STS Episode Guide: SEASON 1

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Mr. Conductor (Ringo Starr)
Preface
Welcome to the COMPLETE Shining Time Station Episode Guide! Our team of reviewers were able to write detailed episode summaries and notes thanks in large part to the Shining Time Station fans who uploaded their old VHS taped episodes up to YouTube. To preserve the 'surprise' for those of you who haven't seen them, we've enclosed the detailed episode summaries within 'spoilers'.
 
Shortcuts to all Shining Time Station season and associated episode guides are provided at the top and bottom of every page. We hope that you enjoy reviewing them and conclude as we have, that this series was indeed special and one-of-a-kind. Without further ado, we welcome you all to...

Reach for the steam, reach for the whistle
Go where the railway runs
Reach for the words, reach for the story
Follow the rainbow sun
 
To a Shining Time Station
Where dreams can come true
Waiting there for you
 
So much to see, so far to travel,
So much to learn, to know
Friends by your side, hopes to hold onto
Who knows how far you'll go
 
To a Shining Time Station
Where dreams can come true
Your own imagination
Waiting there for you...

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

A Place Unlike Any Other
Production #1 (1.01)
Written by Brian McConnachie
Directed by Matthew Diamond
Summary by N. Middleton & D. Dobrydney

Season 1 Episode 1: "A Place Unlike Any Other"

Episode Characters/Stars:
•  Stacy Jones (Didi Conn)
•  Harry Cupper (Leonard Jackson)
•  Mr. Conductor (Ringo Starr)
•  Matt Jones (Jason Woliner)
•  Tanya Cupper (Nicole Leach)
•  The Jukebox Puppet Band
•  Banjo-playing passenger (Richard Stillman)

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

Detailed Episode Summary:

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

Stacy then begins to show Matt around the station. First, there is the Information Desk, where passengers can ask what time the trains arrive and so forth. Matt gets behind the desk while Stacy pretends to be a passenger with a question. They continue their make-believe at the ticket counter, where Matt punches a ticket for Stacy. This is also where it’s revealed that Shining Time Station is on the Indian Valley Railroad. Next, Stacy brings Matt over to the waiting area, with a bench so passengers can rest. Stacy shows Matt some activities passengers do to pass the time as they wait. Last of all, there is the Arcade, with music, games and movies. Matt starts to watches an old cartoon in the Arcade picture machine, but the movie is cut short when the crank breaks off. Stacy says the crank probably needs some glue and she’ll fix it later.

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

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

Mr. C. introduces himself to Matt Jones

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

Harry Cupper and granddaughter Tanya

After the story is finished, Mr. Conductor disappears and Matt excitedly tells his aunt all about the little guy living in the wall. Stacy already seems to know about him, mentioning that he is shy and travels a lot. She also warns Matt not to bring Mr. Conductor up to the engineer when he arrives, because he might not understand. Just then, the engineer enters with a little girl in tow.

Where is "the little guy who lives in the wall?"

The engineer introduces himself as Henry “Harry” Cupper and the girl is his granddaughter Tanya. Harry explains to Stacy that while the railroad asked him to visit the station, he hasn’t decided whether he’ll take the job to help Stacy run the station. While Stacy and Harry talk business, Matt tries to introduce Tanya to Mr. Conductor. But Mr. Conductor is nowhere to be found and Tanya doesn’t believe Matt’s claim about “the little guy who lives in the wall.” Tanya does take an interest in the picture machine however, and even manages to fix the crank with a bobby pin. This time a different movie plays, with a song that convinces Tanya that perhaps Shining Time Station is worth exploring.

Shining Time Station Workshop

Harry, meanwhile, is still skeptical about taking the job at Shining Time Station. However, when Stacy shows him a workshop he can call his own, Harry begins to warm to the idea. He doesn’t like Matt getting underfoot though, and scolds him. This causes Matt to become upset. As he sits dejectedly on the steps leading to the platform, Mr. Conductor reappears and explains to Matt that he was off traveling with Edward. Matt asks who Edward is, which makes Mr. Conductor realize that if Matt didn’t know Thomas, of course he wouldn’t know Edward. Mr. Conductor tells Matt a story about Edward the Blue Engine, who in helping Gordon up a steep hill proved that being small doesn’t mean one can’t be helpful. After Mr. Conductor disappears, Matt calls after him asking more about Edward. Harry spots Matt talking to the wall and asks Stacy if he’s all right. Stacy calls Matt over and the boy asks Harry if he’s going to work at the station.

Shining Time Station's first passenger!
They are interrupted by the appearance of the station’s first passenger, a banjo-playing tap dancer who puts on an impromptu show for Stacy, Harry and the children. Harry has seen enough, and tells Stacy that he’s used to working in places where things are taken more seriously. However, he adds that it’s time for a change, and asks Tanya if she’d like to visit him at Shining Time Station. Tanya excitedly agrees and Harry kindly asks Matt to get his toolbox. As the episode closes, Stacy asks Harry what made him decide to stay and Harry can only reply that “there’s just something about this place.”

