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Full episode details for Shining Time Station Season 3 (1993)

Becky Makes a Wish

Production #42 (3.01) - First Aired: 1993-MAR-22 (US)
Written by Sean Kelly
Directed by Wayne Moss

Summary by J. Hunter

Episode Characters/Stars:

  • Stacy Jones (Didi Conn)

  • Billy Twofeathers (Tom Jackson)

  • Schemer (Brian O'Connor)

  • Mr. Conductor (George Carlin)

  • Becky (Danielle Marcot)

  • J.B. King, Esq. (Mart Hulswit)

  • Midge Smoot (Bobo Lewis)

  • Mayor Flopdinger (Jerome Dempsey)

  • The Jukebox Puppet Band

Episode Synopsis: It seems to be a boring day for Becky at Shining Time Station. But when Mr. Conductor’s Wishing Star gets loose, hilarity ensues; from Schemer and Stacy swapping places to Midge Smoot having her lips zipped! Will Becky be able to catch the elusive Star, or will the Station fail an important inspection?

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Detailed Episode Summary: SHOW

It’s a quiet day at Shining Time Station. Becky walks up to the ticket counter and tells Stacy that she’s bored. She asks if the two of them could play a game, but Stacy tells her that she can’t. Today is the day when J.B. King, superintendent of the Indian Valley Railroad, comes to the stations to inspect all the clocks, so as to make sure they are running to correct railroad time. At this, Becky walks sulkily away to the Jukebox, and then wishes that the whole day was over with.

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Meanwhile, the Jukebox Puppet Band is in their dressing room. When they hear Becky, they begin to feel sorry for her and Grace wishes that they could play her a song to make her feel better, to which Tito wishes that Becky had some nickels so that they COULD play her a song.

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Mr. Conductor then appears on top of the Jukebox, holding a bag and dressed in a wizard’s robe and cap. Becky exclaims that she wished that he would show up and wonders if he heard her wish. Mr. Conductor replies that he might, as he has just finished cleaning out the town’s Wishing Well. Becky wonders if all of the wishes will come true, but Mr. Conductor says only the ones in the blue bag will come true, because there’s a Wishing Star inside. He mentions that Duck the Great Western Engine’s wish isn’t in the bag. When Becky asks what he wished for, Mr. Conductor tells her the story of how Duck once wished that he could sail to faraway lands.

After Mr. Conductor finishes his story, Becky still wishes that something exciting would happen and asks if she could see the Wishing Star. Mr. Conductor tells her that it wouldn’t be a good idea, because this star is also a shooting star. But just as he’s about to explain further, Schemer approaches and he hastily disappears, leaving the bag with the Wishing Star behind. Schemer comes up to Becky and starts asking her what she’s doing in his arcade. While shooing her away, Schemer discovers Mr. Conductor’s bag and asks Becky about it. When she says it isn’t hers, Schemer immediately says “finders keepers, losers weepers”, and proceeds to open the bag hoping to find a nickel. Instead he releases the Wishing Star, which he takes to be a firefly.

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At that moment, Stacy comes up and begins asking Schemer if he has reset his watch for the inspection, to which Schemer starts making jokes and excuses. As Stacy tries to reason with him, Schemer wishes the two of them could switch places so that she could see how difficult things are for him. But no sooner is the wish made, the Wishing Star flies by. Schemer and Stacy literally switch places and have now adopted each other’s personalities, much to Becky’s bewilderment. Amid all this confusion, Mr. Conductor reappears, takes his now empty bag, and then disappears.

After that, Midge Smoot comes in looking for Stacy, but is instead greeted by Schemer, now acting as Stacy. She wants a new train schedule and Schemer immediately knows where they are, just as Stacy would. He even comments about Midge’s hat. A rather confused Midge then asks where Stacy is, just as Stacy, acting as Schemer, walks up and starts asking if she wants spend some nickels over at the arcade. Midge spots Becky and tells her she can’t wait to tell everyone about this strange turn of events. Becky pleads with Midge not to do so, but to no avail.

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While that is going on, Stacy is pounding and shaking the Jukebox, demanding that it either play her song or give back her nickel. Inside, the band is in their elevator trying to get to their performance room and get a bad shaking. As they hastily get into position so that they can play the song Stacy chose, “Celito Lindo,” they realize that Tito isn’t with them. They decide to start anyway, hoping Tito (who’s still in the basement) will pick up the cue. Tito does, and during the song, we see Schemer and Stacy have now swapped wardrobes in addition to their personalities as they continue doing what the other usually does throughout the day.

After the song, Mayor Flopdinger comes in, attempting to rehearse a speech. He asks for a ticket to Chubby Corners, at first not taking notice of “Schemer Jones.” As he continues to practice his speech, he’s interrupted by Stacy who asks him if he would like to “invest” in the arcade. The Mayor gets very confused as he looks back and forth between Schemer and Stacy, and finally asks Becky to explain to him what’s going on. Becky starts her explanation by asking the Mayor if he has ever wished for anything. As the Wishing Star flies by again, Mayor Flopdinger states that his wish has always been that he could “rise above” petty concerns, to fly so to speak. Sure enough, the Mayor rises off the ground and starts flying, which astonishes Becky, Schemer, Stacy, and Billy Twofeathers, who ducks at the last second as Mayor Flopdinger flies through the station entrance.

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At that moment, J.B. King walks in and announces that it’s time for the inspection. Billy notes that he’s early, but Mr. King decides to go on with it, since he’s already there. But when Stacy comes up, still acting like Schemer, Mr. King immediately begins to notice that all is not right and it infuriates him. Since he wasn’t due for another six minutes and 21 seconds, Mr. King decides to return when the time is right, with the expectation that when he does, everything will run like clockwork.

Mr. Conductor motions for Becky and Billy to meet him in the workshop so that they can figure out what to do. They finally decide that when they see the star, they’ll wish everything back to normal. Becky says she’ll never make another wish again, but Billy tells her that wishing can be a good thing, and how that some of the greatest things started off as a wish. Mr. Conductor agrees with Billy, and conjures a magic bubble which plays a song about wishes and making them come true. The song is so catchy Mr. Conductor starts singing along before quickly composing himself and disappearing to look for the star.

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The moment he leaves, Midge Smoot runs into the workshop and begins to tell Billy everything that has happened, from Mayor Flopdinger being able to fly to Schemer and Stacy changing places. After she leaves to do some more snooping, Billy comments that Midge has a good heart, but wishes that she would zip her lip. Realizing what he just said, he and Becky run back out to the station to find Midge attempting to talk to Stacy with a large zipper over her mouth.

Chaos begins to break out as Mayor Flopdinger comes floating back, still reciting his speech, and then Schemer comes running up, now worriedly counting down how much time they have left until Mr. King returns. Feeling rather flustered, Billy wishes he had just stayed in bed. But the Wishing Star flies by and Billy is now in a bed fast asleep.

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While Schemer is frantically trying to wake up Billy, Mr. Conductor manages to catch the star with a fishing net, and Becky quickly wishes everything back to the way it was, and it works! Stacy and Schemer are themselves again, Billy is awake, and Mayor Flopdinger has stopped flying, all of them of course having no memory of what has transpired. And just in time, too, because now Mr. King has returned for the inspection. After checking the clocks and watches (and having a friendly run-in with Mayor Flopdinger), Mr. King announces that everything is in order, as it always is at Shining Time.

Once Mr. King has left, Becky and Mr. Conductor release the star back into the sky. After Mr. Conductor disappears, Midge Smoot passes by, now without a zipper. She asks Becky why she and her friends always hang out at the station, especially when nothing seems to happen. Becky simply replies that sometimes a quiet day is everything she could wish for.

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Episode Morals:

  • Be careful what you wish for, because you might regret it later on.

  • Be content with what you have.

  • The best adventures are the ones we can only dream about.

 

Featured Jukebox Puppet Band Song:

  • Celito Lindo

Featured Magic Bubble Music Video:

  • Help Your Wish Along

Featured Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends Story:

  • All at Sea

Episode Notes:

  • This is the first and only episode where Becky appears without Dan or Kara.

  • This episode is the first where the Jukebox Puppet Band is seen in their dressing room and in the basement of the Jukebox.

  • The voice telephone conversation that Stacy hears before Mayor Flopdinger arrives at the station is actually sped-up audio from a scene with Stacy and Harry from Promises, Promises (see Season 1: Promises, Promises Episode Notes).

Schemer's Alone

Production #43 (3.02) - First Aired: 1993-MAR-23 (US)
Written by Wilson Coneybeare
Directed by John Ferraro

Summary by M. Cooper

Episode Characters/Stars:

  • Stacy Jones (Didi Conn)

  • Billy Twofeathers (Tom Jackson)

  • Schemer (Brian O'Connor)

  • Mr. Conductor (George Carlin)

  • Dan (Ari Madger)

  • Becky (Danielle Marcot)

  • Ginny (Barbara Hamilton

  • Midge Smoot (Bobo Lewis)

  • Barton Winslow (Gerry Parkes)

  • The Jukebox Puppet Band

  • Delivery Man #1 (Eric Fink)

  • Delivery Man #2 (uncredited non-speaking role)

Episode Synopsis: Schemer’s Mother is staying overnight in Snarlyville, leaving Schemer to take care of himself for the first time in his life. Instead of taking responsibility, Schemer tries getting everyone to do things for him, and pays his debts with IOU's.

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Detailed Episode Summary: SHOW

Becky and Dan are helping the adults with some chores around the station. Becky is helping Billy build a shelf, and Dan is helping Stacy change light-bulbs. Schemer is talking on the pay phone with his mother. She’s going to Snarlyville and staying overnight, meaning Schemer has to take care of himself. She makes him take ‘The Schemer Family Pledge’ that he will act responsibly and do a list of chores she’s left for him. But as soon as she hangs up, Schemer freaks out, complaining to Stacy that he doesn’t know how to do anything by himself. His mother has always been there to do things for him. Stacy thinks it’s a good opportunity for Schemer to learn about self-responsibility and recommends that Schemer ask for help if he needs it.

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That makes Schemer hit upon a “genius time” moment: He calls Becky and Dan over to play a game called “Do Stuff for Schemer,” where they do all his chores at home for payment. Despite their apprehension, the kids agree to help and head over to Schemer’s house.

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Later, Stacy and Billy wonder where the kids have gone. The answer is supplied by Mr. Conductor, who accidentally breaks the unfinished shelf when he sits on it. While Stacy thinks it is nice that the kids are helping Schemer, they should have told her where they were going.

Schemer has two delivery men bring in his furniture from home to the arcade. When they demand payment, Schemer tries slipping them an IOU, but through some “encouragement” from the larger of the two, Schemer pays them each a nickel as a tip. Stacy objects to the clutter and reminds Schemer that he should be taking responsibility for himself. Schemer replies it’s better to have people do things for him. For instance, Ginny has been asked to do his laundry. When she comes in with the clothes in a wheelbarrow, he orders her to do it again. When she demands payment, Schemer pays her an IOU, which she refuses until he pays her two nickels as tip.

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Schemer even tries to play a song on the Jukebox using an IOU, but the band refuses to play until he threatens to unplug the Jukebox. The Puppet Band responds by playing “Polly Wolly Doodle” as a charity gig.

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Back in the workshop, Mr. Conductor and Billy are finishing the shelf when Stacy comes in complaining about Schemer’s antics. Mr. Conductor calls the chores a dirty job that can only end up badly for everyone involved. This reminds him of what happened to James and Percy, and tells Stacy and Billy the Thomas story “Percy, James and the Fruitful Day” to explain. Billy agrees that Schemer’s bad plan could get him into a bigger jam than Percy’s accident.

Meanwhile, Schemer is ordering around Ginny and Midge Smoot in the arcade while he prepares to take a nap. He wants to hear a story, but Midge doesn’t read until he gives her an IOU. This version of The Three Little Pigs is limited to page eight, paragraph three, when the Pig with the Brick house charges the other two pigs a nickel apiece as “protection money” from the Wolf. Because the pigs don’t have any money, they are left outside to be eaten. A horrified Midge refuses to read another word.

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Becky and Dan return from Schemer’s house, also demanding payment. Schemer’s IOU, a “blinding agreement,” means he will pay them in sixty days (in other words whenever he wants to). Ginny asks Schemer if anyone has been paid for helping him. Schemer attempts to dodge the question, when just at that moment Barton Winslow appears on his motorcycle towing a covered dish on a dinner trolley. The dish has Crazy Crunchy Crisp Chips, a Pistachio Popsicle and a Double Whammy Triple Cheese Cowboy Beef Burger with relish. Schemer says he can’t eat all that, as he just finished eating 15 Chilly Willy bars. Barton doesn’t care if he eats it or not, so long as he gets paid. But when Midge tells him about the IOUs, an angry argument begins between all the swindled people about who will pay out Schemer first. In the confusion, Schemer slips away, inciting Barton, Ginny and Midge to chase after him.

Becky and Dan meet up with Mr. Conductor, who talks with them about Schemer’s irresponsibility and the importance of doing the things you promised to help with. To further cement the point, Mr. Conductor conjures a magic bubble that plays a music video about doing things on your own and asking for help only if you can’t do it alone. Mr. Conductor finishes the lesson by revealing the most important thing you can do on your own: admitting you made a mistake.

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The two kids realize that they owe Stacy and Billy an apology for not helping when they needed them and acting irresponsibly. Billy tells them the first step to becoming more responsible is learning to do better. Becky and Dan are responsible, because they realized when they were wrong and admitted it.

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Schemer, on the other hand, has figured out yet another way to get out of having to pay everyone for doing everything for him: A lifetime membership to Schemer’s Arcade, with a free machine use every ninth time they use one of the machines, once a week, every other month, leap year excluded. Paying everyone back this way amounts to 463 years by Schemer’s calculations. Stacy lectures him about how this will upset his employees.

