived yet. Billy and Stacy are confused and still believe the train wasn't going to arrive until the next day. J.B. King informs them that he left a message about the change two hours ago with the new Assistant Station Manager Dan Jones. Stacy and Billy call the children over and Billy points out Dan to a surprised Mr. King. Stacy asks Dan to explain himself and he and Kara sheepishly confess to the game they were playing to fool Becky. Stacy tries to calm J.B. King down by reassuring him that everything is under control, just as J.B. King hears and notices Schemer asleep in his deck chair.

Mr. King marches over to demand an explanation, only to have Schemer ask in his British accent for J.B. to scratch his foot for him. Schemer realizes who he's speaking to and leaps to attention and tries to explain it as a managerial retreat for important business people such as himself and Mr. King. An infuriated J.B. King bellows at Schemer to put a sock in it. He summons Stacy to tell her that the only thing under control in the station is his temper, and leaves in a huff. Stacy then looks down on the kids with disappointment.

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Later, Dan is explaining everything to his aunt and Stacy explains that there's a big difference between acting on stage and pretending in real life. She tells him that he'll have to inform Becky that the party is off. Dan thinks that Becky will hate him for deceiving her, but Stacy disagrees, explaining that Becky likes Dan and Kara because they're her friends and not because they have important jobs at the station. Dan apologizes and gives his aunt a hug, while Stacy comments that his problem is that he's too good of an actor.

Meanwhile inside the workshop, Kara confesses that she only wanted to feel like a grown-up engineer would. Billy tells her that a real grown-up engineer would always tell the truth and ask for help, and recounts a cold winter when he had to throw the switch for the Highball Express, but it was frozen solid and would not move despite his efforts. He wired head office for help and they advised him to put hot coals around the switch to thaw it out, and he managed to switch the track just as the train roared through.

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Billy tells the impressed Kara that if he hadn't called for help, there would've been an accident. Billy then looks at the time and tells Kara that she should go home for dinner.

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Kara, Dan and Becky converge at the ticket counter and begin to apologize to one another at the same time. Becky confesses that she made the story up about having a party because it seemed Dan and Kara didn't have time for her. Dan and Kara admit that they were only pretending to have jobs. They all realize that they believed one another's deceptions when they hear Sunset Flyer's whistle indicating its arrival. Felix, Schemer and J.B. King enter the station with Schemer eagerly anticipating the arrival of his co-star. When Schemer asks Felix for a reminder about the character he'll be playing, Felix tells him that his character's name is McDonald who has a farm as Schemer beams with delight.

Felix tells Schemer to wait as he goes to get his co-star from the platform. Mr. King has a bouquet of flowers to present to the co-star just as we see Felix leading a squealing pig into the station and introduces a shocked Schemer to his co-star as Stacy and the kids laugh. J.B. King compliments the pig and offers the flowers to it. The kids ask Felix why he has a pig in his play. Felix replies that the performer needs to convince the audience that they are what they are pretending to be. Stacy jokingly comments that the kids are all good at doing that. Schemer begins to rehearse his lines with his porcine co-star and the episode concludes with Schemer trying to get the pig to repeat "E-I-E-I-O."

Episode Morals:

  • Making up tales to deceive or impress people will only result in getting you in trouble.

  • Real friendship does not require you to try and impress one another.

 

Featured Jukebox Puppet Band Song:

  • Mama Don't Allow

Featured Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends Stories:

  • Diesel's Devious Deed (Dirty Work)

  • No Joke for James

Episode Notes:

  • This episode reveals that there's a "Shining Time Stars Community Theatre" in town.

  • Mr. Conductor reveals another local Indian Valley landmark: Swan Lake

  • The camera angles used for the Jukebox Puppet Band performance in this episode are interesting as they give the viewer the perspective of looking at performers on an elevated stage.

  • The episode's title is often mistakenly attributed as being a line by Shakespeare. The line was actually written by Sir Walter Scott in 1808 for the poem Marmion. The relevant lines from the poem reads "Oh what a tangled web we weave; When first we practice to deceive."

  • This is the first appearance of Felix Perez, owner and operator of the Perez Pronto Bus Company.

  • When Dan receives a call from J.B. King, the voice heard on the other end is actually sped-up audio from a scene between Stacy and Harry from Promises, Promises (see Season 1: Promises, Promises Episode Notes).

The Magic is Believing

Production #24 (2.03) - First Aired: 1991-NOV-20 (US)
Written by Brian McConnachie
Directed by Stan Swan

Summary by J. Gratton

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Episode Characters/Stars:

  • Stacy Jones (Didi Conn)

  • Billy Twofeathers (Tom Jackson)

  • Schemer (Brian O'Connor)

  • Mr. Conductor (George Carlin)

  • Dan Jones (Ari Madger)

  • Kara Cupper (Erica Luttrell)

  • Becky (Danielle Marcot)

  • The Jukebox Puppet Band

  • Amazo (Keith Knight)

  • Jake Scoop (Albert Schultz)

Episode Synopsis: When Billy's old magician friend, Amazo the Great, visits Shining Time Station, it's painfully evident that he's lost his confidence to perform magic. Meanwhile, Jake Scoop, a reporter from the Indian Valley Gazette hangs around the station looking for a big story as the kids and Billy help Amazo get his "magic" back.

Detailed Episode Summary: SHOW

The episode opens with Dan and Kara watching Mr. Conductor playing paddle-ball inside a cardboard box. He claims to have once done 500 paddles in a row until the elastic band broke and the ball flew into his aunt Lily's spaghetti. Mr. Conductor encourages the kids to play paddle-ball on their own, and all three friends become engrossed in the game.

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Stacy notices a stranger looking around the station who introduces himself as Jake Scoop, new ace reporter for the Indian Valley Gazette. He’s at the station on a hunch that there will be an important news story happening there that day. Hearing that, Dan tries to impress Jake with his paddle-ball skills, but the reporter tells him that it’s not newsworthy enough compared to the big story that he's looking for. Kara asks Jake what he’s referring to by saying “big story.” He explains that it’s something extra that makes a story alive and exciting, or something that people didn’t know about.

Kara offers Mr. Conductor as an example, and when asked, Dan explains that he’s a little man playing paddle-ball in the cardboard box in the arcade. Not seeing anyone, the reporter asks Dan just how “little” Mr. Conductor is. Dan indicates that he’s about 18 inches tall. An incredulous Jake shows him the correct stature of a little man, and that someone the height Dan described can only be a baby. Jake asks Dan if there is a baby in the box playing paddle-ball, and Dan answers truthfully that there isn’t! Jake is disappointed saying that he may have been mistaken to think that there would be a good story at the station. As he leaves, a passenger carrying a suitcase enters the station from the platform followed closely by Billy Twofeathers.

Billy and the passenger recognize one another and after exchanging greetings, is introduced to Stacy and the kids as Billy's old friend, Kevin Knowles, also known as the world-famous magician “Amazo the Great.” The kids and Stacy ask him to show them a magic trick, but he declines saying that he's just passing through on a long journey home. The children, however, persist until he gives in, and Kevin retrieves a pair of magic Chinese linking rings from his case. He announces that the separate rings will be magically linked together on the count of three.

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When neither his first and second attempts work, the kids snicker with Kara commenting that he’s awful. Billy senses his friend’s embarrassment and ends the demonstration by offering to show Kevin around the station.

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Stacy chides the kids for laughing at Amazo, but Dan counters that he couldn’t actually do magic. Stacy asks if they ever failed an attempt to do something, and if anyone laughed at them. They reply that they have with Kara adding that although she hated it, Kevin is a grown-up. Stacy explains that grown-ups have feelings too as she leads them towards the jukebox. Inside, Didi comments how sad Kevin was and this inspires Tito to suggest using their own magic to lift the man’s spirits, and play “Nine Hundred Miles.”

Inside the workshop, Kevin confides to Billy that he lost his ability to do magic ever since he made a mistake on stage and the audience laughed at him. He’s now afraid to face an audience out of fear that they’ll laugh at him again, just as the children did. Billy tries to reassure his friend by saying that the people were making him nervous and perhaps he was trying too hard. Billy then performs a magic trick of his own; making a coin vanish, then reappear from behind Kevin’s ear. Kevin asks him how he did it, and Billy reminds his friend that he taught him the trick.

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In the arcade, Becky joins Dan and Kara and asks them why they look so glum. When they explain that they hurt a magician’s feelings, Becky firmly states that she does not believe in magic or magician parlor tricks. Mr. Conductor’s voice is heard asking if she really doesn’t believe in magic. Becky is surprised and asks Kara how she was able to change her voice as she tries to find its source when we hear Mr. Conductor repeat the question. This frightens Becky until Mr. Conductor reveals himself in the cardboard box.

Believing him to be a battery-operated doll, Becky is shocked when he dodges her grasp and yells at her to stop as she reaches out to grab him. Mr. Conductor introduces himself to the now convinced Becky who asks if he’s a magician like the one in the station. Kara adds that Amazo is not very good, but Mr. Conductor defends him by saying that they shouldn’t give up on people just because they slip up now and then and wonders what would have happened to Edward if they did that. He elaborates by telling them the story of “Old Iron” Edward and afterwards tells the “new-timers” not to sell the “old-timers” short as they still have a few tricks up their sleeves, as he magically pulls out his paddle-ball from his own sleeve and disappears.

The kids begin to rethink their opinions about Amazo, and Kara repeats what Billy said about him being a great magician while Dan wonders if he was simply tired. When they see Jake looking around the station again looking for a big story, they tell him that a great magician is visiting the station and point to him standing nearby. Jake immediately recognizes Amazo the Great and bluntly asks him if he’s back because something went wrong. Kevin is unsure what to answer when the kids come to his aid by saying he’s the greatest magician there is.

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Jake suggests that he prove it by putting on a show for the townsfolk. Kevin politely declines saying that he’s not ready. Jake asks if he has a case of stage fright, and the kids come to Kevin’s defence once more by saying that it'll be the best show ever seen, and that he can make the impossible happen. Jake likes the idea and plans to spread the word about the upcoming magic show and tells Kevin that he could be the next big story as he leaves.

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Kevin notices the kids rifling through his suitcase and shouts at them to be more careful with his magic props. They apologize and Becky asks if he can teach them how to do a magic trick. With Dan as an assistant, Amazo pulls out a red silk handkerchief asking him what color the sky is. When he answers "blue," Amazo pulls on the handkerchief and it suddenly changes from red to blue before reverting it it back to its original color. He shows Dan how the trick was done; the handkerchief is red with a hidden blue lining that when turned inside out, makes it appear to magically change colors. With his mood lifted, Amazo leaves the kids telling them to practice their new trick.

Mr. Conductor appears inside of Amazo’s top hat, and Becky asks him if he'd be able to help Kevin with his magic in case something goes wrong during the show. Mr. Conductor expresses his surprise at her request and tells her to have faith in Kevin - if he believes that he can do it, he will. Mr. Conductor asks if they remember what happened to Edward and tells them how Edward's crew had faith in him and encouraged himself to pull an important train despite a mechanical problem. After the story the kids are glad for Edward, but are still concerned about Amazo needing Mr. Conductor's help. Before he vanishes, Mr. Conductor retorts that Amazo has enough magic inside of him if only they give him confidence by believing in him.

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On the night of the show, many people are entering the station and taking their seats. Stacy notices Jake Scoop and asks if he’s going to write a report on the show. Jake replies that he has a feeling that Amazo will be a failure, but Stacy tells him that a big part of magic is to believe in it, then asks if he believes in magic himself. Jake replies that he only believes in what he sees. Stacy advises him to watch the show as it is about to begin and takes her seat.

The kids are seated in front with Kara holding a large cardboard box on her lap. She reveals that Mr. Conductor is hiding in the box ready to help Amazo out if he's needed. The show opens to applause and Schemer tries to warm up the audience by asking a riddle: What is green, has six legs and if it drops from a tree on your head, it'll squish you like a bug. Schemer is about to reveal the answer when Becky replies correctly, “a pool table". Schemer becomes impatient when Dan asks if Becky won anything for guessing the correct answer. Schemer counters that he’s only trying to tell jokes as the audience begins to get aggravated.

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Billy watches what’s unfolding from the workshop doorway and pops back in to tell Kevin that it’s time to see some real magic. Kevin tells his friend that he can’t go through with it. Billy encourages him by confiding that he has a gift to share with people, and that they will believe in magic when they see him perform. As he helps Amazo put on his cape, Billy counsels him to not think about the audience but to concentrate on his magic.

Schemer introduces Kevin with great fanfare as the Great Amazo. As the magician makes his way to the front of the audience, Becky thanks him for showing them how to do the handkerchief trick and boosts his confidence by telling him that he can do real magic. Kara says that they still have Mr. Conductor ready to help out, but when Becky peeks into the box, the kids are shocked to discover that it’s empty as the show begins. Amazo performs the Chinese ring trick with perfection by locking and unlocking them. He continues to astound his audience with other magic tricks as Jake looks on intently. For the show’s finale, Amazo conjures up a rabbit to appear in a pot.

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The following day, Stacy is excited as she runs into the station telling everyone that there’s a story about Amazo’s performance in the Indian Valley Gazette, and begins to read the article out aloud: "People fortunate enough to be at Shining Time Station yesterday evening were treated to the rare talents of a world-class magician.” Billy interrupts to add that everyone’s belief in him helped Amazo believe in himself, and reveals that Amazo has already been booked for another show at Lucy’s Leap. Schemer, thinking only of himself, impatiently asks Stacy if anyone else was mentioned in the article.

Stacy scans and finds a reference which she reads out: "an otherwise perfect evening was almost ruined by a snarly man who yelled at us to be quiet and kept wanting us to give him money." As Billy grins, Schemer wonders deadpan who the article is referring to as the kids laugh and point at him. Billy tells Schemer that he has something to make him feel better, and pulls a coin out from behind Schemer's ear. Schemer is dumbfounded and asks Billy to get more money out of his ear, but under the condition that anything found belongs to him. Billy looks into Schemer's mouth with a look of concern. The episode ends as Billy begins pulling out an endless string of colored chains out of Schemer’s mouth as Stacy and the kids break out in laughter.

Episode Morals:

  • Believing in someone helps the person believe in themselves.

  • When you believe in yourself, you can accomplish just about anything.

 

Featured Jukebox Puppet Band Song:

  • Nine Hundred Miles

Featured Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends Stories:

  • Old Iron

  • Edward's Exploit

 

Quotes of Note:

  • Mr. Conductor: If you believe in somebody, believe in them all the way.

Episode Notes:

  • Another member of the Conductor Family is named in this episode: Mr. Conductor's Aunt Llily.

  • This is the first time Becky is introduced to Mr. Conductor.

  • This is the first appearance of reporter Jake Scoop, who writes for the main news source in the show, The Indian Valley Gazette.