Episode Morals:
•  Even small jobs can be important.

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

Featured Picture Machine Song:
•  Start Where You Are

Featured Thomas Stories:
•  Thomas' and Gordon
•  Edward and Gordon

Episode Notes:
  • Schemer does not appear in this episode.
  • The episode features one of the few times the waiting area beyond Harry’s workshop door is seen.
  • The shot of Matt being surprised by Mr. Conductor while dusting the mural wall was used for Matt's character oval in the original Season 1 "clip show" opening sequence.
  • The first Picture Machine video is an excerpt from the 1939 George Pall Puppetoon "Philip's Calvalcade."
  • Scenes from the second featured Picture Machine music video "Start Where You Are" were recorded at the Keansburg Amusement Park in New Jersey.
  • Continuity Goof #1: The cobwebs on the bench beneath the window at the station exit appear and disappear between shots. It is particularly noticed it during the scene where Stacy and Matt play make-believe at the ticket counter.
  • Continuity Goof #2: Stacy goes behind the ticket counter to get the tap dancer’s ticket. However, when the dancer starts singing, Stacy is back with Matt, Tanya and Harry.
  • The banjo-playing passenger asks Stacy for a ticket to "Leaping Log, Alabama". It's not known if Richard Stillman ad-libbed identifiying the state, or if it was part of his script. 

Does it Bite?
Production #2 (1.02)
Written by Brian McConnachie
Directed by Matthew Diamond
Summary by D. Dobrydney

Season 1 Episode 2: "Does it Bite?"

Episode Characters/Stars:
•  Stacy Jones (Didi Conn)

•  Harry Cupper (Leonard Jackson)
•  Schemer (Brian O'Connor)
•  Mr. Conductor (Ringo Starr)
•  Matt Jones (Jason Woliner)
•  Tanya Cupper (Nicole Leach)
•  The Jukebox Puppet Band
•  Clown (Michael Bongar)

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

Detailed Episode Summary:

This train schedule is WRONG!

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

Stacy: "STOP THAT!"

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

Meet Schemer

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

Schemer hands over the real train schedules

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

Sounds like...

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

Harry surprises Matt in his workshop!

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

Matt tells Tanya about Mr. Conductor

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

Tanya is mystified!

Stacy tells Matt that she and Mr. Conductor have just been discussing train schedules on the Island of Sodor. Matt asks about how Thomas or Gordon are doing, and Mr. Conductor pulls out what looks like a watch from his vest to see if he has time. Matt sees that it’s really a bathtub plug, which Mr. Conductor confirms. He goes on to say he wears the plug to remind him that one day the railroad will give him a gold watch as a reward for his years of service. Tanya, meanwhile, is still hanging back at the information desk, stunned by what she sees. Mr. Conductor says that he has some time, so he’ll tell a story about Henry the Green Engine. However, he warns them that it’s a very sad story, as Henry was left walled up in a tunnel after refusing to come out in the rain.

Shake on it!

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

It's Picture Machine time!

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

Schemer wants his nickel back!

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

Matt bumps into Harry!

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

Harry reassures Matt

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

Matt and Tanya reaffirm their friendship :)

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

Schemer thinks the place is crazy!

Schemer then returns carrying a tool box, declaring he is going to take the Jukebox apart piece by piece so he can get his nickel back. He takes out a toy saw and hammer and starting banging on the Jukebox. Didi urges Tito to give up the nickel so Schemer will leave them alone. Tito relents and tosses the nickel out, hitting Schemer right on the forehead. While he’s glad to have his nickel back, Schemer says that Shining Time Station is very strange and tells Stacy he’s having second thoughts about bringing his new, heavy, expensive machines to the Arcade. Just then, the juggling clown from before returns and Stacy tells him that his train is right on schedule, emphasizing the word “schedule” while looking in Schemer’s direction. Stacy tries to hand the clown his train ticket, but he has his hands full juggling, so Stacy sticks the ticket between his lips. Schemer hastily leaves, saying everyone around the station is crazy, while Matt and Tanya admire the clown’s costume.

It's been quite a day!

Back in the Jukebox, the band decides to play a song and performs “Camptown Races.” As they finish, Harry has come out of his workshop and can only roll his eyes at the clown as the performer goes out to catch his train. Stacy says to Matt and Tanya that it’s been quite a day and invites them to help her post the new schedules as the episode comes to a close.

