Nearly every episode included a guest visiting Shining Time Station. Here we introduce you to the notable quirky characters who passed through this special whistle-stop!
(Season 1.01: A Place Unlike Any Other)
The first passenger to ourchase a ticket at the reopened Shining Time Station turns out to be an energetic singing, banjo-playing, tap-dancing man who entertains Harry, Stacy and the kids with his talents.
The passenger was played by Richard Stillman, whose many talents are showcased on his website.
Richard Stillman has the distinction of being the first guest on Shining Time Station. Richard entertains to this day and shares his memories of appearing in the first episode below (2015-Jan-20)...
Thanks for getting in touch. I'm still playing the banjo, singing and tap dancing. I remember when I was performing my tap dance that Joe Raposo said to please keep the rhythm very even. I did and when I saw the show I realized he had gone back and composed music to my acapella tap dancing. Usually it's done the other way round. But then this was Joe Raposo who had his own way of doing things and an incredible talent. I also remember a light joyous feeling on the set and I think that was partly due to Didi's bubbly personality.
About 10 years after Shining Time Station, I was performing at a club on my banjo & guitar. A couple came up to me and thought I looked familiar. We chatted for awhile and it turned out they were the parents of the young actor who had played Matt on STS. I still make my living as an actor / musician / singer / storyteller & tap dancer. My show, "The Spirit of Vaudeville" just won the Best Concert award at the United Solo Theater Festival in NYC.
All the best to everyone in the show,
(Season 1.02: Does it Bite?)
This silent clown juggles his way into the station to Stacy's amusement. He mimes to Stacy that he wants to buy a ticket to Dillylick. He later returns to entertain Stacy, Matt and Tanya much to Schemer's obvious discomfort!
The clown was played by Michael Bongar.
ONE MAN BAND
(Season 1.03: And the Band Played Off)
The One Man Band started off in the episode as a passenger seeking a one-way ticket to Mount Careful. After sorting out a scheduling mix-up, the passenger reveals that he's the only participant at the One Man Band Convention being hosted in Mount Careful. He then entertains Stacy and the kids with his one-man band rendition of “When the Saints Go Marching In.”
The One Man Band Passenger was played by Russel Brown.
(Season 1.04: Pitching In and Helping Out)
A woman dressed in a wet suit, scuba-diving gear and carrying a goldfish bowl arrives at the station to ask when the next train to Lucky Lake is scheduled to depart.
Played by Shining Time Station Assistant Stage Manager Annette Holloway.
ALAN THE VENTRILOQUIST
(Season 1.05: Show and Yell)
Al the ventriloquist comes into the station to catch a train, however he needs to wait a little longer because it is running behind. He entertains Matt and Tanya with his ventriloquist dummies, and leaves them to the kids' care as he goes off to run a few errands while waiting for his train to arrive.
Alan Semok portrayed himself in this episode. Alan is part of the Flexitoons Jukebox Puppet Band team and one of the voices for Grace Bass.
(Season 1.07: Agree to Disagree)
The Balloon Man first appears in the town of Shining Time as an entertainer at one of Tanya's friend's birthday party. His talent consists of being able to improvise and make just about anything from balloons, from clothes, hats, noses, earrings and games. When the Balloon man visits Shining Time Station, he demonstrates his talents to Stacy and the kids.
The Balloon Man was played by live-event entertainer Allyn Gooen.
ED THE STILT MAN
(Season 1.08: Whistle While You Work)
The seemingly tall Ed the "Stilt Man" was hired by Schemer to put up posters in the station that were high out of reach for anyone else. Ed, however appreciates the folk mural and the refuses to cover up the history it represents.
Ed was played by Clinton Smith.
NATHANIEL "NAT" KAZ
(Season 1.11: Ring in the Old)
Nathaniel "Nat" Kaz is Harry Cupper's old friend who pays a visit for a short stay at Shining Time Station. He is a talented sculptor who demonstrates his craft to everyone when Harry presents a large block of clay to him as a gift.
Renown New York sculptor and artist Nathaniel Kaz guest-starred as himself in this episode. Nat passed away on December 13, 2010 at the age of 93.
When contacted in late December, 2012. Mr. Kaz's wife Delfina shares the story of how Nat guest-starred in this episode (with our many thanks).
Yes!, my husband Nathaniel Kaz/sculptor did play "Nat" on Shining Time Station. He chose not to learn a script, instead to ad-lib and he created two sculptures during the episode. What a successful series it was. Leonard Jackson was wonderful.
The story is this: Nat often went to a neighborhood photo shop on West 72nd St. between Columbus and Broadway called "Snapshot". Nat's magnetic personality must have clinched the deal with someone present who was a representative of "Shining Time Station." He greatly enjoyed the idea, however he went to the taping without having done preparation - he preferred to ad-lib. And that's what he did. I do have a photo of him on the set which someone took - he has a big "toothy smile, " - He's hamming it up.