Win, Lose, or Draw

Production #25 (2.04) - First Aired: 1991-NOV-21 (US)
Written by Jill Golick
Directed by Stan Swan

Summary by J. Hunter

Episode Characters/Stars:

  • Stacy Jones (Didi Conn)

  • Billy Twofeathers (Tom Jackson)

  • Schemer (Brian O'Connor)

  • Mr. Conductor (George Carlin)

  • Dan Jones (Ari Madger)

  • Kara Cupper (Erica Luttrell)

  • Becky (Danielle Marcot)

  • Barton Winslow (Gerry Parkes)

  • The Jukebox Puppet Band

Episode Synopsis: It’s the day of the Indian Valley Coloring Contest, and Becky is beginning to feel jealous of how good Kara’s drawing is compared to hers. But with Mr. Conductor’s and Billy’s help, Becky soon learns some important lessons about jealousy, pride, practice, and cheating. And during all this, Schemer tries to win the contest by using a special kind of ink that he took from Billy. But when Billy reveals that it’s not what Schemer thinks it is he learns about cheating the hard way.

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Detailed Episode Summary: SHOW

Barton Winslow, owner and proprietor of the local general store, stops by Shining Time Station to deliver crayons and paper for Kara, Dan, and Becky, as well as entry forms for the Indian Valley Coloring Contest. Schemer pops in and comments that Barton is giving stuff away, to which Barton replies that everything has already been paid for by the kids. While Stacy thinks the kids should have stopped by the store to pick up their purchases, Barton reveals that the store will be closed for the day because he is going to compete in a motorcycle race.

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Just as he leaves, the kids arrive and collect their crayons and paper. As they start drawing their entries for the contest, Billy Twofeathers stops by and shows them something he just acquired; a bottle of ink. It’s a special kind of ink that, as Billy puts it, does something “magical” whenever you write with it. Billy says nothing more, however Schemer overhears and the conversation and his curiosity about this magical ink is piqued.

After that, Kara shows Becky the picture she’s drawing of Billy and asks what she thinks of it. When Becky says that she thinks it’s alright, Kara asks to see what she’s drawing. Becky replies her drawing’s not ready. She then walks over to the ticket counter and proceeds to tear up her drawing.

At that same moment, Mr. Conductor appears and comes across Becky’s torn up picture. Wishing to see what it was, he magically repairs it, revealing a drawing of Stacy. Becky, however, is still upset and thinks that Kara might be cheating. Mr. Conductor thinks Kara should be reported to the contest judges, but Becky says she isn’t sure Kara is cheating. Asking why Becky would say something like that about a friend, Mr. Conductor tells her the story of what happened when Thomas and Percy said things they didn’t really mean about each other.

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Afterward, Becky concedes that Kara’s not cheating, but she still thinks that her picture is not good enough, and that the only way she could win would be by magic. She begins imploring Mr. Conductor to make her an even better picture using his magic. Mr. Conductor is hesitant at first, but then finally gives in and uses his gold dust on another piece of paper, which becomes an stunning portrait of Stacy, much to Becky’s pleasure.

Meanwhile, Schemer stops by Kara and Dan and begins making fun of what they are doing. But when Kara tells him that there is a prize for the best drawing, Schemer immediately tries to get the kids to draw a portrait of him, but to no avail. Finally, he walks away, convinced that nobody is able to “capture the rugged, good looks of his exceptionally cute face”. Spying the bottle of ink in Billy’s workshop, Schemer has a 'genius time' moment.

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He attempts to obtain the ink bottle but in doing so, he is almost caught by Billy and tries to bluff him into thinking there’s nothing in the workshop he is looking for. After Billy leaves, Schemer sneaks into the workshop and takes the ink and an ink pen.

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After that, Kara is seen showing her drawing to Billy and Stacy. Then Becky walks up and shows her portrait of Stacy (the one made by Mr. Conductor’s magic) to them, much to their surprise. After Stacy congratulates the both of them, and that they should be proud of their work, Becky walks away not feeling the satisfaction she thought she would get. She then sits in front of the Jukebox and lays the portrait and her drawing side by side, contemplating what she should do next.

Inside the Jukebox, Didi and Rex feel sorry for Becky and wonder why she’s feeling so upset, even though she has the winning picture. Tito says he knows why and tells them about when he was little and just learning to play the piano. One day, while he was practising, his piano starts talking to him and playing on its own. After the piano plays tune after tune for him, Tito’s mother congratulates him and says that all his practice is starting to pay off, even though he’s not actually practising. Eventually, Tito begins to feel guilty about tricking his mother. He starts to play his own tune, which, surprisingly, turns out pretty good.

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And the piano, who is also surprised at how well Tito did, tells him that if he keeps it up, he’ll be just as good as him. Tito ends his story, but then reveals that he made it all up to keep the other band members quiet, much to their enjoyment. Suddenly, a nickel comes down the chute and the band quickly gets into position to play a song, which is “Arkansas Traveller”. During the song, Schemer is seen drawing a self-portrait, using Billy’s ink.

After the song, Mr. Conductor appears next to Becky, wondering if she has won the contest, to which Becky replies that it hasn’t taken place yet. She then proceeds to tell Mr. Conductor about how proud Kara is about her drawing, which is making her more upset (and more jealous). Mr. Conductor compares her situation to Gordon’s when a famous engine came to the Island of Sodor.

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Once the story is done, Becky admits to being jealous of Kara, to which Mr. Conductor says that he’s glad that she finally sees it. He prepares to leave saying that he’s going to go practice his bicycle jumping at Mt. Careful, much to Becky’s surprise. Mr. Conductor tells her that he’s only going to jump over mole-hills and says “never make a mountain out of a mole-hill”. He wishes Becky good luck and disappears. Kara comes up with a big envelope and tells Becky that is time to turn in their drawings.

Becky says that her drawing still isn’t ready. Kara leaves the envelope with Becky, telling her that it’s there when she’s ready. After Kara leaves, Schemer sneaks up while Becky is still making up her mind and slips his drawing into the envelope.

Becky goes over to the workshop and finds Billy searching all over the place, looking for his ink. He asks her if she has seen it. Becky says she hasn’t and Billy chuckles, saying that it has “disappeared” sooner than he thought. Then Becky’s attention is drawn towards Billy’s painting, which he describes as a tree. Becky disagrees, saying that it doesn’t look like a real tree. At this, Billy begins to explain to her that the painting is a representation of how he feels when he’s walking through the forest. From the sound of leaves rustling through the wind, to the different shades of color that make it look cool and inviting, these are the things that give him that feeling of peace and he paints that. With this newfound understanding, Becky decides to enter the drawing of Stacy she made, instead of the one Mr. Conductor gave her.

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A little while later, Barton returns from his motorcycle race and tells Stacy and Becky all about it. At that moment, Kara and Dan come running in with news of who won the contest. Kara’s picture of Billy won first place and Dan’s picture, a drawing of Barton riding his motorcycle and winning the race, won a prize for best action. But when Barton tells Dan that he lost, Dan says that it was still neat that he went to the race anyway, which makes Barton feel much better. As Barton leaves, Kara reveals that Becky’s drawing of Stacy came in third place with the title of being the most expressive, much to Becky and Stacy’s amazement.

When Billy comes up, Becky asks him what he thinks about the drawing, which makes Billy ask her what she thinks of it. Becky then replies that she likes it, because it makes her feel good.

Schemer walks up and asks if there are any more prize-winning pictures, to which Kara replies that there’s nothing except a blank sheet of paper, much to Schemer’s astonishment and disbelief. Then Billy reveals that his special ink, which happens to be “disappearing” ink, had disappeared earlier that day, which astonishes Schemer even more. Then he asks Schemer if he borrowed it to draw a self-portrait, to which Schemer says that it was his mom’s idea and that she wanted him to do it. When Billy asks him to return the ink, Schemer gets an even bigger shock when he realizes that the ink (which he was carrying in his jacket pocket) has stained his shirt!

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Episode Morals:

  • Be careful what you say, for it may come back to haunt you.

  • Cheaters never prosper.

  • Practice makes perfect.

  • Take pride in your work, even if it doesn’t look perfect.

  • Don’t be jealous about other people’s success, but rather support them.

 

Featured Jukebox Puppet Band Song:

  • Arkansas Traveller

Featured Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends Stories:

  • Double Trouble (Thomas, Percy and the Coal)

  • Gordon & the Famous Visitor

Episode Notes:

  • This is Barton Winslow’s first appearance.

Sweet and Sour

Production #26 (2.05) - First Aired: 1991-NOV-22 (US)
Written by Wilson Coneybeare
Directed by Gregory Lehane

Summary by  J. Gratton

Episode Characters/Stars:

  • Stacy Jones (Didi Conn)

  • Billy Twofeathers (Tom Jackson)

  • Schemer (Brian O'Connor)

  • Mr. Conductor (George Carlin)

  • Dan Jones (Ari Madger)

  • Kara Cupper (Erica Luttrell)

  • Becky (Danielle Marcot)

  • Schemee (Jonathan Shapiro)

  • Midge Smoot (Bobo Lewis)

  • The Jukebox Puppet Band

  • Customer (Gina Wilkinson)

Episode Synopsis: Dan, Kara and Becky try their hand at being entrepreneurs when they open a lemonade stand at the station. They make the mistake of trusting Schemer's promise of making a lot of money by making him and his nephew Schemee partners. The business suffers when quality gets sacrificed for quantity as Schemer and Schemee trick our friends into losing their lemonade stand. With help from Stacy and encouragement from Billy and Mr. Conductor, the kids reclaim their business with unexpected aid coming from Midge Smoot!

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Detailed Episode Summary: SHOW

The kids have set up a lemonade and cookie stand inside the station, and are selling their wares for a nickel apiece. They seem discouraged as passengers walk past their table without stopping. Their luck changes when a rather posh woman tries a cookie and declares it scrumptious. As she pays her nickel, Schemer lurks in the background watching the transaction. The woman leaves promising to return another time, and the kids rejoice at their first sale. Schemer decides to reveal his presence and at first congratulates them, then appeals to their desire to make more money by becoming partners with him. They shake on it and Schemer promises to return with their new management team.

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Mr. Conductor appears near the kids dressed in a jogging suit saying that he’s running in the Minkville marathon against a tortoise. When the kids ask him why he’s at the station, Mr. Conductor says that he left the tortoise far behind him at the starting line and decided to return to get some rest at the station. He notices the lemonade and rematerializes on the table to drink an entire glassful of lemonade through a straw in one gulp!

He remarks that it appears that the children have gone into business for themselves, but Dan is less than enthusiastic when he reveals that Schemer is now their new partner, who promises they’ll make a lot of money. Mr. Conductor goes into an amusing diatribe playing on the word “partnership,” and warns that they might end up like Donald, Douglas and the brake van by telling them the story of how the Scottish twins dealt with this spiteful piece of rolling stock. Afterwards, Mr. Conductor concludes the story by saying that Donald and Douglas learned that it’s sometimes better to go about your own business. Mr. Conductor then leaves when he hears Schemer approaching.

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With great fanfare Schemer introduces their new management team who turns out to be his nephew Schemee, who is dressed identically to his uncle, complete with belt coin changer. With brusqueness Schemee announces that he’s raising the price for a glass of lemonade to 6 cents, and cookies to 7½ cents. When Kara points out that you can’t have half a penny, Schemee raises the price to 8 cents as his uncle watches on with beaming pride. Schemee then tells the kids to stretch the quantity of lemonade by putting more water into the pitcher.

Schemer tells the kids to follow everything Schemee says, and leaves the station in an emotional state as he comments on his nephew’s business savvy. Schemee then begins to coach the kids on customer rules as he makes them repeat the line “you touched it, you bought it” over and over again.

The posh woman from earlier returns and finds it tacky that the kids have since raised their prices. Dan tries to explain, but she’s only interested in purchasing a cookie and pays them for it. Her face grimaces and she begins to gag after taking a bite, then demands her money back. Schemee interrupts by telling her that if she touched it, she bought it. Schemer walks in as the woman protests, and Schemee tells his uncle she’s only mad at the way he’s cheating her. The woman complains that the cookies were dreadful but Schemer is quick to defend them as being the best tasting cookies this side of Dillylick.

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She challenges him to taste one and he obliges, trying very hard to maintain his composure as he forces himself to swallow it, lying that it’s the best tasking cookie that he’s ever had in his entire life. The woman is incredulous at Schemer’s reaction and leaves vowing never to return.

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As soon as the woman is out of sight, Schemer falls to his knees gagging, and grabs a glass of lemonade to wash out the cookie’s foul taste from his mouth. Schemee thinks he’s in trouble when Schemer recovers and takes him aside, only to proclaim his nephew to be a genius. Schemer explains that the cookies taste so bad that customers will leave them behind where they can be resold over and over again! Midge Smoot then enters the Station looking for Stacy. She needs to know what time the train from Cloggyville will arrive, as she is expecting guests for a garden party.

Schemer introduces her to Schemee, who flatters Midge by kissing her hand and guiding her to the lemonade stand. Schemee then offers to sell Midge lemonade and cookies for her party. Midge likes the idea and goes outside with Schemer and Schemee to draw up a contract for the refreshments as the kids become excited at the prospect of making a lot of money.

Billy and Stacy have heard the good news and come over to congratulate the kids. Billy decides to buy a cookie and a glass of lemonade for both him and Stacy, despite a warning from the kids that they might not want to. As the adults take their first bite, their facial expressions betray how bad the cookies taste as they try to politely say that it tastes “interesting.” Stacy suggests drinking some lemonade but their faces pucker up after sipping it. Dan tells them that they don’t need to finish and Billy and Stacy use this as their cue to leave, making sour faces as they walk away.

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The kids think Stacy and Billy were only being nice and likely don’t believe that the kids can make good lemonade and cookies. Dan says they’ll never be able to prove it now that they’ve all become greedy for money. Dan watches as the clock goes from 10 to 11:10 a.m. when Schemer and Schemee return with a large tacky flashing sign that reads “Lemonadeland, You are thirsty." The kids tell Schemer and Schemee that they don’t like the way things are going and don’t like to cheat people by not being fair.

Schemer lectures them that the lemonade business is not fair and then shocks them by informing that he’ll accept their resignations, adding that if they’re not happy with the business, they should quit. He hands them the remaining lemons as he jokes with Schemee that they won’t need them anymore.

The kids join Billy in his workshop where they confide how Schemer and Schemee tricked them into giving up their lemonade stand. Billy tells them that they’ve only tricked themselves and that Schemer did them a big favor. Dan questions Billy how taking away their stand could be considered a favor, so Billy asks whether they’d still water down the lemonade and put pepper in the cookies if they had their stand back. They immediately reply that they wouldn’t, and Billy says that Schemer and Schemee showed them the wrong way to run a lemonade stand, and the kids will do it the right way the next time.

