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Preface

Welcome to the COMPLETE Shining Time Station Episode Guide! Our team of reviewers were able to write detailed episode summaries and notes thanks in large part to the Shining Time Station fans who uploaded their old VHS taped episodes up to YouTube. To preserve the 'surprise' for those of you who haven't seen them, we've enclosed the detailed episode summaries within 'spoilers'.

 

Shortcuts to all Shining Time Station season and associated episode guides are provided at the top and bottom of every page. We hope that you enjoy reviewing them and conclude as we have, that this series was indeed special and one-of-a-kind. Without further ado, we welcome you all to...

Reach for the steam, reach for the whistle
Go where the railway runs
Reach for the words, reach for the story
Follow the rainbow sun

 

To a Shining Time Station
Where dreams can come true
Waiting there for you

 

So much to see, so far to travel,
So much to learn, to know
Friends by your side, hopes to hold onto
Who knows how far you'll go

 

To a Shining Time Station
Where dreams can come true
Your own imagination
Waiting there for you...

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Full episode details for Shining Time Station Season 1 (1989)

A Place Unlike Any Other

Production #1 (1.01) - First Aired: 1989-JAN-29 (US)
Written by Brian McConnachie
Directed by Matthew Diamond

Summary by N. Middleton & D. Dobrydney

Episode Characters/Stars:

  • Stacy Jones (Didi Conn)

  • Harry Cupper (Leonard Jackson)

  • Mr. Conductor (Ringo Starr)

  • Matt Jones (Jason Woliner)

  • Tanya Cupper (Nicole Leach)

  • The Jukebox Puppet Band

  • Banjo-playing passenger (Richard Stillman)

 

Episode Synopsis: In the first episode, we are introduced to the main characters and inhabitants of Shining Time Station. Stacy Jones, the new station manager, arrives at Shining Time Station and shows her nephew, Matt, around the charming old station. Matt meets the magical Mr. Conductor and Harry Cupper, the new engineer, and his granddaughter, Tanya, are also introduced.

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Detailed Episode Summary: SHOW

As the scene opens, we see a gentleman dressed in a railroad conductor's uniform looking around the deserted, cobwebbed waiting room of a railroad station. Hearing someone approaching, he magically vanishes. In walks a lady with a small boy. This, we will soon learn, is Stacy Jones and her nephew Matt. Stacy welcomes Matt to Shining Time Station and after gazing around the station, with its elaborate murals and arcade full of games, the awestruck boy can only stammer out that it looks nice. Stacy laughs and whispers a secret: there’s just “something” about this place!

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Stacy then begins to show Matt around the station. First, there is the Information Desk, where passengers can ask what time the trains arrive and so forth. Matt gets behind the desk while Stacy pretends to be a passenger with a question. They continue their make-believe at the ticket counter, where Matt punches a ticket for Stacy. This is also where it’s revealed that Shining Time Station is on the Indian Valley Railroad. Next, Stacy brings Matt over to the waiting area, with a bench so passengers can rest.

Stacy shows Matt some activities passengers do to pass the time as they wait. Last of all, there is the Arcade, with music, games and movies. Matt starts to watches an old cartoon in the Arcade picture machine, but the movie is cut short when the crank breaks off. Stacy says the crank probably needs some glue and she’ll fix it later.

With the tour complete, Stacy asks Matt what he thinks of the station. Matt says the station is different than he expected, and as a train rushes past, he and Stacy ask the same question: do trains ever stop here? Stacy brings Matt close to her and shares her dream of making the old station as great and busy as it was when her grandmother ran it a long time ago. She enlists Matt's help and tells him that an engineer from the railroad will be coming by to visit, and might decide to stay and help too. In the meantime, the two of them will start cleaning up the station.

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Stacy gives Matt a nickel to put in the Jukebox so they have some music to work by. Matt inserts the nickel and it’s revealed that the Jukebox is populated by a band of tiny puppet musicians. The band members realize that someone wants them to play a song. After a brief tiff about what to play, they decide to just perform something they know, and play “I’ve Been Working On the Railroad.”

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While Matt dusts the large wall mural, he hears a voice telling him he missed a spot. Suddenly, the gentleman from earlier reappears. Only a few inches tall, he introduces himself to the shocked Matt as Mr. Conductor and compliments Matt for cleaning the windows of the signal box in the mural, which is where he lives. Mr. Conductor says Matt reminds him of his friend Thomas. Matt asks if Thomas lives with Mr. Conductor in the signal box, and Mr. Conductor explains that Thomas is a steam engine who lives on the Island of Sodor. Since Matt likes trains and stories, Mr. Conductor decides to tell Matt about Thomas the Tank Engine and his encounter with Gordon the Big Engine.

After the story is finished, Mr. Conductor disappears and Matt excitedly tells his aunt all about the little guy living in the wall. Stacy already seems to know about him, revealing that he is shy and travels a lot. She also warns Matt not to mention Mr. Conductor to the new engineer when he arrives, because he might not understand. Just then, the engineer enters with a little girl in tow. He introduces himself as Henry "Harry" Cupper and the girl as his granddaughter, Tanya.

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Harry tells Stacy that he hasn’t decided whether he’ll take the job to help her run the station, so while they negotiate, Matt tries to introduce Tanya to Mr. Conductor. However, Mr. Conductor is nowhere to be found and Tanya doesn’t believe Matt’s claim about “the little guy who lives in the wall.” Tanya does take an interest in the picture machine, and even manages to fix the crank with a bobby pin. This time a different movie plays, with a song that convinces Tanya that perhaps Shining Time Station is worth exploring.

Harry, meanwhile, is still skeptical about taking the job at Shining Time Station. However, when Stacy shows him a workshop he can call his own, Harry begins to warm to the idea since he always had to share a space with others in his previous job. He doesn’t like Matt getting underfoot though, and scolds him. This causes Matt to become upset and hastily exit the workshop. As he sits dejectedly on the steps leading to the platform, Mr. Conductor reappears and explains to Matt that he was off traveling with Edward. Matt asks who Edward is, which

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makes Mr. Conductor realize that if Matt didn’t know Thomas, of course he wouldn’t know Edward. Mr. Conductor tells Matt a story about Edward the Blue Engine, who in helping Gordon up a steep hill proved that being small doesn’t mean one can’t be helpful. After Mr. Conductor disappears, Matt calls after him asking more about Edward. Harry spots Matt talking to the wall and asks Stacy if the boy is all right in the head. Stacy calls Matt over and he asks Harry if he’s going to work at the station. Before Harry can answer, they are interrupted by the appearance of the station's first passenger, a banjo-playing tap dancer who puts on an impromptu show for Stacy, Harry and the children.

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The man asks for and pays for a ticket to Leaping Log, Alabama, and continues to dance and strum his banjo as he exits the station. Harry has seen enough, and tells Stacy that he’s used to working in places where things are taken more seriously. However, he adds that it’s time for a change, and asks Tanya if she’d like to visit him at Shining Time Station. Tanya excitedly agrees and Harry kindly asks Matt to fetch his toolbox. As the episode closes, Stacy asks Harry what made him decide to stay. After taking in his surroundings, Harry can only reply that “there’s just something about this place.

Episode Morals:
  •  Even small jobs can be important.

Featured Jukebox Puppet Band Song:
  •  I've Been Workin' On the Railroad

Featured Picture Machine Song:
  •  Start Where You Are

Featured Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends Stories:
  •  Thomas' and Gordon (Thomas Gets Tricked)

  •  Edward and Gordon (Edward Helps Out)

Episode Notes:

  • Schemer does not appear in this episode.

  • The episode features one of the few times the waiting area beyond Harry’s workshop door is seen.

  • The shot of Matt being surprised by Mr. Conductor while dusting the mural wall was used for Matt's character oval in the original Season 1 "clip show" opening sequence.

  • The first Picture Machine video is an excerpt from the 1939 George Pal Puppetoon "Philip's Calvalcade."

  • Scenes from the second featured Picture Machine music video "Start Where You Are" were recorded at the Keansburg Amusement Park in New Jersey.

  • Continuity Goof #1: The cobwebs on the bench beneath the window at the station exit disappear and reappear between shots. It is particularly noticeable during the scene where Stacy and Matt play make-believe at the ticket counter.

  • Continuity Goof #2: Stacy goes behind the ticket counter to get the tap dancer’s ticket. However, when the dancer starts singing, Stacy is back with Matt, Tanya and Harry.

  • The banjo-playing passenger asks Stacy for a ticket to "Leaping Log, Alabama". While "Leaping Log" is a stop on the Indian Valley Railroad Line, it's not known if Richard Stillman ad-libbed identifying the state, or if it was part of his script. 

Does it Bite?

Production #2 (1.02) - First Aired: 1989-FEB-05 (US)
Written by Brian McConnachie
Directed by Matthew Diamond

Summary by D. Dobrydney

Episode Characters/Stars:

  • Stacy Jones (Didi Conn)

  • Harry Cupper (Leonard Jackson)

  • Schemer (Brian O'Connor)

  • Mr. Conductor (Ringo Starr)

  • Matt Jones (Jason Woliner)

  • Tanya Cupper (Nicole Leach)

  • The Jukebox Puppet Band

  • Clown (Michael Bongar)

Episode Synopsis: Interacting with new people causes a certain amount of anxiety for both Matt and Tanya. But as they get to know Harry and Mr. Conductor, the children learn how to overcome their fears and make new friends.

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Detailed Episode Summary: SHOW

Shining Time Station is completely deserted, but Mr. Conductor’s disembodied voice can be heard loudly declaring something to be impossible, ridiculous and foolish. He materializes on the ticket counter and points to the train schedules lying next to him, almost walking off the counter as he complains that they are tommyrot, balderdash and cuckoo to emphasize about how wrong they are. Among other errors, the schedule says that a train can go from Point Pokey to Cloggyville in eleven seconds!

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Just as Mr. Conductor is about to correct the schedules himself, Stacy enters and demands he stop what he’s doing. Those are the new schedules from the railroad, Stacy explains, and she is the only one with the authority to alter them. Mr. Conductor protests they aren’t train schedules even if they are new, which prompts Stacy to insist that Mr. Conductor surrender his pencil to her. Mr. Conductor stubbornly refuses and disappears, mentioning that a train can’t get from Butter Town to Chubby Corners in four seconds.

Stacy is confused, and is further distracted by the entrance of a strange-looking man in a tacky business suit. The man knows Stacy’s name, but still asks to be directed to the station master. Stacy takes her position at the information desk and says she is the station master. The man is initially surprised, but recovers and directs Stacy’s attention to the machines in the Arcade. He runs over, kisses the Jukebox and declares the machines his. As proof, he produces a long-term lease from the railroad which gives him control over the whole Arcade beginning that very day.

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The man then begins regaling Stacy with his plans to bring new, loud, expensive machines to the Arcade, and asks if she noticed the new schedules he had printed. Stacy, beginning to catch on, says that those schedules are all wrong and will cause passengers to miss their trains. The man doesn’t care about that, indeed he considers it perfect. If passengers miss their trains, he reasons, they’ll have nothing to do and will thus go spend their money in his machines. Stacy starts to get angry and says the man really is a schemer. The man reveals that “Schemer” is what his friends call him and invites Stacy to do likewise. Stacy responds by tearing up Schemer’s worthless schedules and chasing him around the information desk, demanding to know what he did with the real schedules. Schemer relents and gives Stacy the schedules, saying it was just an idea as he leaves.

 

Now that she has the correct schedules in hand, Stacy begins calling out to Mr. Conductor, but is interrupted again by a clown who walks into the station juggling several rings. Stacy determines from the silent clown’s gestures that he wants to go to Dillylick, and informs him that the train will arrive in half an hour. The clown juggles his way back to the platform just as Matt comes in. Stacy explains that she needs to find “their little friend who lives in the wall” so she can apologize to him. Matt agrees to help Stacy look and heads to the workshop.

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Matt finds the workshop empty and starts calling out to Mr. Conductor. Matt is just looking into one of the drawers in the filing cabinet when Harry comes in and brusquely asks Matt what he’s doing. Matt is momentarily frozen before he manages to say he’s looking for Mr. Conductor. Harry replies that if Matt wants to find a conductor he should wait on the platform, as there are none in his workshop and certainly none in his drawer. Harry asks Matt if he wanted anything else, and the boy mumbles that he was just leaving before running out.

Matt runs across the station and bumps into Tanya. Tanya invites Matt to see her grandfather in the workshop and maybe help him fix something. Matt says he doesn’t think Harry wants him in his workshop. Tanya starts to giggle and teases Matt about being afraid of Harry. Matt denies this but still refuses to go with Tanya, saying he’d rather look for Mr. Conductor. Tanya has to be reminded who Mr. Conductor is, thinking he’s a goblin or animal, and Matt hastily explains that Mr. Conductor is just a "little guy," and asks Tanya to help find him. Tanya becomes jittery, prompting Matt to ask who’s afraid now. Tanya declares she isn’t afraid of anything and the two children begin arguing when Matt spots Mr. Conductor laughing with Stacy. He invites Tanya to come over and be introduced.

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Stacy tells Matt that she and Mr. Conductor have just been discussing train schedules on the Island of Sodor. Matt asks about how Thomas or Gordon are doing, and Mr. Conductor pulls out what looks like a watch from his vest to see if he has time. Matt sees that it’s not a watch but actually a bathtub plug, which Mr. Conductor confirms. He goes on to say he wears the plug to remind him that one day, the railroad will give him a gold watch as a reward for his years of service. Tanya, meanwhile, is still hanging back at the information desk, stunned by what she sees. Mr. Conductor says that he has some time, so he’ll tell a story about Henry the Green Engine. However, he warns them that it’s a very sad story, as Henry was left walled up in a tunnel after refusing to come out in the rain.

After he finishes the story, Mr. Conductor spots Tanya and asks if she ever wears green with red stripes. Tanya is more interested in finding out if Henry will get out of the tunnel, but Mr. Conductor looks at his bathtub plug and says that he’s late. However, he promises to tell the story when he returns and asks the children to shake on it. Tanya puts out her hand, but Mr. Conductor clarifies that he meant them to shake their whole body and shimmies away as Matt and Tanya do the same.

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Stacy is amazed at Henry’s fear of rain, but says it goes to show that everyone is afraid of something sometimes. Matt and Tanya share some of the things that frighten them and Stacy counsels that the best thing to do when you’re afraid is to talk to someone you know about it. Just then, the mail train from Pelican Falls arrives and Stacy goes out to the platform to meet it. While they wait for Stacy to return, Tanya suggests she and Matt see what’s in the Picture Machine. Matt takes a look and says he sees flying saucers! He lets Tanya look while he turns the crank. The machine then plays a movie about not being afraid when meeting new people.

Schemer finds the children in the Arcade and genially asks their names and why they aren’t putting more money in his machines. Matt and Tanya reveal they have no more money, and Schemer’s attitude instantly changes. He rudely shoos the children away and tells them to go get some more money. Since he is now alone, Schemer decides he’ll have to spend some of his own money and puts a nickel in the Jukebox. Inside the Jukebox, Didi is too exhausted to play while Tito claims the nickel for his private collection. Schemer gets impatient for his song and starts shaking the Jukebox, before declaring he wants his nickel back. Tito refuses, so Schemer climbs on top of the Jukebox and attempts to look inside. He can’t see the band, but the band can see Schemer and become terrified of being exposed. Schemer gives up and leaves, walking past Matt and Tanya just as they're calling out to Mr. Conductor in his signal house on the mural. 

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Stacy calls Matt over and asks him to bring a book to Harry in the workshop. Matt is hesitant and tells Stacy that Harry doesn’t want him there. Stacy reassures Matt and instructs him to tell Harry that she sent him. Matt reluctantly enters the workshop to once again find it empty. He quickly sets the book on the workbench and is about to run out when he bumps into Harry. Matt backs away nervously as he explains why he’s in the workshop. Harry asks if Matt ever found that conductor he was looking for. Matt concedes that he did, which makes Harry glad that there aren’t train conductors in his drawer, the idea of which makes him nervous. He goes on to say that while he isn’t the type of person who gets nervous, he does get scared. In fact, Harry tells Matt he had the biggest scare of his life when he was about Matt’s age.

He opens the book Matt brought and shows him a picture of a large steam engine and remembers the first time he saw one, the wheels appearing ten feet tall to him. Matt, incredulous, asks if Harry was really afraid of a train engine. Harry admits that he was at first, until he was allowed to ride in the engine and even blow the whistle. That experience made him want to be a railroad man from then on, Harry concludes. As he and Matt continue to look at the scrapbook, Tanya appears in the doorway. Mr. Conductor appears and calls out to Tanya that she ought to join them.

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Instead, Tanya rushes over and reminds Mr. Conductor that he promised to tell what happened to Henry. Mr. Conductor agrees that he did promise, and shares his motto of never disappointing a child. After confirming that Tanya and Matt are indeed children, he tells the story of how Henry left the tunnel to help Gordon and Edward after Gordon broke down. When the story is over, Mr. Conductor asks Matt and Tanya if they are becoming great friends. The children nod and Mr. Conductor says that now they can help each other if they need it, then he sparkles away.