At the window, Becky and Dan see Midge Smoot and Ginny talking to a woman who just got off the train: it’s Schemer’s mother, who came home early. Frantically, Schemer begs Stacy to help him straighten up the arcade, but Stacy refuses to help him, stating that this is one mess he’ll have to fix on his own. Midge comes in to tell Schemer she told his mother everything. His mother replied that one of these days, he’ll have to learn how to take care of himself and how to be kind to others even when she’s not there to take care of him. She’s waiting to see him at home so she can help him.

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Schemer thinks that means he doesn’t have to clean up at the arcade then, but trips over his own mess. The episode ends with him crying out “Mommy!”

Episode Morals:

  • Taking responsibility for yourself is important to growing up.

  • Admitting your mistakes is necessary in becoming more responsible.

 

Featured Jukebox Puppet Band Song:

  • Polly Wolly Doodle

Featured Magic Bubble Music Video:

  • I Can Do It: Music written and performed by Beverly Glenn-Copeland, produced by Vitale Productions.

Featured Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends Story:

  • Percy, James and the Fruitful Day

Episode Notes:

  • Schemer has a nickel-shaped rattle in his baby picture and has a nickel-decorated blanket.

  • The names and logo seen on their coveralls identify the movers as Mel (glasses) and Mack from Eggywegg Shipping.

  • In the episode's opening in the workshop where Becky helps Billy assemble a book case, it's very obvious that the shelf they are working on is severely off level where Billy puts the temporary nails.

  • When Barton Winslow wheels his motorcycle inside the station, you can tell that it's stuntman Cotton Mather from the exposed facial features.

  • The bright bank of studio lights' reflect off of Barton's motorcycle helmet.

  • Schemer’s Mother wears a hat with fake flowers and a plastic skunk on top.

  • The scene where Mr. Conductor is speaking to Billy and Stacy about Schemer tricking everyone into doing his chores was featured at the beginning of the 1995 Thomas the Tank Engine Man BBC Bookmark documentary.

Bully for Mr. Conductor

Production #44 (3.03) - First Aired: 1993-MAR-24 (US)
Written by Brian McConnachie
Directed by Wayne Moss

Summary by J. Gratton

Episode Characters/Stars:

  • Stacy Jones (Didi Conn)

  • Schemer (Brian O'Connor)

  • Mr. Conductor (George Carlin)

  • Dan (Ari Madger)

  • Becky (Danielle Marcot)

  • J.B. King, Esq. (Mart Hulswit)

  • The Jukebox Puppet Band

  • Buster (Ira Glasner)

Episode Synopsis: With Stacy away to Chubby Corners to help a colleague, Indian Valley Railroad Head J.B. King volunteers to mind the station until her return. He asks Dan and Becky to make his visiting nephew, Buster, feel welcome. Buster turns out to be a bully who targets the smaller Dan and even manages to intimidate Schemer. Mr. King, meanwhile, is distracted from what's going on by his own determined obsession to find Mr. Conductor. Dan is terrified of Buster's threats to beat him up as Mr. Conductor tries his best to make Dan tap into his inner strength to stand up to Buster in order to stop the bullying once and for all.

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Detailed Episode Summary: SHOW

Dan and Becky enter the still and empty station, reflecting how quiet and peaceful it is. Stacy suddenly steps out of the workshop to invite them in where we find J.B. King seated at Billy’s desk. When Becky asks where everyone is, Stacy reveals that Billy is working on the Sunset Flyer, while she is off to Chubby Corners. Mr. King adds they Stacy will be helping the Stationmaster there, and that he'll be minding the station during her absence. He appears to be distracted and looking for something as he comments that Shining Time Station is a very special place and that he's happy to be there. Dan asks his aunt if she would like him and Becky to go with her, but J.B. asks them to remain behind to entertain his young nephew Buster who will be visiting the station that afternoon, while he takes care of "serious adult railroad business." As he sees everyone out of the workshop, J.B. muses about where Mr. Conductor might be.

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Before leaving, Stacy shares that she heard that Buster is not an easy person to get along with, and makes the kids promise to be nice to Buster and make him feel welcome. After Stacy departs, the kids are curious about when Buster will arrive and decide to go back into the workshop to ask Mr. King. J.B. is beneath the desk and the kids ask if he's dropped or lost something, but he replies that he hasn't. Dan and Becky figure out that he's looking for Mr. Conductor which Mr. King reacts to by bumping his head as he gets up, revealing a large magnifying glass in his hand. He admits that he is looking for Mr. Conductor and asks if they've seen him, and that he has a feeling that Mr. Conductor is currently at the station. When the kids try to tell him that they see Mr. Conductor all the time, J.B. interjects and lectures them about never interrupting an adult while they are speaking. Mr. Conductor appears on the desktop as J.B. King resumes his search on the floor and shares his conviction that Mr. Conductor spends his time at the station. The kids excitedly try to point out that Mr. Conductor is on the desk, but J.B. admonishes them once again for interrupting him. As Mr. Conductor mimics him, J.B. tells the kids to lock their lips and throw away the key. The oblivious Mr. King asserts that he's going to find him, while our tiny friend amuses the kids by monkeying around on the desk. A train is heard arriving and the kids leave the workshop to see who comes into the station.

A boy swaggers into the station and rebuffs Dan and Becky's welcome. They guess that he must be Buster and tell him that his uncle is inside the workshop if he'd care to say hello to him. When they add that they like Mr. King they're surprised when Buster refers to him as loser. When Dan disagrees, Buster intimidates the smaller boy into changing his mind by threatening to beat him up. Becky reminds Dan that they promised to be nice to Buster and try to approach him once more to invite him to play with them. Buster ignores them and props himself up on the bench with a marker pen in his hand. Becky asks what he's doing and Buster rudely informs her that he's going to draw on the wall mural. Becky pulls his arm away from the mural, and tells him not to do draw on it. Buster seems surprised by her reaction, but quickly challenges anyone to stop him. J.B. calls out to Buster, who quickly puts his marker away and begins flattering his uncle with compliments. Mr. King is pleased that the kids are getting along and tells them to have fun as he returns to the workshop. As soon as the workshop door is closed, J.B. King addresses Mr. Conductor aloud and asks why he can’t see him when he only wants to be his friend.

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In the station, Buster is about to draw a moustache on one of the mural characters, but Becky stops him and threatens to tell on him if he continues. Buster then threatens to tell his uncle to fire Stacy and asks Becky if that's what she really wants. Becky replies no, but as Buster readies himself again to draw, warns that she'll still tell on him anyway. When Becky stands up to him, Buster makes the excuse that it was lucky for her that his marker pen ran out of ink and throws it on the floor. The bully then turns his attention to Dan, and is drawn to Schemer's arcade asking what the machines do. Dan shows him the picture machine, then the jukebox, which Buster begins to roughly rock complaining that it's not playing music. Inside the jukebox the band is being jostled about and Tex thinks it's an earthquake while Rex quips that it's more like a "bully quake!"

Buster gripes that the machine doesn't work but Dan informs him that it needs a nickel to do so. He then asks Dan if he has any money, and when Dan reveals that he has a nickel, the bully demands it from him. Dan refuses to hand it over and the bully tells Becky not to interfere as he begins wresting the nickel away from the smaller boy. Schemer arrives just in time to intervene and questions Buster why he’s picking on a kid half his size. Dan tells Schemer that Buster took his nickel, which prompts Schemer to forcefully take it back and return it to its rightful owner. Schemer rebukes the bully that he should feel ashamed of himself and asks his identity. Buster refuses to say, but the kids reveal that he's J.B. King's nephew. Realizing the connection, Schemer immediately grabs the nickel from Dan and presents it to Buster. Buster asks how the jukebox works and Schemer informs him that he needs to insert a nickel into the machine. Buster then boasts that he's keeping Dan’s nickel for himself, and demands the now-intimidated Schemer to hand over one of his own nickels, which he wilfully surrenders. After the nickel is inserted, the jukebox band decides to make their own musical selection, and begin to play "Jamaican Farewell."

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Buster seems impressed by the song, but now wants something else. He orders Schemer to get him an ice cream cone and intimidates him further by threatening to tell his uncle on him. He shouts at Schemer causing him to fall backward from the arcade and onto the station floor, sending him scurrying out of the station. Buster then asks Dan if he has any more nickels. Dan stands up to him and says no, so Buster responds by grabbing Dan in a headlock. Dan screams to be let go Justas Mr. King exits the workshop, with a fishing net in his hand. Mr. King asks his nephew what he's doing to Dan, but Buster replies sweetly that they're just having fun. J.B. tells them to carry on and, as he watches Dan struggling, reminds them to take a five minute rest once in a while. Dan finally manages to wriggle himself free and Buster warns him that if he'll beat him up if he's still at the station when he returns. After he leaves, Becky tries to encourage Dan by telling him not to let Buster push him around. Dan counters that Buster is bigger than he is, but Becky says that Buster is trying to scare him. Dan confesses that he doesn’t want to get beaten up, so Becky suggests that they go talk to Mr. King to see if he can help them.

In the workshop, J.B. King is intently examining the desk surface with his magnifying glass. He’s enthralled to find Mr. Conductor’s footprints in the powder he'd left on the desk, and believes that he’s close to finding him. He's totally engrossed in his pursuit and ignores Becky's pleas, all the while not seeing Mr. Conductor dressed as Sherlock Holmes watching him from above on the filing cabinet. Becky gives up trying to get Mr. King's attention and leaves, telling Dan that she's going home.

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Dan is alone on the station bench in front of the mural signal box fretting, when Mr. Conductor appears and asks if he's having troubles. Dan replies that he has bully troubles, with Mr. Conductor remarking that Buster is playing the "bully game." He explains that some people like to push other people around because it makes them feel important, and that it's a mean sort of game that bullies play. Mr. Conductor tells Dan that he can play his own game by showing that he can stand up for himself without picking a fight. Dan asks if there are any bullies on the Island of Sodor and Mr. Conductor tells him the story about Bulgy the Bus.

At the end of the story Dan asks if Bulgy ever beat up anyone. Mr. Conductor doesn’t think so, but knows that the bus lied and made fun of the railway engines, which is another form of bullying. Dan tells Mr. Conductor that Buster intends to beat him up and wants to hide. Mr. Conductor tries to reason with Dan, but the lad's fear makes him try to hide behind the picture machine. Mr. Conductor appears on top of the machine and invites Dan to look into it instead of hiding. Mr. Conductor inserts a nickel into the picture machine to let Dan watch a music video about bad guys and bullies. After the video, Mr. Conductor asks Dan if it's given him any ideas. Dan only replies that he’d better hide. Mr. Conductor insists that you have to stand up to a bully to tell him that you've have enough. Dan is intimidated by Buster’s size, so Mr. Conductor suggests that Dan let him talk to Buster. Dan advises against it, emphasizing that Buster is mean and if he picks on Dan because of his size it'll be worse for Mr. Conductor, and so begs him to hide from Buster as well.

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Buster re-enters the station with his ice cream cone and asks Dan who he's talking to as Dan tries to shield Mr. Conductor from the bully’s view. Buster finally sees Mr. Conductor and orders Dan to get out of his way. Dan stands his ground and shouts "NO!” Momentarily taken aback, Buster repeats his order and threatens to beat Dan up. Dan refuses to and steps closer to Buster. Buster tries once again, but Dan is on the offensive telling Buster to get away from the arcade. In the workshop, Mr. King is under the table searching and overhears Dan ordering Buster to leave Mr. Conductor alone. This gets a reaction from J.B. who hits head beneath the table as he rises to get up.

Dan warns the retreating Buster that he'll turn him upside down if he ever lays a hand on Mr. Conductor, then spin him around by his feet, and stick the ice cream cone on his head. Buster is now cowed by Dan's courage and does not hesitate giving back Dan's nickel when he demands it. Schemer runs in with a second ice cream cone for Buster as he whines that Dan is dangerous. Schemer sides with Buster and warns Dan of what will happen when Mr. King learns about this. As Buster retreats, he vows to see how tough Dan is once he tells his ‘dumb’ uncle what happened, not realizing that J.B. is standing immediately behind him as he adds that he’ll then be able to draw on the walls all he wants. He backs into his uncle and immediately begins to flatter him with compliments again. J.B. sternly tells Buster that he's in trouble, and that he'll only be making matters worse by lying to him. Buster plays innocent, but J.B. will have none of it, and orders his nephew to wait for him outside. Buster leaves whining that he never has any fun and blames everything on Dan.

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Mr. King addresses Dan and apologizes on behalf of the entire King family. Schemer interjects, lamely attempting to claim all the credit for what Dan did, and gives J.B. the ice cream cone before leaving. J.B. asks Dan if he was protecting someone smaller than himself, adding that it was a mighty fine thing to do and that he's proud of him. He offers out his hand to shake and then gives Dan the ice cream cone saying that he deserves it. As J.B. leaves to go have a word with his nephew, Dan asks him if he saw Mr. Conductor. J.B. replies that he didn’t, but suspects that Mr. Conductor had a small hand in what just transpired, as we see our miniature friend standing on the wall edge behind him. As he leaves Mr. King says that he knows Mr. Conductor is around somewhere. Mr. Conductor shushes Dan to keep quiet and the episode ends as they both wave at J.B. King as he exits the station.

Episode Morals:

  • Bullying is unacceptable social behavior.

  • We must all find the inner strength to confront and stop bullying and to stand up for yourself.

 

Featured Jukebox Puppet Band Song:

  • Jamaican Farewell

Featured Picture Machine Music Video:

  • The Bad Guy

Featured Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends Story:

  • Bulgy

Episode Notes:

  • Neither Billy nor Kara appear in this episode.

  • Another Indian Valley Railroad engine is named in this episode: the Sunset Flyer.

  • The pen Buster is trying to draw on the mural with is a Mr. Sketch blue pen. (contributed by Daniel Celano)

  • Ira Glasner makes another appearance as Buster in Brian O'Connor's direct to video Shining Time Station special: The World According to Schemer. In the special Buster still acts like a bully.