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

Featured Jukebox Puppet Band Song:
•  Campdown Races

Featured Picture Machine Song:
•  Don't Be Afraid (sung by Eric Troyer)

Featured Thomas Stories:
•  The Sad Story of Henry (Come Out Henry!)
•  Edward, Gordon and Henry (Henry to the Rescue)

Episode Notes:
  • Two firsts in this episode: Tanya meets Mr. Conductor, and Schemer is introduced.
  • The shot of Stacy sticking the clown’s ticket in his mouth was used for her character oval in the original Season 1 ‘clip show’ opening title sequence.
  • In the opening scene, Mr. Conductor mentions "Doodletown" instead of the familiar "Doodlehaven". Since this is early in Season 1, perhaps the producers were still defining the towns and stops along the Indian Valley Railroad.
  • Because he's too busy sobbing about Henry, Mr. Conductor does not actually blow his whistle to start either of the Thomas stories, though the whistle sound effect is heard. 
  • The photo Harry shows Matt is of a Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad articulated steam locomotive, possibly an H-8 class engine with a wheel configuration of 2-6-6-6. However, Harry’s reminiscence of his first exposure to railroads is accompanied by footage of preserved Union Pacific Railroad locomotive #844. Some of this footage was used in the credit sequences for all three seasons.
  • An old-style microphone can be seen in this episode on the ticket counter, which would imply that the station has a public address system.

And the Band Played Off
Production #3 (1.03)
Written by Brian McConnachie
Directed by Matthew Diamond
Summary by D. Dobrydney

The Shining Time Station Timetable board

Episode Characters/Stars:
•  Stacy Jones (Didi Conn)
•  Harry Cupper (Leonard Jackson)
•  Schemer (Brian O'Connor)
•  Mr. Conductor (Ringo Starr)
•  Matt (Jason Woliner)
•  Tanya (Nicole Leach)
•  J.B. King, Esq. (Mart Hulswit, voice only)
•  The Jukebox Puppet Band
•  One Man Band (Russel Brown)

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

Detailed Episode Summary:

Stacy shares the good news

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

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

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

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

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

Schemer tries to instigate

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

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

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

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

One Man Band

Mr. Conductor disappears as Harry comes out of his workshop and asks Stacy if she put the schedule together from memory. She admits she had help from Mr. Conductor. Harry asks who he is and Matt says he’s the little man who lives in the wall. Harry laughs in disbelief. The passenger then comes back and takes a closer look at the schedule. When Stacy confirms that it is correct this time, he happily says he won't be late at all. He then sees the kids and asks about their instruments. Matt and Tanya explain that they're playing music when the new train arrives. The passenger asks if he can join, and when the kids say yes, the passenger returns wearing an assortment of musical instruments and starts playing “When the Saints Go Marching In.” The Jukebox Band overhears the music and Tito says what they’re hearing is a one-man band. The passenger explains that he is the only participant in a one-man-band convention at Mount Careful and apologizes for being upset with Stacy earlier.

At that moment, Harry announces the arrival of the new train. Accompanied by the Jukebox Band, the one-man band plays his way out to the platform, followed by Matt, Tanya and Stacy. Harry stays behind in the station and as the new train departs, Harry finds a tiny piece of paper on the bench next to him. He once again questions the existence of a little guy who lives in the wall and laughs to himself, while Mr. Conductor appears behind his back.
Look who's standing behind Harry!

Episode Morals:
•  Mistakes happen, especially when one is impatient.

Featured Jukebox Puppet Band Song:
•  She'll Be Comin' 'Round the Mountain

Featured Picture Machine Song:
•  Learn From Your Mistakes

Featured Thomas Stories:
•  Thomas and Gordon
•  Edward and Gordon

Episode Notes:
  • This is the first time we hear the voice of Mr. J. B. King, Esq. He would not appear in person until episode 15, "Promises, Promises."
  • This is the first episode where Mr. Conductor wears an outfit other than his usual uniform.
  • This is the first time we hear of Schemer's ultimate motive of taking over Shining Time Station.
  • This is the first time that Mr. Conductor is mentioned to Harry.
  • The closing shot of Harry laughing with Mr. Conductor behind his back was used for Harry's character oval in the original Season 1 "clip show" opening sequence.
  • When Stacy learns about the new train, the telephone conversation is actually a sped-up version of T.S. Eliot reading a few lines from his poem "The Naming of Cats". ~ contributed by Daniel Celano

Pitching In and Helping Out
Production #4 (1.04)
Written by Ellis Weiner
Directed by Matthew Diamond
Summary by M. Cooper

The Shining Time Station clock is broken :(

Episode Characters/Stars:
•  Stacy Jones (Didi Conn)
•  Harry Cupper (Leonard Jackson)
•  Schemer (Brian O'Connor)
•  Mr. Conductor (Ringo Starr)
•  Matt (Jason Woliner)
•  Tanya (Nicole Leach)
•  The Jukebox Puppet Band
•  Scuba Woman (Annette Holloway)

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

Detailed Episode Summary:

Schemer tries to sell a broken teapot to Stacy!