Schemer then returns carrying a tool box, declaring he is going to take the Jukebox apart piece by piece so he can get his nickel back. He takes out a toy plastic saw and hammer and starting banging on the Jukebox. Didi urges Tito to give up the nickel so Schemer will leave them alone. Tito relents and tosses the nickel out, hitting Schemer right on the forehead!

 

While he’s glad to have his nickel back, Schemer says that Shining Time Station is very strange and tells Stacy he’s having second thoughts about bringing his new, heavy, expensive machines to the Arcade.

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Just then, the juggling clown from before returns and Stacy tells him that his train is right on schedule, emphasizing the word “schedule” while looking in Schemer’s direction. Stacy tries to hand the clown his train ticket, but he has his hands full juggling, so Stacy sticks the ticket between his lips. Schemer hastily leaves, saying everyone around the station is crazy, while Matt and Tanya admire the clown’s costume.

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Back in the Jukebox, the band decides to play a song and perform their own rendition of “Camptown Races.” As they finish, Harry has come out of his workshop and can only roll his eyes and shake his head at the sight of the clown as the performer goes out to catch his train all the while juggling. As soon as he departs from sight, Stacy says to Matt and Tanya that it’s been quite a day and invites them to help her post the new schedules as the episode comes to a close.

Episode Morals:

  • It is normal to be nervous when meeting new people and new situations.

Featured Jukebox Puppet Band Song:

  • Camptown Races

Featured Picture Machine Song:

  • Don't Be Afraid (sung by Eric Troyer)

 

Featured Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends Stories:

  • The Sad Story of Henry (Come Out, Henry!)

  • Edward, Gordon and Henry (Henry to the Rescue)

 

Episode Notes:

  • Two firsts in this episode: Tanya meets Mr. Conductor, and Schemer is introduced.

  • The shot of Stacy sticking the clown’s ticket in his mouth was used for her character oval in the original Season 1 ‘clip show’ opening title sequence.

  • In the opening scene, Mr. Conductor mentions "Doodletown" instead of the familiar "Doodlehaven". Since this is early in Season 1, perhaps the producers were still defining the towns and stops along the Indian Valley Railroad.

  • Because he's too busy sobbing about Henry, Mr. Conductor does not actually blow his whistle to start either of the Thomas stories, though the whistle sound effect is heard. 

  • The photo Harry shows Matt is of a Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad articulated steam locomotive, possibly an H-8 class engine with a wheel configuration of 2-6-6-6. However, Harry’s reminiscence of his first exposure to railroads is accompanied by footage of preserved Union Pacific Railroad locomotive #844. Some of this footage was used in the credit sequences for all three seasons.

  • An old-style microphone can be seen in this episode on the ticket counter, which would imply that the station has a public address system.

And the Band Played Off

Production #3 (1.03) - First Aired: 1989-FEB-12 (US)
Written by Brian McConnachie
Directed by Matthew Diamond

Summary by D. Dobrydney

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Episode Characters/Stars:

  • Stacy Jones (Didi Conn)

  • Harry Cupper (Leonard Jackson)

  • Schemer (Brian O'Connor)

  • Mr. Conductor (Ringo Starr)

  • Matt Jones (Jason Woliner)

  • Tanya Cupper (Nicole Leach)

  • J.B. King, Esq. (Mart Hulswit, voice only)

  • The Jukebox Puppet Band

  • One Man Band (Russel Brown)

Episode Synopsis: When a new train is scheduled to serve Shining Time Station, Stacy gets excited, and she thinks she can remember the timetable in her head when the superintendent of the Indian Valley Railroad gives it to her over the phone. However, when a passenger asks about the schedule, she accidentally gives misleading information to him. Meanwhile, the kids make musical instruments to play music for the passengers of the new train.

Detailed Episode Summary: SHOW

The episode begins with the phone ringing in the empty station. Mr. Conductor answers and the voice on the other end asks to speak to Stacy. Mr. Conductor says she is unavailable and asks to take a message. The message is from the Indian Valley Railroad main office; a new train, the local from Leaky Park, will begin stopping at Shining Time Station that day. Just then, Stacy comes in and Mr. Conductor lets her take over the phone call. When Stacy hears the news, she is excited and so are Matt, Tanya and Harry. Stacy assures the caller she will not get the schedule wrong and listens as the new timetable is dictated to her. Mr. Conductor asks if she wants to write the schedule down, but Stacy silently indicates she can remember it.

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Stacy looks at her watch. The new train is due in an hour. Stacy realizes that the timetable has to be posted on the new schedule board, which hasn’t been put up yet. She opens a cardboard box and but instead of the board, music comes out. That gives her an idea: a band to play music when the new train arrives to entertain the passengers and make them feel welcome.

Mr. Conductor then reappears and says what Stacy ought to do is post the new schedule. He also asks what happened to the station’s regular  train. As Stacy tries to remember how the schedules of the two trains coordinate with each other, she begins to see her memory isn't as good as she thought and runs off to re-collect her thoughts. Mr. Conductor tells the children that mistakes can happen when one is impatient. To illustrate his point, he tells them about the time Thomas got impatient when pulling his first passenger train. After the story, he leaves to go to a mountain climbing lesson.

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A passenger comes into the station and asks Stacy what time the regular train to Mount Careful departs. Stacy, thinking from the top of her head, says it leaves 20 minutes before the hour. The passenger asks for a one-way ticket and quickly leaves. Harry brings out the schedule board from his workshop and Stacy quickly tries to arrange the schedule information from memory. However, she keeps forgetting and worrying about getting it wrong. Then Mr. Conductor, still in his mountain climbing gear, hands Stacy a note. He had written the schedule information down himself while Stacy was on the phone.

Stacy is very grateful, but needs a magnifying glass to read Mr. Conductor’s tiny notes. She then asks the kids if they ever looked at their hands through a magnifying glass. They examine the small details of their hands and faces with the glass before Stacy sends the kids over to the arcade while she works on the schedule board. The kids drop a nickel in the jukebox. Inside, the Puppet Band has some trouble remembering which song is which on the Jukebox's selection board before playing "She'll Be Comin' 'Round The Mountain." When the song finishes, the kids find a nickel on the floor. They presume that Schemer dropped it while collecting his money from the machines. They drop it in the Picture Machine and it plays a movie about learning from your mistakes.

By the time the movie ends, Stacy has successfully assembled the schedule from Mr. Conductor's notes. Schemer and the passenger from before re-enter, and look at the schedule board. Finding it contradicts the information Stacy gave earlier, the passenger demands an explanation. Stacy attempts to give him one, but Schemer interrupts, claiming that since Stacy gave out wrong information, the passenger will miss his appointment. Schemer, suggesting perhaps he should be in charge of the station, encourages the passenger to report Stacy to the railroad and escorts him away to do so.

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In Harry’s workshop, Matt and Tanya have seen everything and want to do something to help. Harry explains that Stacy cares so much about the station, she simply got carried away when the good news about the train came in. Deciding to do something to cheer Stacy up, Tanya mentions Stacy's earlier idea of having a band meet the new train. Harry latches on to the idea, and together they create makeshift musical instruments out of various objects around the workshop.

The kids show their musical instruments to Mr. Conductor. Matt comments that they are not as good as store-bought musical instruments, but Mr. Conductor says they just need the right rhythm. He directs the kids' attention to the Anything Tunnel, which shows how a musician can make music out of anything with just a pair of drumsticks. Mr. Conductor also points out that we are all born with our own instruments -- our voices.

Mr. Conductor vanishes and reappears on the ticket counter, and listens to Stacy's side of the incident with the passenger. Mr. Conductor comments that people sometimes get impatient and complain, as do engines. He them tells the story about how Thomas’ complaining and impatience nearly got him into trouble when he pulled his first freight train.

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Mr. Conductor disappears as Harry comes out of his workshop and asks Stacy if she put the schedule together from memory. She admits she had help from Mr. Conductor. Harry asks who he is and Matt says he’s the little man who lives in the wall. Harry laughs in disbelief. The passenger then comes back and takes a closer look at the schedule. When Stacy confirms that it is correct this time, he happily says he won't be late at all.

He then sees the kids and asks about their instruments. Matt and Tanya explain that they're playing music when the new train arrives. The passenger asks if he can join, and when the kids say yes, the passenger returns wearing an assortment of musical instruments and starts playing “When the Saints Go Marching In.” The Jukebox Band overhears the music and Tito says what they’re hearing is a one-man band. The passenger explains that he is the only participant in a one-man-band convention at Mount Careful and apologizes for being upset with Stacy earlier.

At that moment, Harry announces the arrival of the new train. Accompanied by the Jukebox Band, the one-man band plays his way out to the platform, followed by Tanya and Stacy carrying Matt piggy-back. Harry watches on, but stays behind in the station. As the new train departs, Harry finds a tiny piece of paper on the bench next to him. After unfolding it, he is taken aback by the tiny handwriting. Harry once again questions the existence of a little guy who lives in the wall and laughs to himself, while Mr. Conductor appears behind his back.

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Episode Morals:

  • Mistakes happen, especially when one is impatient.

Featured Jukebox Puppet Band Song:

  • She'll Be Comin' 'Round the Mountain

Featured Picture Machine Song:

  • Learn From Your Mistakes

Featured Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends Stories:

  • Thomas' Train (A Big Day for Thomas)

  • Thomas and the Trucks (Trouble for Thomas)

Episode Notes:

  • This is the first time we hear the voice of Mr. J. B. King, Esq. He would not appear in person until episode 15, "Promises, Promises."

  • This is the first (and last) time where Stacy experiences non-Mr. Conductor sourced magic. In the scene where she is frantically looking for the new schedule board, Stacy opens a cardboard box where animated glitter and music momentarily "pours" out.

  • This is the first episode where Mr. Conductor wears an outfit other than his usual uniform.

  • This is the first time we hear of Schemer's ulterior motive of taking over Shining Time Station.

  • This is the first time that Mr. Conductor is mentioned to Harry.

  • The closing shot of Harry laughing with Mr. Conductor behind his back was used for Harry's character oval in the original Season 1 "clip show" opening sequence.

  • When Stacy learns about the new train, the telephone conversation is actually a sped-up version of T.S. Eliot reading a few lines from his poem "The Naming of Cats". ~ contributed by Daniel Celano

Pitching In and Helping Out

Production #4 (1.04) - First Aired: 1989-FEB-19 (US)
Written by Ellis Weiner
Directed by Matthew Diamond

Summary by M. Cooper

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Episode Characters/Stars:

  • Stacy Jones (Didi Conn)

  • Harry Cupper (Leonard Jackson)

  • Schemer (Brian O'Connor)

  • Mr. Conductor (Ringo Starr)

  • Matt Jones (Jason Woliner)

  • Tanya Cupper (Nicole Leach)

  • The Jukebox Puppet Band

  • Scuba Woman (Annette Holloway)

 

Episode Synopsis: Stacy tries to fix the station’s clock, while Matt and Tanya discover ways to use a ball of string to be both creative and helpful.

 

Detailed Episode Summary: SHOW

Stacy is up on a ladder trying to fix the ticket counter’s clock, while Schemer is dusting off the Jukebox with his tie. When Stacy asks for his help, he claims he’s too busy. Stacy protests that the clock must be fixed so the passengers can board their trains on time. Schemer thinks that it’s better for the clock to be broken; this means the passengers can spend more money in the arcade. Schemer then tries to sell Stacy a “brand new, antique teapot” for five dollars. Stacy thinks it’s too dirty, causing him to lower the price to four dollars, then three. Stacy points out that the teapot has a hole in the bottom.

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Schemer claims that that is for pouring two cups of tea at once, and drops the price down to two dollars. Stacy still says no, so Schemer leaves the teapot on the information desk so she can think it over.

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Matt and Tanya arrive from the platform. Schemer greets them then trips over his shoelaces as he walks away. Tanya asks Stacy if she can climb up to help, but Stacy says no: she wants her to keep an eye on the ladder. Matt is asked to grab a screwdriver. Tanya asks Stacy what’s wrong with the clock. Stacy demonstrates by spinning the hands, which makes a springing sound. Both Stacy and Tanya like the sound, but the clock is needed to keep everyone on time. Matt asks Stacy if he can keep a ball of red string he found with the screwdriver. Tanya wonders what you can do with just string, which prompts Stacy to recall something her grandmother once said: “Let my life be like a piece of string: long, strong and soft at the end.”

Mr. Conductor appears on top of the clock wearing a chef hat and a long red apron, carrying two wooden spoons. He protests that Stacy’s grandmother never said such a thing. Stacy admits that she made up the saying herself. “Not bad, for a beginner,” replies Mr. Conductor. Stacy thanks him and then leaves to find some oil. Mr. Conductor drums on the side of the clock with the wooden spoons, disappears, and then reappears on top of the information desk.

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Matt asks Mr. Conductor if he actually knew Stacy’s grandmother. He reveals that she ran Shining Time Station years ago, which is when he first met her. She used to know which train was coming just by the sound of its whistle, and took good care of both her trains and her passengers. She always knew how to have fun better than anyone else. Tanya protests that everyone knows how to have fun. Mr. Conductor replies that that idea isn’t true, and explains that everybody likes to have fun, but not everyone knows how to go about it. Stacy does, and so did her grandmother.

Matt asks if Stacy’s grandmother ever played with string. Mr. Conductor replies she used to play Cat’s Cradle. Tanya tries demonstrating, but only gets her fingers tangled up. Matt quickly helps her out. Mr. Conductor congratulates him, saying that it always feels good to help someone out. To the engines on the Island of Sodor, this is called feeling “Really Useful.” Clicking his spoons together, he tells them the story of how Thomas felt really useful when he helped use a breakdown train to rescue James the Red Engine.

Tanya thinks that Thomas must have felt important pulling the Breakdown Train, but Mr. Conductor points out that he was more concerned about helping James. Matt wishes that someone could help them figure out what to do with the string. Mr. Conductor replies that they’ll have to help each other out with that one, because he has to go home to feed his parrot a carrot and stretch out some spaghetti. Matt remembers that Stacy taught him how to make flowers out of string, and proceeds to show Tanya using only a fork and some drinking straws.

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Mr. Conductor, now dressed in his usual attire, appears by his front door to compliment them on their progress. He claims that string can do a lot with itself. When Tanya complains that that doesn’t make sense, he proceeds to show them a magic bubble about shapes made out of string. This gives the kids some new ideas, and they run off to gather some supplies.

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Harry comes out of his workshop and walks towards the Jukebox. He’s had a song in his head since this morning, and wants to hear it played. The nickel drops inside the slot, but no one in the band wants to go pick it up, being comfortable where they are. They play the song “Railroad Corral.” Matt and Tanya come into the workshop, where Harry is fixing a sign with a broken chain. The sign used to hang on the ticket booth long ago and reads: “Shining Time Station: Trains from here… to Everywhere!” Harry is using a soldering iron to fix the chain. Tanya tells him all about their day so far, from their escapades with string to Mr. Conductor’s story. Harry tests the chain by hanging the sign on a hook, but the chain breaks. Matt offers him some string instead, which proves to be just the ticket.

Mr. Conductor appears on the Information Desk again, complimenting them on how busy they were. Matt only has a little bit of string left, and Tanya wants to do something really special with it. Mr. Conductor says that string can be a great problem solver as well, which reminds him of James. Tanya doesn’t think that a train can be fixed with only string. Mr. Conductor agrees, explaining that people are very clever on the Island of Sodor, and tells them the story of how a shoelace and a newspaper once helped James pull his train.

Stacy is searching by the lost and found for something. Mr. Conductor asks if he can help, but Stacy says she has to learn how to fix the clock on her own. She suddenly remembers where she left the oil, but when she looks in one of the trunks, she comes up empty handed. She finally asks Mr. Conductor to tell her where the oil is. He replies she had left it on the floor in the ticket booth yesterday. He complains that the clock has made him late to his appointments for nine years, three months, eight hours, two minutes and twenty-three seconds. Stacy teasingly smiles at him, and Mr. Conductor admits that he made that one up. Stacy thanks Mr. Conductor, who disappears just as Schemer walks in.

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Stacy’s goodbye makes Schemer think she’s talking to furniture. He once again trips over his shoelaces, as he’s too busy to even tie them. When he tries, he accidentally pulls the laces out of his shoe completely. He angrily pulls out the laces from his other shoe too, claiming he doesn’t need them. When he tries walking, the shoes fall off his feet altogether. Stacy whispers to Matt and Tanya that they should give the last bit of their string to Schemer. Tanya and Matt protest, as they wanted to do something special with it. Stacy replies that helping someone out is special.

The scene is interrupted by the sudden appearance of a woman dressed in a wetsuit, scuba gear and flippers who flops into the station carrying a bowl of goldfish. She asks Stacy when the next train to Lucky Lake is leaving. Stacy replies that it’s twenty minutes, and the woman leaves for the platform. Schemer points out that the woman wasn’t wearing shoes either, claiming some people know how to live. Stacy asks the kids if they will give Schemer the string, because otherwise he’ll be complaining about his shoes all day.