Stacy Cleans Up

Production #45 (3.04) - First Aired: 1993-MAR-25 (US)
Written by Brian McConnachie
Directed by Wayne Moss

Summary by J. Gratton

Episode Characters/Stars:

  • Stacy Jones (Didi Conn)

  • Schemer (Brian O'Connor)

  • Mr. Conductor (George Carlin)

  • Dan (Ari Madger)

  • Becky (Danielle Marcot)

  • Kara Cupper (Erica Lutrell)

  • The Jukebox Puppet Band

  • Ted Typo (David Hewlitt)

  • Rusty McRail (Michael Polley)

Episode Synopsis: The abundance of trash at Shining Time Station becomes a problem for everyone when the town dump closes. A garbage train driven by Engineer Rusty McRail offers temporary relief, but ends up aggravating the situation by becoming stranded at the station because all the dumps in the Indian Valley have closed. Becky then comes up with a brilliant idea to eliminate the smelly problem, and in a way inspires the establishment of what could be considered the world's first mobile recycling center on rails!

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Detailed Episode Summary: SHOW

When Dan arrives at the station, Stacy asks him as a favor to empty all of the wastebaskets, and quips that that they can't have Shining Time Station looking messy. Dan is more than happy to help his aunt and stops by Mr. Conductor’s signal house to inform him that he’s picking up the trash. Dan is amazed by the number of garbage bags Mr. Conductor brings out after several trips, and asks how everything could fit in his small house. Mr. Conductor replies that he’s very organized, and disappears.

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Schemer enters carrying a large cardboard box with Kara and Becky in tow. He tells everyone to gather around for a Schemer special deluxe one-day only event. Schemer opens the box and announces that he’s giving away “Lollapalooza Pops” and hands two of them to the girls, keeping one for himself. When asked why he’s giving them away, Schemer reveals that someone is paying him to give out free samples.

They begin unwrapping the large item, first taking off the tin foil which Schemer explains keeps the “artificial natural” flavor in. The next layer of wrapping is wax paper needed to keep the germs out. Another layer made of cardboard is intended to help the pop keep its natural shape. Next, a layer of plastic to keep the sun’s dangerous ultraviolet rays out. As the package becomes smaller, they're surprised to find a layer of hospital gauze to keep the bugs out.

 

Once completely unwrapped, the large confection turns out to be nothing more than a tiny lollipop. The lollipop is eaten in one bite which doesn’t give them much time to savor it, but Schemer still remarks how good it tastes. Kara complains about all of the waste that the excessive packaging created, and wonders how they’ll be able to get rid of it. Schemer stops Dan as he walks by the arcade, but he doesn't have room in his wastebasket to hold any more trash. He reveals that there's plenty more garbage out back of the station as Schemer scatters the wrapping around the arcade.

As passengers arrive, Stacy greets reporter Ted Typo who shows her his Indian Valley Gazette headline that the garbage dump is closing. Stacy exclaims that it's terrible, which Ted misinterprets as a comment about his writing. Stacy clarifies that she's referring to the dump closure and wonders where they’re supposed to put all of their garbage. Ted then hands her a big stack of newspapers to hand out to the passengers, despite Stacy's concerns that they don’t have any place to throw them out after reading. Ted is momentarily offended at the suggestion and insists that people would cherish the newspapers as he hands a copy to a passing passenger.

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Inside the jukebox, Rex and Tex debate what to do with their garbage now that the dump is closed. They decide to cram it into a box, cover it with gift wrapping and give it to Tito as a birthday gift. Tito is touched by the gesture and says that they shouldn’t have. The brothers reply that they know, and then make a hasty retreat before Tito opens his gift!

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Back in the station, Mr. Conductor appears on the ticket counter to inform Stacy that a train is slowly pulling in on track four. Stacy is puzzled, as track four hasn’t been used in years, and confirms that there aren't any trains scheduled to be on it. Since Billy is away, Stacy asks Mr. Conductor to keep an eye on things as she goes to find the engineer. Meanwhile, Ted Typo is leaning against the workshop door daydreaming when Dan nudges him out of the way when he opens the door to come out. Ted is looking for a big story and Dan persuades him that he has one.

As Ted pulls out his notepad, Dan tells him that most of the garbage in the bag he's holding came from the signal house in the mural. Ted sarcastically guesses that a little man lives in the signal house which Dan affirms. Dan then realizes that Ted doesn't believe him as he tells the lad to run along before little men start sitting on his hat. Just as he utters those words, Mr. Conductor materializes on Typo's hat and waves to Dan!

A stranger enters the station examining an old map. Stacy and Dan meet at the station entrance, where she reveals that she couldn't find the train's engineer. She then asks Dan where he put all of the trash he collected, and is told that he dumped in one of the train cars outside marked 'garbage.' Stacy suddenly notices the man and asks if it's his train outside. The man, in a Scottish brogue, affirms that it is, and after Stacy identifies herself as the stationmaster, introduces himself as Rusty Rob McRail, Chief Engineer of the R&O freight line. Stacy asks if it would be alright to put the station's trash on his train. He agrees as everyone else has been asking to do that.

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Stacy rushes over to ask Becky to gather up all of the empty paint cans in the workshop and to throw them on the train outside. Schemer asks if he’d be able to throw the arcade's trash into Rusty's train. Rusty gives him permission to do so, and then decides to lay his map on the ticket counter for a better view. Dan asks Rusty what he's doing, and is informed that he's reading a map. He asks Dan if anyone has ever shown him how the read one. Dan looks at the map and turns it around making Rusty realize that he was reading it upside down! Rusty compliments Dan's skills and asks how he would like to be an engineer on his train. He puts his oversized hat on Dan's head, but now the lad can’t see, which Rusty admits would hold him back.

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Schemer, Stacy and Becky return to thank Rusty and ask if they can do anything for him in return. Rusty doesn’t want anything except for clear directions to the Indian Valley garbage dump. Stacy breaks the news that the dump is closed. Rusty sighs with disappointment but becomes irritated when Kara comes in to remark that the train smells bad. Rusty retorts that so would she if she were filled with garbage and sat in the sun for thirty days.

When asked by Stacy and the kids if he’s really been on the move that long, Rusty confirms that he started out with a train of trash, junk and worse – half-eaten egg-salad sandwiches, the mention of which makes the gang recoil in disgust. He was turned away from his town dump and told to take his garbage somewhere else, but every dump he stopped at, from Lucy’s Leap to Farmer’s Dell and Loon Key, was closed.

They commiserate how terrible his situation is, but encourage Rusty to move on to the next dump with his garbage train. Schemer tells him the sooner he gets going, the sooner he'll stop stinking up the station. Stacy gives Schemer a reproachful swat on the shoulder for being rude, but Rusty is offended for being told to move on after giving them permission to load their garbage onto his train. He thought that they'd be a bit different, but are the same as all the others. They don’t understand that there's nowhere to dump the garbage, and he has nowhere to go.

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Rusty leaves the station as Stacy fumbles for words and the rest on the gang remain silent. Stacy admits to not wanting his train at the station, and runs out to find Rusty to see if they can work something out. Schemer and the kids begin to be plagued by the buzzing of houseflies, and as they swat them away Becky says that garbage can’t go away on its own, while Kara adds that nobody likes garbage. Schemer comments that only flies love it, and deduces that he’d be a rich man if he charged a nickel from each fly when they landed on garbage. Schemer then begins chasing a fly out of the station demanding that it owes him a nickel.

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Mr. Conductor appears on the ticket counter asking what the “buzz” is all about, and asks if the insects are honey bees. Dan informs him that they are dealing with garbage flies. Mr. Conductor proclaims that he likes honey bees as long as they don't sting him, but hasn’t made up his mind yet about garbage flies. Kara asks if there are a lot of honey bees of the Island of Sodor, which prompts Mr. Conductor to tell them about the unforgettable experience that James the Red Engine had with honey bees.

After the story, Dan wishes the garbage flies were honey bees as they only sting when they're angry, while garbage flies are dirty all the time. Kara wishes that the garbage would just fly away, and Dan explains that the garbage dump is closed. Mr. Conductor mentions that for every door that closes, a window opens. Dan replies that the station’s windows are shut and it still smells. Becky thinks about what Mr. Conductor said and equates it to the old idiom “if life gives you lemons, you make lemonade.” Mr. Conductor emphatically agrees as Becky wonders if they can turn the trash into something they can use. Mr. Conductor suggests that they think some more about it while they go down the Anything Tunnel to get some ideas as they watch a music video about recycling.

Later, everyone in the station is wearing a wooden clothespin on their nose to combat the garbage’s foul odor. Ted Typo arrives proclaiming that he smells a story, and recoils when he takes a deep whiff. Stacy gives him a clothespin as she explains to Ted that the garbage train has no place to go. Ted envisions a headline of "Garbage Dump Opens at Shining Time Station" but Stacy urges that they need to figure something out to solve this problem. Becky shows them an article she wrote for her school’s newspaper about the Indian Valley’s need for a recycling center.

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Ted is unfamiliar with the term and Becky explains that the center is where garbage is sorted into separate piles of glass, cans and paper that can be reused. Stacy thinks it’s a great idea and asks if Mr. McRail knows anything about recycling. Becky says that he doesn’t but she’ll go tell him, and runs off as Stacy calls out to her to wait because Shining Time doesn’t have a recycling center.

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Becky returns with Rusty, who understands that she wants to turn his train into a recycling center. Becky wants to help sort the garbage even though Rusty tries to dissuade her by warning that there’s an entire trainful of garbage to sort through, including the half-eaten egg-salad sandwiches. Dan suggests that they can compost the sandwiches for their gardens. Rusty is encouraged and calls them a fine bunch for wanting to help him out. He leads the charge out of the station to get to work. Schemer follows them but slinks back to the arcade where he puts a nickel in the jukebox to play some recycling music.

Inside the jukebox Tito has donned a gas mask while the Boy brothers have wrapped their noses in handkerchiefs and Didi and Grace are equipped with clothespins. They decide to recycle an old song tomake it new again, with Grace leading them to play “Five Hundred Miles.” During the band’s performance everyone is busy sorting out the trash into piles of recyclables, with even passengers helping out as they pass by.

The gang are soon finished sorting the garbage and remove their clothespins, sighing in relief as Becky rejoices that they have fresh air at last. Rusty is speaking with someone on the telephone and after the call, Rusty informs everyone that a plastics manufacturer will pay him money for the recyclable plastic, and so will a tin can maker for the pile of cans. He's ecstatic that he has a new career as the “Recycle Express” as Ted Typo notes everything down. Rusty then gives thanks to Becky for her idea, and compliments her that she's done more good than she'll ever know.

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Just as he is about to leave, Becky asks if they'll ever see him again. Rusty can’t promise for sure, but if there's a pile of garbage that needs to be sorted and hauled away, he'll be there, and asks them to wish him luck. Before leaving, he takes a wooden clothespin from the ticket counter and places it on his nose, just in case, to everyone’s amusement. Mr. Conductor appears and disappears quickly after leaving something behind on the ticket counter. Rusty, seeing a miniature stack of paper, glass and cans, declares that some wee person has just sorted out his trash for him. Rusty pockets the items and everyone says goodbye as he heads towards the platform and his train. The episode ends as our friends rush after him after realizing that they still need to load their recyclables onto his train.

Episode Morals:

  • Recycling helps the environment and reduces waste.

 

Featured Jukebox Puppet Band Song:

  • Five Hundred Miles

Featured Anything Tunnel Music Video:

  • If Everyone Did a Little (music and lyrics by Carmino Ravosa)

Featured Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends Story:

  • Buzz Buzz

 

Episode Notes:

  • Although mentioned by name, Billy Twofeathers does not appear in this episode.

  • This is the first appearance of Ted Typo, who replaces Jake Scoop as the show's resident reporter for the Indian Valley Gazette.

  • The close-up shot of the Indian Valley Gazette with the article about the garbage dump closing reveals a few clues about the prop's origins. On the newspaper's front page, top-left is a small advert for the Humphrey Funeral Home (1403 Bayview Avenue, Toronto). Another clue is the story heading beneath the advert "Politicians Comment on Scrapping of M.V.A. Plan". At that time @ 1992, the Metro Toronto Market Value Assessment (MVA) Plan involved a controversial long-overdue reassessment of privately-owned property worth. The prop was likely a small Toronto community newspaper made to look like the "Indian Valley Gazette".

  • The voice heard during Rusty McRail's telephone conversation is actually sped-up audio from a scene with Stacy and Harry from Promises, Promises (see Season 1: Promises, Promises Episode Notes). 

Schemer's Robot

Production #46 (3.05) - First Aired: 1993-APR-19 (US)
Written by Wilson Coneybeare
Directed by John Ferraro

Summary by J. Gratton

Episode Characters/Stars:

  • Stacy Jones (Didi Conn)

  • Schemer (Brian O'Connor)

  • Mr. Conductor (George Carlin)

  • Dan (Ari Madger)

  • Becky (Danielle Marcot)

  • Kara Cupper (Erica Lutrell)

  • Barton Winslow (Gerard Parkes)

  • The Jukebox Puppet Band

  • "Robby" the robot (Michael Lamport)

  • Tourist #1 (Ho Chow)

  • Tourist #2 (Irene Panzer)

 

Episode Synopsis: Stacy eagerly prepares for the arrival of a new tourist train while Schemer brings in mechanical help to care care of the arcade and do all of his work. While the resulting chaos is going on, we learn that it's Mr. Conductor's turn to man the "Sob Story" booth on the Island of Sodor.

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Detailed Episode Summary: SHOW

The episode opens with Stacy Jones practicing passenger greetings for the arrival of the new tourist train. Mr. Conductor appears and is annoyed after getting tangled up in the shoestring licorice that was on the table he materialized onto. He’s told that the licorice is one of the items for sale in Schemer's new tourist booth. Schemer plans to sell all kinds of trinkets to tourists, ranging from mashed potato mixes to even a commemorative plate featuring his picture. Mr. Conductor thinks it's a sad story indeed, which reminds him that it is his turn to sit in the "sob story" booth on the Island of Sodor to hear all of the engines' problems, and then help sort them out. Mr. Conductor vanishes when he hears Schemer approaching.