Stacy is up on a ladder trying to fix the ticket counter’s clock, while Schemer is dusting off the Jukebox with his tie. When Stacy asks for his help, he claims he’s too busy. Stacy protests that the clock must be fixed so the passengers can board their trains on time. Schemer thinks that it’s better for the clock to be broken; this means the passengers can spend more money in the arcade. Schemer then tries to sell Stacy a “brand new, antique teapot” for five dollars. Stacy thinks it’s too dirty, causing him to lower the price to four dollars, then three. Stacy points out that the teapot has a hole in the bottom. Schemer claims that that is for pouring two cups of tea at once, and drops the price down to two dollars. Stacy still says no, so Schemer leaves the teapot on the information desk so she can think it over.

Matt asks Stacy if he can keep the red string

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

Mr. conductor in chef's apparel!

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

Tanya gets tangled playing cat's cradle

Matt asks Mr. Conductor if he actually knew Stacy’s grandmother. He reveals that she ran Shining Time Station years ago, which is when he first met her. She used to know which train was coming just by the sound of its whistle, and took good care of both her trains and her passengers. She always knew how to have fun better than anyone else. Tanya protests that everyone knows how to have fun. Mr. Conductor replies that that idea isn’t true, and explains that everybody likes to have fun, but not everyone knows how to go about it. Stacy does, and so did her grandmother. Matt asks if Stacy’s grandmother ever played with string. Mr. Conductor replies she used to play Cat’s Cradle. Tanya tries demonstrating, but only gets her fingers tangled up. Matt quickly helps her out. Mr. Conductor congratulates him, saying that it always feels good to help someone out. To the engines on the Island of Sodor, this is called feeling “Really Useful.” Clicking his spoons together, he tells them the story of how Thomas felt really useful when he helped use a breakdown train to rescue James the Red Engine.

Matt & Tanya are amazed by the Magic Bubble!

Tanya thinks that Thomas must have felt important pulling the Breakdown Train, but Mr. Conductor points out that he was more concerned about helping James. Matt wishes that someone could help them figure out what to do with the string. Mr. Conductor replies that they’ll have to help each other out with that one, because he has to go home to feed his parrot a carrot and stretch out some spaghetti. Matt remembers that Stacy taught him how to make flowers out of string, and proceeds to show Tanya using only a fork and some drinking straws. Mr. Conductor, now dressed in his usual attire, appears by his front door to compliment them on their progress. He claims that string can do a lot with itself. When Tanya complains that that doesn’t make sense, he proceeds to show them a magic bubble about shapes made out of string. This gives the kids some new ideas, and they run off to gather some supplies.

Shining Time StationTrains from here to EVERYWHERE

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

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

Stacy thanks Mr. conductor

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

Schemer loses his shoes

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

When is the next train to Lucky Lake?

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

The clock now gives the correct time!

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

Episode Morals:
•  Helping others, no matter who they are, is important.
•  Creative solutions can be found just by using simple tools or objects.
•  There are numerous ways to have fun if you keep an open mind.

Featured Jukebox Puppet Band Song:
•  Railroad Corral

Featured Picture Machine Song:
•  None

Featured Thomas Stories:
•  Thomas and the Breakdown Train
•  James and the Coaches

Episode Notes:
  • Mr. Conductor has lived at Shining Time Station since Stacy’s grandmother ran it.
  • Mr. Conductor keeps a parrot in his house on the mural.
  • This is the first mention of Stacy’s grandmother. She will not appear in person until Season 3.
  • This is the first time a Thomas story isn’t started by Mr. Conductor blowing his whistle. Instead, he clicks two wooden spoons together.
  • Mr. Conductor demonstrates that he can drum using two wooden spoons. This is a nod to Ringo Starr’s career as a drummer for The Beatles.
  • Annette Holloway, who played the "Scuba Woman," also served as the show's assistant stage manager.
  • At one point Mr. Conductor dubs Tanya “Tanya Lasagna”. This nickname is referred to again in Season 2 by Mr. Conductor’s cousin (George Carlin).

Show and Yell
Production #5 (1.05)
Written by Brian McConnachie
Directed by Matthew Diamond
Summary by D. Dobrydney

Season 1 Episode 5: "Show and Yell"

Episode Characters/Stars:
•  Stacy Jones (Didi Conn)
•  Harry Cupper (Leonard Jackson)
•  Schemer (Brian O'Connor)
•  Mr. Conductor (Ringo Starr)
•  Matt (Jason Woliner)
•  Tanya (Nicole Leach)
•  The Jukebox Puppet Band
•  Ventriloquist (Alan Semok)

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

Detailed Episode Summary:

Schemer prefers to greet his money!

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

It's Flexitoon's Alan Semok!

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

The gang is impressed by the ventriloquist!