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Grudgingly, Tanya hands the string over to an excited Schemer. He again tries selling the teapot to Stacy for a dollar, then fifty cents, and then decides to give it to the kids as a present. Matt wonders what they can do with it. Stacy provides the solution: she puts the string flowers the kids made inside the old pot, making it into a decorative flower pot for the Information Desk. Harry comes in with his repaired sign for the kids to hang up, and then proceeds to help Stacy fix the clock. The episode ends with the now-repaired clock ticking away, while everyone cheers at a job well done.

Episode Morals:

  • Helping others, no matter who they are, is important.

  • Creative solutions can be found just by using simple tools or objects.

  • There are numerous ways to have fun if you keep an open mind.

Featured Jukebox Puppet Band Song:

  • Railroad Corral

Featured Picture Machine Song:

  • None

Featured Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends Stories:

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

  • James and the Coaches (James Learns a Lesson)

Episode Notes:

  • Mr. Conductor has lived at Shining Time Station since Stacy’s grandmother ran it.

  • Mr. Conductor keeps a parrot in his house on the mural.

  • This is the first time a Thomas story isn’t started by Mr. Conductor blowing his whistle. Instead, he clicks two wooden spoons together.

  • Mr. Conductor demonstrates that he can drum using two wooden spoons. This is a nod to Ringo Starr’s career as a drummer for The Beatles.

  • Annette Holloway, who played the "Scuba Woman," also served as the show's assistant stage manager.

  • At one point Mr. Conductor dubs Tanya “Tanya Lasagna”. This nickname is referred to again in Season 2 by Mr. Conductor’s cousin (George Carlin).

Show and Yell

Production #5 (1.05) - First Aired: 1989-FEB-26 (US)
Written by Brian McConnachie
Directed by Matthew Diamond

Summary by D. Dobrydney

Episode Characters/Stars:

  • Stacy Jones (Didi Conn)

  • Harry Cupper (Leonard Jackson)

  • Schemer (Brian O'Connor)

  • Mr. Conductor (Ringo Starr)

  • Matt Jones (Jason Woliner)

  • Tanya Cupper (Nicole Leach)

  • The Jukebox Puppet Band

  • Ventriloquist (Alan Semok)

Episode Synopsis: Matt and Tanya take an interest in ventriloquism, and decide early on to put on a show to demonstrate their newfound talent. When the play is a disappointing failure, Stacy, Harry and Mr. Conductor all try to encourage the children to practice their skills. They then try again with much more positive results.

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Detailed Episode Summary: SHOW

Everyone is exchanging greetings at Shining Time Station as the episode opens. Stacy greets a gentleman passenger carrying two large suitcases, Tanya greets Stacy and Matt, and the two children greet Mr. Conductor, Harry and Schemer. Everyone returns the children’s greetings except Schemer, who only wants to greet the money in his Arcade machines.

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The children are suddenly are distracted when they hear someone else greeting them. The voice appears to come from the waiting area, where the passenger is calmly reading a book. The children look curiously at the man, because his lips aren’t moving as the voice continues speaking, asking if Matt and Tanya are going to return his greeting. The man glances at the children, smiles, and takes a ventriloquist dummy out of one of his suitcases. The dummy asks Tanya if she’s Matt. Tanya identifies herself and the dummy asks where Matt is. A second voice is heard coming from the man’s other suitcase, which turns out to be a second ventriloquist dummy. This second dummy thinks Matt is Tanya.

By this point Stacy, Harry and Schemer have come over to watch as the two dummies and the man banter with Matt and Tanya. One dummy introduces himself as Lazlo, and the other Eugene, but they don’t know the man’s name. The man finally introduces himself as Al, and the three of them humorously discuss whether or not they should use the word 'dummy' when talking about each other. Everyone is very impressed with the impromptu performance; with Schemer quipping that Al should be selling tickets instead of performing for free. Stacy then takes a phone call from the train dispatcher, and informs the ventriloquist that his train will be late.

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This doesn’t bother him at all, and he asks Matt and Tanya if they will watch his luggage while he runs an errand. The children agree, and Tanya asks if they can play with the ventriloquist dummies in the meantime. The man says they can, and leaves.

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Matt asks Tanya if she thinks they can really make the puppets work, and Mr. Conductor appears to answer him. First, they’ll take dummy lessons, and then ‘smarty’ lessons! Mr. Conductor starts by asking Tanya to try saying “a bag of boots, a bag of boots” without moving her lips. Tanya immediately says she can’t, and Mr. Conductor says she’s not trying. Tanya attempts to say the tongue twister, which comes out as “an ag of oots.” Mr. Conductor says it’s a good start and suggests the two of them should chat with James the Red Engine. Matt asks if James knows how to work puppets. Mr. Conductor thinks for a moment, then says James can’t work puppets but is an authority on trying. To illustrate, he tells the children about how James didn’t give up when pulling an uncooperative freight train.

After the story, Mr. Conductor tells the children that sometimes they’ll surprise themselves with what they can do. After he disappears, Matt and Tanya begin working the puppets and after only a minute or two, decide to put on a show of their own. They go off and drag Stacy and Harry away from their work to watch them, with Schemer joining to see another free show. With the puppets set up on the ticket counter, Matt tries to replicate the ventriloquist’s skit about their names, while Tanya makes her dummy do a completely different skit about vegetables. The performance quickly breaks down as the children begin accusing each other of getting it wrong.  Stacy  tries to calm the situation by saying that neither of them is wrong, they just had different ideas about what right was. She suggests they practice and they’ll be better next time. Tanya pouts that there won’t be a next time, and Stacy replies with some words from her grandmother, "every time has a next time, sometime!"

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Matt and Tanya aren’t convinced, and their mood isn’t helped by Schemer joking that his favorite parts of their show was when it was over and that it was free. The children begin arguing again about who was wrong, and Schemer settles the argument by saying they were both wrong! He then invites them to cheer up by spending money in the Arcade. Matt puts a nickel in the jukebox, and selects the song "Freight Train." None of the band knows that song, but they decide to play it anyway. Their dissonant performance shocks Matt and sparks an argument among the band members about who’s to blame. They stop arguing long enough to decide that it’s Tito’s fault, because he’s not there!

Later, Tanya is moping by the Information Desk when Mr. Conductor appears and points at her accusingly, saying she must be the culprit. Tanya is confused, but Mr. Conductor says he can tell by her face that she’s the one who ate all the lemons! Tanya denies eating any lemons, which leads Mr. Conductor to suggest they look for them in the Anything Tunnel. Inside the tunnel is a music video about being able to “bounce back” after a failure. Sure enough, a bowl with three lemons can be seen during the song.

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Meanwhile, Matt finds himself in the workshop, where Harry asks if they’ll be seeing another puppet show soon. Matt strongly rejects the idea, which prompts Harry to ask if he’s giving up. Matt says that everything went wrong and he and Tanya couldn’t make it work. Harry answers that Isaac had the same problem. Matt asks who Isaac is, and Harry tells him about Isaac Dripps, who at only 21 years of age was given the job of assembling the first railroad locomotive in North America, despite never seeing one before. The engine, named the "John Bull," worked but it kept derailing, among other problems. However, Isaac persevered and fixed the problems, making improvements to the engine to make it better and better.

Harry concludes his story with the fact that the engine is now in the Smithsonian Institute and is the oldest steam locomotive in America. Matt asks what happened to Isaac, and Harry says that he became a famous railroad mechanic. Isaac never gave up, Harry tells Matt, and neither should he. Matt doesn’t want to give up, but mentions that the ventriloquist will be back soon for his puppets. At that, Harry goes over to the workbench and starts tinkering with bits of discarded metal.

Outside the workshop, Stacy finds Tanya sitting by herself. Stacy says that she remembers putting on puppet shows herself as a girl, and all she needed was a sock and a big imagination. Tanya begins to cheer up as Stacy shows her how to make a puppet with a sock and some buttons, while Harry helps Matt make his own puppet out of nuts, bolts and some metal strips. Soon, they children meet back up and show each other their new playthings. Mr. Conductor appears and frantically tries to warn them about the horrible beasts that have eaten their hands, but Matt and Tanya quickly explain that it’s just their puppets.

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Mr. Conductor asks if that means another puppet show, but the children are reluctant as they don’t want to be made fun of. Mr. Conductor says that if they aren’t even going to try, he’ll talk to the puppets instead. He tells the puppets to think of what happened to James when the other engines made fun of him. Matt asks what did happen and Mr. Conductor tells the story of how James got to prove himself by pulling the Express.

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After the story, Mr. Conductor addresses the puppets again, telling them they’ll never know if they can do their best until they try again. He asks again for a show in exchange for the story, but says they should make sure they’re ready first. Over in the Jukebox Didi comments that she likes the children’s puppets while Rex suggests they provide some background music. Mr. Conductor disappears and reappears in front of his signal house with some popcorn and a pair of opera glasses, asking the puppets if the children are ready. Matt and Tanya duck behind the ticket counter and start performing. Mr. Conductor gives them a thumbs-up as they perform much better than the first time.

Just then, the ventriloquist returns and asks the puppets if they’ve seen Matt or Tanya. The children keep right on performing and impress the ventriloquist as well as Stacy, Harry and Schemer. Back in the Jukebox, Tex declares he’s just remembered the words to “Freight Train” and the band begins to play as the ventriloquist claims his puppets and goes out to catch his train. When the song is over, Schemer rushes up with a sign he just made which reads “Puppet Show, only 5 cents.” The episode comes to an end as Schemer flips the sign over to display another message, “A great deal!”

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Episode Morals:

  • Some tasks are difficult at first, but with practice, we can master them.

  • We can succeed if we don't give up.

Featured Jukebox Puppet Band Song:

  • Freight Train

Featured Anything Tunnel Song:

  • Bounce Back (sung by Vaneese Thomas)

Featured Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends Stories:

  • Troublesome Trucks (Foolish Freight Cars)

  • James and the Express (A Proud Day for James)

Episode Notes:

  • The “John Bull” was originally put on display in the Smithsonian Institute in 1884. A replica was built in 1939; however the original locomotive was steamed in 1981 in honor of its 150th anniversary, making it the oldest operable steam locomotive in North America. The footage of the “John Bull” which accompanies Harry’s story about Isaac was provided by the Smithsonian Institute and might be a depiction of the 1981 re-steaming.

  • This is the only time a member of the Flexitoons team had an onscreen role in an episode of Shining Time Station. Normally Alan Semok did the puppeteering for Grace the Bass.

  • Tito (Jonathan Freeman) does not appear in this episode. According to the Boy Brothers, the band leader is too busy counting his nickels.

  • Nitpick: When the "Freight Train" number ends and Schemer walks over to the ticket desk, Harry is still bopping away even though the music ended moments ago!

  • Continuity Goof: When the ventriloquist leaves to catch his train, he has his two puppets but has left his suitcases behind!

Faith, Hope and Anxiety

Production #6 (1.06) - First Aired: 1989-MAR-05 (US)
Written by Brian McConnachie
Directed by Matthew Diamond

Summary by S. Das

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Episode Characters/Stars:

  • Stacy Jones (Didi Conn)

  • Harry Cupper (Leonard Jackson)

  • Schemer (Brian O'Connor)

  • Mr. Conductor (Ringo Starr)

  • Matt Jones (Jason Woliner)

  • Tanya Cupper (Nicole Leach)

  • The Jukebox Puppet Band

 

Episode Synopsis: Due to an emergency on the line, Harry has to break his promise to take the children fishing. As they learn to cope with the disappointment, Matt and Tanya discover that there is very often a bright side to a gloomy situation.

Detailed Episode Summary: SHOW

A train arrives at the station as the episode begins. Matt and Tanya rush into the waiting room to find Harry, as he has promised to take them fishing, and the kids are worried that they will miss their train. Harry quickly gathers his fishing gear but before they can leave, Stacy arrives with an emergency. A signal down the line has broken, and the express train due in a few minutes will not be able to proceed until it is mended. While Stacy is explaining the situation, the train Harry and the children had planned to board for the fishing trip pulls out. Harry says work comes before play and explains to the disappointed and anxious kids that they will have to simply modify their itinerary, and retreats to his workshop to mend the signal.

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Stacy, sympathizes with Matt and Tanya, but explains that Harry has an important role on the railroad, and everyone trusts him to make sure the trains run safely. The kids also relate to this, particularly when it comes to their household chores. They then remember that Harry promised to take them fishing, and that he is obligated to keep his promise, but only after he finishes his important business.

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Just then, Stacy remembers that a letter for Tanya and a package had arrived at the station for them. Matt and Tanya open the package, and inside is none other than Mr. Conductor! He wanted to see how the mail trains were running, so he stowed away in a cardboard box and mailed himself to the station. He reports that the mail trains were a bumpy ride, but run on time. He then asks why the kids aren't on their fishing trip, and Matt and Tanya explain their situation and how they were left behind at the station.

Mr. Conductor is reminded of the story of when the conductor on Thomas the Tank Engine's passenger train got left behind when Thomas got impatient. When the story ends, the kids are reminded that if have a little patience with Harry, they'll be rewarded in the end. Mr. Conductor also says if the kids don't cheer up soon, he will mail himself to Kulalagumba, a place where, he believes, kids are a lot cheerier than Matt and Tanya. He then leaves for his own important business, his lunch, which today consists of an entire shrimp!

Matt and Tanya decide to help Harry so he finishes sooner. Harry emerges from his workshop, about to take a trip to the hardware store. Matt and Tanya ask if they can help, and Harry in return asks the kids if they have a #3 hex key. When they say they don't, he thanks them anyway, and runs off to the store, saying he'll be back in 15 minutes. The kids ask Stacy when the next train arrives, and she says in 12 minutes, and that is the last train for two hours, with the exception of the Fireball Express, which does not stop at Shining Time. 

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The kids then realize that Harry won't be back until exactly three minutes after the train departs. The kids then sit on the steps of the arcade, thinking that they will have to sit around the station all afternoon with nothing to do. They ask Stacy if she can take them fishing, but Stacy says she also has work to do, but she offers to point out the bright side, by dropping a nickel into the Picture Machine. It plays a music video about a boy who, after a sudden gust of wind steals his kite, must use his patience and perseverance to find it again.

After the music video ends, the kids realize that one tweak in a routine should not spoil your fun for too long. Mr. Conductor returns from his scrumptious shrimp lunch, and Matt and Tanya ask him for the time. Mr. Conductor answers that it is five minutes before the hour. The kids lament about the delays of their fishing trip and Mr. Conductor tells them a story of how Thomas once accidentally went on a fishing trip of his own, when all he wanted was a drink of water! After the story, it is still apparent to Mr. Conductor that the kids have lost all their faith in Harry and their hope. He tries to cheer the kids up with a magic bubble that sends a train through their imaginations.

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When the bubble sequence ends, Mr. Conductor suggests that if the train is late, they'll probably still have a chance to fish anyway. Just then the train arrives, right on time. The kids look for Harry in vain, and think all hope is lost. Stacy then returns and asks about the letter Tanya received. It is from her pen pal, Lucy, who sent her a picture of an American flag and a landscape, drawn in markers. Stacy suggests that Matt and Tanya try their hand at drawing pictures for Lucy. Stacy gets supplies for them and they get to work on the floor of the Arcade. Matt draws a sun, while Tanya draws a fish.

While the kids draw, Schemer enters and startles Stacy as he asks if business in the arcade has been okay, but she doesn't answer and retreats to her desk. Schemer then notices Matt and Tanya and, thinking they are blocking the entrance to his arcade, commands them to stand up and explain what they are doing. They show him their artwork, and Schemer mentions that he is somewhat of an artist himself, but is more into pastoral themes and natural settings. The kids don't believe him, so he asks them to specify a scene for him to draw.

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Schemer rejects all their ideas until Tanya suggests winter and he proceeds to "draw" a winter scene. He claims it is hard but when he shows his finished piece of “a complete and total” snowstorm, it’s obvious Schemer hasn’t drawn anything at all. Schemer then offers to let the kids to draw his portrait. The kids decline, and Schemer decides to do it himself. He takes a piece of paper with an oval-shaped hole cut out, and puts his face in the middle, thus creating a "self" portrait, but the kids still aren't convinced.

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Just then, Harry arrives with the repaired signal semaphore blade. He's now eager to go fishing, and asks the kids to get ready. Tanya claims they've missed the train, but Harry says he's never missed a train in his life. Harry gets his fishing gear, and soon afterward a train arrives; it's the Fireball Express! Harry arranged for the train to stop at the station, take Harry and the kids to the broken signal, which Harry will repair, and then they will transfer to the local train to Lucky Lake for the fishing trip. The kids joyfully join Harry on the platform.

Back in the Arcade, the Jukebox Puppet Band has overheard all the commotion about the fishing trip. Didi asks Grace if she'd been fishing, and Grace says she only fishes for one thing, compliments! Didi suggests that the band all go fishing, but Tito says they are too small for it; instead of pulling fish out, the fish might pull them in! They all agree to never go fishing. They then decide to play a song, even though Grace claims Schemer (whom she does not address by name) does not want them playing for free. They decide to play anyway, and sure enough, Schemer commands the Jukebox to stop. 