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Kara asks how there can be a next time when Schemer and Schemee have all their things, but Stacy comes in to correct her by saying that they still have their lemons. When Dan informs her that Schemer and Schemee are already making lemonade, Stacy tells then that many foodstuffs use lemons as an ingredient and drops a hint by asking them to be creative without being “pie in the sky.” The kids pick up on the hint and suggest making a lemon pie, tarts and cookies. Becky, Kara and Dan become encouraged and vow to do it their way - the right way.

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Inside the jukebox Rex tells the band about the first job he and Tex had inside a radio in a bank where they always played "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?" As a nickel drops in, Didi says that the best place to be in is a railway station as they can play songs they like. Tex suggests "Erie Canal." As the band plays, the kids and Stacy are seen making pastries with the leftover lemons.

Afterwards Mr. Conductor reads the sign on the kids' new stand, “Everything but Lemonade,” which he compliments as being original as he plays a string game. Dan asks him who won the race and to the kids’ surprise, Mr. Conductor replies that both he and the tortoise were tied! For the price of a lemon tart, Mr. Conductor tells the how the engines on Sodor pulled together to help Donald and Douglas. At the end of the tale Mr. Conductor finishes nibbling on his tart and concludes that the most amazing things can happen when you stand up for what you believe in. He sparkles away when Schemer and Schemee saunter over to the kid’s new stand, mocking that they now have competition.

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A shrill whistle is heard and Midge Smoot marches into the station accompanied by two other ladies carrying picket signs, and begin circling Schemer and Schemee’s lemonade stand. Midge confronts Schemer saying that her dog became sick after eating two of his cookies. Midge will hear none of Schemer or Schemee’s excuses and tells them that she and her friends will picket the stand and the arcade until there’s a change in management. Schemer pleads with her, but Midge also wants her money back. A desperate Schemer fetches Dan, Becky and Kara and presents them to Midge as the new management.

Becky asks her if she still intends on hosting a garden party, but Midge admits that although she’d like to, she doesn’t have any refreshments to serve. Becky then leads her to their new stand where Dan proclaims that honesty is their best policy. Midge tells the children that it’ll be a pleasure to be dealing with honest people once more, and shouts out to her friends that they’ve accomplished their mission. Before leaving, however, Midge confronts and warns Schemer that if he ever tries a stunt like this again, she'll personally bring every member of the Friends of the Flowering Cactus Ladies Auxiliary down to the station to picket his arcade. Schemer, realizing that his mother is a member of the Auxiliary, runs off in a panicked state with Schemee in tow calling out to Midge.

Mr. Conductor appears on the kid's stand wearing a pair of roller skates asking if he heard correctly someone saying that honesty is the best policy. Dan remarks that after doing the right thing, everything worked out. Mr. Conductor agrees, adding that when you're honest, things have a way of rolling very nicely. The episode ends as Mr. Conductor roller-skates on the table with the kids warning him to watch out just as he reaches the edge.

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Episode Morals:

  • Running an honest and fair business with quality products creates a win-win situation.

 

Featured Jukebox Puppet Band Song:

  • Erie Canal

Featured Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends Stories:

  • Donald and Douglas (Break Van)

  • The Deputation

 

Quotes of Note:

  • Schemer: As long as it's not my pride, I can swallow anything!

 

Episode Notes:

  • This is the first appearance of Schemee. It is also revealed that Schemee does not live in Shining Time, but is merely visiting his Uncle Schemer.

  • This is the second time that a reference is made to the Friends of the Flowering Cactus Ladies Auxiliary, the first being in the season 1 episode "Too Many Cooks."

Achoo

Production #27 (2.06) - First Aired: 1991-NOV-25 (US)
Written by Brian McConnachie
Directed by Stan Swan

Summary by  J. Hunter

Episode Characters/Stars:

  • Stacy Jones (Didi Conn)

  • Billy Twofeathers (Tom Jackson)

  • Schemer (Brian O'Connor)

  • Mr. Conductor (George Carlin)

  • Dan Jones (Ari Madger)

  • Kara Cupper (Erica Luttrell)

  • Becky (Danielle Marcot)

  • J.B. King (Mart Hulswit)

  • The Jukebox Puppet Band

  • Offended Passenger (Marium Carvell)

Episode Synopsis: When Mr. Conductor catches a cold before leaving on a trip to the South Pole, his magic begins to cause all kinds of mayhem; from Stacy and Billy sounding like cats and dogs to a balloon talking to Schemer about his hair! Will the kids be able to find Mr. Conductor so that he can make things right? Find out, as Mr. Conductor learns an important lesson about not rejecting good advice and help from friends who care.

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Detailed Episode Summary: SHOW

It’s another day at Shining Time Station, and Stacy finds Kara, Dan, and Becky playing with some glasses filled with water. Becky and Kara explain that each one contains a certain amount of water, and when tapped they produce a musical note. They demonstrate by going through the scales. As they’re saying “Ti” and “Do,” inside the Jukebox, Tito thinks that they’re calling his name because he's finally becoming popular, much to the rest of the band's disgust.

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Back in the station, Mr. Conductor appears and everyone greets him. When Dan asks him how everyone on the Island of Sodor is doing, Mr. Conductor replies by saying, “Good, very good, pretty good, and awful,” to which Stacy says that he needs to explain it a little more. Mr. Conductor then tells them what happened to Thomas when he tried to help Bertie, only to end up getting into trouble when Gordon and James play a trick on him.

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After Mr. Conductor finishes his story he immediately begins to sneeze and Stacy asks if he has a cold. Mr. Conductor says he can't have a cold, because he’s going to the South Pole to visit a friend of his, a penguin. But when he sneezes again, Stacy tells him that he shouldn’t go but get some rest instead. Mr. Conductor tells her that he can look after himself, and Stacy then tells him a story from a pop-up book about a bear cub named Lil’ Sneezer who refused to take care of himself by wearing the proper clothes during bad weather.

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Even after the story, Mr. Conductor still insists that he's not sick, adding that if he had a cold, he could just use his magic to make it go away. Billy counters that if he’s not feeling well, his magic might not be either. Assuring them once more that he’ll be fine, Mr. Conductor sneezes again. Nobody notices, but the sneeze spreads magic dust on the water glasses and a nearby balloon. When Mr. Conductor tries to leave, at first only the lower half of his body disappears.

After he’s gone, everyone wonders if he’ll really be all right. Stacy then notices that there’s a little too much water in some of the glasses, so she and Billy drink some of it. When they start talking again, their voices are swapped, which gets the kids laughing. They realize that Mr. Conductor’s magic dust is in the water and drink from different glasses hoping to reverse the effect, only to cause  Billy to meow like a cat and Stacy bark like a dog! Seeing that the situation is getting out of hand, the kids immediately try to find Mr. Conductor so that he can put things right.

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After they leave, Schemer walks into the station and begins to play with the water glasses. While he plays, the balloon begins talking to him, commenting in a sultry, feminine voice on his hair. Astonished, Schemer immediately goes into “genius time” mode and makes plans to charge people money to talk to the balloon, who doesn’t agree with Schemer’s idea and comments that she’s got “her own private supply of helium.” Schemer ends up taking the balloon with him so that they can privately talk about Schemer’s “beautiful hair and good looks.”

At that same moment, J.B. King arrives and demands to know who’s running the empty station. After he's greeted by Stacy, a passenger arrives and asks if she can get some help with her luggage, to which Stacy barks in reply and offends the passenger. Wondering what is going on, J.B. thinks it over while drinking from one of the water glasses. Stacy tries to stop him, but it’s too late; J.B.’s voice now sounds like Becky’s! After being confronted by Schemer for sounding like a little girl, J.B. storms away, leaving Schemer and the balloon saying how they didn’t like his hair.

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Meanwhile, the kids get together by the jukebox and make a plan; to get Mr. Conductor to return, they'll play his favorite song. After the nickel comes down the chute, Tito, still believing that he’s becoming famous, appears in his best clothes and begins thanking all the “little people,” to which everyone begins making fun of him. To show them that they’re just jealous, he pulls out all the stops as he performs “Cosher Bailey’s Engine.” He gives such an energetic performance he goes out of control and rocks the jukebox, shocking the kids.

After the song, Mr. Conductor appears but then disappears, to which the kids begin begging for him to come back. But instead of him returning, a fuzzy image of a penguin wearing his hat appears. As the kids think that Mr. Conductor has turned into a penguin, the penguin disappears and Mr. Conductor reappears, sneezing uncontrollably.

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At that moment, Stacy and Billy come up and begin barking and meowing at him. Apparently understanding what they’re saying, Mr. Conductor throws some of his magic dust on them and restores their voices. Thankful to have their own voices back, Stacy and Billy begin to reprimand him for going to the South Pole and not staying home so he could recover. Mr. Conductor then tells them why he wanted to go; he wanted to be with the penguins because they're his friends and little like him. At this, the kids tell him that they’re his friends, too, and show him a music video from the picture machine, which shows how some children help their tired mother by cleaning the house for her.

After the song, the kids tell Mr. Conductor how much they care about him and want to look after him as he gets better. After thinking for a moment, he finally agrees. Later, in the workshop, he finds that the kids have made a bed for him out of a shoebox so that he can rest. As he gets ready to sleep, the kids try to think of a story to tell him but can’t think of anything. Mr. Conductor ends up telling them the story instead about when Gordon complained about Henry’s constant whistling, only to have his own whistle go haywire, and how a sneeze helped Henry get back at some boys who threw stones at him. After he finishes, he goes to sleep and thanks the kids for telling the story, forgetting that he told the story himself! So that he won’t be disturbed as he sleeps, the kids put a lid (with holes in it so he can breathe) on the box.

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A little while later, a very sullen Schemer approaches the ticket counter and tells Stacy that his balloon has stopped talking to him, to which Stacy suggests that maybe it ran out of things to say. At that moment, the kids come out of the workshop carrying Mr. Conductor’s shoebox-bed. Schemer spots the box and immediately thinks that it's a present for him. Anxious to see what's inside, he takes it from them and opens it to find only the scarf and some earmuffs that Mr. Conductor was wearing, much to the kids’ relief. Upon seeing this, Schemer, feeling very put off, walks away and sarcastically comments that he’s already got those for his doll.

With Schemer gone, the kids begin to wonder if Mr. Conductor has gotten better. Confirming that he has recovered, he suddenly appears and removes his magic dust out of the water glasses while going through the scales. After seeing that, they’re glad to know that all it took was a little caring, because that’s what good friends do for each other.

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Episode Morals:

  • Don’t reject those who are trying to help you.

  • The best kind of friends are those who care for your well-being.

  • Don’t be rude to others.

 

Featured Jukebox Puppet Band Song:

  • Cosher Bailey’s Engine

Featured Picture Machine Music Video:

  • Caring

 

Featured Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends Stories:

  • Trust Thomas

  • Whistles & Sneezes

 

Quotes of Note:

  • After J.B. King rants in Becky’s voice and stomps away.
    Schemer: Sure sounds like a little girl to me.
    Balloon: I didn’t like his hair that much.
    Schemer: Yeah, I think it’d look better in pig-tails.

  • After Schemer opens the box and examines the contents.
    Schemer: A scarf and some earmuffs for a doll?! What do I want with this for?! I’ve already got a scarf and an earmuff for my doll.

 

Episode Notes:

  • A boom microphone can be seen at the top of the screen at the beginning of the episode.

  • This is the first time Billy Twofeathers sees Mr. Conductor, and despite not being formally introduced Billy already knows who he is.

  • The song "Caring" was released on video as part of "Shining Time Station Singsongs Vol. 1."

  • This is the last episode where a story from Series 1 of Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends made its original US debut. While originally narrated in the UK by Ringo Starr, “Whistles & Sneezes” would only be seen in the US with George Carlin's narration during the home video era. US audiences would not hear Ringo Starr's narration of this story until the release of the “Thomas & Friends: The Early Years” DVD set.

A Dog's Life

Production #28 (2.07) - First Aired: 1991-NOV-26 (US)
Written by Wilson Coneybeare
Directed by Gregory Lehane

Summary by  J. Gratton

Episode Characters/Stars:

  • Stacy Jones (Didi Conn)

  • Billy Twofeathers (Tom Jackson)

  • Schemer (Brian O'Connor)

  • Mr. Conductor (George Carlin)

  • Dan Jones (Ari Madger)

  • Kara Cupper (Erica Luttrell)

  • Becky (Danielle Marcot)

  • Ginny (Barbara Hamilton)

  • The Jukebox Puppet Band

  • Customer (Richard Yearwood)

Episode Synopsis: Ginny visits the station and tells Stacy that she lost her dog Grainger. Meanwhile Schemer is convinced that someone or something is making off with all of the nickels inserted into the jukebox. He decides to beef up security in his arcade by bringing in a guard dog and setting up an elaborate alarm system. When he realizes that the wee dog doesn't like him, he gives the dog away to the kids, but they in turn forget to feed and look after it. They soon learn that taking care of a pet is a big responsibility and how important and sometimes difficult it is to return something to its rightful owner.

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Detailed Episode Summary: SHOW

Ginny comes into the station carrying two bags and hands one to the kids as they're cleaning the station, saying that there's something inside for each of them. She tells Stacy how she awoke this morning to find her dog, Grainger, had either run off or been stolen. Stacy is dismayed that someone would have taken her dog. Ginny goes on the say that she spent the morning picking up garbage that someone had dumped on her land. The kids thank her for the delicious apples that were in the bag. Ginny asks what time the next train will come in with the parts she ordered for her hay wagon, and Stacy estimates 25 minutes. To pass the time, Ginny says that she's on her way to see Mayor Flopdinger to complain about the garbage she picked up in the other bag she's toting.

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The kids wonder why someone would've taken Ginny's dog or strewn garbage on her property. Mr. Conductor appears and quips that dirty news travels very fast. Becky asks what he means, and Mr. Conductor explains that he was referring to the mess James got himself into on the Island of Sodor. He then tells the story of how James got himself into trouble with some tar wagons. Afterwards, Kara asks Mr. Conductor if he told them the story just to make them feel better about cleaning. Mr. Conductor clarifies that he was comparing their cleaning to the mess on Ginny's farm and that sometimes a little trouble causes great harm. He hears Schemer coming and before sparkling away takes a bite from Kara's apple. The kids run off to play outside as Schemer comes into the arcade with a toolbox and positions himself in front of the jukebox.

As he unscrews the speaker, he complains how people put nickels into the jukebox, but the nickels never come out, and wonders where they go. Using one of his 'genius time' ideas, he vows to solve the mystery by inserting a nickel attached to a string into the jukebox. Inside the jukebox, Tito chases after the dangling nickel saying that he'll add it to his collection. He struggles to hold onto the nickel as we see Schemer outside the jukebox struggling himself to pull it back out. Tito refuses to let the nickel go as the band members try to prevent him from being pulled up. Tito finally gives up and lets go, sending Schemer tumbling backwards onto the arcade floor. A frustrated Schemer says that someone or something is fiddling around with his nickels and machines, and proclaims that it's time for "Idea #1, Plan B."