By this point Stacy, Harry and Schemer have come over to watch as the two dummies and the man banter with Matt and Tanya. One dummy introduces himself as Lazlo, and the other Eugene, but they don’t know the man’s name. The man finally introduces himself as Al, and the three of them humorously discuss whether or not they should use the word ‘dummy’ when talking about each other. Everyone is very impressed with the impromptu performance; with Schemer quipping that Al should be selling tickets instead of performing for free. Stacy then takes a phone call from the train dispatcher, and informs the ventriloquist that his train will be late. This doesn’t bother him at all, and he asks Matt and Tanya if they will watch his luggage while he runs an errand. The children agree, and Tanya asks if they can play with the ventriloquist dummies in the meantime. The man says they can, and leaves.

Mr. C. tries to give some ventriloquism tips!

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

The kids get advice from Stacy

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

Schemer tells the kids to go to the arcade

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

Mr. C.: "You're the culprit!"

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

Harry tells Matt not to give up

Meanwhile, Matt finds himself in the workshop, where Harry asks if they’ll be seeing another puppet show soon. Matt strongly rejects the idea, which prompts Harry to ask if he’s giving up. Matt says that everything went wrong and he and Tanya couldn’t make it work. Harry answers that Isaac had the same problem. Matt asks who Isaac is, and Harry tells him about Isaac Dripps, who at only 21 years of age was given the job of assembling the first railroad locomotive in North America, the “John Bull.” The engine worked but it kept derailing, among other problems. However, Isaac solved the problems and kept making improvements to the engine to make it better and better. Harry concludes his story with the fact that the engine is now in the Smithsonian Institute and is the oldest steam locomotive in America. Matt asks what happened to Isaac, and Harry says that he became a famous railroad mechanic. Isaac never gave up, Harry tells Matt, and neither should he. Matt doesn’t want to give up, but mentions that the ventriloquist will be back soon for his puppets. At that, Harry goes over to the workbench and starts tinkering with bits of discarded metal.

Mr. Conductor is alarmed by the puppets!

Outside the workshop, Stacy finds Tanya sitting by herself. Stacy says that she remembers putting on puppet shows herself as a girl, and all she needed was a sock and a big imagination. Tanya begins to cheer up as Stacy shows her how to make a puppet with a sock and some buttons, while Harry helps Matt make his own puppet out of nuts, bolts and some metal strips. Soon, they children meet back up and show each other their new playthings. Mr. Conductor appears and frantically tries to warn them about the horrible beasts that have eaten their hands, but Matt and Tanya quickly explain that it’s just their puppets. Mr. Conductor asks if that means another puppet show, but the children are reluctant as they don’t want to be made fun of. Mr. Conductor says that if they aren’t even going to try, he’ll talk to the puppets instead. He tells the puppets to think of what happened to James when the other engines made fun of him. Matt asks what did happen and Mr. Conductor tells the story of how James got to prove himself by pulling the Express.

Matt & Tanya's puppets

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

Alan arrives just in time for Matt & Tanya's show!

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

Episode Morals:
•  Some tasks are difficult at first, but with practice, we can master them.
•  We can succeed if we don't give up.

Featured Jukebox Puppet Band Song:
•  Freight Train

Featured Anything Tunnel Song:
•  Bounce Back (sung by Vaneese Thomas)

Featured Thomas Stories:
•  Troublesome Trucks (Foolish Freight Cars)
•  James and the Express (A Proud Day for James)

Episode Notes:
  • The “John Bull” was originally put on display in the Smithsonian Institute in 1884. A replica was built in 1939; however the original locomotive was steamed in 1981 in honor of its 150th anniversary, making it the oldest operable steam locomotive in North America. The footage of the “John Bull” which accompanies Harry’s story about Isaac was provided by the Smithsonian Institute and might be a depiction of the 1981 resteaming.
  • This is the only time a member of the Flexitoons team had an onscreen role in an episode of Shining Time Station. Normally Alan Semok did the puppeteering for Grace the Bass.
  • Tito (Jonathan Freeman) does not appear in this episode. According to the Boy Brothers, the band leader is too busy counting his nickels.
  • Nitpick: When the "Freight Train" number ends and Schemer walks over to the ticket desk, Harry is still bopping away even though the music ended moments ago!  
  • Continuity Goof: When the ventriloquist leaves to catch his train, he has his two puppets but has left his suitcases behind!

Faith, Hope and Anxiety
Production #6 (1.06)
Written by Brian McConnanchie 
Directed by Matthew Diamond
Summary by S. Das

Season 1 Episode 6: "Faith, Hope and Anxiety"

Episode Characters/Stars:
•  Stacy Jones (Didi Conn)
•  Schemer (Brian O’Connor)
•  Mr. Conductor (Ringo Starr)
•  Harry Cupper (Leonard Jackson)
•  Tanya Cupper (Nicole Leach)
•  Matt Jones (Jason Woliner)
•  The Jukebox Puppet Band

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

Detailed Episode Summary:

Harry is forced to cancel the kids' fishing trip

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

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

Mr. Conductor mailed himself to the station!