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He then has the suspicion that the station is haunted. As he walks toward the information booth, he hears an unseen voice ask "Huh?" and then repeats his statement. Suddenly, Stacy rises up from behind the booth and both Stacy and Schemer scare each other. Stacy laughs and goes about her business while Schemer leaves.

Episode Morals:

  • We all need to learn about how to cope with disappointment.

  • We are all able to turn a gloomy situation into a bright one

Featured Jukebox Puppet Band Song:

  • Wabash Cannonball

Featured Picture Machine Song:

  • Kite Song

Featured Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends Stories:

  • Thomas & The Guard

  • Thomas Goes Fishing

Episode Notes:

  • This is the first episode to not feature guest stars.

  • The Magic Bubble sequence features an excerpt from "Red Ball Express," an animated short film by Steve Segal, created by drawing on clear film stock with felt-tipped markers, permanent pens, and rubber stamps.

  • The Jukebox Band's rendition of "Wabash Cannonball" features excerpts of preserved Norfolk & Western Class A articulated steam locomotive #1218. This footage was originally filmed for the 1987 documentary Steam People, a promotional film released by Norfolk Southern documenting #1218's restoration.

  • This episode features Schemer’s first declaration that Shining Time Station is haunted, which would become a running gag throughout the series as his interpretation of the unexplained phenomena at the station.

  • The “Kite Song” was released on the VHS cassette Shining Time Station Singsongs Vol. 1.

 

Agree to Disagree

Production #7 (1.07) - First Aired: 1989-MAR-12 (US)
Written by Ellis Weiner
Directed by Matthew Diamond

Summary by J. Gratton 

Episode Characters/Stars:

  • Stacy Jones (Didi Conn)

  • Harry Cupper (Leonard Jackson)

  • Schemer (Brian O'Connor)

  • Mr. Conductor (Ringo Starr)

  • Matt Jones (Jason Woliner)

  • Tanya Cupper (Nicole Leach)

  • The Jukebox Puppet Band

  • Balloon Man (Allyn Gooen)

Episode Synopsis: Matt wants to read, but Tanya wants to play, and their differences finally lead to an argument. Some good advice from Stacy, Harry and Mr. Conductor helps Matt and Tanya see that people can disagree and still be friends.

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Detailed Episode Summary: SHOW

The episode opens with Matt reading a book at the station's information booth. Tanya runs in and tells Matt excitedly about the party she just returned from, where a performer made all kinds of interesting things with balloons. Tanya asks Matt to come play with her and the balloons. Matt kindly turns her down twice saying that he is busy reading a book. Tanya then goes looking for Stacy.

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The phone at the ticket desk rings and Stacy emerges from the workshop to answer it. The call is from J.B. King, superintendent of the railroad, telling her that she's doing a terrific job and that she should keep up the good work. An ecstatic Stacy runs outside to greet the passengers from a train that has just arrived.

Tanya asks Matt once more to join her, but he gives her a snarky answer. Mr. Conductor appears and tells the kids to keep it down; their arguing is interrupting his concentration as he's trying to sort out his library. Mr. Conductor calls Tanya over for a chat. Tanya reveals that she’s upset because Matt isn't interested in playing with her, and remarks that he is very different than her. Mr. Conductor explains that sometimes being different means that we can help each other, just like Thomas and Terence the Tractor do. Mr. Conductor then tells the story of how Terence's differences once helped rescue Thomas when the engine was stuck in the snow.

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Stacy comes in and says hello to Mr. Conductor, but the conversation is cut short when Mr. Conductor hears Schemer coming and disappears. Schemer arrives carrying a large stack of cardboard boxes left over from restocking his vending machines. Stacy convinces Schemer to give the boxes to the kids to amuse themselves with. Schemer leaves and Tanya says that it was very nice of him to donate the boxes to them. Stacy agrees but mentions that Schemer tried to sell the boxes to her first.

Stacy notices Matt still intently reading a book and asks him about it. Matt begins to tell her about it when he is interrupted by Tanya's balloon bursting. Stacy sees that Matt is upset and tries to calm the situation by saying that it was simply an accident, but Matt slams his book down and tells Stacy that he's finished reading and that he's going to instead build a fort so he can get some peace and quiet. Stacy suggests that Tanya help him, but Tanya refuses, saying that she intends to build a fort of her own.

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Matt begins building his fort out of the boxes, and written on one of them are the words "Private Library Keep Out!!" Tanya is working on her own fort, and decides that she needs some music from the jukebox to work by. Inside the jukebox Didi and Tito banter about song selections until Tanya inserts a nickel. They discover that the selected song is "Abilene", which the band begins to perform.

An upset Tanya visits her grandfather in his workshop and explains what is troubling her. Harry offers that reading can be fun, but Tanya says that Matt doesn't want to do what she wants to do. Harry tells her that they're both different and that life would be awfully dull if everybody always wanted to do the same thing. He explains that the trick is to do some things on your own that you want to, but you can still do things together. He uses railroaders as an example, men and women who were as different as night and day. He adds that this country is made up of people from all over the world, and that a lot of them helped to build the railroads, canals and roads.

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Harry remembers when he was a young engineer on the Mount Cavalier line. One day he had to work with a fellow named Mike who came from Europe and was Tanya's age. Because he kept to himself and rarely spoke, Harry believed that Mike disliked him. As they admired the scenic beauty of Mount Cavalier in the distance, Mike turned to him with a huge smile on his face and gave him the thumbs-up sign. Harry knew then that Mike was alright. It turned out that Mike's English wasn't very good which made him very shy. Harry ends his anecdote by saying that he and Mike became very good friends, and that he learned that you can be different but still be great pals.

 

Tanya says that she liked that story, and Harry mentions that he's always wanted to write his stories down and perhaps make a book of them. Tanya thinks that it's a wonderful idea and hugs her grandfather.

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Outside the workshop, Schemer notices Matt moping and tells him that his depressed attitude will have a negative impact on the arcade's business. Schemer guesses that Matt and Tanya had a disagreement, and offers Matt some advice; play stupid and pretend to not know what she is so upset about, adding that it drives the girls crazy. Matt replies that he doesn't want to drive anyone crazy, but Schemer insists that if Matt wants to win the fight, he should follow his advice. After Schemer leaves, Mr. Conductor walks out from behind the balustrade to inform Matt that sometimes Thomas and his friends disagree, and reminds him of Thomas’ race with Bertie the Bus. Matt has never heard of that story, so after a confusing ramble, Mr. Conductor tells the tale.

Matt declares that he wants to be friends with Tanya just as Thomas became friends with Bertie, except that he just wants to read. Mr. Conductor says that Tanya probably likes to read too, only today she wanted to do something else. Mr. Conductor excuses himself as he wants to finish reading his book. When Matt asks him what he is reading, Mr. Conductor replies "The Spider That Came in From the Cold."

Tanya leaves the workshop and approaches Matt, only to change her mind and instead watch a movie in the Picture Machine. Afterward, Tanya looks towards Matt and walks huffily away just as Stacy enters the arcade. Stacy tells Matt that Schemer told her about their argument and asks if they've made up yet. Matt admits that they haven't. He doesn't understand why Tanya doesn't want to do what he likes to do. Stacy shares some wise words from her grandmother and explains that it's the difference in people that we like which makes life exciting. If everyone was the same, it would be like looking in a mirror which is only interesting for about two minutes. Stacy adds that Tanya is entitled to be herself just as Matt is, and that's what fairness is all about.

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A bus horn is heard and Stacy leaves to get ready for the passengers. Tanya re-emerges from the workshop just as the balloon man from the party enters the station. Recognizing Tanya, he asks who her friend is, and Tanya introduces him to Matt, but sarcastically adds that he isn't much fun. This angers Matt and the two kids begin to argue. The balloon man intercedes by engaging them in a funny balloon game to see who can knock off the other's balloon nose off first. Both of their noses get knocked off at the same time in a tie. As the Balloon man leaves, he notices Matt's  book, "The Trans-Continental Express," and tells him that the book is one of his favorites. The Balloon man stops at the ticket counter and gives Stacy a balloon earring before he leaves. The episode ends with Matt asking Tanya if she wants to read with him. She agrees and harmony is restored between the two friends.

Episode Morals:

  • It is okay to disagree.

  • No two people are exactly alike. These differences make life more interesting.

Featured Jukebox Puppet Band Song:

  • Abilene (sung by Rory Dodd)

Featured Picture Machine Song:

  • We Do Things Differently (composed and sung by Elizabeth Swados)

Featured Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends Stories:

  • Thomas, Terence and the Snow (Terence the Tractor)

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

Quotes of Note:

  • Stacy: You know our motto - Shining Time Station, trains from here to everywhere.

Episode Notes:

  • Mr. Conductor gives Tanya the nickname "Tanya Banya" in this episode.

  • The title of Mr. Conductor’s book is a play on John le Carré's novel title "The Spy Who Came in From the Cold".

  • The song "We Do Things Differently" was released on video as part of "Shining Time Station Singsongs, Vol. 1."

  • The phone conversation in the scene where Stacy is speaking to J,B. King on the telephone is actually a sped-up version of T.S. Eliot reading a few lines from his poem "Mungojerrie And Rumpelteazer". ~ contributed by Daniel Celano

Whistle While You Work

Production #8 (1.08) - First Aired: 1989-MAR-19 (US)
Written by Ellis Weiner
Directed by Matthew Diamond

Summary by J. Gratton and S. Das

Episode Characters/Stars:

  • Stacy Jones (Didi Conn)

  • Harry Cupper (Leonard Jackson)

  • Schemer (Brian O'Connor)

  • Mr. Conductor (Ringo Starr)

  • Matt Jones (Jason Woliner)

  • Tanya Cupper (Nicole Leach)

  • The Jukebox Puppet Band

  • Ed the Stilt Man (Clinton Smith)

Episode Synopsis: Schemer goes on an advertising blitz to promote his arcade while Stacy, Matt and Tanya try to clean up the station. While this is going on, Mr. Conductor does all he can to thwart Schemer's plan to cover up the Station clock and his signal house with adverts.

 

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Detailed Episode Summary: SHOW

Stacy and the kids are hard at work inside the station cleaning up litter left by passengers. Stacy tells the kids that a messy station is a busy station, and that Shining Time Station should always be busy. Matt mentions that he never thought of people cleaning train stations, and always assumed they stayed clean by themselves. Stacy jokingly asks if he was suggesting that it was done by magic. This prompts Tanya to call out for Mr. Conductor and begs him to clean the station using his magic gold dust.

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A voice from above reveals Mr. Conductor busily cleaning the station clock. He replies that he never uses magic for cleaning as it doesn't the reach hard to get at places, so he uses different tools that are suited for different cleaning jobs. Before leaving to go clean his bicycle, Mr. Conductor advises everyone that elbow grease is the best tool for cleaning as it gives everything a splendid shine.

Schemer arrives and immediately begins to complain about the mess, saying that Shining Time Station is anything but. He goes on to claim that the only reason people come to the station is to visit his arcade. To prove his point, he asks Stacy how many passengers passed through the station that day, to which Stacy replies seventeen. Schemer boasts that he can double that number to thirty-five, and goes on to say that the station should be advertising it's most attractive feature: entertainment. Dismissing Stacy's challenge that trains are more important, Schemer begins to openly critique the station's mural as being antiquated and a waste of valuable wall space better suited for advertising. Stacy argues that the mural is valuable as a wonderful work of art that tells the story of American history.

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Schemer is still unimpressed, but his thought is interrupted when he glances up at the station clock and notices that it's been cleaned. When he asks who's responsible, Stacy, Matt and Tanya each claim that they cleaned the clock. Asking why there are no ladders in sight, Schemer remarks that the station is haunted and startles himself when he backs into Stacy and the kids. Trying to save face, he leaves the station tumbling and tripping on almost everything in sight on the way out.

Mr. Conductor reappears swinging a yo-yo and the kids tell him how dismissive Schemer was of their efforts to clean the station. Mr. Conductor counters by saying all things to do, whether big and small, are all important as they all help to get the job done. He elaborates by telling the story of how Gordon, James and Henry became indignant and decided to go on strike when they had to perform what they considered menial work. Tanya later asks Mr. Conductor what going on strike meant, and it's explained as not working in order to make a point.

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Mr. Conductor leaves just as Schemer comes back carrying a stack of poster paper. When asked, Schemer reveals  cheesy-looking adverts with equally cheesy slogans such as "Money is meant to be spent" that he begins posting all over the mural. Schemer even offers Matt a nickel to become a walking billboard. When Matt refuses, Schemer uses the same nickel to select a jukebox song to inspire him as he plasters his adverts all over the station.

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Inside the Jukebox, Didi and Tito are arguing about how many planets there are in our solar system. Tito says there are nine planets while Didi asserts that there are eight. When Tito begins naming off the planets, Didi is surprised to find Earth included, which she never thought of as a planet before, just as "home". The band then begins to play their rendition of "Pop Goes the Weasel" as Schemer gleefully puts up his posters.

Once the music is over, Schemer sees additional advertising space on the clock and over Mr. Conductor's house. Unfortunately for Schemer both  locations are beyond his reach. Despite Matt and Tanya's protests, Schemer leaves the station saying that he knows a guy who'll be able to help him. The kids cry out for Mr. Conductor to warn him about Schemer's intentions. Mr. Conductor is not impressed by what he hears and vanishes just as Schemer returns.

Schemer is accompanied by Ed, an incredibly tall man whose great height make the kids gape in awe. Schemer tells Ed to place a poster over the clock. As he's about to do so, Mr. Conductor appears with a seltzer bottle and unleashes a jet of water into Ed's face. Ed is naturally upset and accuses Schemer of playing pranks. Schemer pleads innocence and asks the children who did it. Matt answers truthfully that it was the little man who lives in the station to an incredulous Schemer. After Tanya hands Ed a cloth to wipe his face, he's able to get a good look at and is complimentary of the clock and mural. He takes down one of the adverts to see more of the mural, much to Schemer's consternation.

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Stacy arrives, happily explaining how she met a group of boy scouts on their way to Pelican Falls who were asking all sorts of questions about the station. Stacy becomes incensed when she suddenly notices the posters covering the mural and orders Schemer to take them down. Matt then introduces her to Ed. Stacy is taken aback by his height, but quickly recovers to quip that it's a very short name for such a tall person as she introduces herself.

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Ed is very curious and asks what goes on in the station. Tanya answers that trains come and go, and when Ed asks about where do they go, Stacy mentions Doodle Haven. Ed expresses an interest to go there while Stacy goes behind the ticket counter to get him a ticket. Stacy comments that it would have to be a tall train to accommodate Ed, but he reveals that he's just a normal-sized man walking on stilts. Stacy then escorts Ed to the station platform as Schemer complains that he now has to look for another man on stilts.

Mr. Conductor reappears as soon as Schemer leaves, saying he feels bad for squirting water in Ed's face, but that he could not allow him to cover up his home with Schemer's posters. Tanya asks why Mr. Conductor couldn't use his magic to smash the posters. Mr. Conductor replies that he couldn't can't make muscles from magic, so he would have been trapped and would not be able to tell the children about what happened when Henry, Gordon and James began their strike.

After the story, Matt makes an astute observation that the tender engines' little job of shunting was still important as it enabled the passengers to catch their train. Mr. Conductor agrees and adds that the little jobs like cleaning are just as important. Before saying goodbye he mentions that his bicycle needs exercising, and if he doesn't ride it every day its handlebars would droop!

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Tanya and Matt visit Harry in the workshop and ask him to make stilts for them. Harry says he cannot make stilts exactly, but can make something similar, "elevator shoes" made from large tin cans and string. We next see Matt and Tanya walking around the arcade wearing the elevator shoes that Harry made for them. Stacy is surprised to see what they're wearing, and although mentioning that there's still a lot of work to do, takes a break to join the kids to watch a feature on the Picture Machine about working together.

Later, Stacy is polishing the information booth while Matt and Tanya are on the floor drawing. Schemer arrives to ask if people paid any attention to his posters, but the answer is no. He shrugs it off by blaming it on the fact that he can't draw and proposes that the kids can draw the posters and he will hang them up, but the kids turn him down. Matt whispers something in Tanya's ear and they make a counter-proposal to Schemer; they'll give him their artwork only if his adverts are taken down. Matt and Tanya have drawn an elephant, which is initially not to Schemer’s liking. Schemer relents when Tanya tells him to either take it or leave it. He convinces them to add a slogan to their art: "Elephants are big, elephants are gray. Spend money." The kids agree and the episode closes with Schemer jumping up and down while trying to reach and take down a poster hanging over the station's main archway.

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Episode Morals:

  • We must recognize that all jobs have value, especially in a group effort.

Featured Jukebox Puppet Band Song:

  • Pop Goes the Weasel

Featured Picture Machine Song:

  • Let's Work Together

Featured Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends Stories:

  • Tenders and Turntables

  • Trouble in the Shed

Quotes of Note:

  • Mr. Conductor: Some people walk in their sleep. Schemer probably runs.

Episode Notes:

  • Continuing his tradition of nicknames, Mr. Conductor uses "Tanya Savania" in this episode.