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We next see a cute little West Highland White Terrier on a leash sitting on the arcade steps. When Stacy asks about the dog, Schemer informs her that it's his mean, vicious, people-hating guard dog who'll protect his arcade. Stacy chuckles and tells him that he has the wrong king of dog as she cuddles it in her arms. Schemer then demonstrates his other precaution: “Schemer's Super Safety Security System.” As soon as he steps into the arcade, lights flash, alarms ring and a net drops onto Schemer from above. The icing on the cake as he describes it, is placing a “Beware of Dog” sign on the arcade railing post.

Stacy accuses him of going overboard, but Schemer insists that he has every right to protect his arcade and the dog will help him catch whoever is taking his nickels. He orders the dog to come to his side, but is taken aback when it responds by barking at him. A shaken Schemer tells the dog to go back to puppy school to learn how to become man's best friend. Schemer retreats when the dog answers his suggestion by barking at him again.

Later, Billy is sitting with the dog as the kids come in to see it. Billy halts them as they move closer to the dog, mentioning an important sign. When the kids read the “Beware of Dog” sign, Billy lectures that they should heed such a sign before approaching a strange dog. Dan asks Billy if they'd be able to pet it. Billy, in mock seriousness, tells them that the dog looks ferocious and hesitates, saying that it might just lick their hand! Billy leaves them with the dog just as Schemer returns. The dog barks at Schemer, who complains that's no way to treat his master. Billy advises him that respect works both ways, so Schemer tries to offer the dog a nickel, but it barks at him again! Schemer asks why the dog always barks at him and Billy guesses that it's because he tied it up, did not take it for a walk, feed it or clean up after it. As Schemer sarcastically asks if there's anything else, Billy barks that he didn't play with him either.

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Schemer then decides to only rely on his security system and gives the dog away to the kids. They share the good news with Stacy who asks them if they're sure they want to take care of the dog by feeding, walking, keeping him clean and cleaning up after him. If they promise to do all of those things she'll give her permission to keep the dog. The kids agree to all of the conditions and cheerfully run outside to play, leaving the dog behind with Stacy.

An hour passes as Stacy decides to feed the dog behind the ticket desk. The kids run back in and Stacy asks if they've seen their new dog. She reminds them about the conditions they had agreed to earlier and Dan explains that they must have forgotten, and don’t know where the dog is. Stacy walks the dog out from behind the counter to the children's delight. The kids tell Stacy that they're hungry and ask about lunch. Stacy feigns ignorance by saying that she doesn’t know when she'll make lunch, letting the kids believe that they may not get to eat. Realizing that this is because they had forgotten to take care of the dog, the kids all go off to get the dog food and water.

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Mr. Conductor appears dressed in a raincoat and greets the dog with a sharp bark, with the dog returning the greeting. Mr. Conductor says that the dog is friendly. The kids comment on Mr. Conductor’s muddy appearance as the dog licks him, much to their amusement. Mr. Conductor wishes that the dog was on the Island of Sodor earlier to help Gordon, and tells them how the big engine found out that it's much easier to get your work done when you're clean and in order. When he asks the friends afterwards if they also agree, the dog barks and Mr. Conductor appears to understand what it is saying. Stacy is amazed and didn't know he could speak dog. Mr. Conductor claims to be able to speak every language from elephant to parakeet. The kids ask him what the dog said and Mr. Conductor replies that it told him that he's not their dog, and that he comes from Farmer's Dell and would like to go back there. Stacy realizes that it's Ginny's missing dog, and plans to telephone her with the good news.

The kids are sad and ask if they have to give the dog back. Stacy explains that there are times in life where difficult decisions need to be made, which takes courage and determination. She relates that when she was a little girl, she found a beautiful red wagon on Dumpling Hill. She loved the wagon so much that she took it everywhere she went. Then one day her friend Penny told her that she'd lost her red wagon. Stacy continues that while she considered the wagon hers, deep down she felt guilty knowing that it really belonged to Penny. She ends her anecdote by saying that she did the most difficult thing she ever had to do - she gave the wagon back.

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Stacy and Mr. Conductor explain that the dog wants to go home. Mr. Conductor then sparkles away. Becky glumly admits that she didn't like the responsibility of looking after the dog, but Stacy offers to let her phone Ginny to let her know that they found her dog and hear how happy the news will make her.

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Inside the jukebox, Tex suggests that it may be time to “hitch their wagons to another train,” and Didi replies that she refuses to move out of the jukebox which she considers their home. Rex then suggests that they could move into someone's glove compartment and become their car radio. Eventually Tito, Didi and the two cowboys agree that the jukebox is indeed their home, and commemorate it by singing "Home on the Range."

Stacy runs into the workshop to tell Billy how delighted and excited Ginny was to learn that they found her dog and that she was heading down to the station. Billy is glad that the dog will be back home where it belongs when Schemer’s alarm interrupts their conversation. Stacy goes to investigate and discovers a passenger tangled up in Schemer's net. Stacy asks what happened and the unnerved passenger explains that he was only trying to play the jukebox as he manages to untangle himself and flees the station. Schemer suddenly drops a hoop fishing net over an annoyed Stacy, realizes his mistake but tries to admonish her. Stacy explains that his security system frightened away a customer. Schemer looks around for him and the children joke that he's probably reached Lucy's Leap by now.

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Ginny arrives and is happily reunited with Granger. The kids say that they'll miss Granger, but Ginny invites them all to come over and visit any time they'd like to. Schemer saunters over to boldly ask if there's a reward for finding her dog. Ginny at first barks at Schemer, then with growing suspicion informs him that this is the very dog that mysteriously disappeared from her farm. As Schemer retreats into the arcade, he confesses that he had found the dog but insists that he did not steal it. Ginny accepts his apology, but Schemer makes the mistake of saying that he wasn’t apologizing. Ginny corners him deeper into his arcade with threatening barks until he admits being responsible and apologizes.

The train whistle is heard announcing its arrival, and Stacy says that the hay wagon parts have arrived and leaves with the kids to load the parts into Ginny's truck. As everyone leaves Schemer complains that he doesn't make money when people don't use his arcade, and the same thing happens when people do use his arcade. Mr. Conductor appears behind the fishing net and blows on it to make it land on Schemer, who panics and in turn triggers all of his security alarms. He runs out of the station, shouting hysterically that the station is haunted. Mr. Conductor disconnects the alarms and heaves out a sigh of relief, saying that there's nothing like peace and quiet after a hard day's work.

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Episode Morals:

  • Taking care of a pet requires a lot of responsibility and dedication.

  • Returning something to its rightful owner is the most morally right decision you can make.

 

Featured Jukebox Puppet Band Song:

  • Home on the Range

Featured Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends Stories:

  • James in a Mess (Dirty Objects)

  • The Trouble With Mud

 

Quotes of Note:

  • Mr. Conductor: You have to be careful with parakeets, they try to bend the truth just to make what they say rhyme.

 

Episode Notes:

  • At the beginning of the episode Stacy tells Ginny that her hay wagon parts will arrive on the next train in 25 minutes. However several hours have passed by the time the train and the parts arrive.

  • We learn that Ginny owns a West Highland White Terrier named "Grainger".

  • This episode marks another instance in which Schemer believes that the station is haunted.

Field Day

Production #29 (2.08) - First Aired: 1991-NOV-27 (US)
Written by Sean Kelly
Directed by Gregory Lehane

Summary by  J. Gratton

Episode Characters/Stars:

  • Stacy Jones (Didi Conn)

  • Billy Twofeathers (Tom Jackson)

  • Schemer (Brian O'Connor)

  • Mr. Conductor (George Carlin)

  • Dan Jones (Ari Madger)

  • Becky (Danielle Marcot)

  • Kara Cupper (Erica Luttrell)

  • Matt Jones (Jason Woliner)

  • Tanya Cupper (Nicole Leach)

  • Schemee (Jonathan Shapiro)

  • The Jukebox Puppet Band

Episode Synopsis: Coach Schemer prepares his baseball team for a sure win against the Buttertown Batters in their first Little League game. He pressures his team members to focus on the good feeling that winning gives you. Schemer panics when a change in the game schedule will instead pit his team against the best team in Indian Valley, the Snarlyville Slashers. Mr. Conductor, Billy and Stacy all try to instill good sportsmanship into the kids by explaining that it doesn't matter if you win or lose, as long as you have fun playing the game.

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Detailed Episode Summary: SHOW

Stacy, Billy, Dan, Kara, Becky as well as Matt and Tanya enter the station excited that their new baseball team uniforms have arrived. Billy sees the initials T.S.T. and remarks to Stacy that he likes the sound of it, probably thinking that it stands for "Team Shining Time." Stacy discovers what the acronym means when she sees that the front of the jerseys all read "The Schemer Team"! Matt reveals that it was Schemer who paid for the new uniforms while Tanya adds that perhaps they'll look better with the jerseys on.

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Mr. Conductor suddenly appears sitting on the baseball bat over Matt's shoulder, and takes a hard tumble into a catcher's mitt when Matt swings around. The kids gather round the groaning Mr. Conductor to see if he's all right. He quickly recovers and the kids notice that he's also attired in baseball gear. Dan asks if the residents of Sodor play baseball, and Mr. Conductor replies that while he's working on introducing baseball, they do have sports and games and famous competitions and uses the story of the race between Percy and Harold as an example. Kara comments that she's glad Percy won, but Mr. Conductor says while winning is fun, playing your best is the real fun. He's interrupted by Schemer and Schemee coming into the station and disappears.

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Schemer does a pratfall down the station steps but quickly gets up. As their coach he gathers the kids and leads them into a series of exercises. He starts off with touching toes, but can only make it through one repetition. He then leads them in what he mistakenly calls "cracker jacks," but the only ones making any effort are the kids.

Billy comes in carrying baseball bats and stares in disbelief as he surveys the kids exercising. Schemer tells him that they'll be in good shape to take on the Buttertown Batters in their first game. Billy reminds Schemer that baseball is supposed to be fun, but he doesn’t see the kids having much fun as they're forced to exercise. Schemer says that winning is more important than having fun, and calls for a five minute break. The kids sit down exhausted and complain loudly, but Schemer decides to test their hand-eye “homogenation” (which Billy corrects as “coordination”) by knocking down a can set up on the arcade banister.

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Schemer orders the kids to stand up as Billy warns him that he's tired them out. Schemer resents the comment, retorting that he's the coach and asks if Billy can show them how NOT to knock down the can. The kids encourage Billy to answer Schemer's challenge. As he grasps the ball, Billy advises the kids that the first important thing they need to remember is to be relaxed so the ball will go where you throw it. Billy throws the ball and knocks down the can. As the kids cheer his success, Billy adds that the second most important thing to remember is that it's not that important if you miss.

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Schemer calls Billy's feat a lucky shot and prepares to demonstrate that a major league professional player does not relax, but bears down on his target. He tells the kids to pay attention to his exaggerated style, but the ball flies backwards into Billy's hands as Schemer throws it! The kids giggle as Schemer looks for the ball, and then insists that Billy was standing closer to the can when he threw the ball. Schemer stands about four feet away when he tries again. The baseball misses the can and hits the side of the jukebox, startling its residents. When Tex asks what hit them, Grace quips that it was just a “screwball.”

Later, Billy leads a relaxed group exercise of ball throwing with the kids, as Schemer and Schemee drink soft drinks while sitting on lounge chairs in the arcade. Stacy receives a call from the coach of the Buttertown Batters to pass a message on to Schemer. Due to a schedule change, the first game for Schemer's team will instead be against the Snarlyville Slashers. Schemer ponders the news for a moment as he says that the Snarlyville Slashers are the best team in the league and the meanest team in the valley. Realizing they're about to get clobbered, Schemer panics and orders the kids to do jumping jacks while touching their toes at the same time while wondering what to do next.

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Getting a 'genius time' moment, he runs over to Schemee, turns his hat inside out and covers his shoulders with a blanket. As his uncle puts a pair of sunglasses on Schemee, the lad asks what he's doing. Schemer replies that he's disguising him to go spy on the Snarlyville Slashers to scope out any weaknesses they may have, and sends him on his way.

Inside the jukebox Didi asks what a spy is. Tito thinks it's a game, as in "I spy with my little eye," and asks his band members if they want to play. He starts off by saying that he spies something white. Didi first initially incorrectly guesses that it’s one of Tito's piano keys, and her second guess is correct when she asks if it's Tex's hat. The band carries on with playing as Didi takes her turn.

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Back in the station, Stacy is coaching the kids on how to properly hold a baseball bat as Billy gives advice on how to catch a ball. Schemee returns to his uncle and asks for a dollar to reveal what he saw. Schemer at first says that the price is too high but relents when Schemee tells him that he has plenty of information. He tells Schemer that the Snarlyville Slashers are really good and he'll use the dollar he just received to bet against Schemer's team. Stacy berates Schemer for sending Schemee out to spy on the other team and considers that cheating. Schemer insists that Schemee was just scouting, as is done in the big leagues.

When Stacy advises that baseball is supposed to be fun, Schemer mocks her as not knowing anything about the sport. Taking exception to his comment, Stacy throws a baseball at the can on the banister and hits it on her first attempt as everyone but the Schemers cheer. Schemer snatches his dollar back from Schemee telling him that this isn’t the big league and he shouldn’t be cheating.

In the workshop, Mr. Conductor is playing checkers with himself. He banters back and forth to himself as he plays the role of each player as the kids and Billy come in. When the kids ask Billy about Mr. Conductor's bizarre behavior, Billy explains that you can practice just about any game you play. His game concluded, Mr. Conductor asks the kids why they're not outside playing baseball. Dan tells him that the game won't begin for a while yet, and glumly adds that they're going to lose anyway. Mr. Conductor tells him that they will with that attitude, and tells them that Thomas did not feel that way when he had his race with Bertie and tells the story of what happened.

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After the story Mr. Conductor informs that that after the race Thomas and Bertie became even “faster” friends. The kids wonder if they'll become friends with the Snarlyville Slashers after the game, if Schemer lets them. Dan thought that baseball was supposed to be fun, but Schemer will be angry at them if they lose. Mr. Conductor thinks Schemer will be angrier at himself, and reminds them that games can be fun whether you win or lose. Matt asks if the goal of any game is to win, but Mr. Conductor reveals that he's forgotten who won most of the games that he's ever played in, but always remembers if he played a good game - that way everyone can be a winner. He demonstrates what he means by conjuring a magic bubble that shows a song about about playing sports. Afterward, the kids agree that Mr. Conductor is right, and he vanishes just as Schemer calls out for them.

Schemer comes into the workshop announcing that it's game time, and that as their coach he wants to tell them something. First, if they lose the game, he never wants to see their faces again. Secondly, they should remind themselves how good it'll feel if they win and tease the other team for losing. He hustles them out of the station while giving them a pep talk about winning. Inside the jukebox, the band plays 'Take Me Out to the Ball Game' as they put on a humorous baseball skit of their own.