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Schemer wheels in a large cardboard box on a hand cart, which he opens to reveal a robot. Stacy, Becky and Kara are dumbfounded. Schemer proclaims that the robot will do everything that he normally does; take care of the arcade and the tourist corner, polish his nickels, and basically do whatever he tells it to do. Stacy thinks it's a crazy idea and that everyone needs to do things for themselves. Schemer retorts that she's just jealous because she did not think of it first.

Stacy storms off and Schemer activates the robot. He introduces himself as Schemer, supreme financier of nickels and monetary things, and orders the robot to speak. The robot replies "Would you like to try a Kielbasa Sausage? It goes great with our freshly baked buns." Schemer informs the robot that he's in an arcade, not a supermarket. Becky suggests that perhaps the robot needs to be shown what to do, but Schemer ignores her and orders the robot (which he has named Robby) to follow him, saying he’ll have to show the robot what to do.

Inside the Jukebox, Tex thinks that the robot is a washing machine that wants to eat them. Rex corrects him by claiming that it's a clothes dryer. The Puppets panic, except for Didi who says that she likes it. Tito asks how she can dig such a big scary weird thing. Didi explains that just because something is big and weird looking doesn’t mean they have to be scared. Rex agrees, but suggests that they all remain scared of it anyway. Didi admonishes them all for being a bunch of big babies. The robot seems fixated on the Jukebox as Schemer hands it a broom and commands it to sweep. The robot begins sweeping the walls instead of the floor. Schemer grabs the broom from the robot and demonstrates how it is supposed to be done.

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Kara and Becky enter the workshop where Mr. Conductor is putting the finishing touches on his Sob Story Booth. He observes that Schemer is having some trouble with his robot. Kara replies that Schemer said that he had some kinks to work out. Mr. Conductor thinks that Schemer hasn't taken to time to find out everything he needs to know about his robot. Becky adds that it would be neat to have a machine that could do everything. Mr. Conductor counters that although machines are good for some things, but there are other things that only a human can do.

He adds that even the engines on the Island of Sodor need engineers and conductors, and when the engines forget that, things can get very confused. He proceeds to tell them the story of when the big engines were upset and planned to go on strike. Becky remarks that it was sad that the engine did not want to work anymore. Mr. Conductor says that what happens next was even worse, but that tale would have to wait until he gets back as he sparkles away.

Back in the arcade, the robot is still mesmerized by the juke box as Schemer gives it a bucket and mop and commands it to mop the floor. The robot instead empties the bucket onto the floor, and begins mopping Schemer. Schemer's yells attract Stacy to come over to help. To save face, Schemer denies that he's having problems and says that everything is as smooth as cake. Hearing this, the robot booms "Cake, try our tasty new cakes - aisle two!” Schemer tells Stacy that there are just a few bugs to iron out, and the robot shouts "Bug spray, on special this week."

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Schemer explains that the robot is unfocused at the moment, but as soon as more people arrive the robot will work perfectly. Stacy notices that the robot appears to be attracted to the jukebox, but Schemer doesn't think so. Stacy warns him that she doesn't want anything to go wrong in the station today with him, the robot or the jukebox. Schemer goes on to berate the robot about its infatuation with the jukebox, when he suddenly has a "genius time" moment. He puts a nickel in the jukebox, thinking that music will help the robot focus on its tasks. The Puppet Band then begins to perform their rendition of "Strolling in the Park One Day", as Schemer tries unsuccessfully to wrestle the robot away from the jukebox.

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After the song, Becky and Kara find Mr. Conductor crying at his Sob Story Booth and ask him what's wrong. He replies that the sob stories that he heard on the Island of Sodor were so sad, they were wonderful. The kids are confused by this statement. Mr. Conductor explains that they are wonderful as long as they have a happy ending, and that everyone enjoys having a good cry now and then. Mr. Conductor suddenly disappears when he and the kids hear Schemer shrieking.

Everyone comes to investigate what is causing Schemer’s tantrum and he points toward the arcade where the robot is inserting nickel after nickel into the jukebox. Schemer is at his wit's end because the robot is in love with the jukebox. The robot declares his love for the jukebox to everyone. This upsets Schemer even more as the tourists will be arriving soon. He suddenly has a brainstorm and, announcing that he has an idea, runs out of the station.

Inside of the juke box, we see the nickels piling up as the tired and worn out band prepares to play selection #489. Didi tells Tito that they need a break, but he says that this is the best gig since his days as "Tito in the Box".

Kara and Becky return to the workshop and reflect how the robot seems to have feelings and that Schemer has done nothing but hurt them. Mr. Conductor reappears with his booth and agrees that it's sad when someone hurts your feelings, but it's even sadder when you're not allowed to do what you do best. When asked why, Mr. Conductor thinks that the robot was intended to work in a supermarket, not an arcade. Becky adds that would explain why the robot is always talking about food.

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Mr. Conductor further explains that Schemer was so busy trying to find an easy way to do things that he never bothered to learn anything about his robot. Mr. Conductor feels that things will work out somehow, and proceeds to tell them how things worked out for the best once Percy arrived on the Island of Sodor. Mr. Conductor ends the tale by saying that we usually learn something very important from sad stories and directs the kids to go see what is happening just outside the door. The kids realize that Stacy is giving her tour to the passengers and leave the workshop to watch.

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Stacy leads the tourists into the station, pointing out the building's historical artifacts. The robot walks up behind Stacy and the tourists' attention switches from Stacy to Robby. Robby startles Stacy by booming out "Would you like to try out some of our pickled calves' livers?", which delights the tourists. Stacy is crestfallen because the tour had been successful until the robot showed up. Just then, Schemer arrives with a lawnmower festooned with pink ribbons and bows. The tourists, meanwhile, are all gathered around the robot at the Tourist Corner. Schemer explains that the lawnmower will become the robot's new love interest.

As Schemer wheels the lawnmower over to the robot, a tourist asks for a souvenir from the station, Robby hands a package of instant mashed potatoes to the man. When he asks how much it costs, Robby hands him a second souvenir and declares to the shoppers that everything is free. Robby hands a plate and mug to a woman just as Schemer intervenes to yell at the robot that it can't just give things away and that people need to pay for the items. As soon as the tourists hear this, they begin to scatter out of the station with their goods as Schemer pursues them. Becky and Kara mention that they should help Schemer as they joke that they don't want either the robot or the lawnmower to get hurt.

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Later, an exasperated Schemer leans on the arcade's railing as the robot complains that the jukebox won’t play anymore. Schemer tells the robot that it is not much good at being a labour-saving device. The robot responds by harassing Schemer for more nickels. Inside the jukebox, Tito is tallying up the nickels and says that he's changed his mind about the robot and paraphrases the old saying "Isn't love grand" by adding "grand theft,” and chuckles at his pun.

Suddenly, Barton Winslow arrives on his motorcycle. He explains he has a problem with Schemer's new junior assistant cutting into his business by selling food. The robot, however, appears to be infatuated with Barton's motorcycle. Schemer has another "genius time" moment and approaches Barton with a deal: Barton gets an assistant for free, while Schemer gets rid of his assistant for free. Barton resists taking on a robot who has only worked in an arcade, but the kids inform him that the robot was actually designed to work at a supermarket. Barton talks to the robot who asks him whether he'd like to try some devil-larded beef. Barton is convinced and agrees to take the robot off of Schemer's hands.

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After Barton and the robot leave, Stacy says she hopes that Schemer has learned something. Schemer retorts that he learned he should never order anything from the back of a comic book. Stacy is amused and asks if that's all he's learned. Schemer awkwardly adds that he should never introduce a robot to a jukebox. Stacy explains to him that he ran the arcade better than anyone else and was doing just fine, and wonders why he would have someone do for him what he does best by himself. The lesson finally sinks in, and Schemer ambles over to the arcade to tell the machines that they are all useless. When he tells the lawnmower that it too is useless and repeatedly kicks it, the lawnmower suddenly starts up and chases Schemer out of the station as the episode ends.

Episode Morals:

  • In order to gain independence, some things need to be done by no one else but ourselves.

 

Featured Jukebox Puppet Band Song:

  •  Strolling in the Park one Day (arranged by Larry Wolf for Oasis Music Inc.)

Featured Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends Stories:

  • Tenders and Turntables

  • Trouble in the Shed

 

Quotes of Note:

  • Mr. Conductor: "Advice is sort of like birthday presents. It usually is more fun to give than it is to receive."

  • Schemer ("genius time moment"): "A light bulb in Schemer's attic melting the snow-capped peaks." 

  • Schemer (to Barton): "Why don't you make like a tree and take a hike!

Episode Notes:

  • Billy Twofeathers does not appear in this episode.

  • In this episode Barton Winslow enters the station on his motorcycle from the left side near the workshop, and exits with the robot on the right side below the arcade. This suggests that the station has alternate doors in/out of the building.

Billy Saves the Day

Production #47 (3.06) - First Aired: 1993-APR-20 (US)
Written by Jill Golick
Directed by Wayne Moss

Summary by J. Hunter

Episode Characters/Stars:

  • Stacy Jones (Didi Conn)

  • Schemer (Brian O'Connor)

  • Billy Twofeathers (Tom Jackson)

  • Mr. Conductor (George Carlin)

  • Dan (Ari Madger)

  • Becky (Danielle Marcot)

  • Kara Cupper (Erica Lutrell)

  • Schemee (Jonathan Shapiro)

  • Felix Perez (Aurelio Padrón)

  • The Jukebox Puppet Band

 

Episode Synopsis: Everyone at Shining Time Station is excited, because Felix Perez is organizing a concert. But when he loses his star, everybody (even Schemer!) tries out for the part. Everybody except Billy, for even though he has a great talent, he is afraid to show it. Will a star be found, or will the concert be cancelled? Find out, as they learn that everyone has something special to offer.

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Detailed Episode Summay: SHOW

As the episode begins, the kids see Felix Perez hanging a sign promoting the Moonlight Concert he’s putting together. Dan then notices that the star of it is Chilly Weathers, a famous musician, and Felix begins to describe how beautiful everything will look when the show begins after sunset. The kids are excited by this, and then they run off to Billy’s workshop.

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When they arrive, they not only find Mr. Conductor there, but they see Billy with a guitar. The kids then ask Billy if he’s going to play something, to which he says no and that he’ll play when he’s ready. The kids are disappointed by this and begin to beg Billy. But when Mr. Conductor says that he’ll play for them, they’re in disbelief. Billy lays his guitar down and starts strumming it, while Mr. Conductor steps onto the guitar’s neck and makes music by stepping on the frets!

The kids are astounded by this, and Mr. Conductor tells them that people are full of surprises and have something special to offer if given a chance. Billy agrees and then reminds the kids that they have to find out what that “something” is, because everybody’s different. Suddenly, everyone hears Felix exclaiming and they rush out to see what the matter is.

They find out from Stacy that the train bringing Chilly Weathers has been cancelled. Billy offers to help by taking another train to fetch Mr. Weathers, but Felix says it’s too late for that, because the concert is that night. Stacy then suggests maybe he could find someone else that can be the star, but Felix isn’t sure he could find someone in time. As that is said, the Jukebox Band tries to get Felix’s attention, but to no avail.

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Stacy still tries to convince Felix that there must be somebody with musical talent, but he replies that he already knows everybody and that none of them are available. But when Kara says that he should give her, Dan and Becky a chance, Felix brightens and agrees. After stating that the show must go on, he leaves to see if he can find someone that can take Chilly Weathers’ place before the sun sets.

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After he leaves, Stacy and Billy begin to feel sorry for Felix and wonder if anything can be done. As they’re talking, the kids begin to think how great it would be to actually be on stage and ask Stacy, who has had some acting experience, what it was like. She tells them what happened when she first went on a stage. Just before the show started, Stacy began to get “butterflies” in her stomach when she saw how big the audience was. She also began to feel scared, because there were so many people depending on her. But after plucking up some courage, she went out, said her first lines and got so caught up in the play that she forgot about the audience, right up until the end when they started clapping. She then remembers that feeling when people are applauding a great performance.

After her story is over, Becky wants to be in the concert so that people can cheer her, until Kara states that they have to be able to do something that will make them want to cheer. Dan asks what can they do, since they have don’t have instruments. Stacy then shows them that anything can be an instrument as she taps a beat on the Information Desk. She then tells the kids to go look for things and then come back to her.

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In no time at all, Becky and Dan have instruments made from everyday things; Becky has a washboard with some bells and a horn, and Dan has a trumpet made from a plastic pipe and a kitchen funnel. Meanwhile, as Kara is having help from Billy, who’s making a bass fiddle from a pole, a wash tub, and some string, she asks him why he doesn’t try out for Felix’s concert since everybody else is. He says no, because he only plays for himself. She keeps on imploring him, but he simply states he doesn’t want to, and she leaves it at that.

After her instrument is made, Kara thanks Billy and joins Dan and Becky for a rehearsal. But as they try their instruments out, all playing random notes at the same time, they sound terrible and begin to think that Felix won’t let them perform. That is, until Mr. Conductor appears and says that all they need is a score. Kara is confused by this, until Mr. Conductor explains that a musical score is all the notes written on paper so that the musicians know what to play and when. Becky is surprised by Mr. Conductor’s knowledge on music, until he implies that he doesn’t always work with trains.

Mr. Conductor then shows them (by conjuring visible musical notes) what they just played, which looks even worse than it sounds. He then shows each of the kids what rhythm to play, and then they play it together. The kids like what they hear and thank Mr. Conductor, who adds that they’ll sound even better with a little more practice. After he leaves, the kids then go to find some place quiet to practice.

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A little bit later, when Felix comes back to the station, he sees what appears to be Schemer and Schemee, now calling themselves “M.C. Schemer” and “DJ Schemee,” dressed in 1970s break-dancing/rapper clothes and with a record player sitting next to them. Having heard that Felix needs a replacement for his concert, Schemer performs a rap song, but only succeeds in getting himself, Schemee, Felix, and the record player tangled in the microphone cords and they all crash to the floor.