  • Schemer has to put on a pair of glasses so that he can see the station clock face more clearly.

  • Ed's overly long pant legs suddenly revert to normal pant leg size when the cut shot reveals that he is standing on stilts.

  • Eighteen years after this show was taped, Pluto would be removed from the list of planets in the solar system, making a total of 8, but if you followed Didi’s lead and excluded Earth, you’d still be wrong. The debate in scientific circles whether Pluto is a planet is still ongoing.

  • U.S. viewers may be confused by Edward's lament that he has 'gray wheels' in the story "Trouble in the Shed." This is because the line in the original UK version was 'black wheels,' which was a play on the word blackleg, which in turn is British slang for a strike-breaker. In this case, Edward was breaking the other tender engines’ strike against Sir Topham Hatt.

  • Guest star Clinton Smith was at the time a member of a stilt dancing team known as "Friends in High Places."

Two Old Hands

Production #9 (1.09) - First Aired: 1989-MAR-26 (US)
Written by Ellis Weiner
Directed by Matthew Diamond

Summary by S. Das

Episode Characters/Stars:

  • Stacy Jones (Didi Conn)

  • Harry Cupper (Leonard Jackson)

  • Schemer (Brian O'Connor)

  • Mr. Conductor (Ringo Starr)

  • Matt Jones (Jason Woliner)

  • Tanya Cupper (Nicole Leach)

  • The Jukebox Puppet Band

  • Passenger (guest: Richard Stillman)

Episode Synopsis: Mr. Conductor has avoided meeting Harry because he's worried that Harry won't like him. When Matt and Tanya include Mr. Conductor in planning Harry's surprise birthday party, they all learn an important lesson about the pleasure of giving.

 

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Detailed Episode Summary: SHOW

The episode opens as a mail sack is tossed into the station from a passing train. Stacy, Matt and Tanya run to receive it, while Mr. Conductor appears and asks if there is anything for him. Matt receives a magazine, Stacy a letter, and Tanya a picture from her pen pal. Harry, from behind his workshop’s closed door, asks if there is anything for him. Mr. Conductor quickly disappears as Harry emerges from the workshop while Stacy looks through the mail pile. Finding nothing for him, Stacy asks Harry if he was expecting something. Harry replies that he wasn’t looking for anything in particular and leaves.

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Stacy thinks something is wrong and Tanya mentions the fact that it is Harry’s birthday. They all decide to throw him a surprise party, which Stacy explains is one where the person whose birthday is being celebrated doesn’t know about it. Tanya decides to give Harry a jump rope, while Matt decides to give him a baseball bat, but Stacy decides they ought to make an original present for him instead. The kids then go to the Jukebox to play some music to listen to while making the presents.

In the Jukebox, Didi has overheard all the commotion about Harry’s birthday, and decides that the band should play a song he really likes. When the nickel finally drops, Tex suggests “A Railroader for Me,” and the band starts playing.

By the time the song ends, Stacy and the kids have completed their presents. Harry (speaking through the closed door of his workshop) asks Stacy if she can play the song again, while Stacy and the kids try to hide the presents. When Harry comes out of his workshop, Stacy tries hard to keep the presents a secret from him. She suggests that Harry gets Schemer some Cheese Giggles for his vending machine from the storeroom but Harry protests, saying he gave Schemer some earlier that morning. Stacy insists that he get  more, and Harry leaves, commenting to himself that he must be getting old. Stacy suggests the kids find a box to hide the presents in, and Matt finds an old empty Cheese Giggles box on the steps of Schemer’s arcade. They place their presents in the box, which Stacy then hides.

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Just then, Mr. Conductor appears, and says it is a relief that something is over. The kids rush over to him, asking what he is talking about, and he tells them about how the tender engines’ strike against Sir Topham Hatt ended, and how Percy almost got into an accident with Gordon. When the story ends, the kids are told that all the other engines just had to get to know Percy in order to make friends with him. Tanya suggests Mr. Conductor should do the same with Harry, but Mr. Conductor is still nervous about how he’ll react to the idea of an eighteen-inch high man wanting to be his friend. Stacy returns after successfully hiding the box, but just then Harry’s voice is heard, and Mr. Conductor quickly disappears.

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Harry arrives with a second box of Cheese Giggles, and asks Stacy to tell Schemer that he can carry his own boxes from now on. Harry still feels grumpy about how old he is getting, and heads back to the workshop. Mr. Conductor suddenly appears on the information booth behind Harry's back and greets him, but disappears before Harry can turn around, leaving Harry thinking he's hearing things. Just as Harry reaches the workshop door, Mr. Conductor re-appears on Stacy’s desk, and when Harry turns around he can’t believe his eyes. Mr. Conductor, thinking that he gave a bad impression, quickly disappears and Harry comments yet again that he must be getting old, because now he’s seeing things.

Mr. Conductor re-appears on the information booth with a wrapped gift in his hand and says he tried, but the kids encourage him to keep trying. Matt asks who the present is for, and Mr. Conductor says it is to cheer Thomas up after he had been in trouble. He then tells the story of how Thomas got conceited when he took his driver’s comments literally and ended up crashing a stationmaster’s breakfast! When the story ends, Mr. Conductor tells the kids that there are some things that nobody can do on their own. The kids then go with Stacy to the platform. Mr. Conductor then hears Schemer's voice and disappears.

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Schemer gives himself a big fanfare, but nobody responds, which makes him suspicious. He starts to walk around the waiting room, commenting how nobody is on duty in a public place. When he sits down on Stacy’s desk, he finds a box of Cheese Giggles behind it. Schemer, unaware that the box contains the presents Stacy and the kids made for Harry, carries it to the Arcade to put some Cheese Giggles bags in his vending machine. He then sees the other box of Cheese Giggles on the steps of his arcade and decides that he will take the box he is carrying home, while the other he'll put in the vending machine. He then leaves, unaware of the surprise he is about to get.

Matt and Tanya return with more presents for Harry, but Mr. Conductor appears and asks where the birthday cake is. The kids ask what he is talking about, and Mr. Conductor asks them to look down the Anything Tunnel. The tunnel then shows an animated video of how to make a cake. At the end of the video, the kids ask where the cake from the Anything Tunnel is, and Mr. Conductor magically produces it. The kids suggest they hide the cake, while Mr. Conductor leaves to do his dishes.

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Stacy returns to the station and looks behind her desk only to find the Cheese Giggles box with their presents gone. She sees the second box sitting on the arcade floor, but Tanya only finds Cheese Giggles inside. Stacy then realizes that Schemer took the box of presents by mistake, and the kids begin to panic. Just then, Schemer returns with the box of presents, and asks where Stacy was ten minutes ago, while Stacy and the kids stare strangely at the box in his hand. Schemer asks what everybody is staring at and Stacy and the kids all point to the box. Schemer explains that he thought the box had Cheese Giggles in it when, to his surprise, there was only some “artsy-craftsy stuff” inside.

Harry emerges from his workshop after hearing Schemer’s voice, and explains to him that he should do things for himself. Stacy intervenes, saying that the ticket puncher is broken and to send it out for fixing, but Harry says he’ll fix it himself and walks away.

Schemer then asks what Harry was talking about and once again brings up the fact that the box in his hands was not a box of Cheese Giggles. Tanya mentions that the box is full of birthday presents, and she, Stacy and Matt all tell Schemer about Harry’s birthday. Schemer mentions that he has never been to a surprise party, and encourages Stacy and the kids to party without him, but they finally get him to stay. Stacy and the kids then retrieve their presents from the box, and Schemer realizes that he doesn’t have a present for Harry. Matt suggests he give him some nickels, but Schemer doesn’t like the idea of giving away money. However, when Stacy tells Schemer how much Harry loves to play the Jukebox, Schemer gives in.

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With the party arrangements settled, Stacy, Schemer and the kids assume their positions to surprise Harry. Stacy calls Harry out, and as he begrudgingly emerges from the workshop, they all shout “Happy Birthday!” Harry apologizes for his irritability, and thanks everybody for the party. As they celebrate, a passing mail train from Pelican Falls drops a sack at the entrance to the platform. Stacy retrieves it and finds the whole sack is full of birthday cards for Harry!

Later, back in the workshop, Harry comments to himself that it was the best birthday party he ever had. Just outside the workshop door, Mr. Conductor is talking with Stacy and the kids, who still encourage him to meet Harry. Stacy suggests he talk about something they both love--trains. Mr. Conductor then goes into Harry’s workshop and greets him. Harry looks in his direction and is suspicious at first, and asks if he is real. Mr. Conductor confirms this, and the two begin to talk.

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Mr. Conductor mentions that he’s been at Shining Time since the President’s train ran along the Indian Valley Railroad. Harry mentions that he remembers working on that train. Mr. Conductor mentions he was on that train as well, as he was the Indian Valley’s special conductor. It turns out they were both on the same train and didn’t even know it, until now. Stacy and the kids, who have been listening in on the conversation, quietly leave the two to talk, confident that Harry and Mr. Conductor are now firm friends.

Episode Morals:

  • There is more pleasure in giving than receiving.

  • We can participate in activities despite feelings of shyness.

Featured Jukebox Puppet Band Song:

  • A Railroader for Me

Featured Anything Tunnel Music Video:

  • Baking a Cake (performed by Rory Dodd)

Featured Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends Stories:

  • Percy Runs Away

  • Thomas Comes to Breakfast

Episode Notes:

  • The shot of Tanya showing her pen pal’s picture to everybody was used in the original “clip show” title sequence.

  • To start “Thomas Comes to Breakfast,” Mr. Conductor does not use his whistle. Instead, he twirls his present to start the story.

  • In addition to Cheese Giggles, Schemer stocks Potato Boom-Booms and Corn Whammies in his vending machine.

  • This is the first episode to feature a story from Series 2 of Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends. The use of "Thomas Comes to Breakfast" caused some continuity errors for US audiences as Donald and Douglas, the Scottish Twins, would not receive a proper introduction until the episode “Sweet and Sour” during Shining Time Station's second season. Additionally, Toby the Tram Engine would not be introduced to US audiences until the episode “Ring in the Old” later in the first season. Finally, the diesel railcar referred to in the story, a character called Daisy, would never feature in a story during Shining Time Station's original three seasons, although stories featuring her would eventually be released on American video.

  • The song “Baking a Cake” was released on US video as part of "Shining Time Station Singsongs Vol. 1."

  • This episode marks one of the few times any attempt is made to explain Mr. Conductor's backstory.

Happy Accidents

Production #10 (1.10) - First Aired: 1989-APR 02 (US)
Written by Alan Kingsberg
Directed by Matthew Diamond

Summary by S. Das

Episode Characters/Stars:

  • Stacy Jones (Didi Conn)

  • Harry Cupper (Leonard Jackson)

  • Schemer (Brian O'Connor)

  • Mr. Conductor (Ringo Starr)

  • Matt Jones (Jason Woliner)

  • Tanya Cupper (Nicole Leach)

  • The Jukebox Puppet Band

  • Acrobats (guest: Karen Gersch & Barbara Rhind)

  • Passenger (guest: Susan Greenhill)

Episode Synopsis: Everyone seems to be having accidents at Shining Time Station, from a scheduling error to Schemer dropping meatballs. However, eventually everyone comes to accept that accidents sometimes happen and learns that the most important thing about mistakes is to make the best of them.

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Detailed Episode Summary: SHOW

As the episode begins, Matt and Tanya are building a block tower near the lost and found. Matt stacks the final blocks on top when the phone rings. Harry answers the phone; it is the dispatch office reporting that the train to Pelican Falls is running late and will arrive at 11 a.m. Harry promptly changes the schedule board to reflect the train’s late arrival. Meanwhile, the stack of blocks Matt and Tanya were working on collapses and Matt apologizes, saying that it was an accident. Just then, the phone rings again. A passenger is calling about the train to Pelican Falls. She has to get to a wedding at 3:30 p.m., but Harry tells her about the late running train and assures her she’ll have plenty of time. When his phone call is finished, Harry hands a note to Matt and tells the kids to give it to Stacy if he's not back in a few minutes. Matt asks what the message says and Harry explains about the late train. Harry then leaves to work on the platform.

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Later, Matt and Tanya are still concentrating on their block stacking when Stacy arrives. Matt says he has a note for her, but Tanya interrupts as two gymnasts visit the station and start to perform in the waiting room. Stacy joins them as Matt and Tanya watch. After the gymnasts leave the station to catch their train, Stacy notices the schedule board has been altered. Unaware of the late train, she changes it back. Matt and Tanya, distracted by the gymnasts, completely forget about Harry’s instructions and the note he wrote for Stacy. Stacy then leaves to attend a meeting with the superintendent of the railway.

A passenger (the same one who was on the phone with Harry earlier) enters the lobby and is devastated when she looks at the schedule board that Stacy altered. She says that this contradicts what Harry told her over the phone earlier. She sees Matt and Tanya, and asks them how she can get to Pelican Falls. Tanya says she should take the next train, but the passenger says the next train departs at 4:00 and she has to be at her sister’s wedding at 3:30. She says she is the maid of honor and, still in a panicky state, leaves for the platform. Matt says he doesn’t remember the Pelican Falls train coming in, and asks Tanya if she remembers either, which she doesn't. Just then, we hear a creak, and the block stack collapses once more.

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Stacy, Harry and Schemer enter the station, and Matt tells them about the incident with the passenger. Harry says he changed the schedule board to 11:00, and Stacy mentions that she changed it back to 9:00. Harry mentions the note, but Stacy says she never received one. Matt explains that he was going to give her the note, but got distracted. This creates an awkward predicament, especially since a passenger was given misleading information, and Stacy told the superintendent the station was running smoothly! Stacy composes herself, and says the first thing to do is fix their mistake.

She says that people look to the railroad for reliability, and there should be no schedule mistakes in the future. Schemer, who has been listening the whole time, says the process of correcting the mistake is not fast enough, and their biggest goof-up was making a paying customer angry. He goes on to say if the station was his, he’d turn it into a restaurant. He takes a bite of his sandwich, but a meatball drops out, and the kids laugh. Schemer said he paid $2 for the sandwich, and there were 4 meatballs, and calculates almost a dollar for each meatball. He irately picks up the meatball with a napkin and leaves. Stacy agrees with Schemer in that they can’t afford to lose any passengers, and she leaves to find the passenger who was given the wrong information.

Just then, Mr. Conductor appears on the information booth drinking a cup of tea. He says he’d been traveling to the Island of Sodor visiting Henry the Green Engine, and asks Matt and Tanya what they have been up to. The kids tell him all about the passenger, the schedule mix-up and the predicament they are in, and Mr. Conductor is reminded of how Henry had been feeling poorly and needed a special type of coal to feel better. He tells the kids the story, and afterward, Matt says he wishes there was something they could do to cheer Stacy up. Mr. Conductor asks what cheers them up when they’re down, and Tanya mentions making up funny rhymes. Mr. Conductor suggests they make up some rhymes for Stacy. They try their best, but Mr. Conductor offers some advice to help them, such as keeping an appropriate rhyme, and the appropriate word will strike at the drop of a dime! As he disappears, a dime appears in his place. 

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Stacy returns to the station, having been unable to find the passenger, and sure she’s going to miss the wedding. Matt and Tanya then recite rhymes to help cheer her up, and Stacy is so impressed after their recitation, that she goes off to write a poem for them in return. Schemer then arrives, and when he sees the dime left by Mr. Conductor, he quickly snatches it off the floor, but is startled and drops it when Tanya says his name. Matt and Tanya recite rhymes for him too, but Schemer says he doesn’t like to rhyme. He finds himself rhyming anyway and as much as he tries to resist can’t control himself! He quickly rushes to the Jukebox to play a song to clear his head.

Meanwhile, in the Jukebox, all the band members are asleep until Didi notices a nickel dropped into the machine and wakes everybody up. Schemer, impatient to hear his song, rocks and bangs the machine. He asks the kids if anyone broke the Jukebox, and says he has to get his tools to fix the machine, something he doesn’t like because time is money. He rhymes money with “funny,” and leaves, holding his mouth shut to stifle further rhymes. Tito then mentions that when Schemer (not referred to by name) comes back, the band has to get their groove together. Didi agrees, saying Schemer is bad news for them.

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Harry then emerges from his workshop holding a handrail for the platform, and asks the kids what all the commotion is about. The kids mention that they (and Schemer) think the jukebox is broken. Harry mentions that the jukebox is delicate, and given the way Schemer rushes through things, he is bound to ruin it. Harry explains that rushing causes most of the accidents in the world, and if people would just slow down in life, everything would run much smoother. He then tells the story of how railroad rules came about, mostly in books. In short, everyone has to work hard to keep from getting into accidents. He then goes to the platform to install the handrail.