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Later, Stacy is at the ticket counter when a dejected-looking Schemer comes in saying that baseball is a dumb game. Stacy asks how the game went and Schemer reveals that their team lost and feels that he let the kids down as their coach, adding that they are taking the loss pretty hard. The kids are anything but sad when they come into the station in a jubilant mood cheering themselves. Stacy laughs at the contradiction and asks Billy how the game went. Billy has a hoarse voice after cheering them on so much. The kids each tell Stacy about the positives of the game and even compliment the other team's skills, then each other.

Matt credits Schemer for helping them a lot, which lifts his spirits as Stacy adds that the kids must be very proud of their coach. Schemer suggests that they practice more baseball moves but the kids are confused as he'd told them earlier that he had given up on them, had quit and never wanted to see another game again. Schemer jokes that he also told them that he was a bad coach and that wasn't true, and wheezes his laugh at them. The kids all wheeze back a laugh and Schemer invites Stacy to join them outside to play ball. Stacy says that she has to continue working, but Billy volunteers to take over for her. Schemer asks Stacy if she can give his pitcher tips on how to throw the ball right at the batter to better their chance for winning. Stacy gives a stern look before Schemer confesses that he was only kidding and the episode ends when Stacy leads the team to chant their victory cheer:

V-I, V-I, V-I-C-T
T-O, T-O, T-O-R-Y
V-I-C-T-O-R-Y
Victory, Victory, that's our cry!

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Episode Morals:

  • The main goal of playing a game is not just to win, but to have fun.

 

Featured Jukebox Puppet Band Song:

  • Take Me Out to the Ball Game

 

Featured Magic Bubble Music Video:

  • Everyone's a Winner

 

Featured Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends Stories:

  • Percy Proves a Point (Percy and Harold)

  • Thomas and Bertie's Great Race (Thomas and Bertie)

Episode Notes:

  • This episode marks the final appearance of Jason Woliner and Nicole Leach as Matt Jones and Tanya Cupper.

  • When Mr. Conductor addresses the kids sitting on the floor, the back of his jersey reads "333" which is in fact his conductor number.

Wrong Track

Production #30 (2.09) - First Aired: 1991-NOV-28 (US)
Written by Wilson Coneybeare
Directed by Gregory Lehane

Summary by  J. Gratton

Episode Characters/Stars:

  • Stacy Jones (Didi Conn)

  • Billy Twofeathers (Tom Jackson)

  • Schemer (Brian O'Connor)

  • Mr. Conductor (George Carlin)

  • Dan Jones (Ari Madger)

  • Kara Cupper (Erica Luttrell)

  • Becky (Danielle Marcot)

  • Ginny (Barbara Hamilton)

  • The Jukebox Puppet Band

  • Freight Deliveryman (Steve Baker)

Episode Synopsis: Stacy is all set to take a vacation when a last-minute emergency forces her to postpone it. The kids plan to cheer her up by throwing her a surprise party. The kids pool their money for a gift and Ginny donates a box of homemade fudge. Schemer's greed and gluttony throws a wrench into their plans through Becky, who realizes her mistake and takes full responsibility for it. Schemer also makes up for his deceit in a most unexpected way.

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Detailed Episode Summary: SHOW

The episode opens with an excited Stacy about to leave the station to go visit her sister Tracy as our friends see her off. Before she can board her train however, a telephone call comes in for her from J.B. King. Stacy's mood quickly changes as she is told that a problem has caused all of the trains to be rerouted through Snarlyville, which means that she has to stay at the station to create a new schedule.

 

Inside the jukebox, the band members feel sorry for Stacy with Rex and Didi weeping at her predicament. Tex suggests that they do something to pick themselves up. Just as Tex is about to say what, Dan throws out the idea of giving Stacy a surprise party to Kara and Becky.

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Mr. Conductor suddenly appears in the gondola of a hot air balloon asking if he missed a party. Kara explains that they were only planning one. Mr. Conductor says that he's been invited to a party where his balloon will help him play leapfrog with the frogs at Lucy's Leap. As he floats away, he says that you need to be an expert to work hot air balloons and admits not being an expert just as the balloon suddenly shoots up and is heard crashing into the ceiling. Mr. Conductor and his toppled gondola end up on the ticket counter and the kids rush over to see if he's okay.

They resume their conversation about throwing a party for Stacy because her vacation was spoiled. Mr. Conductor says that she's lucky to have friends like them to help her when she's feeling sad. It reminds him about Thomas, James and the breakdown train and he has just enough time before his leap frog party to tell the story. Afterward, Mr. Conductor summarizes it by saying that everyone needs help sometimes, then sparkles away to attend his party at Lucy’s Leap.

Becky is inspired to give Stacy the best party possible and suggests pooling their money together to buy her a gift just as Ginny walks in. When the kids share their plan for a surprise party with Ginny, she offers them a box of homemade fudge from her farm. Ginny also offers to go home to fetch a few jugs of cider for the party, then go over to Barton Winslow's store to find a gift. Kara and Dan go off with Ginny as Becky remains behind to make decorations for the party.

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Later at the ticket counter, Schemer repeatedly rings the bell while loudly calling for Stacy. An annoyed Stacy comes out of the workshop asking want he wants. Schemer asks if a package has arrived for him yet, but she replies that it hasn't as the trains have all been rerouted. Schemer tells her that it's an important package and it's a secret. Even though she's not interested in knowing about his package, Schemer persists on teasing her that he's not going to reveal what it is. Stacy loses her patience and angrily shouts that she's very busy before retreating back into the workshop. Schemer is shocked by her brusqueness and goes to sit down on a bench to sulk.

Becky asks him what's the matter and Schemer explains that Stacy yelled at him. Becky tells him that Stacy's upset because she couldn't go on vacation, but Schemer doesn't care because she hurt his feelings. Schemer then notices the fudge and slides over on the bench to help himself to it, saying that it will make him feel a lot better. Becky tells him to give it back as the fudge is for the party. He begs her for one piece, asking if she doesn't want him to feel better. Becky relents and Schemer then suggests spending some money in the arcade to make him feel better still.

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Becky, entrusted with the kid's pooled money for Stacy's gift, doesn't want to spend any of it. Schemer puts on a crying act until Becky feels sorry for him and inserts a nickel into the jukebox as he snickers and helps himself to another piece of fudge. The jukebox band members notice the nickel and decide to play “Sweet Betsy from Pike” as Becky is seen spending more money on arcade games while Schemer devours the fudge.

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At the end of the song, Becky realizes to her horror that she's spent all of the money, while Schemer crows that it’s been a good day for him as he takes the last piece of fudge and hands Becky the empty box. As Schemer prances happily out of the station, Mr. Conductor appears and tells Becky that he's seen happier faces at a frowning contest. She tells him how she lost all of the gift money and Mr. Conductor sombrely tells her that she lost her common sense as well. Becky worries that Kara and Dan will hate her now that they can't buy Stacy a present.

Mr. Conductor tries to comfort her by saying that she simply got carried away and that it happens to everyone. He then tells Becky about the time Thomas got carried away with himself and fell into a mine, and had to have Gordon help him out. At the end of the story, Becky asks why Gordon wasn't angry at Thomas for getting stuck. Mr. Conductor explains that Gordon understood that we all make mistakes sometimes. Becky stills fears what Kara and Dan's reaction will be, and suggests lying about losing the money because of a hole in her pocket. Mr. Conductor discourages her from doing that and says he's sure that there's a way to work things out together. Becky then asks Mr. Conductor to use his magic to make her more money. He refuses and tells her that she'll have to work this problem out on her own and vanishes.

Dan and Kara return with the cider and Becky greets them sheepishly as she holds the now-empty box of fudge. When Dan and Kara ask her for gift suggestions, Becky concocts a tale that the money was stolen by a passenger. The kids begin to berate her for losing the money when Billy overhears the commotion and comes over to investigate. Kara tells Billy that Becky let someone steal their money for Stacy's presents. Billy says that if the money was stolen it's not Becky's fault, but just something bad that happened. He asks rhetorically that it's not as if Becky went out and spent it. Kara apologizes to Becky and Billy offers to loan them some money to make up for what was lost. A guilt-wracked Becky confesses that she spent the money and tells them about Schemer.

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Schemer comes into the station with a small table filled with pieces of fruit cake. The kids accuse him of stealing their money and eating all of their fudge. He denies stealing the money and eating the fudge, but is cut off mid-sentence by Becky showing him the empty box. He reveals that eating the fudge gave him an idea to sell fruit cake that his mother baked for five cents apiece. Billy asks Schemer outright if he forced Becky to spend all the money. Schemer denies it amid a chorus from Dan and Kara accusing him that he did.

Schemer is surprised when Becky comes to his defense by saying that he wasn’t responsible as she could have just said no, but got carried away. Schemer begins to rub that fact in, but Billy is not about to let Schemer off the hook. He asks him if he knew that the fudge was intended for Stacy's party. Schemer begins to sulk saying he doesn't care about Stacy's party, especially since he wasn't invited. Billy presses that he does indeed care and that he is invited, leaving Schemer with mixed emotions as Billy confiscates his fruit cakes for the party!

Soon the station is finally decorated and the table is laid out for the party. Our friends duck behind the table as Schemer rings the bell to draw Stacy out of the workshop. She comes out, still annoyed, when the friends leap out to surprise her. Stacy is deeply moved when the kids tell her why they organized the party.

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A deliveryman comes in with a parcel which Schemer recognizes as his. As he opens it, he explains that after eating over 300 boxes of Cowboy Carl's Crunchy Cowpoke cereal, and sending away the box tops and 937 nickels, he is now the proud recipient of a Cowboy Carl official cowboy outfit. Ginny asks him if he'll feel a little cold wearing the skirt that was also in the box. Schemer is dismayed when he realizes that the cereal company mistakenly sent him a cowgirl outfit.

Schemer tells Stacy not to sign for the delivery, but it's too late. Stacy suddenly realizes that the package being delivered means that the trains are running again. The delivery man confirms that they are using Stacy's new schedule that Mr. King has just put into effect. The kids begin to wonder aloud about Stacy's vacation and Billy confirms that Stacy will be able to catch the first train in the morning and be with her sister by noon. As everyone cheers and hugs Stacy, Schemer calls for their attention. He presents Stacy with the Cowboy Carl official cowgirl outfit. Stacy is touched by his generosity which Schemer acknowledges by asking for a contribution. Ginny boldly steps up to him asking what kind of contribution and Schemer abashedly asks for  just a handshake.

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The friends gather around the table to start the party as Mr. Conductor appears beside Becky at the ticket desk dressed in a fancy wizard costume. Becky thanks him for his help and asks him if he'd like some fruit cake. Mr. Conductor replies that 'we' would and Becky asks who else he's referring to. Mr. Conductor spins around saying that ‘they’ were just with him when we see one of his frog friends from Lucy's Leap crawling out of the punch bowl and onto a screaming Schemer's arm!

Episode Morals:

  • We must take responsibility for our mistakes and always be truthful about them.

 

Featured Jukebox Puppet Band Song:

  • Sweet Betsy from Pike

 

Featured Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends Stories:

  • Thomas Saves the Day (Thomas and the Breakdown Train)

  • Down the Mine

Quotes of Note:

  • Schemer: (Convincing Becky to spend her money) What's a nickel? It's barely five cents!

Episode Notes:

  • This is the first episode where Stacy reveals that she has a sister named Tracy who lives in another town.

Washout

Production #31 (2.10) - First Aired: 1991-NOV-29 (US)
Written by Jill Golick
Directed by Gregory Lehane

Summary by  J. Hunter

Episode Characters/Stars:

  • Stacy Jones (Didi Conn)

  • Billy Twofeathers (Tom Jackson)

  • Schemer (Brian O'Connor)

  • Mr. Conductor (George Carlin)

  • Dan Jones (Ari Madger)

  • Kara Cupper (Erica Luttrell)

  • Becky (Danielle Marcot)

  • Felix Perez (Aurelio Padrón)

  • J.B. King (Mart Hulswit)

  • The Jukebox Puppet Band

  • Late Passengers (Larissa Lapchinski and Peter Van Wart)

Episode Synopsis:  A storm is raging across the Indian Valley Railroad, and everyone at Shining Time Station is doing their part to see it through safely. Everyone, that is, except Schemer, who is only looking out for himself. But when an emergency arises, and Schemer’s carelessness makes it worse, Stacy, Billy, and the kids frantically work together to avert a very serious catastrophe. But will it be enough? Find out, as everyone learns an important lesson in cooperation, promises, and “safety first.”

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Detailed Episode Summary: SHOW

As the episode begins, a rumble of thunder signals the presence of stormy weather. Stacy is busily lighting a lantern as all the lights are out at Shining Time Station. But she is relieved that the telephone still works when it starts to ring. It’s J.B. King, superintendent of the Indian Valley Railroad, and they start discussing how the storm is affecting the whole railroad and how each of them is doing their part to ensure that safety is of the utmost importance. After Stacy hangs up, the lights come back on.

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As she blows out the lantern, Mr.Conductor appears telling her to make a wish, then asking what she wished for. Stacy is reluctant at first, but at Mr. Conductor’s insistence, she tells him that she’s wished that they’ll make it through the storm safely. Helpfully, Mr. Conductor uses his magic to reveal a flashlight for Stacy to use. After thanking him, Stacy reminds him to use an umbrella when he goes outside. Mr. Conductor is reluctant, because he gets lost in umbrellas. At this, Stacy produces a little paper umbrella that she got with a glass of lemonade and gives it to him.

After Mr. Conductor vanishes, Billy comes back from his track inspection and announces that the rails won’t hold for long if the storm keeps going. Stacy then tells him that Mr. King called and has told them to keep the trains running. Billy then goes to close any open doors or windows, while Stacy changes the timetable. Dan and Kara then come bounding into the station, commenting on how much it’s raining. Stacy is surprised at their arrival, and kindly tells them that they should have stayed home, to which Kara replies that the storm didn’t start until they were almost at the station.

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Next, Schemer comes into the station, and he’s actually enjoying the bad weather! The reason? To sell umbrellas! He tries to interest Stacy and the kids in buying one, but doesn’t succeed. A few moments later Becky arrives, soaking wet and demanding a refund from the now-laughing Schemer. When Stacy asks why Becky didn’t use the umbrella she bought from Schemer, she’s shocked to see that it’s full of holes when Becky opens it. While Stacy dries Becky, she reprimands Schemer, who attempts to deflect the blame.

At that moment, bus driver Felix Perez arrives with a couple of passengers who wonder if they managed to catch their train. Stacy tells them that they’re in time because their train arrived late due to the weather. Overjoyed by this news, the passengers try to express their thanks to Felix by paying him, but he doesn't want their money. Schemer, on the other hand, is interested in their money, until he's stopped by Stacy. He then tries to sell one of his umbrellas to them, but they walk away.