Another thing, a couple of times while Nat was walking around the neighborhood to and from his sculpture studio on W. 73rd Street, children spotted him and they exclaimed "There's Uncle Nat!" I also asked for a VHS of the program so that episode, or at least part of it I have on VHS. Hope this is helpful.
Sincerely, Delfina Nahrgang Kaz
PASSENGER (Well Manicured)
(Season 1.11: Ring in the Old)
A well-manicured passenger pays a visit to Schemer's arcade and is aghast to discover that he's planning to get rid of the machines in order to replace them with modern electronic versions. He convinces Schemer that these antique machines are special and add character to his arcade, and is the primary reason why he visits the station. At the end of the episode, the man plays a game of football (soccer) on the arcade machine with Schemer, Matt and Tanya.
The well-manicured passenger was played by Gordon Gould, best known for his audiobook narrations.
(Season 1.12: Impractical Jokes)
Musician Tom Callinan, an old friend of Harry's visits the station during his stopover to catch the next train. When there's a delay in the train's arrival, Tom decides to entertain the gang as he waits for his train to arrive. During that time Tom also teaches the kids how to play the spoons.
Renown folk musician Tom Callinan portrayed himself in this episode. Tom's official website can be found here.
Tom Callinan was kind enough to share his recollections of appearing on Shining Time time Station. Though the years have passed since that appearance, Tom still maintains his connections with Thomas! :) (2015-Jan-19)
My guest-appearance on "Shining Time Station" was a direct result of many years of performing in the public schools of Nassau County (Long Island), NY. The head of the Board Of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) Arts-In-Education programs, Dr. Mary Jane Bolin, later went on to direct the Performing Artists In Schools (PAIS) Program at Columbia University, and I was one of the "pros" she asked to come in to present some lecture/demo informances to the aspiring PAIS students.
Among the students was Tom Singer, who worked for Channel 13, the Public Broadcasting affiliate in NYC, and he liked what I did - especially the spoons. He called me up to audition for "STS", and I remember being very nervous during the show-and-tell interview. Having seen me perform on several prior occasions, he interrupted me, and encouraged me to relax. I guess I was successful at taking his suggestion, because I got the gig. I was pleasantly surprised!
At the shoot, the staff and cast couldn't have been nicer or more accommodating. Didi Conn ("Stacy Jones") was exceptionally welcoming. She looked so familiar, I remember asking, "Have we met before?" It wasn't until quite some time afterward that I realized she had played one of the "Pink Ladies" in "Grease"
Ringo Starr was on tour somewhere, so I didn't get to meet him, but when the two children "Matt" and "Tanya" were reciting their lines, looking at a statuette of a clown that resembled Emmett Kelly, I thought to myself, "I don't think this show is going to make it." It was only after seeing the episode, with "Mr. Conductor" (Ringo) shrunken down to occupy the space of the clown statuette that I realized the director was just using that prop as a surrogate for Ringo, in miniature.
My appearance on "STS" led to 9 years of "live" performances as part of the family extravaganzas known as the "Day Out With Thomas" in CT, NY, and ME. To date I have written Thomas And Friends-related lyrics to over a dozen songs (adapted to familiar melodies), and I have developed a program called "Loco-Motives".
Connecticut's 1st Official State Troubadour (1991)
Co-owner, Crackerbarrel Entertainments
(Season 1.13: Finders Keepers)
Amani is a passenger who has misplaced his suitcase on the station platform. Unbeknownst to him, it is stored but hidden in Shining Time Station's Lost and Found section near the Arcade. The case's content has sentimental value to him as it contains a saxaphone given to him by his father. Thanks to Matt and Tanya's conscience, Amani is reunited with his instrument, and plays a selection for our friends out of gratitude.
Saxophone player Amani A.W. Murray guest-starred as himself in this episode.
(Season 1.14: Just Wild About Harry's Workshop)
P.C. Flanagan is the Chief Holdings Inspector for the Indian Valley Railroad. He arrived incognito at Shining Time Station during the time Schemer was seeking a permit to take over Harry' Cuppers workshop and turn it into a fast-food café. Inspector Flanagan kept his distance and observed as the drama played out, and in the end had the authority to cancel Schemer's plans with apologies to Harry.
Inspector Flanagan was played by the late William Duell who passed away Dec. 22, 2011
TONY THE MOVER
(Season 1.15: Promises, Promises)
Tony the mover is the owner of a few arcade machines (coin-operated horse, elephant and pinball machine). He enters into a partnership with Schemer to exhibit his machines in the now-expanded arcade (station floor). The muscular Tony senses that Schemer is trying to take advantage of him and his machines, so decides to pull out of the deal to instead feature his property at the new shopping mall where there is more traffic.