Tito, having heard Harry’s speech, then leads the jukebox band into singing “Wreck of Old ’97.” After the song, Matt and Tanya are sitting on the bench near the entrance when they hear a loud crash. It’s Mr. Conductor; he fell off a ladder while fixing a shingle on his roof. They ask him if he’s all right, and he says he’s fine, and everybody has accidents, such as the time Henry had an accident with the Flying Kipper. He tells the story and by the time he finishes, Schemer has arrived to fix the Jukebox. Mr. Conductor vanishes, but returns long enough to collect his ladder before disappearing again. The kids run over to the arcade, and they see Schemer using toy tools to try to open the jukebox. The kids said he didn’t give the machine enough time to warm up, but Schemer doesn’t believe them. He then notes that there are never any nickels inside the machine and wonders where they go. He says that one day he will take the machine apart and find out what happened to his nickels.

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Stacy calls the kids, and she reads the poem she wrote for them. After she is done, Tanya tries to sign it, but spills ink on the paper. Stacy says that’s nothing to worry about, for she folds the paper in half and makes the ink blot turn into the silhouette of what Matt thinks is an airplane, and Tanya thinks is a butterfly. Just then, the passenger from before returns, and somberly drops her suitcases and sits on the floor, while Stacy apologizes that she missed her train. The passenger asks which way to the 4:00 train to Pelican Falls, and Stacy leads her to the platform. Matt tries to pick up one of her suitcases, but it accidentally opens up. Tanya and Matt proceed to pick up the clothes, but Stacy spots a piece of paper among the clothing. It’s an invitation to the wedding, and Stacy realizes that the passenger won’t be late at all, since according to the invite the wedding is actually taking place the next day. Everyone is relieved that the mix-up is solved.

Matt and Tanya then review all the accidents that happened through their day: the blocks falling over, Matt forgetting to give Stacy the note, and so forth. As Stacy, Matt, Tanya and the passenger converse, Schemer reappears drinking a bottle of orange soda. When he sees the passenger pick up a dime, he says that dime is his, and she tosses it onto the floor again. Just as Schemer bends over to pick it up, he spills some of his orange soda onto his brand new shoes. He blames the passenger, saying that the shoes cost $20, and works out a cost of about $15 per shoe. Tanya then proceeds to make a rhyme but Schemer tells them to quit, only to start rhyming again himself! Stacy, the kids and the passenger all head out to the platform with the passenger’s suitcases, while Schemer dries out his shoes and Stacy tells him to get a mop to clean up the soda. Finally, Mr. Conductor appears to reclaim his dime as the episode ends.

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Episode Morals:

  • We must all learn to make the best of our mistakes.

  • We must learn to correct our mistakes instead of blaming others.

Featured Jukebox Puppet Band Song:

  • Wreck of Old ‘97

Featured Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends Stories:

  • Coal

  • The Flying Kipper

Episode Notes:

  • Obviously Schemer is no good with math. A $2 sandwich with 4 meatballs equals 50 cents per meatball. Likewise, a $20 pair of shoes equals $10 per shoe.

  • Mr. Conductor does not use his whistle to start either of the two Thomas stories.

  • Rex and Tex play a banjo instead of a guitar in this episode.

  • Harry’s recollection of railroad rules is accompanied by footage from the 1926 silent film “The General” starring Buster Keaton.

  • In “The Flying Kipper,” after Henry’s accident, Sir Topham Hatt makes a reference to a place called Crewe, a town in England about 100 miles northwest of London. It is a reference to the location of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway’s workshops, where Henry will receive his new shape, which the Reverend W. Awdry patterned after an LMS Class 5 mixed traffic locomotive. British references such as this and the reference to Bournemouth (80 miles southeast of London) in “Thomas’ Christmas Party” would be strictly eschewed in Series 3 of Thomas (which makes its debut in season 2 of STS) to avoid alienating viewers outside the US.

  • This episode features another time Schemer puts glasses on to see clearly in the distance. He did it previously in "Whistle While You Work."

  • When the Dispatch Office telephones Harry at the beginning of the episode, the sped-up voice heard on the other end is actually a sped-up recording of T.S. Eliot reading from his poem Growltiger's Last Stand. Later, when a customer calls and When Harry informs them that the train to Pelican Falls is late, a sped-up recording of T.S. Eliot is heard again reading a few lines from The Naming of Cats. ~ contributed by Daniel Celano

 

Ring in the Old

Production #11 (1.11) - First Aired: 1989-APR 09 (US)
Written by Alan Kingsberg
Directed by Matthew Diamond

Summary by J. Gratton

Episode Characters/Stars:

  • Stacy Jones (Didi Conn)

  • Harry Cupper (Leonard Jackson)

  • Schemer (Brian O'Connor)

  • Mr. Conductor (Ringo Starr)

  • Matt Jones (Jason Woliner)

  • Tanya Cupper (Nicole Leach)

  • The Jukebox Puppet Band

  • Nat (Guest star Nathaniel Kaz as himself)

  • Passenger (Gordon Gould)

Episode Synopsis: Schemer is determined to trash the old soccer arcade game while the kids eagerly await the arrival by train of Harry's friend, Nat. Matt and Tanya wonder about old age while Stacy and Mr. Conductor help them appreciate that young and old have a lot to offer each other.

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Detailed Episode Summary: SHOW

Matt and Tanya see Schemer wheeling a handcart into the arcade and ask him what he's doing. He says that he is getting rid of the large soccer game machine, calling it a piece of junk. The kids ask him what's wrong with it and Schemer replies that no one wants to spend their money playing an old machine. Schemer strains his shoulder as he tries to lift the machine with the cart. He gives up trying and vows to the machine that he'll be back for it. He leaves the station rubbing his sore shoulder.

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At the information booth, Harry is speaking to someone on the telephone and telling them that they can stay with him as long as they like. Harry is in a good mood when the call ends, and tells the kids that his good friend Nathaniel Kaz, known as Nat, is coming to Shining Time for a visit. He then tells Matt and Tanya that he's off to pick up a present for Nat at the general store.

The kids wander over to the ticket counter and ask Stacy if she knows Nat, but she confesses that she doesn't. Matt wonders if Nat is old like Harry. Stacy, bemused by his statement, says that would depend on what they consider "old" to be. Tanya states that 12 is old which makes Stacy ask what age that would make her. Tanya guesses 60, then 70, leaving Stacy both surprised and amused by her guesses. Tanya then asks her what her age is, and Stacy mimics her grandmother as she replies "you're as old as your tongue and a little older than your teeth." The children giggle and Stacy adds that you are only as old as you feel. Matt wonders what that means and Stacy further explains that you may look old on the outside, but still feel young on the inside. A caller rings to ask Stacy if they can send a package on the next train to Turley, and as she takes the call she sends the kids to keep a lookout for Harry's friend.

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Later, the children are in the Lost and Found where Tanya finds and tries on an old hat and shawl. Matt finds what he thinks is some kind of picture machine. It's actually an antique stereoscope that allows a viewer to see a pair of photos in 3D. Matt takes a look and sees a cartoon still of an elderly couple sitting in front of a fireplace. Tanya asks him what he's seeing, and Matt replies a couple of old people just as Mr. Conductor appears, makes a gesture and disappears. The picture suddenly becomes an animated cartoon playing "In the Good Old Summer Time."

Matt is stunned by what he just saw when Mr. Conductor reappears to ask if he enjoyed the show. He then asks Tanya about what she's wearing. When Tanya replies that it's just junk, Mr. Conductor reminds her that some of these old things are beautiful, have charm, style, personality and history. Tanya is amazed as she thinks about it, and Mr. Conductor adds that old things can be very special and tells the story about how the railway thought Toby the Tram Engine was too old and no longer useful. Afterward, Tanya asks what was in the letter that Toby's Driver received at the end of the story. Mr. Conductor hopes that it's good news for Toby and Henrietta, and goes off to find out. The kids also wish for the same just as a train arrives. Matt finds and wears an old top hat and jacket and joins Tanya as they wait for Nat to enter the station.

The kids are disappointed when no one gets off, and hope Nat is still coming to visit. Stacy comes and tells the kids that Nat will likely be on the next train. Matt wonders if Nat forgot to take the train, and Stacy offers that perhaps he's riding a bicycle to Shining Time. Tanya questions the choice of a bicycle for a man Nat's age, but Stacy impresses on her that just because a person is old does not mean that they stop doing things. She muses that the expression "older, but wiser" is true and Tanya agrees saying that is why her grandpa knows the answer to so many things. Stacy explains that older people store up all of their life experiences and that they can learn a lot from them. To elaborate on what she said, Stacy leads them to the Picture Machine where they watch a music video about what can be learned from older people.

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Harry returns from his errand, wheeling a cardboard box atop a pedestal into his workshop. The kids come in and ask Harry about the box. Harry says it is Nat's present, and shares his memories of when Nat and Harry rode the footplate of their favorite engine, the Rainbow Tiger, which was retired to a railroad museum where it is being restored. Harry says that even if things are very old, they can still have plenty of life in them. Still reminiscing, he sends the kids off to play, saying he has work to do.

The kids wonder what's in the box and Matt thinks it's a toy. Tanya says that old people do not play with toys and Matt counters that they might if they feel young. Mr. Conductor appears and Tanya tells him about the memories Harry shared with them of Nat. Mr. Conductor begins to sing a few bars of the song "Memories," and suggests that memories are wonderful as they let you experience a good time over and over again. He adds that things often have memories attached to them, making Matt and Tanya think that the clothes themselves have memories of the places the people who wore them went to. When Schemer is heard talking in the distance, Mr. Conductor takes that as his cue to disappear.

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Schemer enters his arcade and tells the kids when they are done playing to either clean the old clothes they are wearing or throw them away. Schemer then puts a “TRASH” sign on the soccer game. Matt tries to reason with him that just because a machine is old, it doesn’t mean that it needs to be thrown out. Schemer informs them that if they want to get ahead in the world, that they have to change with the times. He shows them a poster depicting a space scene with words that read “Hi-Tech Space Video Game.” Schemer claims that it represents the future, as that is what smart businessmen should invest in, never the past. As he hangs up the new poster he crows “out with the old, in with the new!” and leaves.

Matt and Tanya are disappointed, but become happy again when Mr. Conductor reappears. He excitedly tells them that he can now share what happened to Toby and Henrietta, and tells them how Thomas getting in trouble with a policeman led to Toby and Henrietta being rescued. After the tale, Mr. Conductor vanishes just as Stacy calls out with some good news that the next train will soon be arriving at Shining Time Station. She suggests playing some music on the jukebox to help speed the train along. The Jukebox Puppet Band then plays “The Train is a Comin'.”

The train finally arrives at the station and Nat makes his entrance. After a warm exchange of greetings, he and Harry make their way into the workshop where Harry presents Nat with his gift. Nat removes the cardboard cover and is pleasantly surprised by what he describes as a block of "magic" clay. The kids do not see anything special about it. Nat explains that just about anything they want can be found in that block of clay. When Nat asks if they'd like to see a pony, the kids eagerly agree. Nat begins to work the clay into a pony, and makes a second sculpture of a woman's head as Harry beams with pleasure and the kids watch in awe.

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Meanwhile in the arcade, Schemer is killing time by repeatedly removing and re-inserting a nickel from his belt coin changer. A well-dressed man with an English accent comes into the arcade asking if the old soccer game is broken. Schemer replies that it's not, but it's a piece of junk that has outlived its time. Schemer boasts that his arcade is entering the space age and points to the new video game poster. The man is unimpressed and says that he can play the new games anywhere. He adds that he comes to Shining Time Station for the old, fun machines.

The man asks if Schemer was really going to throw the old machine away, and Schemer awkwardly replies that it was originally part of his plan. The man cries out what a shame it is, noting the machine's workmanship and claiming they don't make arcade games like it anymore. He then coolly says that he'll need to take his business elsewhere and begins to leave. Schemer begs him to wait, and asks the man if he wants to play the machine. The man replies that it's why he came to the arcade in the first place. Schemer tells him that he'll put the game back in service just for him, and rips up the trash sign.

The kids arrive and the man asks if they'd like to play the game with him. They are having fun when Schemer asks if they need a fourth player and is allowed to join them. Stacy answers the telephone as the players shout and laugh. Stacy confirms the caller's question that the train bound for Turley stops at the station three times a day. Stacy momentarily ducks into the workshop with the phone where it's quieter and asks the caller to repeat what they said as she witnesses Nat presenting a sculpture of a man and woman dancing to Harry. Stacy returns to the noisy station interior and joyfully acknowledges to the caller that it is indeed loud. She adds that Shining Time Station may be old, but it has plenty of life in it as the episode ends.

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Episode Morals:

  • Young and old people have something to offer each other.

  • You are only as old as you feel inside.

Featured Jukebox Puppet Band Song:

  • Train is a-Coming (sung by Vaneese Thomas)

Featured Picture Machine Song:

  • You're Only as Old as You Feel Inside

 

Featured Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends Stories:

  • Toby & the Stout Gentleman (Toby the Tram Engine)

  • Thomas in Trouble (Thomas Breaks the Rules)

Quotes of Note:

  • Schemer: Around here if you don't pull your weight, boom! Into the trash you go.!

 

Episode Notes:

  • Nathaniel Kaz was a renowned sculptor in the New York area and the last surviving founding member of the Sculptors Guild when he passed away at the age of 93 on December 13, 2010. Nathaniel's wife, Delphina, recalled that Nathaniel did not want to follow a script for his scenes in this episode, choosing instead to ad-lib his dialogue.

  • Gordon Gould is more renowned for his voice acting, notably in CBS Radio Mystery Theater in the mid-1970s, appearing in more than 60 episodes. He also voiced Maximilian Veers in an audio adaptation of The Empire Strikes Back in the 1980s.

  • The shot of Schemer combing his hair and flipping the comb in his hand as he tells the children “a sloppy place means sloppy business” was used for Schemer's character oval in the original Season 1 "clip show" opening sequence.

  • Mr. Conductor sings a few bars of the 1915 song "Memories" by Egbert Van Alstyne with lyrics by Gus Khan.

  • We learn that a now-retired steam engine once ran the Indian Valley Railroad Line: The Rainbow Tiger, which was Harry and his friend Nat's favorite to ride on the footplate.

  • We learn that a train to Turley stops at Shining Time Station three times a day.

  • The antique stereoscope that Matt finds is similar to a Sears Stereographoscope sold at the beginning of the 20th century. The one Matt is holding is visibly missing its lenses, however.

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  • In the scene where Harry is talking to his old friend Nat about visiting the station, the telephone voice is actually a sped-up version of T.S. Eliot reading a few lines from his poem The Naming of Cats. ~ contributed by Daniel Celano

  • The black coat and top hat Matt wears is similar to the one worn by Sir Topham Hatt in Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends.

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Impractical Jokes

Production #12 (1.12) - First Aired: 1989-APR 16 (US)
Written by Ellis Weiner
Directed by Matthew Diamond

Summary by D. Dobrydney

Episode Characters/Stars:

  • Stacy Jones (Didi Conn)

  • Harry Cupper (Leonard Jackson)

  • Schemer (Brian O'Connor)

  • Mr. Conductor (Ringo Starr)

  • Matt Jones (Jason Woliner)

  • Tanya Cupper (Nicole Leach)

  • The Jukebox Puppet Band

  • Tom Callinan (as himself)

Episode Synopsis: While Stacy and Harry are preoccupied with repairing the station’s telegraph, Schemer tries out a new business idea by playing practical jokes. With a little help from Mr. Conductor, Matt and Tanya learn about how to get along with people even when it’s difficult.

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Detailed Episode Summary: SHOW

Matt and Tanya wander into Shining Time Station to find it seemingly empty. Suddenly they hear Stacy’s voice coming from under the ticket counter, imploring something to work. Matt greets his aunt, and Stacy sticks her hand up to wave at Matt. She tells Matt that she hasn’t seen Tanya, not realising Tanya is standing right next to him! Stacy finally stands up and explains to the children that she’s been trying to fix the old telegraph sitting on the counter. It won’t send or receive messages, but makes plenty of noises. Stacy continues that there aren’t many telegraphs left on the Indian Valley Railroad and she’ll be glad when all of them are replaced. Matt and Tanya offer to help but Stacy insists on fixing the telegraph herself and shoos the kids away.

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Matt and Tanya dejectedly head over to the Arcade, saying to themselves that they only wanted to help. Just then Mr. Conductor appears, dressed in shorts and carrying a tennis racquet. He explains that sometimes busy people don’t think about what they’re saying. Matt asks if that means Stacy wasn’t mad at them, which Mr. Conductor confirms; Stacy’s mind was simply on something else and that’s no reason for the children to be upset. He adds that it is something friends learn to accept in one another. Tanya asks if it’s the same with the engines on the Island of Sodor and Mr. Conductor asks if he's ever told them about the time Gordon teased Edward about the cows. The kids shake their heads, so Mr. Conductor pulls out his whistle and tells the story.

Afterwards, Matt mentions that Gordon always seems to think he’s so great. Mr. Conductor says that’s just the way Gordon is; it doesn’t mean the other engines don’t like him. He then announces that he’s off to play in the Dillylick Tennis Tournament and disappears. Matt and Tanya bid Mr. Conductor goodbye and find Stacy, who is now in a better mood. She hasn’t been able to fix the telegraph and has decided to let Harry try. Tanya asks why the telegraph is important and Stacy explains that it’s what railroad stations use to communicate with each other. She adds that the method of communication is wonderful, using a secret language of dots and dashes. She demonstrates by tapping out Matt’s name on the Information Desk. Matt is surprised that people can understand dots and dashes, and Stacy adds that it’s done all over the world, even on ships like the one on the station’s mural.