Just then, Stacy remembers that a letter for Tanya and a package had arrived at the station for them. Matt and Tanya open the package, and inside is none other than Mr. Conductor! He wanted to see how the mail trains were running, so he stowed away in a cardboard box and mailed himself to the station. He reports that the mail trains were a bumpy ride, but run on time. He then asks why the kids aren't on their fishing trip, and Matt and Tanya explain their situation and how they were left behind at the station. Mr. Conductor is reminded of the story of when the conductor on Thomas the Tank Engine's passenger train got left behind when Thomas got impatient. When the story ends, the kids are reminded that if have a little patience with Harry, they'll be rewarded in the end. Mr. Conductor also says if the kids don't cheer up soon, he will mail himself to Kulalagumba, a place where, he believes, kids are a lot cheerier than Matt and Tanya. He then leaves for his own important business, his lunch, which today consists of an entire shrimp!

Tanya & Matt are dejected :(

Matt and Tanya decide to help Harry so he finishes sooner. Harry emerges from his workshop, about to take a trip to the hardware store. Matt and Tanya ask if they can help, and Harry in return asks the kids if they have a #3 hex key. When they say they don't, he thanks them anyway, and runs off to the store, saying he'll be back in 15 minutes. The kids ask Stacy when the next train arrives, and she says in 12 minutes, and that is the last train for two hours, with the exception of the Fireball Express, which does not serve Shining Time. The kids then realize that Harry won't be back until exactly three minutes after the train departs. The kids then sit on the steps of the arcade, thinking that they will have to sit around the station all afternoon with nothing to do. They ask Stacy if she can take them fishing, but Stacy says she also has work to do, but she offers to point out the bright side, by dropping a nickel into the Picture Machine. It plays a music video about a boy who, after a sudden gust of wind steals his kite, must use his patience and perseverance to find it again.

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

Tanya & Matt draw to pass the time

When the bubble sequence ends, Mr. Conductor suggests that if the train is late, they'll probably still have a chance to fish any way. Just then the train arrives, right on time. The kids look for Harry, but do not see him, and think all hope is lost. Stacy then returns and asks about the letter Tanya received. It is from her pen pal, Lucy, who sent her a picture of an American flag and a landscape, drawn in markers. Stacy suggests that Matt and Tanya try their hands at drawing pictures for Lucy. Stacy gets supplies for them and they get to work on the floor of the Arcade. Matt draws a sun, while Tanya draws a fish.

Schemer's "self-portrait"!!!

While the kids draw, Schemer enters and startles Stacy as he asks if business in the arcade has been okay, but she doesn't answer and retreats to her desk. Schemer then notices Matt and Tanya and, thinking they are blocking the entrance to his arcade, commands them to stand up and explain what they are doing. They show him their artwork, and Schemer mentions that he is somewhat of an artist himself, but is more into pastoral themes and natural settings. The kids don't believe him, so he asks them to specify a scene for him to draw. Schemer rejects all their ideas until Tanya suggests winter, and he proceeds to "draw" a winter scene. He claims it is hard but when he shows his finished piece of “a complete and total” snowstorm, it’s obvious Schemer hasn’t drawn anything at all. Schemer then offers to let the kids to draw his portrait. The kids decline, and Schemer decides to do it himself. He takes a piece of paper with an oval-shaped hole cut out, and puts his face in the middle, thus creating a "self" portrait, but the kids still aren't convinced.

Harry is finally ready to go fishing!

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

This place is haunted...

Back in the Arcade, the Jukebox Puppet Band has overheard all the commotion about the fishing trip. Didi asks Grace if she'd been fishing, and Grace says she only fishes for one thing, compliments! Didi suggests that the band all go fishing, but Tito says they are too small for it; instead of pulling fish out, the fish might pull them in! They all agree to never go fishing. They then decide to play a song, even though Grace claims Schemer (whom she does not address by name) does not want them playing for free. They decide to play anyway, and sure enough, Schemer commands the Jukebox to stop. He then has the suspicion that the station is haunted. As he walks toward the information booth, he hears an unseen voice ask "Huh?" and then repeats his statement. Suddenly, Stacy rises up from behind the booth and both Stacy and Schemer scare each other. Stacy laughs and goes about her business while Schemer leaves.