Tony was played by Robert Hill.
(Season 1.18: Mapping it Out)
Juan is a newcomer to Indian Valley who arrives at Shining Time Station seeking directions to Farmers Dell. It's revealed that he's from Amabato, a city in Ecuador high up in the Andes mountains. He entertains our Shining Time Station friends with a South American performance by playing pan pipes and the drum.
Ecuadorian-born Folk Musician Juan "Pepé" Santana* portrayed himself in this episode. His first name is mistakenly credited as "Julian".
We contacted Juan Pepé Santana who kindly shared his memories of appearing in the episode (with J. Gratton 2019-Feb-19)
I arrived to New York in 1964; directly from the Ecuadorian Andes Mountains. Once in NY, I could hear all kinds of music from all over the world except from the mountains of South America. With some Andean musicians we started a folk music group playing the sounds that were not too familiar to people in this side of the world. Sounds that were made with panpipes, flutes, whistles and percussions.
By 1987, I coordinated the first festival of Andean Music and Dance at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall and in the following years at Avery Fisher Hall and other venues. Our music reached some popularity in New York. By then, I became adept at putting together educational programs related to music and culture of the Andes region; this continues to be an ongoing activity.
It was in 1988 when Channel Thirteen, through Britt Allcroft and Rick Siggelkow invited me to join in an episode of Shining Time Station.
I have always loved to work with people of all ages. Especially if they are young because it gives me the opportunity to work with fresh, uncontaminated minds. Interacting with the actors: before, during and after the filming was rewarding since it was a golden opportunity to expose some aspects of my identity as an immigrant from the high Andes. The short musical selection was my own. During the filming, I played it entirely. Perhaps 40 seconds (that was about the time the script allowed me).
When I watched the segment, I was disappointed just to hear about 9 seconds of the song. But, more disappointing was not to see Matt’s face reacting when he locked his eyes with mine while I was playing. The intensity of that moment was so moving that after the filming of the song was completed, all actors, script aids, sound engineers and cameramen left their posts and starting clapping and shouting bravos inside the studio.
30 years have gone by and I never forgot that sweet moment with Matt. I will always wonder if he ever remembers that instance.
A couple of years later, I was invited to be part in a segment of Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego. Later on Sting invited me to make a sound track for the Walt Disney’s animated film The Kingdom of the Sun that ended up with the title of The Emperor’s New Groove.
Left: Pepé and Sting at Sony recording studio in New York. Right: Pepé playing a rondador panpipe made of condor feathers.
Photo Credit (J. Santana)
(Season 1.19: Things that Go Ga-Hooga in the Night)
Wendy pays a visit to Shining Time Station to see her old friend Stacy Jones. Wendy has a talent for being able to make any type of object out of paper, which is also revealed in her wardrobe. Her forté is for making paper hats, but she likes making exotic-looking paper masks. In the episode, she demonstrates her talents by showing Matt and Tanya by making masks for them.
Special-events entertainer Wendy Brackman guest-starred as herself in this episode.
JERRY THE JUGGLER
(Season 1.20: Is this the End?)
Jerry the Juggler is a performer with the travelling circus train which makes a special stop at Shining Time Station every year. Jerry is world famous and Schemer and J.B. King are counted as a few of his many fans.
Jerry the Juggler was played by Gabriel Barré.
KEVIN KNOWLES (AMAZO)
(Season 2.03: The Magic is Believing)
Kevin Knowles is an old friend of Billy Twofeathers who drops in to Shining Time Station one day on his journey home. He is known by his alter ego, Amazo the Magician, but had lost confidence in himself until Billy and the kids help him regain it.
Amazo was played by Toronto-based television/voice actor Keith Knight who passed away on August 22, 2007 at the age of 51.
(Season 2.05: Sweet and Sour)
A posh passenger is very impressed by the cookies and lemonade in the station by Dan, Kara and Becky''s lemonade stand. Her reaction is the opposite when she returns later after Schemee and Schemer become the kids' partners.
The customer was played by Gina Wilkinson.
(Season 2.18: Do I Hear?)
When a slug causes the jukebox band to go on strike, Schemer calls "King Repair" to make a housecall. The repairman bears a striking resemblance to someone familiar, and his mannerisms only add to the mystique. Upon examining the rear of the jukebox, the repairman becomes the first human at Shining Time Station to see the Jukebox Puppet Band in person, though he promises them that he won't tell a soul. The repairman mysteriously reappears during Schemer's auction to help the kids out when they ran short of bidding money. When Schemer confesses to not having enough money to pay fpr the jukebox repairs, the repairman accepts Schemer's pair of blue suede shoes in lieu of payment.
The Repairman was played by Elvis Presley Imitator, George Thomas.