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Stacy takes Schemer aside, and tells him that it’s not a time for his nonsense but a time for everyone to cooperate. When she asks if she can trust him to help, Schemer reluctantly agrees with one condition; she must check on his supply of Cheese Giggles. Appalled, Stacy tells him that the passengers' safety is more important than his Cheese Giggles, so Schemer decides to check them himself.

As Schemer leaves, Felix comes back into the station and asks if the kids need a ride, to which they kindly turn down, because they want to stay and help Stacy. After Felix leaves, Stacy goes outside to check on things while the kids go to Billy’s workshop. When they arrive, they see that Mr. Conductor is already there, helping Billy. The kids begin to tell him about how Felix just helped some stranded passengers, which reminds Mr.Conductor of when Bertie the Bus had to chase Edward, so that some passengers could catch his train.

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After finishing his story Mr.Conductor sparkles away, while the kids begin to say that nothing good can come from storms. At this, Billy tells them the benefits of storms; without rain, there would be nothing to clean the air or replenish and clean the earth. He then goes into the spiritual side, explaining how the wind, water, sun, and thunderstorms all do their part to make up a “sacred circle,” so that they can have rain. Suddenly, the power goes out again, much to the kids’ dismay. Stacy then comes into the workshop with her flashlight, to see if everyone is alright. After Billy lights a lantern and the kids feel safer, Stacy takes them back into the station, saying that she has the perfect rainy day activity.

Setting the flashlight on the ticket counter, Stacy shows the kids how to make animal puppets using the shadow of their hands. Schemer interrupts and begins playing with the flashlight, scaring the kids in the process. As he continues making fun of them, Schemer accidentally drops the flashlight, and it goes out! The kids now start teasing Schemer about being afraid, while he claims he's not. The lights come back on to reveal Schemer curled up in fear on the Information Desk, still insisting he isn't scared! The kids continue teasing him, so to prove that he’s not afraid of the storm Schemer sticks his head out the window. He pulls his head back in after getting a face full of rain.

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After that, Stacy hands the kids a nickel and tells them to play a song from the Jukebox. Inside the Jukebox, the band is jittery because the lights keep flickering on and off. Didi notices the nickel and the Rex and Tex think they ought to play something loud. A fuse pops, and the band frantically begins to play. Tito, however, is in the mood for something slower and begins playing a different song. The band stops to regain their composure before deciding to play “Cumberland Gap.”

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A little while later, J.B. King arrives and is instantly approached by Schemer, who tries to make it look like he’s in control. Mr. King, of course, doesn’t buy it and demands to know where Stacy is. When Stacy appears, J.B. informs her that since the storm is getting worse, he has cancelled all trains until further notice. He adds that he’s going to be inspecting the line for damage to expedite repairs once the storm is over. Thinking Stacy is about to object, J.B. remains firm, stating that since he’s in charge of the railroad, it’s his job to ensure the safety of the passengers. But then he realizes that Stacy is really asking him what his route will be.

While he’s telling Stacy the route, in which he’ll passing by Shining Time again, she notices that he’s searching the station and asks him what he’s looking for. Rather sheepishly, J.B. admits that he’s looking for “their little friend” (meaning Mr. Conductor), and is worried that he might be swept away by the floodwaters or worse. Stacy reassures him that Mr. Conductor is alright and that he’s been taking great care in making sure that everything is safe. J.B. is relieved at this and leaves to continue his inspection.

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As Stacy wishes J.B. luck, Dan comments on how brave J.B. must be to go back out in that weather, to which Stacy says it’s because he’s doing his part, just like the rest of them. She then tells the kids that she’s going back outside to check on things, and wants them to be with Billy. The kids go to the workshop, only to find Billy on his way out to the storeroom for some emergency flares, in case anything happens. In the workshop, the kids find Mr. Conductor waiting for them. They begin to tell him that the storm is getting worse, and they ask if Sodor ever has storms.

This instantly reminds Mr. Conductor of a story, but the kids are somewhat reluctant to hear it. But when Mr. Conductor assures them that the story ends well, the kids immediately beg him to tell it. After some playful reluctance, Mr. Conductor tells them how Percy braved bad weather to keep a promise he made to Thomas.

When the story is over, the kids hear Billy shout for Schemer and run out of the workshop to discover why; Schemer carelessly left the box of flares out in the storm because there was no room for his Cheese Giggles. But the worst is yet to come, as Stacy comes running into the station with bad news; the bridge just before Shining Time has been washed out, and J.B. King’s train is due any minute! She immediately tries to call the Train Dispatcher, but the phone line is dead. With the flares ruined, Stacy says they need something else to signal the train. Needing something bright that the engineer can see, Billy suggests using a blanket that Schemer is wearing.

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Schemer and the kids begin to point out that it won’t work, but Stacy shows them how they can use the storm to their advantage; the wind will keep the blanket moving, and the flashes of lightning will light it up. With this in mind, Stacy and Billy immediately run back out into the storm, with not a second to lose.

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Schemer and the kids run to the window to see what will happen. Schemer is so scared, he hides behind the Ticket Counter. At that moment, the lights go out again, and the kids grow even more worried. But their worries are soon exchanged for joy, when they see the train pulling to a stop. Stacy’s plan has worked! Soon, Stacy and Billy, along with Mr. King, return to the station, just as the power comes back on. Mr. King is astounded at Stacy's ingenuity and as everyone congratulates each other, Billy begins to notice something; there’s a sound of birds chirping, and the sun is now shining again.

The storm is over! Overjoyed, Schemer sticks his head out the window and takes a deep breath of the fresh air. But Mr. Conductor, rowing along in the water-filled window gutter, tosses a bucket of water into Schemer’s face, and quickly disappears! Amid laughs from everyone, Schemer draws his soaked face back inside as the episode ends.

Episode Morals:

  • Safety is the first concern.

  • Service over self-service.

  • When you work together, you can accomplish anything.

  • A promise is a promise, no matter what.

 

Featured Jukebox Puppet Band Song:

  • Cumberland Gap

 

Featured Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends Stories:

  • Bertie’s Chase

  • Percy’s Promise

Quotes of Note:

  • Schemer: (Singing) Rain, rain, come and stay, so Schemer can make a fortune selling umbrellas!

  • Schemer: (interfering with the kids' shadow puppets) Hey everybody, look! It’s a bird with a boot on its head!

  • J.B. King: The situation is critical, you could say bad!

Episode Notes:

  • Possibly due to time constraints, the opening scene of “Bertie’s Chase” where Edward waits for Bertie at the station was removed. The story would be shown complete on the American VHS “James Goes Buzz Buzz and Other Stories.”

  • When Schemer causes the flashlight to go out during the shadow puppet scene, not only can he can be seen turning it off before dropping it, there is a brief moment between the time the flashlight goes out and the rest of the studio lights go out to completely darken the stage.

  • The flashes of lightning seen inside the workshop imply that there's a window on the viewing audience's side.

Crackpot

Production #32 (2.11) - First Aired: 1991-DEC-16 (US)
Written by Jill Golick
Directed by Stan Swan

Summary by  J. Gratton

Episode Characters/Stars:

  • Stacy Jones (Didi Conn)

  • Billy Twofeathers (Tom Jackson)

  • Schemer (Brian O'Connor)

  • Mr. Conductor (George Carlin)

  • Dan Jones (Ari Madger)

  • Kara Cupper (Erica Luttrell)

  • Becky (Danielle Marcot)

  • The Jukebox Puppet Band

  • Vase Juggling Passenger (Johnny Toronto)

Episode Synopsis:  Everyone at Shining Time Station has a collection that is special to them for their own reasons. Dan collects station tickets from the Indian Valley Line, Becky collects buttons, Kara collects leaves, and Schemer collects combs while Mr. Conductor collects cucumber sandwiches! Kara disobeys Stacy's wishes not to touch her precious tea set collection, and gets into trouble after breaking the teapot. The kids then learn how important it is to respect other people's collections and their feelings for them.

Detailed Episode Summary: SHOW
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Dan enters the station mumbling names from the cards he is carrying in a shoebox. Mr. Conductor appears on the ticket desk and tells Dan if he's going to be calling out station names, he should do it properly and demonstrates. Dan tells him that he was reading the names from his ticket collection and mentions that he's still looking to find one from Eggywegg. Mr. Conductor uses his magic to stand a few tickets on end to have a better look at them, and comments that Dan has most of the stations on the Indian Valley Line, and most of the conductors too.

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Dan is puzzled and Mr. Conductor explains that he can tell which conductor punched the ticket by the shape of the holes as each one is different, much like a signature. Dan is amazed and Mr. Conductor sparkles away just as Kara and Becky appear in the window behind the ticket desk. They come into the station just as they see and hear Stacy descend a ladder from the attic carrying a few boxes.

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Stacy reveals that she was cleaning the attic as Becky shows her and Dan her button collection. Kara, meanwhile is distracted and looks into one of the boxes that Stacy brought down. When she asks about it contents, an alarmed Stacy comes over and asks her not to touch it, saying that it's her tiny china tea set collection that she had as a child. Kara compliments how beautiful the set is and reaches out to touch it, but Stacy won't let her handle the teapot. Stacy reminisces how she used to take her dolls on an imaginary train ride and pretend to go to the dining car for tea, while her old granny would pretend to be the waiter. Stacy still doesn't want to let Kara hold the teapot as it is fragile and very precious to her.

A train whistle is heard and Stacy exclaims that is the 11:43 to Fort Farley, and leaves the box on the station entrance bench beside Kara as she goes out to greet it. Kara tries to reach in the box just as Becky joins her, but Kara defensively states that she was just looking. Billy joins them on the bench and presents a large maple leaf that had flown into his cab to Kara for her leaf collection. After Billy leaves, the girls each say how important their collections are to them, but an argument arises when they don't share the same values for one another's collection. Mr. Conductor appears and shares his opinion that it doesn't matter what each of them collect - as long as it's not straw. The girls exchange befuddled glances and Mr. Conductor explains by telling them the story of how Percy started a straw collection of his own.

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After the story Becky asks Mr. Conductor if he collects anything. He points to his shoe and replies chewing gum, and cucumber sandwiches. The kids are once again puzzled by his answer and Mr. Conductor adds that just thinking about cucumber sandwiches makes him hungry. He informs the girls that he's off to attend an English garden party to collect a few and will arrive just in time for tea as he vanishes.

In the arcade, Schemer has just finished counting and stacking 100 nickels as the kids join him to see if he's interested in seeing their collections. He refuses to and gives a long-winded lecture about his own collection, aside from nickels. The girls are curious and after the build-up and fanfare, Schemer opens his jacket to reveal a number of identical combs. The kids criticize his collection, saying once you've seen one comb, you've seen them all. Stung by their critique, Schemer says that he'll not waste any more time showing it to them, and will spend that time doing something better, like combing his hair. As he reaches out to so, he topples his stack of nickels over as the girls giggle.

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Billy, having overheard the exchange, calls the girls into his workshop. He tells them that they may have hurt Schemer's feelings with their remarks about his comb collection. Becky admits that they didn't mean to, but they did not like Schemer's combs. Billy stresses that Schemer likes his comb collection, when Kara questions what other uses his combs would have other than for combing his hair. Billy asks her if she'd build a nest with the maple leaf he gave her earlier and, as nature clips are shown to the audience, explains that people and animals like and collect all sorts of things for different purposes and reasons.

Outside the workshop, Stacy comes in with her miniature tea set on a tray. She almost drops the tray when Mr. Conductor suddenly appears on the ticket desk. Mr. Conductor tells Stacy about his morning's adventure where he was lucky to escape with his life. Stacy guesses that he went waterskiing with sharks or explored a cave looking for treasure, to which Mr. Conductor insists that it was more dangerous than that. When Stacy guesses that he was climbing the snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas, Mr. Conductor reveals that he was watching lawn croquet at an English lawn party. He was nearly hit a few times by rolling croquet balls as he tried to collect cucumber sandwiches, and was forced to leave before the tea was served. A sympathetic Stacy then pours him a tiny cup of tea from her miniature teapot and offers it to a grateful Mr. Conductor. Stacy then shows him three old flower vases that she found in the attic. When the dust from one causes Stacy to sneeze, Mr. Conductor offers to clean it by climbing down inside of it.

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Just then, a group of passengers arrive and a man's attention is drawn to the vases. He begins to juggle them while Stacy cries out in concern as she knows Mr. Conductor is inside one of them! After his performance he hands them back to a relieved Stacy, telling her that one of them was heavier than the rest. As soon as the man leaves Stacy asks Mr. Conductor if he's all right. He says that he will be as soon as he regains his balance. Stacy offers him another cup of tea, but Mr. Conductor tells her that he's going back to the lawn party where the only thing he needs to worry about are croquet balls, and disappears from inside the vase.

In the arcade, Becky is asking Kara questions about her leaf collection. Behind them Dan cries that he left a ticket from his collection behind on the ticket counter. Kara offers to get it for him, but once there, notices Stacy's tea set and picks up the teapot. Schemer walks up behind her and startles her into dropping the teapot where it shatters on the station floor. Stacy hears the noise and dashes out of the workshop. Mourning the loss of her teapot, a livid Stacy shouts at Kara that she forbade her to touch her tea set. When Kara runs away, Stacy asks Schemer if she was too hard on Kara. Schemer replies that she taught Kara a lesson that she's going to try and forget for the rest of her life, which doesn't comfort Stacy in the slightest.

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Back in the arcade Dan and Becky hear Schemer approaching and begin cleaning up their collections. Schemer berates them for the mess and rushes them out. Satisfied with himself, Schemer puts a nickel in the jukebox to play a tune. Inside, the band members comment how angry and upset Stacy was about her broken teapot. Tito says that he'd also be upset if something happened to his nickels. Rex asks what is so special about them and Tito replies that they're his collection; he likes to look at, touch and count them and loves the look on Schemer's face when he looks into the jukebox collection box and finds it empty. The band shares a good laugh and they decide to play "The Ballad of John Henry." As the band plays, Becky and Dan clean up the station.

In the workshop, Stacy paces back and forth as Billy repairs the teapot. Billy tries to reassure her by saying that it's natural for kids to touch things and for adults to yell. Stacy explains that the tea set means a lot to her for all those years of playing pretend with her grandmother. Billy points out that she still has the memories, making Stacy realize that her memories won't go away because a tea set is broken. Billy adds that memories can't be broken as he hands the repaired teapot to her, saying that it's as good as new except for the cracks. A grateful Stacy offers that the cracks will remind her of today and thanks Billy for repairing it.

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In the station, Kara thinks that Stacy hates her, and Dan corrects her saying that his aunt is only mad at her. Kara suddenly begins to search for the leaf that Billy gave her, and Becky confesses that she may have thrown it out while she and Dan were cleaning the station. Kara becomes upset and Dan offers to get her another one. Becky doesn't know why Kara is so upset over a leaf since they're friends. Kara walks away sulkily replying that she has no friends.