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Just then, Schemer comes in. He’s dressed very smartly in a dinner jacket and is affecting a very cultured manner of speaking. He politely introduces himself to Stacy and kisses her hand. Stacy and the children are dumbfounded, with Tanya asking Schemer if he’s feeling all right. He professes not to know who this “Schemer” is, although he knows he’s a wonderful fellow! Schemer then offers Matt a toy telescope, which Matt takes and goes off to look through. Schemer then offers Stacy a snack of some delicious peanuts. Stacy opens the jar and some spring snakes come flying out instead! Stacy is not amused, and Schemer drops his act to explain that this is his latest entrepreneurial endeavour, selling practical jokes.

Stacy tells Schemer that she never liked practical jokes and considers them mean. Schemer counters that of course they’re mean, that's the point. Dismissing the girls’ opinion, Schemer turns to Matt, who now has a black ring around his eye from the trick telescope. Schemer thinks it’s hilarious, but Matt only responds with a single, deadpan “yuck.” Schemer gets offended at this, declaring that Stacy, Matt and Tanya don’t know what funny is. However he considers that funny in itself as he takes his pranks and leaves.

Once Schemer is gone, Matt and Tanya express their opinion of how weird he is. Stacy says that Schemer is harmless and usually makes them laugh, so it’s best to accept him as he is. Matt asks if they have to, and Stacy adds that when you get to know people, you have to take the bad with the good. Mr. Conductor reappears and comments that a good thing about Schemer is when he has an idea he isn’t afraid to try it out. Tanya says that Schemer can be such a pain though and Stacy admits that Schemer doesn’t stop to think about how others will feel about his ideas. Matt asks what they should do, and Stacy says they will just have to put up with him. Mr. Conductor offers his opinion that practical jokes are silly and can happen in unusual ways. Mr. Conductor then directs the children to the Anything Tunnel, which shows a brief animated interlude featuring an art patron dealing with some rather strange portraits.

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By the time the children are finished looking through the tunnel, Mr. Conductor has disappeared and Stacy comes in complaining that the West Wind Limited has just arrived early and the telegraph couldn’t warn her. Harry also comes in and is greeted with a hug from Tanya. Harry reveals that he met an old friend on the train who has decided to stop and say hello. Harry introduces Matt, Tanya and Stacy to Tom Callinan before he and Stacy go off to look at the telegraph. Tanya asks Tom if he works on the railroad. Tom admits that he doesn’t, but he does sing songs about the railroad. He teaches Matt and Tanya an old Irish working song before going back out to the platform to wait for his train.

Meanwhile, Stacy and Harry are in the workshop trying to repair the telegraph. They get increasingly annoyed with one another as Matt and Tanya worriedly look on. Mr. Conductor returns and the children tell him Stacy and Harry are fighting. Mr. Conductor clarifies that they’re just disagreeing and will make up before too long. Tanya eagerly asks how the tennis tournament went. Mr. Conductor sadly says that he won; he couldn’t lose because no one else showed up to play! Matt consoles Mr. Conductor by saying there will be another tennis tournament someday. Mr. Conductor decides to cheer himself up by telling Matt and Tanya about James’ adventure when he found himself without his driver.

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Once Mr. Conductor has finished the story, all three of them feel much better. Then Stacy and Harry bring the telegraph out of the workshop so Harry can check the connection, despite Stacy telling him she’s already done that. The children suddenly get the idea that Mr. Conductor should use his magic to fix the telegraph but Mr. Conductor refuses, saying it wouldn’t be fair to Stacy and Harry after they’ve done so much work. He does give the kids a hint though; look for the little things for they hold big secrets. Mr. Conductor then disappears to practice his flute.

Matt and Tanya go over to the ticket counter where Stacy and Harry are still stumped about the telegraph. Matt, remembering Mr. Conductor’s advice, looks down and sees a small break in the wire connecting the telegraph. Harry and Stacy are very impressed with the kids’ power of observation and sure enough, when Harry fixes the cable, the telegraph begins to receive messages again! Everyone cheers as Schemer returns, thinking he’s getting a big welcome. He decides to try his ‘cultured’ act on Harry and puts out his hand to shake. They shake and Schemer gets a jolt from the buzzer in his hand, because he was holding it backwards.

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Schemer then tries another prank, asking the kids to smell the squirting flower on his jacket, only to end up spraying water on himself. Schemer begins to lose interest in the practical jokes, saying that he’s not the sort of person people should be laughing at. Stacy comments that perhaps no one is. Schemer sheepishly agrees, and Stacy uses the moment to show Matt and Tanya that even someone like Schemer can learn a lesson.

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As all this has been going on, Tom has come back and the newly repaired telegraph receives a message that his train will be arriving in ten minutes. Schemer mentions that ten minutes is ample time for Tom to spend some money in the Jukebox. Matt and Tanya protest Schemer’s hard sell, so Schemer relents and puts his own nickel in the Jukebox. Inside, Didi asks what they will do with all the nickels they collect. Tex suggests having a big party, but Tito counters that life is a party and the nickels are staying put. Tex asks Tito when he started collecting nickels, and Tito recalls that it was back in ’57 during his first gig: the bandleader said ‘take five’ and Tito just never stopped! Didi says it’s time to stop talking and start playing, and the band plays its version of the song Tom played earlier.

Tom accompanies the Jukebox by playing a pair of spoons and begins to teach Matt and Tanya how as well. Unfortunately Tom has to leave to catch his train, leaving Stacy to take over showing the children how to play the spoons. She offers to teach Schemer, but he says he’s got more important things to think about than spoons. As he mutters about spoons and music, he suddenly hits upon the brilliant idea of musical soup. As the episode comes to a close, Stacy and the children continue to practice their musical spoons as even Schemer begins to catch the rhythm.

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Episode Morals:

  • Joking sometimes hurts others.

  • We need to learn how to cope with hurt feelings.

 

Featured Jukebox Puppet Band Song:

  • Filimiooriooriay (Poor Paddy Works on the Railway)

Featured Anything Tunnel Video:

  • Unidentified stop-motion featurette about a bizarre art gallery.

 

Featured Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends Stories:

  • Cows (A Cow on the Line)

  • Old Iron

Quotes of Note:

  • Schemer: Did they say ‘yuck’ to Henry Ford? Did they say ‘yuck’ to Dwight D. Rockefeller?

 

Episode Notes:

  • To begin the first Thomas story, Mr. Conductor doesn’t just blow his whistle, he blows it in Morse code.

  • In keeping with his refined appearance in this episode, Schemer does not have the curl in his hair.

  • Two more named Indian Valley Railroad trains are mentioned in this episode, the West Wind Limited and Empire Limited.

  • Tom Callinan is a multi-talented performer who has been designated the “Official State Troubadour” of the state of Connecticut. More about him can be found here.

  • The Indian Valley Railroad of 1989 must be a special place. Western Union and U.S. railroad companies ceased using Morse telegraph in the 1960s, and its use lasted in Canada until the mid-1970s, with Mexico continuing to use the system until 1990. (Source)

  • Schemer makes one of his occasional malapropisms (see Quotes of Note above) when he refers to Dwight D. Rockefeller instead of Dwight D. Eisenhower. Brian O'Connor kept his family entertained as a child with his unintended malapropisms, so he improvised his lines to deliver them in the series for comedic effect.

Finders Keepers

Production #13 (1.13) - First Aired: 1989-APR 23 (US)
Written by Brian McConnachie
Directed by Gregory Lehane

Summary by J. Gratton

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Episode Characters/Stars:

  • Stacy Jones (Didi Conn)

  • Harry Cupper (Leonard Jackson)

  • Schemer (Brian O'Connor)

  • Mr. Conductor (Ringo Starr)

  • Matt Jones (Jason Woliner)

  • Tanya Cupper (Nicole Leach)

  • The Jukebox Puppet Band

  • Amani A.W. Murray (guest: as himself)

  • Passenger (guest: Susan Terry)

Episode Synopsis: Matt and Tanya are thrilled to find a saxophone in the Lost and Found, and decide to keep it for themselves. When the saxophone's distraught owner arrives, Matt and Tanya realize that it was wrong to keep something that didn't belong to them.

Detailed Episode Summary: SHOW

The episode opens in the Lost and Found Department of the station (next to the arcade) where Stacy is searching for a briefcase that a passenger had forgotten. Stacy finds it and returns it to the grateful woman. Stacy punches her ticket to Mount Careful, and says goodbye. Schemer walks briskly into the station and tries to redirect the passenger to spend money in his arcade. The woman escapes his pestering and runs off to the station platform to catch her train.

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Matt and Tanya come in to inform Stacy that someone forgot their suitcase on the platform. Stacy asks Matt to bring it in so it can be stored in the station's Lost and Found. Stacy then notices and compliments the necklace that Tanya is wearing. Tanya explains that Harry gave it to her and it had belonged to her grandmother. Stacy thinks it's a sweet gesture as it will remind Tanya of her grandparents every time she wears it.

Matt returns lugging the heavy suitcase and sets it down with the rest of the Lost and Found luggage. Tanya asks Stacy what happens to these items. Stacy explains that once she makes a record of it, she stores it in the Lost and Found until it is reclaimed by its owner. Matt asks if the owner always comes, and Stacy replies that sometimes the owner comes back the same day it went missing, sometimes a week or even a year later, and sometimes they never come at all. They store it indefinitely as it's still someone else's property and they can unexpectedly come back to reclaim it. Stacy then returns to the ticket desk.

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Matt and Tanya wonder what might be in the lost luggage, such as treasure or toys. They suddenly hear Mr. Conductor screaming to be let out and that he's trapped. His voice is coming from one of the pieces of luggage and the kids frantically try to find which piece of luggage he's inside of. They settle on a round hat case and open it. Mr. Conductor emerges coughing and sputtering and thanks the kids for rescuing him. He was searching for his lost pocket watch when he became trapped, but is happy to have found the watch. He's covered with the carpet sweepings that were stored in the case, and wonders who in their right mind would do that. Tanya finds a name tag inside the case identifying that it belongs to a "Louella Burndoyne". Matt supposes that she left it behind on purpose to get rid of the carpet sweepings. Mr. Conductor agrees with Matt's deduction, but complains that now he's dirtier than Thomas and Percy combined. When Tanya and Matt ask about what happened, Mr. Conductor tells them the story of when Thomas and later Percy became covered in coal dust.

After the story, Mr. Conductor says that he needs to wash up. When Tanya asks why he doesn't clean himself by magic, Mr. Conductor says when it comes time for a wash and brush up, there is no substitute for the magic of soap. He describes how he'll go about cleaning himself before sparkling away. As the kids clumsily attempt to put back the bags they moved while looking for Mr. Conductor, they causes a black case to fall and open on the floor. The kids are amazed to find a saxophone inside, and they begin to play with it.

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The Jukebox Puppet Band hears the saxophone and they wonder what it is. Tex tells Rex that it sounds like the burping noise he makes after eating chili-dogs. Didi says that it's a totally new rad(ical) sound and that the "child dudes" are onto something.

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Schemer is drawn by the kids' attempt to play the saxophone and comes over to investigate. Schemer insults their playing and claims that he once owned a saxophone just like this one. He claims to know how to play the instrument, having been taught by his mother, and that he's thinking of resuming his saxophone lessons. The kids laugh at his attempt to play a jazz version of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star." As Schemer's about to claim the instrument as the one he had as a child, he tries a few more notes and gives up, saying that the saxophone must be broken. He returns it to the kids and leaves.

Mr. Conductor appears with fingers inserted into his ears. Saying that he needs to take a bath, Mr. Conductor asks the kids to fetch him a bucket of water, and disappears. The kids return the saxophone to its case and hide it at the back of the pile of lost luggage.

 

Harry comes out of the workshop and notices that Tanya is wearing her grandmother's necklace. Tanya says that she loves it and Harry tells them that he gave it to Tanya's grandmother when he was a young man on the railroad, and that it cost him half a week's wages. She was pleased to receive it when he presented it to her in the sleeper car of the Honeymoon Special to Niagara Falls. Harry then tells them about passenger trains and sleeper cars and how the rocking soon put him to a good night's sleep. The nostalgia makes Harry want to take another passenger train trip in the near future as he leaves the station and the children go get the bucket of water.

Schemer runs into the empty station proclaiming that there's a new film in the Picture Machine. He holds a fake contest to see who will be the first person to watch it. He asks who is smart, wonderful and special enough to receive this honor. He opens an envelope to discover that he is the winner. The victor then puts the nickel into the Picture Machine which features animated, self-playing orchestral instruments. Afterwards, Schemer walks away mimicking the tuba he just saw in the film.

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Harry and a boy named Amani come into the station and Harry directs him to the Lost and Found. Stacy apologises to the boy saying that the black case he's looking for isn't there. The boy is sad, saying what was in the case was new and was given to him by his father. Stacy promises to keep an eye out for it and tell him if it turns up. When the boy leaves, Stacy tells the kids that the boy lost a case containing a new saxophone that is very special to him. Matt and Tanya exchange uneasy glances as Stacy leaves.

Mr. Conductor stands in front of his signal box and tells the kids to hurry up with the bucket. When they place it just below the signal box, Mr. Conductor surprises the kids by jumping into the bucket. Now that he's in a good mood, he tells them the story of how James was rude to Toby and Henrietta about being dirty, only to end up covered in tar while Toby received a new coat of paint and made sure Henrietta received one too. When the story ends, Mr. Conductors says that it was very decent of Toby to be thinking of Henrietta and that thinking of others can be a gift. He drops a hint that it would be a gift like really being able to play the saxophone.

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The kids again glance knowingly to one another when Mr. Conductor asks Tanya what happened to her pretty necklace. Discovering that it's indeed no longer around her neck Tanya frantically starts looking for the necklace, saying that her grandfather will be furious. Harry overhears this and demands an explanation. Tanya confesses that she lost the necklace. Harry says that it was an accident and that he's not angry, but that they should all start looking for it.

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Tanya is sad when neither she nor Matt can find her necklace, and Stacy comes over to comfort her by saying that maybe some kind person will bring it to the Lost and Found. Suddenly, Harry and Amani come back. Amani found the necklace on the platform and returns it to a grateful Tanya. Harry explains that Amani was bringing the necklace to the Lost and Found. This prompts Tanya to get up and retrieve the saxophone case that she and Matt had hidden earlier. Amani thanks her and Harry requests that he play a happy tune on his saxophone, as they all found something that they’d lost. Amani treats the friends to a solo performance.

Inside the jukebox, Didi wonders from hearing the saxophone music if the kids have taken some serious lessons. Tito says that this time it's someone who really knows how to play. Tex suggests that they all play something as they can learn something from this boy, and they play "The Desperado" with Amani accompanying the music with his saxophone playing. The episode ends as everyone waves goodbye to Amani as he goes off to board his train with his saxophone case.

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Episode Morals:

  • It's wrong to keep something that does not belong to you.

 

Featured Jukebox Puppet Band Song:

  • The Desperado (sung by Jonathan Freeman)

Featured Picture Machine Song:

  • Tubby the Tuba

 

Featured Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends Stories:

  • Thomas, Percy and the Coal (Double Trouble)

  • Dirty Objects (James in a Mess)

Quotes of Note:

  • Mr. Conductor: The only thing I like about Schemer is that he always fixes his own wagon.

 

Episode Notes:

  • The Picture Machine sequence features an excerpt from the 1947 George Pal Puppetoon short "Tubby the Tuba" narrated by Victor Jory.

  • Up to 1990, Amani A.W. Murray was a promising teenage jazz alto saxophonist.

Just Wild About Harry's Workshop

Production #14 (1.14) - First Aired: 1989-APR 30 (US)
Written by Ellis Weiner
Directed by Gregory Lehane

Summary by J. Gratton

Episode Characters/Stars:

  • Stacy Jones (Didi Conn)

  • Harry Cupper (Leonard Jackson)

  • Schemer (Brian O'Connor)

  • Mr. Conductor (Ringo Starr)

  • Matt Jones (Jason Woliner)

  • Tanya Cupper (Nicole Leach)

  • The Jukebox Puppet Band

  • Inspector Flanagan (guest star: William Duell)

Episode Synopsis: Schemer reaches a new low with his latest scheme to turn Harry's workshop into a snack bar, seemingly with the approval of the Indian Valley Railroad's main office. Our friends are upset with Schemer's ambitions and for being so insensitive to Harry's feelings. Meanwhile, a stranger shows up at the station and quietly observes the ongoing drama.

Detailed Episode Summary: SHOW
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Mr. Conductor's curiosity is drawn to the sound of Schemer's singing coming from Harry's workshop. He cautiously keeps an eye on Schemer from where he's hidden behind the workshop door as Schemer takes tape measurements of the back wall. Matt and Tanya arrive and say "hi" to Mr. Conductor, who shushes them. Schemer thinks that the kids are addressing him and invites them inside, saying that he needs some design ideas. Inside the workshop, Schemer points to the filing cabinet and asks whether he should replace it with a rotating hot-dog wheel or a char-roasted chicken grill. Tanya tells him that he's not supposed to be in her grandfather's workshop, but Schemer retorts that it won't be a workshop for very long.