Episode Morals:
•  We all need to learn about how to cope with disappointment.
•  We are all able to turn a gloomy situation into a bright one

Featured Jukebox Puppet Band Song:
•  Wabash Cannonball

Featured Picture Machine Song:
•  Kite Song

Featured Thomas Stories:
•  Thomas & The Guard
•  Thomas Goes Fishing

Episode Notes:
  • This is the first episode to not feature guest stars.
  • The Magic Bubble sequence features an excerpt from "Red Ball Express," an animated short film by Steve Segal, created by drawing on clear film stock with felt-tipped markers, permanent pens, and rubber stamps.
  • This is the first STS episode to feature railroad stock footage outside the opening and closing credits. The Jukebox Band's rendition of "Wabash Cannonball" features excerpts of preserved Norfolk & Western Class A articulated steam locomotive #1218. This footage was originally filmed for the 1987 documentary Steam People, a promotional film released by Norfolk Southern documenting #1218's restoration.
  • This episode features Schemer’s first declaration that Shining Time Station is haunted, which would become a running gag throughout the series for his interpretation of the unexplained phenomena at the station.
  • The “Kite Song” was released on the VHS cassette Shining Time Station Singsongs Vol. 1.
  • The shot of Tanya showing the picture from her pen pal was used for her “character oval” in the original Season 1 opening credits sequence.

Agree to Disagree
Production #7 (1.07)
Written by Ellis Weiner 
Directed by Matthew Diamond 
Summary by J. Gratton 

Season 1 Episode 7: "Agree to Disagree"

Episode Characters/Stars:
•  Stacy Jones (Didi Conn)
•  Schemer (Brian O’Connor)
•  Mr. Conductor (Ringo Starr)
•  Harry Cupper (Leonard Jackson)
•  Tanya Cupper (Nicole Leach)
•  Matt Jones (Jason Woliner)
•  The Jukebox Puppet Band
•  Balloon Man (Allyn Gooen)

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

Detailed Episode Summary:

Tanya interrupts Matt's reading

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

J.B. King  on the line!

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

"I wish you two would keep it down!"

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

Schemer delivers a huge stack of boxes

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

Matt tries to tell his Aunt Stacy about his book

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

Private Library - Keep Out!

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

A very upset Tanya visits her Grandfather

An upset Tanya visits her grandfather in his workshop and explains what is troubling her. Harry offers that reading can be fun, but Tanya says that Matt doesn't want to do what she wants to do. Harry tells her that they're both different and that life would be awfully dull if everybody always wanted to do the same thing. He explains that the trick is to do some things on your own that you want to, but you can still do things together. He uses railroaders as an example, men and women who were as different as night and day. He adds that this country is made up of people from all over the world, and that a lot of them helped to build the railroads, canals and roads. Harry remembers when he was a young engineer on the Mount Cavalier line. One day he had to work with a fellow named Mike who came from Europe and was Tanya's age. Because he kept to himself and rarely spoke, Harry believed that Mike disliked him. As they admired the scenic beauty of Mount Cavalier in the distance, Mike turned to him with a huge smile on his face and gave him the thumbs-up sign. Harry knew then that Mike was alright. It turned out that Mike's English wasn't very good which made him very shy. Harry ends his anecdote by saying that he and Mike became very good friends, and that he learned that you can be different but still be great pals.

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

Schemer gives Matt some Schemerly advice!

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

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

Stacy gives her nephew some wise advice

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

Matt & Tanya engage in a fun balloon duel! :)

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

Episode Morals:
•  It is okay to disagree.
•  No two people are exactly alike. These differences make life more interesting.

Featured Jukebox Puppet Band Song:
•  Abilene (sung by Rory Dodd)

Featured Picture Machine Song:
•  We Do Things Differently (composed and sung by Elizabeth Swados)

Featured Thomas Stories:
•  Thomas, Terrence and the Snow
•  Thomas and Bertie

Quotes of Note:
  • Stacy: You know our motto - Shining Time Station, trains for here to everywhere.

Episode Notes:
  • Mr. Conductor gives Tanya the nickname "Tanya Banya" in this episode.
  • The title of Mr. Conductor’s book is a play on John le Carré's novel title "The Spy Who Came in From the Cold".
  • The song "We Do Things Differently" was released on video as part of "Shining Time Station Singsongs, Vol. 1."
  • The phone conversation in the scene where Stacy is speaking to J,B. King on the telephone is actually a sped-up version of T.S. Eliot reading a few lines from his poem "Mungojerrie And Rumpelteazer". ~ contributed by Daniel Celano

Whistle While You Work
Production #8 (1.08)
Written by Ellis Weiner 
Directed by Matthew Diamond 
Summary by J. Gratton and S. Das

Season 1 Episode 8: "Whistle Ehile You Work"

Episode Characters/Stars:
•  Stacy Jones (Didi Conn)
•  Schemer (Brian O'Connor)
•  Mr. Conductor (Ringo Starr)
•  Harry Cupper (Leonard Jackson)
•  Tanya Cupper (Nicole Leach)
•  Matt Jones (Jason Woliner)
•  The Jukebox Puppet Band
•  Ed the Stilt Man (Clinton Smith)

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

Detailed Episode Summary:

Stacy and the kids clean up the station

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

Mr. Conductor cleans the Station clock

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

Schemer says that the mural is antiquitated

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

Schemer: "Hey...who cleaned up there?"