ONE MAN BAND
(Season 2.20: All's Fair, 3.13: Mr. Conductor's Fourth of July)
The One Man Band's first appearance in this episode is when he marches uninterrupted from the station's front entrance out to the station platform. He later returns to lead our Shining Time Station friends onto the train bound for the fair accompanied with the merry tune of "When the Saints Go Marching In". The performer returns to march through the station again in Season 3's Mr. Conductor's Fourth of July.
The One Man Band was played by entertainer Hank "Washboard" Fisher. from Peterborough, Ontario, Canada
"Washboard" Hank Fisher had this to share when we asked him what he remembers of this episode (with our many thanks).
I guess the best thing I remember is getting to hang out backstage with George Carlin and Tom Jackson. How I got hired is likely through my appearances on Mr. Dressup, Sharon, Lois and Bram etc.
(Season 3.03: Bully for Mr. Conductor, Schemer Presents)
Buster is the nephew of J.B. King. When Buster arrived at Shining Time Station to visit his uncle, it became quickly apparent to Dan, Becky and Mr. Conductor that Buster was a bully. Dan finally put Buster in his place in when Mr. Conductor was being threatened, and the bully was later given a firm talking to by his uncle.
Buster later paid a visit to Schemer's house where he and Schemee learned to how to share and become good friends.
Buster was played by Ira Glasner.
RUSTY "ROB" McRAIL
(Season 3.04: Stacy Cleans Up)
Rusty "Rob" McRail is the Chief Engineer of the R&O Freight Line, a friendly but straight-talking man dressed in tartan coveralls, complete with a matching Scottish brogue. Rusty's garbage train becomes stranded at Shining Time Station after all of the Indian Valley garbage landfills closed because they no longer had capacity to take on any additional waste. Thanks to Becky and everyone's efforts, Rusty's train has been repurposed to haul recyclables to new processing depots in the Indian Valley.
Rusty McRail was played by English-Canadian actor Michael Polley. Michael passed away on March 30, 2018 at the age of 84.
"ROBBY" THE ROBOT
(Season 3.05: Schemer's Robot)
Schemer brings in a mail-order robot to perform all of his menial duties cleaning up the arcade. Schemer christens the mechanical man "Robby", but finds out that this model is not programmed efficiently to follow his orders to clean up the arcade. After seeing the robot fall in love with the jukebox, Schemer only wants to get rid of Robby. A chance arrival by Barton Winslow reveals that the robot is better suited for supermarket work. Barton gladly takes Robby off of Schemer's hands to become his new General Store shop assistant.
Robby the Robot was portrayed by Michael Lamport.
We reached out to Michael Lamport, who is today a Producer with co-owner Gregory Sheppard with their company LAMPORT-SHEPPARD ENTERTAINMENT. Michael describes his very early-acting career appearance in this episode! (J. Gratton 2022-Feb-22)...
My name is Michael Lamport. I am an actor and a producer making documentaries, films and TV series that are seen around the world and I am very honored to be asked about my all-too-brief time on Shining Times Station. This was a kind, intelligent and entertaining series for kids and people of the adult variety too! In one of the episodes, I played the Robot. It was actually one of my very first TV gigs.
It was a while ago and as a human I seem to have lost my robotic memory, but I do recall a few things. Everyone on the cast and crew were really wonderful. I recall the fitting for the robot costume to be very professional and of course, a bit uncomfortable. Under the studio lights it was like standing in an Easybake Oven! My voice was altered in post-production (I don’t sound like that in real life – I think???) but I had to do the lines during the filming.
My first exit from the crate was a bit disastrous because I hadn’t quite got the hang of walking in the outfit. Trip, “cut”, trip, “cut” then the take was okay. We were a bit left to our own devices on set. Several jokes that were made were NOT scripted. And of course, I was looking through the mesh screen that made the robot’s mouth as the actor, so I was a bit directionally challenged!
Falling in love with the jukebox and the motorcycle was fun, but I do recall we did a bit about the robot falling in love with the vacuum cleaner…I do not know if there were any outtakes of that, but suffice it to say it turned out to be very adult humour. Yup, you can imagine! In retrospect now, seeing the episode again, I wish I had bought the robot costume. Be interesting to see if I can still fit into it! For us actors, Shining Times Station was HAPPY Times Station as well.
DORIS "HELGA" BOONSWADDLE
(Season 3.12: Bad Luck Day at Shining Time Station)
Doris Boonswaddle hails from Pelican Falls and as "Madam Helga Boonswddle" is the Official Medium of the Flowering Cactus Ladies Auxiliary. Midge Smoot summons her to Shining Time Station on Friday the 13th to ward off the spirits that are giving everyone bad luck. With a little help from Mr. Conductor, Helga and the gang discover who was really behind the mystery!
Doris Boonswaddle was played by Jayne Eastwood.