Inside the Jukebox, the Band is laughing at what has just happened, and Rex makes a comment that even Schemer has shown a hidden talent, much to the other members’ surprise. When they ask what it is, they laugh even harder when Rex says that it’s making a fool out of himself!

Back in the station, Schemer asks Felix what he thought of their performance. Felix says don’t call him, he’ll call Schemer, and leaves. Schemee believes that he didn’t like it, but that doesn’t discourage Schemer, who then tells him his motto; if at first you don’t succeed, fake it!

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Back in the Jukebox, Grace begins to tell the other members about her first job, playing inside a car radio with Tubby’s Totally Tube-ular Band. She was scared, and Tubby tells her that it’s only natural for one to be scared when playing for a lot of people. Grace begins to panic and asks Tubby what if she makes a mistake and people don’t like her. Tubby then asks her if she likes the music the band plays. She does and then Tubby explains that when she’s sharing what she loves, she’ll make new friends. Now excited by this, Grace begins to play her first song. As Grace finishes her story, she confirms what Tubby had said, by saying that the other members are some of the best friends she’s ever had.

Meanwhile, over in the workshop, Billy is playing on his guitar, but then stops and goes back to work. Mr. Conductor, who was quietly listening, begs Billy not to stop. Billy says he was only practicing, to which Mr. Conductor replies that he couldn’t tell the difference. But as Billy continues to fix an alarm clock, it reminds Mr. Conductor of what happened to Trevor the Traction Engine. He tells Billy a story of how after being saved from scrap, Trevor still felt lonely, until he was needed to help Thomas at the harbor. Afterwards, he not only gave rides to children and helped get important work done, but he made a new friend in Thomas.

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Mr. Conductor then tells Billy how good one feels after making others happy, and then asks him if he feels the same way. When he replies that he does, Mr. Conductor then hints at other things that make people happy, such as singing to them. Billy is surprised by this, and is even more-so when the alarm clock goes off, to which Mr. Conductor says it’s time for him to go. After he leaves, Billy pulls out his guitar and begins playing it again.

Back in the station, after the kids have performed for Stacy and Felix, Felix tells them that they might be the “warm-up” act. The kids wonder what that is, and Stacy explains that it’s the act that goes on before the star, so as to get the audience in the right mood. The kids are excited by this, until Felix states that unless he can find a star soon, there might not be an audience for the children to warm up. Stacy is downhearted by this, until she wonders aloud why Billy hasn’t tried out yet. Felix says he’s never seen Billy play, and Stacy tells him that she has heard Billy through the workshop door, singing and playing the guitar when he’s alone.

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Kara repeats what Billy had told her earlier, and Felix states that Billy may have stage fright. Becky thinks that means Billy is scared, but Stacy clarifies that it means he’s shy. But when Kara believes that the reason why is because he’s never been given the chance and that they should ask him, Felix tells them that somebody should do it quick, because if Billy doesn’t want to perform, he’ll have to cancel the concert.

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The moment Felix says those words; Schemer and Schemee come up, now dressed in ridiculous rocker’s clothes. They proclaim themselves as “The Not Agains,” much to Felix’s annoyance. The Schemers go in to the Arcade as Schemee quickly sticks a nickel in Jukebox. Inside the Jukebox, however, the band knows what’s really going on; Schemer’s going to pretend to be them! Reluctantly, they play a rocked-out version of “Get on Board, Little Children.”

As that’s going on, Schemer and Schemee are seen “rocking” to the song with Schemer lip-syncing to Didi’s singing. Once he’s done, Schemer asks Felix how great their performance was. Felix sarcastically says that it was, but then adds that it’s too bad that the Jukebox can’t go on the stage, much to Schemer’s disappointment

Kara then runs over to the workshop and tells Billy that the concert is about to be cancelled, to which Billy replies he’s sorry for them. Kara says that she was kind of scared to go on the stage anyway, and Billy says that maybe it’s for the better; that feeling of fear may be warning Kara that she’s not ready. But when Kara says that she is ready because she’s been practicing a lot, Billy then tells her that maybe she didn’t practice enough. Kara then tells him that she once felt that way when her grandpa Harry was teaching her how to ride a bicycle without training wheels.

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They would start with Harry holding onto Kara to keep her balance and Kara would always tell Harry she wasn’t ready for him to let go. But when he finally did let go, she found out she could do it and that she was ready after all! Then she adds that it could be the same with performing on stage, but now she’ll never know since the concert’s going to be cancelled. Billy concedes that he’ll never find out if he’s ready to perform on stage unless he just goes out and does it.

They both leave the workshop, approach the group, and then, rather nervously, Billy tells Felix he wants to try out for the concert, even though he’s never been on a stage before, to which Felix says he would like to hear him. Billy plays a song about how he sometimes likes to keeps things to himself, inviting everybody to join him in the final chorus.

After Billy has finished Felix declares that the concert is saved, if Billy is willing. Billy first confirms that the kids will go on before him, and then agrees to perform, much to the kids’ excitement. After Felix leaves to get everything ready, Kara asks Billy if he still feels scared. He does, but believes everything will be all right, which makes Kara glad. Amid all the excitement, only Schemer and Schemee are disappointed. The kids then offer to let them to join their band, to which they reply that they don’t have real instruments. But when Kara tells them that all they need is something to shake with, they immediately begin to shake their money changers, which Schemer declares is music to his ears. When Stacy says it time to go, everyone grabs their instruments and heads off for Felix’s Moonlight Concert.

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After everyone has left, Mr. Conductor appears on the window, next to the Ticket Counter, and comments how beautiful the night is, and then adds that some music will make it better. As he begins to wave his conductor’s batpm, a bird tweets in response. He continues to “conduct” the bird as the episode ends.

Episode Morals:

  • Everybody has something special to offer, they just need a chance to show it.

  • The more you share what you love, the more friends you might make in return.

  • You’ll never know you can do something unless you try.

 

Featured Jukebox Puppet Band Song:

  • Get On Board, Little Children

Featured Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends Story

  •  A New Friend for Thomas (Thomas and Trevor)

Episode Notes:

  • Schemer impersonates both rapper M.C. Hammer and rock musician Ozzy Osbourne.

  • Harry Cupper, Kara’s grandpa, is mentioned in this episode.

  • In addition to acting, Tom Jackson is also an accomplished musician and recording artist. This would be the only time he performed on camera for Shining Time Station.

Billy's Party

Production #48 (3.07) - First Aired: 1993-APR-21 (US)
Written by Brian McConnachie
Directed by Wayne Moss

Summary by A. Su

Episode Characters/Stars:

  • Stacy Jones (Didi Conn)

  • Schemer (Brian O'Connor)

  • Billy Twofeathers (Tom Jackson)

  • Mr. Conductor (George Carlin)

  • Dan (Ari Madger)

  • Becky (Danielle Marcot)

  • Kara Cupper (Erica Lutrell)

  • Midge Smoot (Bobo Lewis)

  • Ginny (Barbara Hamilton)

  • J.B. King, Esq. (Mart Hulswit)

  • The Jukebox Puppet Band

 

Episode Synopsis:  It is Thanksgiving and Billy is very busy - he has to repair a locomotive, drive Ginny to buy a turkey, rescue Schemer who has been stranded on a train, and join some very special friends for dinner.

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Detailed Episode Summary: SHOW

It's Thanksgiving and everyone is very busy. Midge Smoot is attending the high society Thanksgiving party hosted by the Wellington-Hoovingtons, Ginny is preparing to have Thanksgiving at her house with her nephew and his wife, and Billy has been invited to join the Boomers and the Hobos, whom he describes as very special railroad people. But Billy is delayed in setting off as J.B. King asks him to repair the locomotive “Old Dependable” to handle the amount of crowds needing to board trains home for Thanksgiving. Schemer is also into the activities, as he dresses up as a Pilgrim hoping that people will give him presents so he can say "thanks for giving" to them in return.

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Meanwhile, the Jukebox Puppet Band is taking some time off from performing, sitting in their dressing rooms while Chef Tito “dresses the turkey.” To pass the time, they sing “We Gather Together.” Tito returns with a live, very well-dressed turkey. But when Rex asks what’s for dinner, Tito reveals a platter of vegetables, much to the turkey's delight.

Back in the station, Dan, Becky, and Kara are griping about Thanksgiving, with its lack of presents and the need to keep their clothes clean. They look under a large tureen and find a sunbathing Mr. Conductor. Mr. Conductor explains to them that Thanksgiving is a time to stop and think about what to be grateful for, like food and good friends. To further illustrate his point, he tells them about how Thomas and his friends helped some very grateful villagers in "Thomas and Percy's Mountain Adventure".

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After Mr. Conductor's story is over, the kids go ask Billy about the Boomers and the Hobos, but before Billy can tell them, they hear Ginny outside with Stacy and rush out to learn that her new dog, Mr. Filthy, destroyed her turkey. So Billy offers to take her to a place in Dillylick that sells pre-cooked turkeys.

Later, while making paper turkeys, the kids ask Stacy about the Boomers and the Hobos, and she explains that the Boomers are travelling railroad people, such as drivers and conductors, and that the Hobos are people who would hitch a free ride on the railroads. The Boomers and the Hobos were once enemies, but after the Hobos saved the Boomers' lives from a big accident by closing a switch that got stuck, the Boomers came to the Hobos' campfire that night and shared their Thanksgiving dinner with them.

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Having realized that they have a lot of railroad stories to share with each other, they agreed to spend their Thanksgivings together from then on. Stacy goes on to explain that every Thanksgiving, the Hobos and Boomers would gather from all over the country and invite a very special railroad person as the guest of honor, and this year that person is Billy.

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After Stacy's story, the kids watch a music video in the Picture Machine about Thanksgiving. After the song is over, Billy returns and prepares to leave, but then he hears the kids telling Stacy that Schemer got on the last train hoping that passengers would give him presents and that the train left before Schemer could get off. So Billy decides to use Old Dependable to catch up to Schemer. As Billy leaves, Stacy and the kids depart as well.

After Billy gets Schemer home, he returns to the station, runs to get the cranberry sauce for his party, and rushes outside to catch the last train, but misses it. Billy sadly returns to the empty station and sits down, wondering what to do next, when Stacy comes in. She had guessed Billy might miss the last train and didn’t want him to be alone on Thanksgiving. Ginny then appears carrying her turkey, having told her nephew and his wife to meet her at the station instead. Then J.B. King appears and asks Billy if he can attend the Thanksgiving party too, to which Billy says yes. Midge Smoot arrives next, having decided not to attend the Wellington Hoovingtons' Thanksgiving party since she hardly knew them and she prefers to spend the holiday with people she knows. The kids then come in and sit down, and Schemer appears with some peas for the Thanksgiving dinner.

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After saying grace, they all sit around and have a good Thanksgiving dinner. Mr. Conductor, who is also having his Thanksgiving dinner under the tablecloth, asks Dan to pass around his homemade cookies. Mr. King notices the tiny-sized cookies and is delighted at another sign of Mr. Conductor's existence.

Episode Morals:

  • It’s better to give than receive.

  • The best holidays are those spent with loved ones.

 

Featured Jukebox Puppet Band Song:

  • We Gather Together ​

 

Featured Picture Machine Song:

  •  Thanksgiving

Featured Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends Story:

  •  Thomas and Percy's Mountain Adventure

Episode Notes:

  • The Thomas story in this episode, "Thomas and Percy's Mountain Adventure", was originally a Christmas-themed episode titled "Thomas and Percy's Christmas Adventure". The holiday was changed to Thanksgiving to fit this episode, as Thanksgiving is an American holiday.

  • Ginny’s new dog goes through three names in this episode, from "Rex the Wonder Dog" to "Mr. Filthy" and finally "Mr. Get Out of There".

  • This is the first and only time the Jukebox Puppets are not in their usual performing room for the entire episode, and it is also revealed that they are vegetarians.

  • The turkey who joins the Jukebox Puppets, with his monocle and top hat, is a caricature of Charlie McCarthy, a character popularized by ventriloquist Edgar Bergen in the 1930s.

Fortune Teller Schemer

Production #49 (3.08) - First Aired: 1993-APR-22 (US)
Written by Ellis Weiner
Directed by Wayne Moss

Summary by A. Su

Episode Characters/Stars:

  • Stacy Jones (Didi Conn)

  • Schemer (Brian O'Connor)

  • Mr. Conductor (George Carlin)

  • Dan (Ari Madger)

  • Kara Cupper (Erica Lutrell)

  • Midge Smoot (Bobo Lewis)

  • Ginny (Barbara Hamilton)

  • Passenger #1 (Myra Freid)

  • Passenger #2 (Robert Desrosiers)

  • Passenger #3 (Gwendolyn Pacey)

  • The Jukebox Puppet Band

 

Episode Synopsis: Everyone believes that Schemer is a genius when his fortune telling machine correctly predicts the weather, causing him to let his fame go to his head.

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Detailed Episode Summary: SHOW

A sudden frost has hit the Indian Valley Railroad, freezing the switches. As a result, the trains are unable to run until the switches are fixed, delaying the passengers at Shining Time Station.

Suddenly, Ginny rushes into the station and hugs Schemer, telling him that the fortune telling machine in his arcade had advised Ginny to take steps to avoid disaster. She therefore added protection to her tomato crop and sure enough, they are now safe from the sudden frost. After hearing of this, Schemer becomes convinced that his machine can actually predict the future.

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Taking advantage of the stranded passengers, Schemer lures them all into the arcade to his fortune telling machine. Ginny, naturally, is the first to read her fortune, telling her to take advice from a trusted adviser, which Schemer interprets as himself. Ginny asks Schemer for his advice on whether she should get a new hairdo. After looking at her gray and boring hair, Schemer says "definitely".

Mr. Conductor meets with Dan and Kara and tells them that Jack Frost is the one behind the cold weather. Kara blames Jack Frost as the reason the passengers are believing what Schemer says, but Mr. Conductor explains that this happens when people get impatient. Dan asks if Thomas was ever impatient before, and Mr. Conductor replies that Thomas once got so impatient, he left his conductor behind, which he explains in the story "Thomas & the Conductor".