Mr. Conductor appears outside the signal box saying how great it is not to have friends, and offers Kara a cucumber sandwich. Kara declines and asks him why not having friends would be so great. Mr. Conductor tells her to think how many problems it saves; no one to hurt your feelings, no gifts to be heartbroken over or lose, and that friends never accidentally throw things out or break things. Kara tries to explain that the situation with Stacy's teapot was different, but Mr. Conductor interrupts to say he thought she was referring to Henry the green engine, and tells her about what happened to his special forest. After the story Kara says that she's happy that Henry's forest grew back. Mr. Conductor muses that forests grow back and so do leaves, but friendships can't grow back once they are broken., and that is why we always have to take care of them.

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Kara wistfully says tea sets can't grow at all just as Stacy approaches. She shows the repaired teapot to Kara, who apologizes and promises never to touch something that she's told not to. Stacy accepts Kara's apology, saying that she likes the cracks as they add character to the teapot and makes her think of all of her friends. Mr. Conductor jokingly objects, asking Stacy if she's calling him a crackpot. He disappears just as Dan and Becky rush in. Dan is carrying an armful of leaves saying that he couldn't decide which one to pick for her leaf collection. Becky gives Kara one of her buttons as a peace offering. Dan and Becky begin telling Stacy about their own collections and the episode ends with Stacy asking to see Kara's leaf collection first.

Episode Morals:

  • Everyone collects something that is more special to them personally than it may be to us.

  • We must have respect for other people's collections and the memories they hold for the collector.

 

Featured Jukebox Puppet Band Song:

  • The Ballad of John Henry

 

Featured Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends Stories:

  • Wooly Bear

  • Henry's Forest

Quotes of Note:

  • Schemer: Children. Ain't they so childish!

Episode Notes:

  • This episode establishes that Shining Time Station has an attic whose trap-door is located at the front of the station. Access to the attic can only be made by 12 foot + long ladder.

Yabba, Yabba, Yabba

Production #33 (2.12) - First Aired: 1991-DEC-17 (US)
Written by Ellis Weiner
Directed by Stan Swan

Summary by  J. Gratton

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Episode Characters/Stars:

  • Stacy Jones (Didi Conn)

  • Billy Twofeathers (Tom Jackson)

  • Schemer (Brian O'Connor)

  • Mr. Conductor (George Carlin)

  • Dan Jones (Ari Madger)

  • Kara Cupper (Erica Luttrell)

  • Becky (Danielle Marcot)

  • Schemee (Jonathan Shapiro)

  • The Jukebox Puppet Band

Episode Synopsis:  Schemee's chronic lack of respect for other people's privacy reaches a new height when he plants walkie-talkies all over the station to eavesdrop on conversations. The kids are torn whether they should tell Billy and Stacy on him, but Mr. Conductor's advice inspires the kids to catch Schemee in his own lies.

Detailed Episode Summary: SHOW

The episode opens with Mr. Conductor sitting on the information booth making an entry in his diary. He saw three cows grazing in a field on his way back from Doodlehaven, and asks why cows' milk is white and not green like the grass they eat. Mr. Conductor also asks if fish sleep as he writes the question into the diary. He ends the entry by writing that these are private questions meant only for the diary, and then vanishes.

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At the ticket counter, Stacy is having a telephone conversation about someone being concerned for their safety in a rodeo. Stacy ends her conversation by assuring the caller that what was said between the two of them will remain private. As she hangs up, the postcard rack begins to spin revealing that Schemee was eavesdropping on the conversation. He unabashedly asks Stacy what she was talking about. Taken aback, Stacy asks if his mother ever taught him not to pry into other people's affairs. Schemee replies that she did, but coyly adds that he never listens to his mother. Stacy relents and tells him that she was speaking with her sister Tracy about her new boyfriend, and that is all she is going to say. As Stacy walks away, Schemee says he can figure out the rest.

Becky and Dan enter the station, but Schemee cuts them off at the information booth asking what they're up to. Dan says that Billy is going to show them how to make walkie-talkies out of tin cans and string. Becky asks Schemee if he'd like to make one too, but Schemee wheezes a laugh like his uncle and walks off laughing, saying that what they're doing is for kids.

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Mr. Conductor appears wearing a costume and wooden clogs and the kids ask him why Schemee is such a pain. Mr. Conductor says that Schemee is rather full of himself just like Diesel, and tells them about what happened when the devious engine arrived on Sodor. After the story, the kids are curious about what happened to Diesel the next day, but Mr. Conductor tells them that the story will have to wait. He's off to Cloggyville to do some clog dancing, and sparkles away.

Later in the workshop, Billy is showing the kids how to make a string and tin can telephone. The kids have great fun testing it out and ask Billy how people used to communicate before they had telephones. Billy explains that the trainmen would use lanterns and whistles to mean different things. He asks Dan to bring him his tribal drum to demonstrate how some people used drums to communicate with one another.

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Schemee enters the station carrying a briefcase and is attracted to the noise coming out of the workshop. He peeks in and rolls his eyes in disbelief as he conceals himself behind the door to eavesdrop. The kids rush out with their new toy and Schemee follows them. Dan demonstrates how their new walkie-talkie works, but Schemee boasts that he has real walkie-talkies in his briefcase, and pulls one out to show them how it works. The kids are impressed, but tell Schemee that they like theirs better since they made it themselves. A mail bag suddenly arrives, and Becky finds a letter addressed to her from her pen pal Maria from the Andes. As Becky is about to read the letter, Schemee snatches it and runs to the arcade with her in pursuit shouting at him to give it back. He dodges her attempts to reclaim it and tries to read it.

Stacy and Schemer enter the station and Stacy asks what's causing all of the commotion. Schemee gives the letter back to Becky who mutters an exasperated "thank you." Schemer accuses Becky of directing a sarcastic remark toward his favorite nephew while Stacy asks Becky what happened. Becky answers that nothing happened while Schemee insists that he was only trying to help Becky open her letter. The kids come to Becky's defense to say in unison that he wasn't. Schemee and the kids then begin shouting accusations and denials at one another. Stacy tells them to settle down, telling Becky that she has her letter back, and that Schemee should know what "private" means. As Stacy walks away, Schemee shouts back that he wasn't going to tell anybody what was in the letter. The kids' argument is about to begin anew when Schemer takes his nephew into the arcade for a "private" talk.

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Schemee denies doing anything wrong other than wanting to read Becky's mail. Opting to change the subject, Schemer decides to tell Schemee about his belief that the station is haunted. Schemee is skeptical as his uncle tries to describe what he's heard and seen: things that were in one place suddenly appearing somewhere else, spooky noises and people talking to walls. To lighten the mood, he offers to play a jukebox song, but with one of Schemee's nickels. As soon as it's inserted, Rex & Tex lead a foot-stomping rendition of "Old Dan Tucker."

After the song, Schemer finds Schemee inserting a walkie-talkie into the top of one of the arcade machines. When Schemer asks if he's leaving the walkie-talkies turned on to bug the arcade. Schemee makes up an excuse that he is not bugging people but rather trying to listen for ghosts in order to get proof to be reported to "anti-ghost authorities." Schemer laughs and compliments his nephew's genius being second only to his own as he leaves.

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Schemee sets up a listening post amongst the luggage in the Lost & Found. Wearing earphones, Schemee listens with glee to Stacy's phone conversation, with a walkie-talkie hidden in the postcard rack. Schemee switches to a different planted walkie-talkie when he sees the kids enter the station. The kids immediately notice the walkie-talkie in the postcard rack, and find another one hidden in the information booth where Billy was helping a passenger. The kids confront Schemee who quickly removes the earphones. Becky accuses him of using the walkie-talkies to listen in on everyone's private conversations. Schemee challenges them by asking what they're going to do about it and dares them to tell Stacy and Billy. The kids leave struggling about what to do while Schemee resumes his eavesdropping.

Mr. Conductor is lying in a hammock and calls out to the kids. They warn him about a walkie-talkie planted nearby that may have heard him. He quickly covers it with a blanket and we see Schemee removing his headphones as he now only hears static. The kids tell Mr. Conductor what Schemee has done and he asks if they've told on him yet. Becky explains that they couldn't; they know what he's doing is wrong, but don't want to become a bunch of tattletales. Mr. Conductor says that the situation sounds a lot like what happened to Percy and Duck with Diesel and tells them the story. Afterward, Mr. Conductor explains that nobody likes a tattletale, but if they see someone doing something dangerous, they should be sensible and tell a grown-up immediately. Mr. Conductor adds that people who lie usually get found out, and sometimes a lie needs a little nudge to bring it out into the open. The kids interpret Mr. Conductor's advice as meaning that they need to trick Schemee. Mr. Conductor then takes the blanket off the walkie-talkie and sparkles away.

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The kids whisper to one another and, while Schemee listens intently, concoct a conversation about toys being hidden in the station. The kids then announce that they'll look for the toys once they return, and depart. Schemee immediately begins ransacking the luggage in the Lost & Found looking for the hidden toys. The pace increases to fast-motion accompanied by a ragtime piano piece as Schemee proceeds to make a mess of the arcade (startling the jukebox puppets), dumps brochures and papers out of the information booth, and searches Billy's workshop. When Schemee crawls beneath the workbench, Mr. Conductor appears in the workshop and uses his magic to put everything back the way it was. Schemee crawls out and is shocked to see that the mess he had made earlier is no longer there. Believing that the station really is haunted, he grabs Billy's drum and begins to bang on it loudly while yelling for help.

Schemer comes running in, asking Schemee what's the matter. Schemee explains how the mess he made while looking for the hidden toys has suddenly cleared up while no one else was in the station at the time, and admits to his uncle that the station is indeed haunted. When Schemer asks him if he heard any ghostly evidence on the walkie-talkies, Schemee confesses that he didn't plant the walkie-talkies for ghosts, but instead wanted to spy on people. Schemer gives him a stern look and tells his nephew how disappointed he is. Schemer decides to punish Schemee by using his comb to flatten out Schemee's curl. As Schemee yelps, Stacy comes in with the other kids and asks what's going on. Schemer tells Stacy that he has just punished Schemee for leaving the walkie-talkies on all over the place and that he should be taking better care of such sophisticated equipment before sending him off to retrieve them.

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Schemer informs Stacy and the kids that Schemee is now a believer that the station is haunted, and asks them if they believe it too. They answer that they don't and Stacy quips that it's only haunted when Schemer is around. Schemer is irritated when the friends laugh and Mr. Conductor suddenly appears behind Schemer on the ticket counter and calls out to him by name. The friends are amused as a startled Schemer looks behind him just as Mr. Conductor vanishes. Schemer attempts to recover his composure, calling after Schemee that he has a lot to learn and exits the station, bumping his head on the archway as the episode ends.

Episode Morals:

  • Always respect other people's privacy.

  • Telling on someone who is doing something wrong is not being a tattletale; it's being sensible.

 

Featured Jukebox Puppet Band Song:

  • Old Dan Tucker (arranged by Larry Wolf and Stephen Horelick for Oasis Music Inc.)

 

Featured Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends Stories:

  • Pop Goes the Diesel

  • Diesel Does it Again

Quotes of Note:

  • Schemer: (to Schemee) We are surrounded by people who are not normal in the normal sense.

Episode Notes:

  • This is the second episode to mention Stacy Jones' sister, Tracy.

  • Schemer once again professes his belief that the station is haunted, only this time, his nephew Schemee is also convinced.

  • When Mr. Conductor magically shuts the drawers to the filing cabinet in Billy's workshop, wires can be seen on their handles.

  • This episode appears to have been taped alongside the final scene of The Magic is Believing as the entire cast are wearing the same clothes. ~contributed by Daniel Celano

Nickel in a Pickle

Production #34 (2.13) - First Aired: 1991-DEC-18 (US)
Written by Wilson Coneybeare
Directed by Gregory Lehane

Summary by  J. Gratton

Episode Characters/Stars:

  • Stacy Jones (Didi Conn)

  • Billy Twofeathers (Tom Jackson)

  • Schemer (Brian O'Connor)

  • Mr. Conductor (George Carlin)

  • Dan Jones (Ari Madger)

  • Kara Cupper (Erica Luttrell)

  • Becky (Danielle Marcot)

  • Barton Winslow (Gerard Parkes)

  • Ginny (Barbara Hamilton)

  • The Jukebox Puppet Band

  • Customer (Peter Wildman)

  • Stunt Double for Barton on Motorcycle (Cotton Maher)

Episode Synopsis:  Schemer is incapacitated after getting a splinter of wood in his thumb, and local general store owner Barton Winslow is hired on by Schemer's mother to take care of the arcade. Under Barton's care, the arcade quickly becomes more popular and successful than ever before. Schemer becomes jealous, which leads him to have one accident after another as he spies on Winslow's success.

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Detailed Episode Summary: SHOW

The kids are at the information booth watching the trains going by without stopping at the station. Becky explains that it's because repairs are being made to the signals down the line. Dan says that his Aunt Stacy hasn't sold a train ticket all day, but Schemer has no shortage of customers visiting his arcade.

The kids watch as Schemer carries an old-fashioned cash register through his crowded arcade telling his patrons to watch their backs and spend their nickels. When the kids ask Schemer about the cash register, he implies that he found it at the garbage dump and reminds them that with enough nickels they can do just about anything. He's about to look at the nickels collected so far in his cash register when it jams. Frustrated, Schemer pushes too hard on a lever which springs the cash drawer open and sends him careening backwards onto the station floor.

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Everyone comes running to Schemer's aid, and he claims to be okay until he looks at his thumb and sees a splinter. He begins to wail in pain and recoils from Stacy when she tries to get a better look at his injury. Schemer gets up and runs off crying for his mother. Stacy comments that Schemer must be really hurt, and when Billy asks how she can be so sure, Stacy replies loudly because he left the cash drawer open. Schemer runs back into the arcade just long enough to close the cash drawer.

Later, Mr. Conductor appears dressed as a doctor asking the kids about the accident. When they tell him that Schemer got a splinter, Mr. Conductor says that it's not nearly as bad as what happened to Thomas when he had his big accident. The kids are curious, so Mr. Conductor tells them the story of when Thomas crashed into the stationmaster's house during breakfast. After the story Becky shares that what happened to Thomas was like what happened to Schemer; he was so full of himself because his arcade was doing well, that he wasn't careful and had an accident. Mr. Conductor agrees, but has a feeling that they haven't seen the last of Schemer's accidents. He vanishes as the phone rings and Stacy comes out of the workshop to answer it.

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The caller is Mrs. Schemer informing Stacy that her son won't be able to come back to work because his thumb hurts too much. Just then a loud rumbling sound is heard as Schemer's mother tells Stacy that she's hired someone to take care of the arcade in the meantime. It turns out to be Barton Winslow, who drives his motorcycle right into the station. After exchanging greetings, Stacy asks Barton who will be minding his general store while he's taking care of the arcade. Barton replies, in hip talk, that "currently my establishment is being slapped with a new jacket." This statement confuses the kids and Stacy interprets for their benefit that Barton's store is getting a new coat of paint. Barton removes his leather jacket and his demeanor suddenly becomes serious as he assumes the role of the arcade's new proprietor.