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Stacy enters the workshop looking for the kids and asks Schemer what he's doing there. Schemer boasts that he's the future owner and operator of a full-service snack bar of leisure food that will soon be opening at the station. When Stacy asks what he's talking about, Schemer produces a memo from the railroad's headquarters acknowledging his proposal to open up a snack bar in the workshop's floor space. Stacy is visibly upset and exits the workshop followed by Matt and Tanya.

Stacy telephones headquarters and request to speak to J.B. King, Esquire, just as Mr. Conductor appears carrying a net and wearing a pith helmet. He compliments Stacy for defending Harry's workshop, then sparkles away. On the phone, Stacy insists that Shining Time Station does not need a snack bar even if other stations have one. In addition she defends Harry Cupper and his workshop as being the heart and soul of the station, before abruptly and politely ending the call.

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The kids are concerned that Stacy may get fired for speaking to her boss the way she did, but Stacy says that she doesn't care; sometimes you must stand up for what you believe in. They notice Mr. Conductor appear on the Information Booth and go over to speak to him. He's going butterfly hunting, and mentions that the size of a butterfly for him is comparable to the size of an eagle for them. He plans to play a game of cards with any butterfly he catches before letting it go. Mr. Conductor notices that Stacy is preoccupied with something and asks her about it.

Stacy wonders if she should call Mr.King again to explain herself better. Mr. Conductor advises against it, explaining in a roundabout way that she shouldn't try to explain herself too well and to let J.B. King think about what she said to him. The kids are puzzled and Mr. Conductor elaborates by saying that when people know exactly what you mean, it's easier for them to disagree with you but if they aren't sure what you mean, they can never be quite sure whether they disagree with you or not. It reminds him of when Duck the Great Western Engine first arrived on the Island of Sodor, and tells them the story.

After the tale, Tanya says that she failed to see what the story had to do with explaining yourself to others. Mr. Conductor agrees then hastily goes off to go butterfly hunting in a field of wildflowers. Schemer exits the workshop and puts a large padlock on the door before heading to his arcade. Harry ambles into the station and Stacy tries to intercept him before he reaches the workshop, explaining that they have a problem. He tells Stacy that they can discuss it inside the workshop and then sternly questions why there's a padlock on the door. After Stacy explains Schemer's plan to him, Harry is livid and confronts Schemer. When Schemer confirms his plans to replace the workshop with a snack bar, Harry storms off.

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Just then a man wearing a trench coat and fedora enters the station. He doesn't say a word when Schemer greets him, and only nods to affirm that he's waiting for a train. Schemer invites him to play a tune on the jukebox. As the man heads to the arcade, Stacy continues to defend Harry's presence and his workshop at the station; Harry keeps the station running properly, he helps the passengers and he makes gadgets for Stacy and toys for the kids. Schemer interjects to say that today's railroads do not run on toys, gadgets or stories; they run on cheeseburgers and scrambled eggs.

Stacy angrily makes the point that Harry also keeps everything in working order, but Schemer retorts that Stacy can manage that all on her own. Stacy has had enough and as the station's manager, kicks Schemer out.

The man breaks his silence to ask Stacy if the jukebox works. He inserts a nickel and inside the jukebox, the puppets are all arguing about who is right in the snack bar debate. Tito interrupts to remind them that the man is waiting for them to play something. The band refocuses their attention to the task at hand and plays their rendition of "Union Train."

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After the song, Tanya suggests that Schemer is a bully for trying to take Harry's workshop away. Stacy explains that although she's been angry at Schemer before, she doesn't think he's a bully. A bully pushes people around who are weaker than they are. Schemer's problem is that he doesn't know how to get along and work with other people. Adding that what goes around comes around; Stacy gives a nickel to the kids to watch a movie about bullying in the Picture Machine.

Harry and Schemer walk into the station at the same time and nearly bump into one another, but carry on without exchanging a word. Schemer announces that he has spoken to his lawyer and that only the railroad’s main office can tell him what to do. An incensed Harry wants to have words with him, but Schemer offers him a trinket from his vending machine as a symbol that there are no hard feelings. Schemer is then alarmed when the vending machine suddenly begins to malfunction and spit out its contents. Schemer asks Harry to have a look at the machine, but Harry steadfastly refuses.

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Schemer goes off to find somebody else to repair the machine while Stacy suggests to Harry that he should fix the machine anyway as a show of good faith. Harry does not find Stacy's suggestion funny and stomps over to the vending machine. He yanks the machine's plug out from the wall and declares it “fixed.” Stacy chases after Harry and the drama attracts the attention of the passenger who follows behind them out of the station.

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Mr. Conductor appears and Tanya tells him that her grandfather is very upset. Mr. Conductor empathizes with Harry, adding that no one wants to be replaced or told they're not useful. Mr. Conductor then tells the story of how Percy felt the same way when he first met Harold the Helicopter. Afterward, Tanya says that it's nice that Percy and Harold became friends, but doubts if Harry and Schemer ever will be. Mr. Conductor answers that it'll never come to pass as long as Schemer wants Harry's workshop. He adds that he and Harry are alike; each is a travelling man. The more they travel, the more they like to know that they have one special place somewhere that they can call home. Mr. Conductor then says goodbye and sparkles away when he hears Schemer approaching.

Schemer is furious that a repair man he consulted wants to charge $40 an hour plus parts to repair his vending machine. Stacy returns with Harry, insisting that she won't let Schemer take over his workshop, and that they won't let him be so greedy, insulting and very insensitive to Harry. Schemer is unmoved by what was just said. Stacy tells everyone that it's her job to ensure that the entire station runs properly, and that she has to figure out a way for all of them to work well together. Schemer dismissively says that he doesn't have to take this and goes off to call headquarters.

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Schemer is interrupted by a voice telling him that won't be necessary, and we see that it's the man in the trench coat. He flashes a badge and introduces himself as P.C. Flanagan, Chief Holdings Inspector for the Indian Valley Railroad. He's been observing the station goings-on and finds it all very interesting. He tells Schemer that he likes his jukebox and asks about his ambitious proposal to open up a café at the station. He also asks to see the letter from headquarters and when Schemer hands it to him, the Inspector ceremoniously stamps it "null and void" much to Schemer's dismay.

He explains that the letter is rescinded and Stacy, Harry and the kids are happy to hear the news. He addresses Harry next, saying that the Indian Valley Railroad is lucky to have a man like him on its payroll and apologises for everything, adding that the workshop is his for as long as he wants it. Harry is overjoyed and shakes the Inspector's hand in gratitude. The inspector then turns his attention back to Schemer. He compliments his ambitions, but counsels that he needs to have more modesty and exercise more sense.

Harry tells Schemer to unlock the workshop door so that he can retrieve his tools to fix his vending machine. As Schemer removes the padlock, he tells Harry that he's learned something from this misunderstanding; the station doesn't need a snack bar but instead needs someone who can fix arcade machines. Schemer then hands the padlock key over to Harry. Back at the Information Booth, Stacy expresses her thanks to Mr. Flanagan and credits him for saving Harry's workshop. The Inspector says that she should credit herself as the things she said made a lot of sense, and that it was good the she held her ground and stood up for what she believed in. The episode ends with Matt and Tanya hugging Stacy to congratulate her.

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Episode Morals:

  • It's right to hold your ground and stand up for something you believe in.

 

Featured Jukebox Puppet Band Song:

  • Union Train

Featured Picture Machine Song:

  • What Goes Around Comes Around

 

Featured Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends Stories:

  • Duck Takes Charge

  • Percy and Harold (Percy Proves a Point)

Quotes of Note:

  • Mr. Conductor: Never beat a Monarch Butterfly in a game of cards - they get angry!

 

Episode Notes:

  • This episode's title is a play on words of a 1921 Broadway song "I'm Just Wild About Harry."

  • Harry mentions the "Silver Comet", another engine in the roster of trains working the Indian Valley Railroad.

  • The Jukebox Puppet Band's rendition of "Union Train" is featured on the CD compilation of "Jukebox Sleepytime Singsongs."

  • The song "What Goes Around Comes Around" was released on video as part of "Shining Time Station Singsongs Vol. 1."

  • William Duell who played Inspector Flanagan in this episode sadly passed away at the age of 88 in Manhattan on December 22, 2011.

  • Where Stacy talks to J.B. King on the telephone, the voice is actually a sped-up version of T.S. Eliot reading a few lines from his poem "The Naming of Cats". ~ contributed by Daniel Celano

Promises, Promises

Production #15 (1.15) - First Aired: 1989-MAY 07 (US)
Written by Ellis Weiner
Directed by Gregory Lehane

Summary by J. Gratton

Episode Characters/Stars:

  • Stacy Jones (Didi Conn)

  • Harry Cupper (Leonard Jackson)

  • Schemer (Brian O'Connor)

  • Mr. Conductor (Ringo Starr)

  • Matt Jones (Jason Woliner)

  • Tanya Cupper (Nicole Leach)

  • The Jukebox Puppet Band

  • J.B. King, Esquire (Mart Hulswit)

  • Tony the Mover (Robert Hill)

Episode Synopsis: The train schedule is a mess, so Stacy and Harry work out a solution to present to J.B. King, Superintendent of the Indian Valley Railroad, at his office. Stacy reluctantly leaves Schemer in charge of the station and to take care of Matt and Tanya. As soon as they leave, Schemer breaks his promises and attempts to turn the entire station into an amusement park, resulting in Harry and Stacy getting into serious trouble with Mr. King.

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Detailed Episode Summary: SHOW

As the episode opens, Stacy is in the workshop expressing her concern to Harry that track repairs on the Indian Valley Railroad have been taking much longer than expected. Harry counters that the maintenance crews are doing their best and safety must come first, but Stacy then mentions that they've been receiving a new schedule almost every day. She says a train schedule is like a promise, and the constant changes are having the effect of making the station's timetable unreliable and passengers late.

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Outside the workshop, Mr. Conductor is trying to make adjustments to the schedule board when he decides to take a break. As Tanya and Matt each hold one end of a skipping rope, Mr. Conductor tries a few turns jumping! Matt asks if there are ever scheduling problems on Sodor. Mr.Conductor replies that there are and tells the story of how repairs on the viaduct caused delays and created a conflict between an impatient Thomas and his friend Bertie. Mr. Conductor concludes the story by saying that things did go back to normal again and is sure it'll be the same with the Indian Valley Railroad.

Stacy emerges from the workshop to invite everyone in for a meeting. Harry is seated at his desk when he's startled by Mr. Conductor's sudden appearance dressed as a barrister wielding a gavel and calling the meeting to order. Harry advises him to at least give him advance warning before appearing so suddenly. Mr. Conductor apologizes and asks about Harry's sketch of the Indian Valley Railroad. Harry has re-worked the railroad's schedule for the main line so that no one will be late, with the added benefit of attracting more business to the station. Harry and Stacy plan to present their ideas to J.B. King at the Indian Valley Railroad's main office, but can't leave the kids alone at the station. Just then, Schemer calls out asking if someone needs help and Mr. Conductor takes this as his cue to disappear.

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Schemer enters the workshop and, in a flattering manner, offers to manage the station and to watch over the "adorable tykes" during Stacy and Harry's absence. Stacy doesn't think Schemer would want to babysit, but he claims to have another side that they're not familiar with. When Harry cautiously asks Schemer about this "side," Schemer stands affectionately beside Harry explaining that it's his “loving” side - a caring, giving, kissing, hugging side. Stacy expresses her doubts as we hear a train stopping at the station. Harry announces that it's the 10:35 express, the last train bound for the main office that day.

As Harry gets ready, Stacy leaves Schemer with instructions to call the train dispatcher within the next half hour to tell him that there's a broken signal on track 2, and stresses that it's important for him not to forget. Schemer asserts that he'll remember, and Stacy shakes his hand, telling him that she's giving him the opportunity to prove how reliable he can be, making him promise to only run the station, help the passengers, and not leave the station or the children alone. Schemer promises and quickly flashes two thumbs-up behind Stacy's back as she and Harry hurry to board the train.

Schemer's attitude changes as soon as the other adults are gone. He orders Matt to take down the railroad schedule board and tells Tanya to cover the items in the lost and found with a sheet. Over the kids' objections, Schemer goes to the information booth and puts on Stacy's stationmaster cap, saying that it's his to wear for the day as he's now in charge. He giddily goes over to the jukebox to play a song to celebrate his promotion. Inside the jukebox, Didi questions Schemer's so-called promotion, saying that Stacy only put him in charge of the station for a day. Tito grumbles that the moment Schemer put on Stacy's cap, he turned into a big shot. Schemer inserts the nickel and chooses "Oh! Susannah" which the band begins to play. During the song, the kids help Schemer to put the schedule board away and later cover up the luggage in the lost and found with a sheet.

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Schemer is basking in power when the telephone rings. The caller is asking for train schedule information, but Schemer is extremely rude with them, ending the call with the declaration that he doesn’t have time to talk about trains. Tanya chides him for being so rude to the caller and reminds him that he needs to call the train dispatcher. Schemer brushes off her reminder and Matt warns him that he'll be in trouble with Stacy when she gets back. Schemer retorts that Stacy will reward him once she sees what he's doing to the station. When Matt asks what he's up to, Schemer elaborates that he's going to turn the station into a moneymaker and is off to see a friend who will help make it happen. The kids remind him that he promised Stacy not to leave them alone at the station. Schemer justifies that he's not leaving them alone, as Matt and Tanya are still with one another. Schemer then sends the kids to play in Harry's workshop as he leaves.

Once inside the workshop, Matt wishes that Stacy was back just as Mr. Conductor appears dressed as a Roman soldier. Matt and Tanya warn that Schemer might see him, but Mr. Conductor says that he is ready to do battle to protect them, but timidly adds not just yet. He's been watching what Schemer's doing and Matt asks if he can stop him. Mr. Conductor explains that while his magic can do many things it only works if you believe in it, and Schemer only believes in himself. All of the trouble with Schemer reminds Mr. Conductor of when Diesel first met the engines on the Island of Sodor, and goes on to tell them

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the story. Afterward Mr. Conductor compares Diesel to Schemer; he has his mind more on himself than on anything or anyone around him. Suddenly, Schemer is heard ordering someone around in the station. Mr.Conductor is reluctant to leave, but does not want to actually confront Schemer. Before vanishing he says that if he ever had to face him, he doesn't know what he'd do.

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Tanya says that they have to talk to Schemer all the time, with Matt adding that right now they have to do everything he says. Schemer calls them to come out into the main station where they're surprised to see pinball machines, arcade games and rides all over the station. Schemer introduces them to Tony, a very muscular fellow, and then brusquely orders Tony to hurry up and move a pony arcade ride to another location. Tony stops what he's doing to ask Schemer how much he weighs. Schemer answers 146 pounds. Tony informs Schemer that he himself weighs much more than that and asks if he'd like a demonstration. Schemer is intimidated and suggests that Tony move things around at his own pace, since the machines do belong to him. Tony puts a threatening hand on Schemer's shoulder and warns against messing around with him; he will move and take care of the machines and they will split the money collected from them. When Schemer asks if Tony trusts him, Tony lifts him clear off the ground and tells him that just because he's big, it doesn't mean that he's stupid.

The kids are shocked by what they've just witnessed when Tony comes over to tell them that he's charging a quarter a ride, then leaves. Tanya asks if she can ride one of the machines and Schemer asks for 50 cents. Tanya points out that Tony told them it costs a quarter, but Schemer retorts that it's a quarter for the ride, with another for postage and handling. The kids begin to protest with Schemer relenting to only charge 25 cents for a ride. Tanya searches her pockets but doesn't have a quarter, and asks Schemer if he has one. Schemer confirms that he does and climbs onto the pony ride as he inserts a quarter into the machine.

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Tanya looks on in dismay as Schemer enjoys himself, but then the ride abruptly stops. Schemer complains about paying for a ride that only lasted ten seconds, and begins to hit the coin box. Matt rebukes him for messing up the station with rides that don't even work, and Schemer admits that he'll need to speak to Tony about the matter and get his quarter back. As he leaves, Matt sarcastically warns him to be polite to Tony.

Mr. Conductor appears on top of another ride, and the kids ask him what they can do. Mr. Conductor tells them that he has on his thinking cap (a gaudy helmet) and asks them all to think hard for a solution. Stacy and Mr. King's voices are heard approaching which prompts Mr. Conductor to vanish.

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As Stacy and Harry come in, Mr. King is complaining how their train was kept in a siding all day because no one from the station notified the train dispatcher. Stacy explains that they had to leave someone else in charge of the station in order to meet with him, and is shocked when she glances at the arcade machines everywhere. Seeing Matt and Tanya, Mr. King accuses Stacy of leaving two children in charge of the station. Stacy panics and whispers to the kids asking where Schemer is. Mr. King notices the arcade rides and