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After the story is done, Kara says that at least Thomas was sorry for what he did while Schemer isn't, so Mr. Conductor decides to go talk with Jack Frost before the trouble gets worse. Meanwhile, Schemer is still taking advantage of the passengers, as he interprets one customer’s fortune of supporting the arts as paying all his money to the jukebox. The Jukebox Puppet Band is displeased by Schemer's deceit, but still knows where their duty lies and plays the song "Turkey in the Straw".

Later, Midge Smoot is talking to Stacy about Schemer predicting the future. As Stacy tries to explain to Midge that no one, let alone Schemer, can predict the future and that the prediction with the weather was just a coincidence, Schemer makes a grand entrance into the station. Dressed in a mystical turban and robe, he now addresses himself as the great and powerful “El Schemo.” He convinces Midge to have her fortune told, and the machine says nature will submit to her design. Midge interprets this as a command to rip out a troublesome patch of poison ivy with her bare hands, so she leaves to do just that. Stacy tries to convince the passengers of Schemer's deceit, but they are too blinded by their admiration to El Schemo to listen.

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Stacy and the kids meet up with Mr. Conductor in Billy's workshop, with Mr. Conductor saying that Jack Frost finds the whole situation hilarious. Stacy wishes that the trains would start running and therefore bring the whole thing to an end, and Mr. Conductor says Schemer’s followers would then feel embarrassed like how Gordon and Henry were embarrassed after bragging too much about themselves, which he explains in the story "A Cow on the Line".

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Later, Midge and Ginny storm back into the station, with Midge showing the rash that she got from ripping out her poison ivy and Ginny showing everybody her hair, which is now purple. One passenger faints at the sight. “El Schemo” attempts to get an explanation from the machine, but at that point, the head of the doll inside the machine becomes that of Mr. Conductor's. The head begins talking, frightening “El Schemo” and revealing everything.

After the story is done, Mr. Conductor, Stacy and the kids come up with a plan to discredit Schemer, who is currently leading the passengers in chanting "Give Shining Time Station to him-o! Give Shining Time Station to Schemo!"

He states that no one can see the future and that Schemer has been lying to the passengers to get their money by twisting the machine’s messages and the prediction about Ginny’s tomatoes was just a coincidence. By the time he is done, all the passengers are furious and head for the platform. Schemer heads them off, begging them to return. Stacy tries to get him to apologize, which he haughtily refuses. At that moment, the passengers’ train arrives, and they gladly leave. Ginny and Midge also depart to go comfort each other. Schemer hastily apologizes to them, but he is too late. With his customers and popularity gone, Schemer discards his “El Schemo” personality and retreats to his arcade to sulk. With some reasoning from Stacy, Schemer finally sees the light and agrees never to pull such a stunt again, but admits it was fun while it lasted.

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Suddenly, Mr. Conductor's head returns to tell Schemer that he will haunt him if he tricks people like that again and makes one last prediction: Schemer is about to take a trip. Sure enough, Schemer trips over his robe as he scrambles out of the station. Stacy and the kids give thumbs up to Mr. Conductor, who winks back.

Episode Morals:

  • Use common sense instead of believing uncertain or false predictions.

 

Featured Jukebox Puppet Band Song:

  • Turkey in the Straw

Featured Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends Stories:

  • Thomas & the Conductor

  • a Cow on the Line

Episode Notes:

  • Billy and Becky do not appear in this episode. Billy's absence is explained as being outdoors, presumably to repair the switches.

  • The Charlie McCarthy turkey from “Billy’s Party” makes a return appearance in the Jukebox during their musical number.

  • This is the first and only time Schemer interacted with Mr. Conductor (albeit in disguise).

Billy's Runaway Train

Production #50 (3.09) - First Aired: 1993-MAY-03 (US)
Written by Sean Kelly
Directed by John Ferraro

Summary by J. Gratton

Episode Characters/Stars:

  • Stacy Jones (Didi Conn)

  • Billy Twofeathers (Tom Jackson)

  • Schemer (Brian O'Connor)

  • Mr. Conductor (George Carlin)

  • Dan (Ari Madger)

  • Becky (Danielle Marcot)

  • J.B. King (Mart Hulswit)

  • Felix Perez (Aurelio Padron)

  • Midge Smoot (Bobo Lewis)

  • Ginny (Barbara Hamilton)

  • The Jukebox Puppet Band

 

Episode Synopsis: Our Shining Time Station friends rehearse and perform a play titled “The Story of Casey Jones,” written and directed by Felix Perez. Unfortunately, Billy has to miss the performance due to him being tasked with a freight run to Snarlyville. With Mr. Conductor as his travelling companion, Billy discovers that he can no longer control his train’s regulator. With the freight train gaining speed and getting ahead of schedule, Billy realizes that he’s headed straight into a disaster unless he gets help.

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Detailed Episode Summary: SHOW

The episode opens to reveal a locomotive and passenger car sitting in the middle of Shining Time Station. It’s a set, and Felix, Dan and Stacy are rehearsing for a play about Casey Jones that Felix is producing and directing. The rest of the cast join them for the dress rehearsal, with J.B. King assuming the role of Casey Jones. Midge Smoot, Ginny and Stacy are all in period dress. Felix shows them to their places, with J.B. in the mockup of the locomotive, Ginny and Midge in the passenger car, Stacy in the kitchen set, and Dan standing in front of the locomotive.

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Felix instructs them to begin, but everyone is confused as they weren’t provided with a script. Dan points out that Schemer was putting up posters about the play around town, while Becky was making copies of the script. Felix begins to moan about missing scripts and actors, when Schemer and Becky arrive. Schemer is carrying an armful of posters while Becky hands everyone a copy of the script.

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Schemer unfurls part of the poster while Felix reads it, and we find out that the play is titled “The Story of Casey Jones.” Everybody is impressed until they unfurl the bottom half of the poster which reads “Featuring a special appearance of the one and only SCHEMER.” The rest of the cast begin to complain about wanting their names on the posters too. Felix reminds them that credits don’t matter; it’s the play itself that is important, and that all their names will be in the program. Felix then calls for a five minute break so the cast can study the script.

Inside the Jukebox, the Band talks about the fun of being backstage. Tex remembers when he and Rex were backstage, but Rex corrects him that they were more “under the stage.” The Boy Brothers explain by reminiscing about their days as a house band inside a music box, where they played morning, noon and night for a ballet dancer. Tex confesses having a liking for her even though the brothers did all the work without rest while she received all the credit. Tito commiserates, saying that Dan is doing all the backstage work while the rest of the cast just has to deliver their lines. We learn that Dan’s responsible for the play’s lighting and sound effects, and has lines of his own to learn.

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Dan and Becky are rehearsing their lines when Schemer arrives to aggravate them by asking what they’re up to. They ask Schemer if he has memorized all of his lines yet. Schemer dismisses the notion, stating that he improvises using his own lines, not the writer’s. After he leaves, Becky tells Dan that she’d be frightened to go on stage without knowing her lines. Dan adds that it’s scary even when you do know what to say, when Mr. Conductor appears. When he asks what’s so scary, the kids tell him that they’re nervous about being in the play, and Mr. Conductor asks what the play is about. They inform him that it’s about the legendary Casey Jones and his train wreck. Mr. Conductor shares that by coincidence there was a big train wreck recently on the Island of Sodor. The kids begin to press Mr. Conductor with questions, and so decides to tell them about how Duck crashed through the wall of a barbershop.

At the end of the story Becky compares Duck saving the day to Casey Jones who did the same, which reminds them that they need to learn their lines. As they struggle, Mr. Conductor asks if there’s anything he can do to help, and offers to tell them another story. They kindly decline, saying that they need to rehearse. Mr. Conductor understands and tells them that he’ll go see Billy to see if he needs help, then vanishes.

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As the kids resume practicing, Midge and Ginny rush by and complain to Felix about their lines. Midge has seven lines, while Ginny has eight, leaving Midge asking for one more line. Felix shares an old theatre idiom with them: There are no small parts, only small actors, and defies anyone to call them small.

Felix is then interrupted by J.B. King asking for a scene change. When Felix refuses, J.B. King reminds him that this is HIS railroad, which prompts Felix to remind him that this is HIS play! J.B. King becomes moody and begins to bicker as Schemer arrives to join Stacy on the kitchen set. When Schemer expresses his surprise when Stacy tells him that she’s trying to study her lines, he nearly knocks the table over as he’s about to lecture her about acting.

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Meanwhile, Billy Twofeathers is outdoors working on his locomotive. Mr. Conductor appears and asks if he can join Billy on his run. Billy then invites Mr. Conductor to join him in the cab. Billy prompts Mr. Conductor to blow his whistle as a signal to begin the trip and to call out “ALL ABOARD!” as the train begins to roll.

Back at the station, Schemer is standing in the locomotive mockup and shovelling prop coal carelessly, hitting an annoyed J.B. King. J.B. demands Felix intervene, and the producer is assailed by Dan informing him of a burnt spotlight, Becky asking for help with her lines, and Midge asking if he’s sure her name’s spelt correctly in the program. Ginny asks if they have to take care of their own makeup. When everyone begins speaking to him at the same time, an overwhelmed Felix orders a five minute break.

A depressed Becky joins Stacy and confesses that no one is helping her and that she’s scared because she doesn’t know how to act. Stacy reassures Becky that she has nothing to worry about, and coaches her through their dinner scene by asking what she would be doing in real life. Becky deduces that she’d be setting the kitchen table. With Stacy’s encouragement, Becky easily performs the scene. Stacy adds that acting is whenever you pretend to be someone else, which raises Becky’s confidence in herself.

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Inside the jukebox, Didi wishes that they had parts in the play. Grace suggests that they can play background music, and Tex suggests that they play the “Freight Train Blues.” The band then performs their version of the song.

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Meanwhile, Billy’s train is travelling along the countryside, and Mr. Conductor asks if they’ll be back to the station in time for the play. Billy regrets that they won’t as the play begins at seven o’clock, and they won’t be back until ten minutes after. Billy explains that they will have to highball it past the station anyway as their train is a non-stop freight to Snarlyville. Mr. Conductor asks about the time, and Billy confirms that they’re right on schedule.

Back at the station, the townsfolk begin to arrive for the play. The cast are preparing themselves in Billy’s workshop when Felix reminds them that curtain call is in one minute. Felix introduces the play by telling the audience that Casey Jones was a real historical hero who worked on the Illinois Central Railroad., and that this is his story…

Dan begins to tell the tale as the spotlight centers on him and Casey Jones. We cut to the kitchen where Casey Jones is seated at the dinner table with his wife (Stacy) and daughter (Becky) as the telephone rings – only the actors can’t find it. Felix realizes that he’s holding the telephone prop and quickly brings it to the table. J.B. struggles through his lines as he says that he needs to replace someone on a run. He states that he must perform his duty and hands his cutlery over to Stacy as he hops into his locomotive’s cab as Dan continues the narrative.

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It’s night now as Billy’s train rumbles onward and Mr. Conductor comments that they’re a little ahead of schedule. Billy, however, appears distracted which causes Mr. Conductor to ask him concernedly if anything’s wrong. A worried-looking Billy says that the controls are a little stiff, and that he can’t quite regulate their speed, but it’s nothing serious. Mr. Conductor agrees as long as the line is clear all the way to Snarlyville, and asks Billy to confirm that it is, but Billy doesn’t answer right away.

The play continues as the actors deliver their lines. Ginny flubs one of her lines by referring to the train as the “Volleyball” instead of the “Cannonball.” The play nearly stalls again when Dan forgets his cue to play the whistle sound effect. Meanwhile, Billy’s train is picking up speed and he tells Mr. Conductor that they’re in serious trouble. They’ll reach Shining Time Station at 7 o’clock, but the automatic switcher is set to go off at 8 o’clock. Billy warns that there’s a train parked in the station and they’ll crash into it if Stacy doesn’t manually throw the switch. Mr. Conductor offers to help and vanishes.

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The play is reaching its climatic scene where Casey Jones orders his fireman (Schemer) to jump from the cab before they crash into an oncoming train. Schemer however is frozen in place with a grin on his face as J.B. reminds him to jump as Felix gestures wildly to him to do the same. Even Becky shouts at Schemer to jump, and it’s not until J.B. King swats his rear end with the coal shovel that he’s ejected from the cab! Schemer hams it up in front of the audience before making his exit.

Mr. Conductor appears beside Stacy and whispers to her before vanishing. Stacy then hastily leaves the stage as Dan continues his narrative to the play’s conclusion. Meanwhile, Shining Time Station is in Billy’s sight as he urges Stacy to pull the switch in time.

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Back in the station, Schemer explains to Felix that he didn’t miss his cue; he was simply building up the suspense. Excusing himself to go sign autographs, Schemer trips over an electrical cord which turns out the lights at the station. Mr. Conductor reappears inside Billy’s train to announce that Stacy managed to pull the switch in time. The lights come back on in the station as the cast bows to the audience’s applause. Felix thanks everyone and bids them all a good night as we watch Billy’s train carry on to its destination.

Later, Schemer lazes around as Felix and the cast begins dismantling the sets. When Felix asks him to help, Schemer muses that it’s a shame they have to tear everything down as it was the center of his acting triumph. J.B. King wishes that they could perform the play one more time to have the chance to do it perfectly. Stacy insists that the performance was perfect, while Felix adds that Billy’s train rushing past the station at the play’s climax was great timing. Dan compares it to Casey Jones coming back to life, as Becky asks if Billy is okay. Stacy tells them that Billy phoned her to say that he got his train back under control just outside the station. J.B. King adds that Billy was shockingly ahead of schedule, and wonders how Stacy knew that she needed to pull the switch early. Mr. Conductor appears in the background to give Stacy the thumbs up sign as Stacy stumbles for an answer. She concludes by explaining that she was simply “inspired” as the episode ends.