Inside the jukebox, Didi wants to throw a party to celebrate Schemer's departure. Tito disagrees as he feels that would be celebrating Schemer's misfortune, but as soon as everyone's agrees to his point of view, he suggests throwing a party anyway!

Billy comes into the station to find the kids moping around on the platform entrance steps and asks if they are trying to collect dust. Dan tries to explain that they were going to play arcade games and points out to Billy that it's not like the old arcade since Barton took over. Billy glances over and we see that the arcade now features produce and dry goods for sale amongst the machines. Billy tells the children that it's only Barton's way of keeping things going the best way he knows how, and he's just doing things a little differently than what they're used to. He reassures them that things will be okay as he goes into his workshop. Heeding Billy's advice, the kids decide to give the new arcade a chance, but are intercepted by Barton telling them to stay out of the way as he waxes the floor. The kids then begin to second guess what Billy said.

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Back inside the jukebox, the band members are debating what musical theme to start their party off with. Each want something that's big, real cool and smooth, and foot-stomping fun. Tito decides to combine all three ideas and the band plays a lively party-mix version of "My Bonnie Lies over the Ocean." Outside, Barton is annoyed by the music and figures out how to stop it by unplugging the jukebox, leaving the band in total darkness!

Later, the kids are near the ticket counter when Schemer enters the station disguised as a Mexican tourist asking for directions to Chubby Corners. The kids immediately recognize him and ask him why he's dressed up. They trip him up by making him admit that he's in disguise. As the kids laugh, a foiled Schemer complains that he spent his entire nap time putting the costume together. He asks how they recognized him, and the quick-thinking kids say that it was the bandaged thumb that gave him away. Billy happens to walk by and greets Schemer by name making him hang his head in disappointment for his ineffective disguise. The kids ask him once again why he's disguised and Becky asks if he's spying on someone. Schemer denies this, and makes up an excuse that his clothes were damp and he was merely drying them off by walking around. As he makes his way towards his arcade, Schemer's surprised to discover a wooden pen containing chickens at the entrance.

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Schemer asks aloud what bananas, boots and chickens are doing in the arcade. The kids join him and Dan tells him that Barton has combined his general store with the arcade. Barton arrives and asks the disguised Schemer if he can help him by providing change for the arcade or if he's interested in buying a pair or work shoes. Schemer asks why shoes are being sold in an arcade, and Barton informs him that the general store aspect of the arcade is proving popular and is making much more money than when Schemer was running things. Schemer is shocked and says that he's not interested in anything and must be on his way. Schemer only pretends to leave and sneaks up onto the station bench and into the arcade as Barton departs, swearing that he's seen that face somewhere before. Schemer complains about the arcade's waxed floor when he slips on it and lands on his rear. As the concerned kids gather around him, he screams that he's hurt his toe and again rushes out of the station, tripping once more while crying out for his mommy.

The kids run into the workshop to tell Billy that there is something wrong with Schemer, adding that he seems sad now that Barton is running the arcade. Billy thinks that Schemer is more jealous than sad but Becky doesn't understand why Schemer would feel jealous if Barton is making more nickels for him. Billy explains that Schemer loves to make nickels, but also takes pride in the arcade and loves to run it his way. Becky supposes that with Barton's changes, Schemer feels that the arcade no longer belongs to him. Billy agrees, adding that the better Winslow does, the worse Schemer is going to get.

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Barton is busy with customers in the arcade when Schemer returns, this time disguised as an old engineer with a cane and a cast on his left foot. He stops a customer who tells him that the new arcade is a lot of fun. Schemer asks the customer if he remembers how much more fun it was when the previous owner ran it, but the man doesn't remember a "Schemer." Schemer persists and the man eventually does remember, saying that he recalls Schemer being crazy and very pushy. The man adds that the old arcade did not sell anything useful and that it's much better the way it's run now. As the customer leaves, Schemer denies he's crazy and swings his cane around to hit him but misses. Billy walks by again and casually exchanges greetings with Schemer. A flustered Schemer swings his cane at Billy but misses him too. In frustration Schemer slams the cane end down hard hitting his foot and runs out of the station yelping.

The kids are later seen with Mr. Conductor telling him how Schemer fell down and hurt his foot. Mr. Conductor deduces that Schemer is bringing this on himself. Kara asks if the accidents are happening because Schemer is not being careful. Mr. Conductor suggests that Schemer has a case of the "sorry for himself blues." Dan argues that it can't be true as Schemer doesn't have feelings. Mr. Conductor explains that everyone has feelings and that people need to feel useful. It reminds him of how Thomas worked himself up when Bertie ferried his passenger while his branch line was being repaired. After the story, Becky surmises that Schemer felt exactly like Thomas did. Mr. Conductor concurs but when a horn is heard, he announces that Ginny and the bus have arrived and disappears.

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Ginny enters the station carrying a moaning Schemer in a wheelbarrow. Ginny explains that she saw Schemer scream and jump into prickle bushes after the bus blew its horn at him. Stacy asks Schemer why he's not at home resting his injuries and he groans that he wanted to see the arcade one last time before he sells it. Everyone is surprised and Schemer explains that Winslow called his mother offering to buy the arcade. The kids and Stacy try to make Schemer understand that they liked the way he ran the arcade better, and that "Schemer’s Arcade" is not an arcade without him. This invigorates Schemer and he orders Ginny to dump him out of the wheelbarrow.

Schemer goes over Winslow to rebuke him for calling his mommy with the notion of buying the arcade, and that he wouldn't take his $1.95 even if he was down to his last nickel. Schemer hobbles up to the arcade and declares that there will be no more cabbages, no more bananas, no more bread and no more leather as he hands Barton his jacket. Barton fires back that if Schemer can't see that people would rather buy useful things than waste their money on silly machines, then it's his problem. Schemer retorts that anybody can sell useful things, but that it takes a genius to sell non-useful things, and is proud to say that this is his non-useful arcade. Winslow tells him that he can have the arcade back and they shake on it.

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Stacy asks Barton if he's okay with giving the arcade back to Schemer. As he puts on his leather jacket and switches back to hip talk, Barton replies that "he's chilled, real cool 'cuz they just dialed to say that they've just finished slapping paint on my store and that it's aces man, aces!" before departing on his motorcycle. Ginny also bids everyone farewell and leaves with her wheelbarrow.

Stacy notices that the trains are beginning to stop at the station again, meaning that the signals have been repaired. She calls out to the children telling them that they have to get ready for the passengers. Schemer is busy in the arcade clearing out Barton’s goods, while removing his cast and bandages. The episode ends as he tells Becky that he's back in charge and presses the cash register's lever, triggering the cash drawer to open and sending him tumbling once again!

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Episode Morals:

  • Everyone feels jealous at times, but we must learn how to deal and overcome these feelings as they can become destructive.

 

Featured Jukebox Puppet Band Song:

  • My Bonnie lies Over the Ocean (arranged by Larry Wolf)

 

Featured Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends Stories:

  • Thomas Comes to Breakfast

  • Thomas Gets Bumped

Quotes of Note:

  • Schemer: Always remember Schemer's System of Success; Never buy anything that you might be able to find for free in a garbage dump.

  • Mr. Conductor: Sorry for himself blues can be the worse kind of illness. No doctor can cure it either; the cure comes from inside you.

Episode Notes:

  • Cotton Mather's name is seen in the closing credits as a stunt double. In this episode Cotton drives Barton's motorcycle inside of the station. Brian O'Connor always performed his own prat falls.

  • You'll notice that Barton's manner of speaking always switches to 1950s slang whenever he puts on his leather jacket.

  • Continuity error: Poor Schemer's thumb injury can't be that serious. When it first happens, he holds up his right thumb. Later, in his Mexican guise, his left thumb is bandaged. When he returns dressed as an engineer, the bandage is back on his right thumb!

  • Continuity error: When Mr. Conductor greets Dan, Kara and Becky by telling a Thomas story called "Thomas Comes to Breakfast", they're in Schemer's arcade. But after the story, they're at the ticket booth. ~ contributed by Daniel Celano

Stop the Press

Production #35 (2.14) - First Aired: 1991-DEC-19 (US)
Written by Sean Kelly
Directed by Stan Swan

Summary by  J. Gratton

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Episode Characters/Stars:

  • Stacy Jones (Didi Conn)

  • Billy Twofeathers (Tom Jackson)

  • Schemer (Brian O'Connor)

  • Mr. Conductor (George Carlin)

  • Dan Jones (Ari Madger)

  • Kara Cupper (Erica Luttrell)

  • Becky (Danielle Marcot)

  • Mayor Flopdinger (Jerome Dempsey)

  • Midge Smoot (Bobo Lewis)

  • The Jukebox Puppet Band

  • Jake Scoop (Jake Schultz)

  • Mime Passenger (Yo-el Cassell - uncredited)

Episode Synopsis:  Indian Valley Gazette reporter Jake Scoop inspires the kids to create their own newspaper, "The Shining Times." After interviewing Stacy, Schemer, Billy, Mayor Flopdinger and Midge Smoot, the kids use their imaginations to make the stories more interesting to readers. As soon as copies of the first edition of "The Shining Times" are distributed, the kids learn a valuable lesson about the difference between reporting and creative writing.

Detailed Episode Summary: SHOW

As the episode opens, Mr. Conductor is reading a newspaper with a little white dog sitting on his lap. From his comments, it appears he's referring to the news stories, but they're actually directed at the newspaper comic strips! Meanwhile, in the Station's Lost and Found, Dan, Kara and Becky are making hats out of newspapers. At the ticket counter a mime approaches with his luggage. Stacy deduces from his gestures that he wants a train ticket to Lucy's Leap and when he leaves to catch his train, Billy and Stacy resume updating the Station's timetable as a train arrives.

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Passengers make their way into the station, one of them being Indian Valley Gazette reporter Jake Scoop who goes over to speak to the kids. He grabs the newspaper hat off of Dan's head and points out one of his bylines written on it: "Mayor of East Shemp Seeks Re-election." The kids are impressed that something he'd written was published and read by people. Midge Smoot arrives and is both pleased and surprised to see Jake Scoop at the station, thinking there's important bad news to share. Jake says that not all news stories concern bad news and asks Midge if she has any news of her own to share. They both walk off as Midge begins to share some gossip about her friend Ginny from Farmers Dell.

Dan contemplates how neat it is to work for a newspaper when Becky suggests that they start their own, and the kids settle on the title "The Shining Times." Their attention is suddenly drawn to Mr. Conductor bouncing up and down on a bent railroad signal arm. He asks for their help to fix it and after the kids straighten the arm, Mr. Conductor tells them the story about when Percy had trouble with signals after making up stories to the other engines. Afterwards, Mr. Conductor explains that it wasn't Percy's made-up stories that caused him problems, but from Percy trying to convince others that the stories were true. Mr. Conductor thanks the kids once again for repairing the signal arm and vanishes away with it. The kids then earnestly begin to work on their newspaper.

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Kara starts by interviewing Schemer about his work and mother. Dan is interviewing Billy about his Lakota heritage. Billy mentions that Sitting Bull was a chief of the Standing Rock Lakota Sioux. Becky, meanwhile, interviews Midge Smoot about what she thinks about the Mayor and if she likes him. Midge replies that she does since she voted for him. Kara interviews Stacy about the station's history and finds out that her grandmother, Gracie Jones, was its first Station Manager. As Stacy is about to share another anecdote, Schemer interrupts the conversation to give Kara an autographed photo of himself to include with his interview. Lastly, Becky asks Mayor Flopdinger if he likes Midge Smoot and the Mayor says that he likes everyone who votes for him.

An hour later, the kids sort through their collection of stories. Becky says that they're boring, using the story of the Mayor liking Midge Smoot as an example. To make the story more interesting, Kara suggests that they change it to the Mayor and Midge Smoot being in love. Becky takes it one step further by changing the story to say that Midge Smoot will marry the mayor. When Dan mentions that they didn't say that, Becky alters the story to read that the Mayor might marry Midge Smoot, but she doesn't want to. The kids' imaginations start to run wild as they change Schemer's comments about his "Mommy" to say that he's very mad at her. Dan thinks that Stacy's grandmother would not like Schemer, when Kara adds that Stacy probably doesn't like Schemer and embellishes it with the opinion that Stacy wants to kick Schemer out of the station. They also take liberties with Billy's story to claim that he's actually Chief Sitting Bull's grandson. Dan offers to play a jukebox selection to celebrate the upcoming success of their newspaper. The band then plays "Tennessee Central No. 9" during which the children deliver the first edition of the Shining Times to everyone.

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After the song, Midge Smoot, having read her article, slaps Mayor Flopdinger with the newspaper telling him sternly that she wouldn't marry him if even he was the last mayor on earth. The Mayor tries to defend himself by claiming that he was misquoted, and worries that Mrs. Flopdinger will never speak to him again. However, Midge doesn't accept his explanation and storms off. Next, Schemer confronts Stacy about what she said in the article about wanting to kick him out. Stacy denies it but Schemer insists that it must be true since it's in print. Stacy counters that Schemer's statement about him being very mad at his mommy must also be true and points it out in the article. Schemer is shocked and runs off in a panic, fearing that his mother will read the article. The kids overhear the conflict and decide to speak with their interviewed subjects in an attempt to clear things up before they get angry.

Dan goes to speak to Stacy who comments about their creative writing. She reads off the headlines: "Romance in Bloom," "Family Quarrels," and "Famous Indian Chiefs." Dan confesses that they didn't want their stories to be boring and thought creative writing is good. Stacy explains that there's a big difference between making a story up and reporting the facts. Stacy uses the time she and Dan went to see a movie as an example, and asks him to help her write a report. An animated version of a visit to a drive-in theater is shown as Stacy reports on the story using exaggerated descriptions, which Dan quickly corrects with factual information. She stops when Dan tells her that her vivid descriptions are beginning to scare him, and he finally gets the point that Stacy was trying to make.

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Meanwhile, Kara and Becky are in the workshop where Billy points out the inaccuracies in his article. Kara asks if Billy doesn't like her any more, which would mean that she can never become an engineer like him. Billy tells her that they made a mistake and clarifies that although he is Sioux, he's not Sitting Bull's grandson, even if it says so in the newspaper. Mr. Conductor appears behind Billy and waves to the kids as Billy excuses himself to the kids and, surprisingly, also to Mr. Conductor. Dan enters the workshop worried that they're all in trouble. Mr. Conductor reassures them that everything will be all right, and wishes that Dan heard what Billy just told Becky and Kara about making mistakes and learning something from them. He goes on to say that Thomas just found that out for himself and tells them the story of when Thomas left a train full of passengers behind at the station. After the story Mr. Conductor explains that people are very understanding of mistakes, as long as you learn from them and don't repeat them. He then disappears in a sparkle of gold dust.

Outside the worksh