Here, former SHINING TIME STATION cast and crew share behind-the-scenes glimpses of the sets and taping locations.
Once Upon a Time
Courtesy of Rick Parker
Both Rick Parker and his horse, Hilda were in the SHINING TIME STATION Family Special: Once Upon a Time. As Rick explains below...
I doubled Ed Begley in western gear racing along side the train on my chestnut quarter horse mare Hilda. I proceeded to jump on the train and she continued running. This took place in Tottenham , Ont.
She is now 33 years of age. Enjoying retired life on the farm.
Rick Parker (2013-02-26)
BTS of the SHINING TIME STATION Family Special: Once upon a Time
left to right : assistant wrangler; Brian Roworth, actor Ed Begley jr. stunt double Rick Parker, horse Hilda (owner Rick Parker). Picture taken in Tottenham , Ont. in 1994.
Photo courtesy Rick Parker (with our thanks)
One of the Family /Queen for a Day
Courtesy of Bentley Miller
Bentley Miller's work with SHINING TIME STATION began as a Gaffer in Seasons 2-3, then as a Lighting Designer for the Family Specials and Mr. Conductor's Thomas Tales. Bentley shares photos he had taken behind-the-scenes during the taping of the Family Specials: One of the Family, and Queen for a Day. Many thanks, Bentley, for sharing these with us for all fans to see! (2013-08)
SHINING TIME STATION set during the taping of Queen for a Day (1995)
photo courtesy of Bentley Miller
One of the Family
Kara (Erica Luttrell) on basement set ~photo courtesy Bentley Miller (2013)
Queen for a Day
Candid shot of Bobo Lewis & Barbara Hamilton with Penny (Queenie) ~Photo courtesy Bentley Miller (2013)
What's behind the station wall?
Where and how the characters entered the station from the 'platform' has always been a bit of a mystery. Bentley provides us with an idea of what lay beyond our line of sight. In his own words...
"As far as the BTS of the platform it was very uncomplicated. I will describe it here (ed. refer to drawing below). The wings of the set extended another 10' beyond what you could see on camera. There were simple steps that allowed the actors to enter/exit. As the set mostly filled the studio there was very little additional space for characters. So, they waited in place off-stage for their entrance or exited off stage and waited for cut to be called. Behind the window on the platform we constructed a Zoetrope."
"A Zoetrope is basically a slotted wheel mounted on a stand. We shone a light through the Zoetrope to indicate trains coming and going into the station. The Zoetrope was hand operated by a stage hand and the light was controlled from our lighting console."
"The Zoetrope was about 2' across. The shape of the light came from the angle of the light source. It was situated slightly below the bottom of the window. Speed, direction and rotation were determined by the script and the operator. The pickets were uniform, about 4" across 8 " high. At the time we gave this effect a lot of thought to get it right. But now, so many years down to road it is difficult to remember with clarity what we said. We did get it right though, mostly. No one is perfect!"
"The light was slightly below to create the skewing effect of the train movement. The Zoetrope was affixed to an axle of sorts so that it spun on axis. I can't remember exactly the axle construction , but it was simple. Simple is best theory. Less like to fail during a take. This was mounted on a base so that it performed like a turntable."
"The window pane shadows that you see on the wall and on the floor were gobos (steel patterns projected from an ellipsoidal projector) of window patterns. There were used to create interest by breaking up the surface texture of the wall, indicating that there was light coming from an unknown/unexplained source.We were trying to create the illusion of light from a source that the audience never saw."
A rare angle-view from Season-1's Does it Bite where stairs can be seen leading downward left of the station exit
About the Station's Floor
Shining Time Station's floor has a rather distinct patterned look. The floor's detail can barely be discerned in most episodes, but can be clearly seen in a close-up shot of the banjo player's feet in the first episode of the series - A place Unlike Any Other (as seen below).
The pattern seen above resembles that of the concrete patio/walkway paver stone style that was popular in the 1980s known as Cambridge and/or Excalibur cobble. However, it’s obvious that no paver stones were actually laid onto the studio set's floor!
Additional rare close-up shots of the floor’s texture and pattern can be seen in Season 1’s Happy Accidents,.which reveals that the floor is of manufactured design rolled linoleum/vinyl.
By comparison the floor's texture is different between Seasons 1 and 2, as seen below in Season 2's A Dog's Life and Oh What a Tangled Web.
Bentley Miller reveals how this was done in Seasons 2 onward:
"The floor was indeed painted with a stamp. I think it was about 18”x18”. I think that it was the idea of Harley Morden, a long time production designer at the former CFTO television station. He went freelance like the rest of us who worked on the show. The stamp was I believe a rubber stencil mounted on a piece of plywood with a handle for the scenic artist. The finished floor was then glazed to protect the finish from wear and tear from daily production use."
Given the short-term studio use during the production of ‘Tis a Gift and the Family Specials, it's still a mystery what type of floor pattern, if any, was used. For the latter, it appears that tan-coloured rolled linoleum/vinyl flooring was used. This can be seen in Bentley Miller’s slideshow for Queen for a Day seen in a previous section of this page.
The Juke Box Puppet Band
Courtesy of Craig Marin
Craig Marin and his Flexitoon artisans worked their magic to present us with musical performances by the Juke Box Puppet Band. Here, Craig shares a few behind-the-scenes photos where you can finally appreciate the people whose names appeared in the SHINING TIME STATION end credits. (All photos courtesy Craig Marin with our many thanks! posted 2013-08-18)
The FLEXITOON voice talent behind the JUKE BOX PUPPET BAND
From left to right: - Peter Baird (GRACE), Alan Semok (TEX), Craig Marin (REX, J.J. SILVERS), Ken Miele (GRACE) and Jonathan Freeman (TITO). Photo taken at BEND-EMS toy launch @1993.
Alan (TEX) Semok (L) Jonathan (TITO) Freeman (C) and Craig Marin (R) working on the band's performance of Michael Row the Boat Ashore
Below, THE ENTIRE JUKE BOX BAND FLEXITEAM with Producers Britt Allcroft and Rick Siggelkow