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Episode Morals:

  • Being yourself will help you overcome challenges.

  • Teamwork and cooperation between team members are important for group effort success.

 

Featured Jukebox Puppet Band Song:

  • Freight Train Blues

Featured Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends Story:

  • A Close Shave for Duck

Quotes of Note:

  • Felix: There are no small parts, only small actors.

Episode Notes:

  • The Ruston-Hornsby 165DE diesel-electric shunter seen in this episode is from the South Simcoe Railway, a tourist railway in Southern Ontario where it is known as No.10. The Railway’s name appears to have been painted over for use in the episode.

  • This is the only regular half-hour episode that features scenes taped outdoors.

  • Kara does not appear in this episode.

  • Continuity Error: Billy states to Mr. Conductor that the play begins at 7 o’clock. This is also when Billy says they will arrive at Shining Time Station after the train gets ahead of schedule. However, the play is already close to the climactic scene when Billy’s train arrives, which implies that the play’s start time was actually much earlier.

  • Nitpick: Billy calls his train the "non-stop express train to Snarlyville", however he's driving a shunter pulling two passenger coaches.

  • The story of Casey Jones is based on historical fact and can be found here.

Schemer Goes Camping

Production #51 (3.10) - First Aired: 1993-MAY-04 (US)
Written by Wilson Coneybeare
Directed by John Ferraro

Summary by A. Su

Episode Characters/Stars:

  • Stacy Jones (Didi Conn)

  • Schemer (Brian O'Connor)

  • Mr. Conductor (George Carlin)

  • Dan (Ari Madger)

  • Kara Cupper (Erica Lutrell)

  • Becky (Danielle Marcot)

  • Schemee (Jonathan Shapiro)

  • Ginny (Barbara Hamilton)

  • The Jukebox Puppet Band

 

Episode Synopsis: Everyone goes camping but Schemer neglects to pack most of the important camping equipment.

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Detailed Episode Summary: SHOW

The kids are preparing to go camping with the adults for the Indian Valley Wilderness Weekend. The girls, Becky and Kara, have Stacy as their camp leader. As they prepare their gear, Dan and Schemee are marched into the station by their camp leader, “Master Scout Sergeant” Schemer. Schemer starts barking orders at the boys to set up the tent and get him some “grub.”

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Meanwhile, in the Jukebox, Tito has suggested the Puppet Band take a camping trip of their own. Tex and Rex’s idea of camping includes a trailer with beds and an electric toothbrush. Didi quickly shoots down that plan in favor of “roughing it.”

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Back in the station, Schemer makes the boys do all the work, claiming that real men know how to construct tents alone. Stacy challenges him to do it, and Schemer’s demonstration ends with him on the Arcade floor with the tent on top of him. He gives up and hustles Schemee outside to search for a camping spot.

Once the Schemers are gone, Mr. Conductor appears. He’s nervous about taking his Conductor’s Refresher Course. He’s tested his ticket puncher, cleaned his whistle and practiced his “All Aboard!” Mr. C tells the children he’d hate for his skills to get rusty, then he’d let everyone down since conductors are supposed to help people get from here to there. He compares it to camping, something that takes everyone working together. To further illustrate his point, he directs everyone to the Picture Machine, which plays a music video about teamwork.

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Afterwards, Mr. Conductor helps the children set up a tent, but quickly disappears when Schemer returns to report he’s found a campsite. Stacy asks if he’s prepared since it looks like rain, but Schemer says he isn’t afraid of a little water. Stacy has decided to camp in the station instead of out in the rain, an idea Schemer scoffs at even more. Insisting that man’s survival skills will carry the day, he marches Dan and Schemee outside, with hardly any gear.

In the Jukebox, everyone is ready to go, except Tex and Rex who are scared. Didi teases them, but Tito suggests the cowpokes sing a song to get them in the camping spirit. So the band performs “Crawdad,” after which Tex and Rex join the others and head off on their trip.

That evening, a storm does indeed occur. While Stacy, the girls and Mr. Conductor tell each other stories, a soaked Dan arrives back at the station. Dan explains that Schemer tried to put up the tent by stapling it to a tree, despite the boys' protests, but the wind caught the tent and carried it into the woods, so Dan was sent back to fetch more staples while Schemer and Schemee went after the tent. Mr. Conductor then remembers the time when Percy the Small Engine got drenched for not listening, and he tells the story "Percy Takes the Plunge" to explain.

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After finishing his story, Mr. Conductor decides to head outside to find Schemer and Schemee. The moment he is gone, Schemee arrives back at the station. Schemee explains to Stacy and the kids that after Dan’s departure, the tent flew into a tree. Schemer attempted to get it back by climbing the tree, but fell into the mud with his foot stuck in a log. Schemer was then frightened by the sight of a wild animal on the log and fell from the hill into a creek. That was when Schemee abandoned his uncle and returned to Shining Time Station, much to Stacy's disappointment.

Meanwhile, down in the bowels of the Jukebox, the Puppet Band is cold, hungry and getting increasingly angry with each other. Just as an argument is about to break out over whose idea the camping trip was, they realize they should have prepared better and decide to go home.

Stacy decides to go outside and find Schemer when Ginny appears with a hooded man she caught looking in the windows of the station. It turns out to be Schemer, who claims to have been chased by a mountain lion, but upon his description, his friends believe it to be a squirrel instead. Schemer then describes that after escaping the creek, as well as a swamp, he found himself completely lost, but was led back to Shining Time Station with the help of a little whistle sound (courtesy of Mr. Conductor). Schemer laments that he's a failure, but his friends assure him that he's not, as he was able to find his way back to them, and they express their hope that he has learned a good lesson of teamwork and preparation.

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With everyone safe, Ginny announces she has some cider in her truck she’s willing to share. As the kids leave to help Ginny unload, Schemer confronts his nephew for abandoning him. While chasing Schemee out of the station, Schemer falls on Stacy's tent and fruitlessly tries to untangle himself as the episode ends.

Episode Morals:

  • Teamwork and Preparation is important.

  • Learn from your mistakes.

 

Featured Jukebox Puppet Band Song:

  • Crawdad

Featured Picture Machine Music Video:

  • Team

 

Featured Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends Story:

  • Percy takes the Plunge

Episode Notes:

  • Billy Twofeathers does not appear in this episode.

  • Mr. Conductor's magic bubble sequence uses a clip from George Pal's 1941 stop-motion film: Hoola Boola

  • At the end of his camping speech, Schemer inserts a malapropism, referring to 60s pop singer Pat Boone instead of frontiersman Daniel Boone.

Mr. Conductor's Evil Twin

Production #52 (3.11) - First Aired: 1993-MAY-05 (US)
Written by Don Arioli
Directed by John Ferraro

Summary by A. Younger

Episode Characters/Stars:

  • Stacy Jones (Didi Conn)

  • Schemer (Brian O'Connor)

  • Billy Twofeathers (Tom Jackson)

  • Mr. Conductor (George Carlin)

  • Kara Cupper (Erica Lutrell)

  • J.B. King, Esq. (Mart Hulswit)

  • The Jukebox Puppet Band

 

Episode Synopsis: When nobody will help her clean up a mess she made, Kara resurrects Mr. Conductor's Evil Twin and asks him for help. The Evil Twin does help her, but soon creates chaos around the station.

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Detailed Episode Summary: SHOW

The episode begins in the workshop, where Mr. Conductor has been helping Billy build a model of a New York Central Railroad Hudson steam locomotive. Mr. Conductor even has the whistle working. Kara and Stacy come in and admire the work Billy and Mr. Conductor have done. Kara asks if all engines were alike back when the Hudson was made. Billy explains that, while some of them were similar, every engine is different. It could even be something little. He continues by saying that the main way to tell engines apart is by the sound of their whistle.

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Kara then shows Stacy and Billy that she's been working on a frame for the picture of Mr. Conductor that she, Dan, and Becky drew. The four of them discuss the drawing and how an evil duplicate of Mr. Conductor was created from it after the kids sprinkled some of Mr. Conductor's magic gold dust on it. The twin created chaos in the station. Luckily, the real Mr. Conductor was able to outsmart the evil double into going back into the drawing. That reminds Stacy that J.B. King is coming to the station later to pick up the drawing. Kara and Stacy go into the main station where Stacy asks Kara to clean up a mess she made while making a frame for the drawing. Though she would rather not, Kara starts cleaning up. However she does complain about it a little bit.

A little while later, Kara is almost finished cleaning. Then, Schemer comes up behind her and startles her, causing her to send papers flying and undoing all her work. Schemer proceeds to tease her about it. After Schemer leaves, Mr. Conductor appears. Kara tries to tell him about what Schemer did, but Mr. Conductor is distracted because his whistle is out of tune. Kara asks for Mr. Conductor's help in cleaning up her mess. Mr. Conductor states that because Stacy asked Kara to clean it up, and it is a rather small mess, Kara can handle it on her own. Mr. Conductor then leaves to get his whistle tuned.

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As Mr. Conductor leaves, Kara grabs some of his gold dust. She sprinkles it on the picture of Mr. Conductor, bringing the Evil Twin back to life. Kara makes the Evil Twin promise to clean the mess she made and then go back into the picture. The twin agrees, and asks Kara to make sure no one is watching. As Kara does so, the Evil Twin plots to himself about how he will first get everyone out of the station, then confront Mr. Conductor and force him to take his place in the picture.

Kara comes back and the twin makes the mess magically disappear. However, once he is finished, he cons Kara into letting him stay by telling her he'll help her pay back Schemer for teasing her. While Kara distracts Schemer, the Evil Twin creates a giant, man-sized nickel which chases Schemer out of the station.

Inside the Jukebox, Tito has noticed the giant nickel. He becomes slightly obsessed and makes it his quest to find and capture it.

Back in the station, there are two boxes of chocolates on Stacy's desk. She had been planning on giving them to J.B. King when he arrives. The Evil Twin proceeds to open one box and smash each chocolate with his feet. Kara then comes in and tells the Evil Twin it's time for him to go back into the picture, but the twin refuses. When Kara threatens to tell on him, the twin points out that nobody will believe her. Stacy enters the station and is impressed with how clean it now is. She goes to give Kara a piece of chocolate for doing such a good job, but discovers the smashed chocolates in the first box.

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Upon opening the other box, Stacy and Kara find not chocolate, but creamed spinach. Stacy tells Kara to take the boxes back to Barton Winslow's General Store and ask for two new ones. Kara tries to tell Stacy about the Evil Twin, but Stacy is too busy trying to make sure everything looks nice for when J.B. King comes. The twin then gets Stacy out of the station by impersonating Mr. King over the phone telling her and Billy to come to Leaky Park as soon as possible. Stacy, while curious as to why Mr. King is rhyming his words, gets Billy and they quickly leave.

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Schemer soon returns to the station, covered from head to foot in a suit of armor. Calling himself “Sir Scheme-a-lot, he challenges the “monster” nickel to show itself. To rid himself of this distraction, the Evil Twin orders the Jukebox Puppet Band to play a sad song. They do so, which makes Schemer cry, causing his armor to rust to the point that he can barely move. The Evil Twin then knocks Schemer unconscious with a nickel. Kara soon returns with two new boxes of chocolate. Mr. Conductor appears and still hasn't gotten his whistle tuned. Kara explains what happened, that someone has done something bad, without letting on that she is talking about herself freeing the Evil Twin. Mr. Conductor tries to make her feel better about it by telling her a story about Bill and Ben and how they made a mistake without meaning to.

After the story, Kara tells Mr. Conductor the truth and apologizes for what she’s done. The two ponder where the Evil Twin could be. Just then, they see the him heading towards them. He has commandeered the model engine and crashes it into arcade steps. Mr. Conductor and his Evil Twin are now standing side by side. Kara can’t tell which is which until she remembers that the real Mr. Conductor's whistle is still broken, and asks both to blow their whistles. She identifies the Evil Twin and pours a pot of glue over him, in the hopes he will disappear. It works and the Evil Twin returns to being a picture.

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Just then, J.B. King, Stacy, and Billy enter the station. Mr. King has no idea what Stacy is talking about when she mentions the phone call about Leaky Park, which has been leak-free for several days. Stacy puts it down to an imposter. Schemer wakes up and asks if Mr. King is there to help him catch the monster nickel. Mr. King becomes a bit concerned about Schemer. When Stacy says "boy, what a costume!," the word boy makes Schemer think of “Danny Boy,” the song that made him cry earlier. He quickly runs home to change out of his suit so it doesn't rust up again.

Dealing with Schemer’s behavior makes Mr. King say that he sometimes considers closing the station. Kara, Stacy, and Billy quickly persuade him not to, saying that Schemer is simply a bit paranoid, but he means well. Kara gives Mr. King the picture of Mr. Conductor, which he is very happy to have. J.B. King thanks Kara and leaves the station, debating where he should put the picture.

A little while later, Stacy, Billy, Kara, and Mr. Conductor are in the workshop. Mr. Conductor has finally had his whistle fixed. Billy is working on repairing the model engine. Kara apologizes once more for what she did. Stacy tells Kara that everyone makes mistakes, but that we become better people by learning from our mistakes. Kara says she's learned that Mr. Conductor's Evil Twin is trouble. Mr. C agrees, saying that the twin is "double" trouble.

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Episode Morals:

  • When someone gives you a job to do, don't ask for help unless you know you can't do it yourself.

  • Everyone is unique, no matter how similar they may seem.

  • We all make mistakes, but we can learn from our mistakes and become better people.

 

Featured Jukebox Puppet Band Song:

  • Danny Boy

 

Featured Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends Story:

  • Heroes

 

Episode Notes:

  • This is the final appearance of Mr. Conductor's mischievous double, who speaks almost entirely in rhyme.

  • Though included in the opening credits, neither Danielle Marcot (Becky) or Ari Magder (Dan) appear in this episode, apart from a flashback using stock footage from Episode 37, "Double Trouble".

  • Unlike other episodes where the actor mimics the voice of another actor, in this episode, when the Evil Twin impersonates J.B. King, Mart Hulswit dubbed his voice over the scene.

  • The voice heard during Stacy's telephone conversation is  actually sped-up audio from a scene with Stacy and Harry from Promises, Promises (see Season 1: Promises, Promises Episode Notes).

  • This was one of a handful of episodes to be released on VHS home video.

  • The giant nickel prop was featured in a A 1993 Press Photo of Schemer (Brian O'Connor)

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Bad Luck Day at Shining Time Station

Production #53 (3.12) - First Aired: 1993-MAY-06 (US)
Written by Wilson Coneybeare
Directed by John Ferraro

Summary by A. Su

Episode Characters/Stars:

  • Stacy Jones (Didi Conn)

  • Schemer (Brian O'Connor)

  • Billy Twofeathers (Tom Jackson)

  • Mr. Conductor (George Carlin)

  • Dan Jones (Ari Madger)

  • Becky (Danielle Marcot)

  • Schemee (Jonathan Shapiro)

  • Midge Smoot (Bobo Lewis)

  • The Jukebox Puppet Band

  • Doris "Helga" Boonswaddle (Jayne Eastwood)

 

Episode Synopsis: It is Friday the 13th, and Schemer encourages his nephew Schemee to use the occasion to scare people into buying the lucky charms he made. However, Schemee takes his uncle's technique of scaring people a little too far.

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Detailed Episode Summary: SHOW

The episode begins with “Professore” Schemer lecturing his pupil, Schemee. Schemer explains to his nephew that today is Friday the 13th, a day when people everywhere get afraid of having bad luck. He tells Schemee this is an opportunity to convince people, even smart people, to buy all sorts of junk by claiming them to be lucky. As an example, Schemer produces some of his own “lucky charms”: plastic four-leaf clovers, fake vinyl horseshoes and lucky rabbit's feet made from his mother's wool coat.

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When Schemee suggests that he had other ideas on how to make money, a delighted Schemer declares school dismissed. As Schemee leaves, Schemer remarks to himself about his nephew’s brightness and believes that the boy would become just as bright as him as he leans on the blackboard a little too much and falls to the ground.

Inside the Jukebox, the Band discusses their fear of the “unlucky” song, “Engine 143.” Tito claims that whenever someone requests that song on Friday the 13th, something crazy always happens. Didi tries to dismiss this, but Tex and Rex point out that Schemee being at the station is bad luck already.

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Later, Dan and Becky arrive at the station to see passengers throwing nickels into a kiddie pool with rubber ducks inside and a sign saying "Lucky Ducky Pond – Throw in nickels to Avoid Bad Luck." Schemee notices the kids and advises them to throw in their nickels as well if they don’t want to end up in a train wreck, pointing to a black-and-white photo of such. The kids tell Schemee that not everyone would fall for such superstitions, but the young trickster decides to prove them wrong by approaching Midge Smoot, who has just arrived at the station with a train ticket.

Schemee asks Midge if she really wants to be to be travelling on a train on Friday the 13th, and Midge replies that she is not worried because she is well prepared for it – with her lucky rabbit's foot, lucky four-leaf clover, lucky horseshoe, and her personal lucky plastic crotchet hook. However, Schemee claims that trains are very dangerous and secretly plays a haunting train whistle sound from a tape recorder he has hidden behind him, which he claims is the sound of the Ghost Train.

The kids see the hidden recorder and try to point it out to Midge, but Schemee cuts them off and tells Midge a story of a train that went off the rails and crashed into the station and has haunted the place ever since. Midge states that she has heard of such rumors and as the kids try to convince her otherwise, Mr. Conductor appears from behind Midge on the ticket counter to wave at them. Dan gestures at Mr. Conductor to leave, causing the latter to accidentally knock over a nearby flower vase while doing do.

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Midge notices the fallen vase and is now convinced that the station is indeed haunted. Stacy arrives and notices the fallen vase while Midge tells her of a rumor that Shining Time Station is being haunted by a hundred Ghost Trains. Dan tries to reveal Schemee's deception, which Schemee denies, getting the kids into an argument until Schemer arrives and breaks up the fight with his whistle. Schemee claims that the kids were simply mad at him for trying to make a couple of nickels Midge tells them all to be quiet and tells Stacy that she has a hundred ways to help her be rid of the Ghost Trains and leaves before Stacy can protest.

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Stacy tells Schemer that she has a hunch he is behind all of this. When Schemee states that he and his uncle were only trying to protect people from train wrecks, Stacy tells them that there has never been a train wreck on the Indian Valley Railroad. When Schemer demands proof, Stacy takes out a box of files from under the ticket counter. As she lifts the box, a small mirror falls out and cracks on the floor. Schemer states in horror that a broken mirror means seven years of bad luck and he and his nephew attempt to sell her the four-leaf clovers they have.

Dan points out that the Schemers' four-leaf clovers are made of plastic and there are real ones outside. Stacy decides to leave to find one, with the Schemers following her to try to convince her otherwise. Dan and Becky are left surprised at Stacy's behavior, believing her to be a sort of hypocrite, as she yelled at Schemer and Schemee for fooling people one minute and then went out looking for a four-leaf clover the next. Becky tells Dan to go talk to Billy before everything goes out of control while she stays to make sure that no one else gets fooled by Schemee.

Inside the workshop, Billy Twofeathers is sprinkling salt on his sandwich. He furtively throws some over his left shoulder just as Dan comes in and asks Billy if he ever gets superstitious. The boy mentions that everyone is acting weird because of today being Friday the 13th, and feels that superstitions don’t make any sense. Billy replies that some superstitions come from experiences. He mentions that even railway people are superstitious, such the number 9 being considered bad luck for them because of several trains bearing that number that crashed.

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However, Billy goes on to state that not all superstitions are bad, and it's you think of the superstitions and how you let them affect you that matters. Back at the ticket booth, Midge attempts to offer Stacy (who now has her four-leaf clover) her spare rabbit's foot when she sees a black cat at the window, causing her to faint from shock. The kids return to the station to see Schemee lurking outside the window and try to tell Stacy. Schemee ducks away before he's noticed, but Midge regains consciousness and declares that there is only one person who can help now, Helga Boonswaddle, the Official Medium of her club. She quickly leaves to fetch her.

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Later, Schemer and Schemee come in to the station carrying fishing nets. As Schemer instructs his nephew to fish out the nickels from the duck pond, he notices that his coin changer has mysteriously disappeared. Schemee advises his uncle to look inside the duck pond, and as Schemer does so, he kneels a little too much and falls in, soaking his clothes. Schemee claims that this may be bad luck and advises his uncle to throw a nickel in himself, but Schemer dismisses it, claiming that that is for suckers. He decides to go home to have his mommy help him change, but he takes out a nickel from the duck pond and throws it in again before leaving, claiming that it’s "just in case."

After Schemer leaves, Schemee takes out his uncle’s coin changer, which he had hidden inside his coat pocket. Dan and Becky are shocked and try to tell Schemee that it’s not right to trick his own uncle, but Schemee replies that what is right is that he’s now the one earning nickels off of people while the kids are not. He also decides that with all the nickels he’s earned, he can listen to the Jukebox all day if he wants to. His first selected song, to the Jukebox Band’s horror, is “Engine 143”! Despite their fear of the song, the Band decides to play it anyway and hope for the best. After the song is done, Didi remarks happily that nothing happened, only to find that the rest of the band has fainted.

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Back in the station, Mr. Conductor appears on one of the rubber ducks, and Dan asks him what a medium is. Mr. Conductor explains that a medium is someone who is not too large, not too small, not too thin, and not too tall. Becky says that the medium they were referring to is one who Midge claims will stop all the accidents. Mr. Conductor explains that kind of medium is someone who reads crystal balls and knows all about bad luck. However, he states that most bad luck happens because people are careless.

Dan sarcastically suggests Mr. Conductor tell that to Midge Smoot, and Mr. Conductor replies that he could tell Midge about the time Gordon the Big Engine went off the rails into a ditch, which he tells to the kids instead. After the story is done, Mr. Conductor decides against telling Midge Smoot about Gordon, since he wouldn’t want her to fall in any ditches. Dan asks if Schemee would end up like Gordon, and Mr. Conductor replies that he believes Schemee would get turned around like Gordon. He then gets an idea on how to turn everything around and whispers to Dan and Becky about it.

Later, Schemer, wearing different clothes, returns to the station still looking for his coin changer. He is about to accuse Stacy when Midge appears and dramatically presents “Madam” Helga Boonswaddle, who enters with a flourish and speaking in a vaguely foreign accent. Schemer initially believes her to be a fraud, until she reveals to Schemer that she already knows his name, and discerns that he is misunderstood by his friends who don’t appreciate his brilliance.

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This impresses Schemer, and as the adults talk, Schemee sneaks to the back of the station and turns off the lights. Boonswaddle, claiming this to be the work of bad spirits, decides to hold a seance and tells the adults to hold hands with her. As Dan and Becky return to the station, Boonswaggle attempts to contact the spirits, with Schemee making a ghostly sound, but then Mr. Conductor lowers himself from the ceiling next to Boonswaddle. Claiming to be the spirit of fooling people, Mr. Conductor informs the shocked medium that Schemee is behind all the tricks that have happened, and that everything will be explained if they look under the ticket booth. He then turns the lights back on.

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As Boonswaddle claims to have heard a real spirit (dropping her accent and revealing her real name to be Doris), Stacy looks under the ticket booth as Mr. Conductor suggested and finds Schemer's coin changer as well as a backpack containing the black cat, which is revealed to be made of cardboard. Spotting Schemee, Midge Smoot is about to punish him but his uncle rushes to his defense, saying that he'll be the one to punish the boy instead. After forcing Schemee to make an apology, Schemer sternly tells his nephew that he'll someday learn the difference between scheming and being a jerk.

As they turn to leave, Schemer trips and falls into the duck pond again. Schemee also gets soaked when he tries to help his uncle out, and they both run out of the station, with Schemer crying that his mommy will be mad at him for ruining two sets of clothes in one day.

Midge expresses her disappointment that the rumor of the bad spirits weren't real, as she was having such a good time. Doris tries to claim that she did indeed hear the spirits, but Midge refuses to believe her. Stacy asks the kids if they had a role in telling Boonswaggle about Schemee's trick. They reply yes and that they had Mr. Conductor be the one to tell Boonswaggle because it was the only way to get the adults to realize that there were really no ghosts or spirits, only Schemee. Stacy replies that even grownups can get carried away with superstition sometimes and asks the kids to stop them before they go too far. The kids agree, and Stacy leaves to find a way to clean up the mess.

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Mr. Conductor appears and asks the kids on how they would rate him as a medium. Dan tells Mr. Conductor that he was great, although for a while he thought that their plan wouldn't work. Mr. Conductor replies that he knew their plan would work all along, and he reveals the reason why; he had his lucky gold watch with him, and whenever he has it, things always work out for the best. This exasperates the kids, as it shows that despite being magic, Mr. Conductor is just as superstitious as the adults.

Episode Morals:

  • Not all superstitions are bad, it's what you think of them and how you let them affect you that matters.

  • Most bad luck happens only because of people being careless, so don’t let superstition and fear rule over your common sense.

 

Featured Jukebox Puppet Band Song:

  • Engine 143

 

Featured Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends Story:

  • Gordon takes a Dip (Off the Rails)

 

Quotes of Note:

  • Schemer: Wait-wait-wait he's just a child, and my nephew. I don't think it's appropriate that you punish him.
    Midge: Why not?
    Schemer (menacingly): Because I'M going to.

 

Episode Notes:

  • Kara does not appear in this episode.

  • Billy Twofeathers' act of throwing salt over his left shoulder refers to a superstition that throwing salt over your left shoulder can blind and ward off the Devil who supposedly lurks there.

  • Schemer claiming Helga Boonswaddle to be a phoney due to her outfit possibly references to the  episode "Fortune Teller Schemer," when Schemer himself wore a similar outfit to convince people that he had mystical abilities.

  • The title of this episode appears to be a reference to “Bad Day at Black Rock” a 1955 motion picture starring Spencer Tracy as a war veteran confronting racial bigotry.

Mr. Conductor's Fourth of July

Production #54 (3.13) - First Aired: 1993-MAY-17 (US)
Written by Sean Kelly
Directed by John Ferraro

Summary by A. Su

Episode Characters/Stars:

  • Stacy Jones (Didi Conn)

  • Schemer (Brian O'Connor)

  • Billy Twofeathers (Tom Jackson)

  • Mr. Conductor (George Carlin)

  • Dan Jones (Ari Madger)

  • Kara Cupper (Erica Lutrell)

  • Becky (Danielle Marcot)

  • Schemee (Jonathan Shapiro)

  • Mayor Flopdinger (Jerome Dempsey)

  • The Jukebox Puppet Band

  • One Man Band ("Washboard" Hank Fisher)

 

Episode Synopsis: It is the Fourth of July, and everyone is into the celebratory spirit. While everyone is outside listening to Stacy's speech on freedom, Schemer and Schemee, having discovered Mr. Conductor’s magic gold dust, use the opportunity to turn the station upside down to look for more, during which Schemee vacuums up Mr. Conductor's gold dust. As a result, Mr. Conductor can't disappear and is at risk of being discovered.

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Detailed Episode Summary: SHOW

The episode opens with the sound of Oh When the Saints as a one-man band marches through the station followed by the children. It is the Fourth of July, and everyone at Shining Time Station is in a celebratory spirit, including Schemer and Schemee, who are selling fireworks they claim to be "absolutely safe." Schemer secretly confesses to Billy that the fireworks are safe because they aren’t loaded with anything and therefore don't work. However, Billy counters by pointing out that one large skyrocket actually is loaded, intimidating Schemer.

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Meanwhile, Mayor Flopdinger has some problems of his own, as he has to give a patriotic speech and he can't come up with one. He even ignores Schemee’s pitch to have his picture taken with a cardboard cutout of Schemer dressed as Uncle Sam. When Stacy offers him some ideas for his speech, the Mayor ends up giving the task of writing the speech to her