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

Schemer's big advertising plan for the station!

Mr. Conductor reappears swinging a yo-yo and the kids tell him how dismissive Schemer was of their efforts to clean the station. Mr. Conductor counters by saying all things to do, whether big and small, are all important as they all help to get the job done. He elaborates by telling the story of how Gordon, James and Henry became indignant and decided to go on strike when they had to perform what they considered menial work. Tanya later asks Mr. Conductor what going on strike meant, and it's explained as not working in order to make a point. Mr. Conductor leaves just as Schemer comes back carrying a stack of poster paper. When asked, Schemer reveals cheesy-looking adverts with equally cheesy slogans such as "Money is meant to be spent" that he begins posting all over the mural. Schemer even offers Matt a nickel to become a walking billboard. When Matt refuses, Schemer uses the same nickel to select a jukebox song to inspire him as he plasters his adverts all over the station.

Schemer's frenzied poster plastering!

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

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

Schemer and his friend Ed!

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

Not-so-tall Ed!

Stacy arrives, happily explaining how she met a group of boy scouts on their way to Pelican Falls who were asking all sorts of questions about the station. Stacy becomes incensed when she suddenly notices the posters covering the mural and orders Schemer to take them down. Matt then introduces her to Ed. Stacy is taken aback by his height, but quickly recovers to quip that it's a very short name for such a tall person as she introduces herself. Ed is very curious and asks what goes on in the station. Tanya answers that trains come and go, and when Ed asks about where do they go, Stacy mentions Doodle Haven. Ed expresses an interest to go there while Stacy goes behind the ticket counter to get him a ticket. Stacy comments that it would have to be a tall train to accommodate Ed, but he reveals that he's just a normal-sized man walking on stilts. Stacy then escorts Ed to the station platform as Schemer complains that he now has to look for another man on stilts.

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

Mr. Conductor's bike needs exercising!

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

Matt & Tanya's homa-made platform shoes!

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

The kids to Schemer: "Take it or leave it!

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

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

Featured Jukebox Puppet Band Song:
•  Pop Goes the Weasel

Featured Picture Machine Song:
•  Let's Work Together

Featured Thomas Stories:
•  Tenders and Turntables
•  Trouble in the Shed

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

Episode Notes:
  • Continuing his tradition of nicknames, Mr. Conductor uses "Tanya Savania" in this episode.
  • Schemer has to put on a pair of glasses so that he can see the station clock more clearly.
  • Ed's overly long pant legs suddenly revert to normal pant leg size when the cut shot reveals that he is standing on stilts.
  • Eighteen years after this show was taped, Pluto would be removed from the list of planets in the solar system, making a total of 8, but if you followed Didi’s lead and excluded Earth, you’d still be wrong.
  • US viewers may be confused by Edward's lament that he has 'gray wheels' in the story "Trouble in the Shed." This is because the line in the original UK version was 'black wheels,' which was a play on the word blackleg, which in turn is British slang for a strikebreaker. In this case, Edward was breaking the other tender engines’ strike against Sir Topham Hatt.
  • Guest star Clinton Smith was at the time a member of a stilt dancing team known as "Friends in High Places."

Two Old Hands
Production #9 (1.09)
Written by Ellis Weiner 
Directed by Matthew Diamond 
Summary by S. Das 

Season 1 Episode 9: "Two Old Hands"

Episode Characters/Stars:
•  Stacy Jones (Didi Conn)
•  Schemer (Brian O’Connor)
•  Mr. Conductor (Ringo Starr)
•  Harry Cupper (Leonard Jackson)
•  Tanya Cupper (Nicole Leach)
•  Matt Jones (Jason Woliner)
•  The Jukebox Puppet Band
•  Passenger (guest: Richard Stillman)

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

Detailed Episode Summary:

Harry: "Well, is there any mail for me?"

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

Tanya remembers that it's her grandpa's  birthday

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

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

Hiding Harry's gifts

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

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

Mr. Conductor: "Let me introduce myself"

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

Mr. Conductor has a gift for Thomas

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

Schemer takes the wrong box of Cheese Giggles

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

Mr. Conductor magically makes a cake for Harry!

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

Schemer returns with the wrong box

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

Harry scolds Schemer about the Cheese Giggles

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

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

Birthday cards galore for Harry

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

Mr. Conductor finally meets Harry

Later, back in the workshop, Harry comments to himself that it was the best birthday party he ever had. Just outside the workshop door, Mr. Conductor is talking with Stacy and the kids, who still encourage him to meet Harry. Stacy suggests he talk about something they both love—trains. Mr. Conductor then goes into Harry’s workshop and greets him. Harry looks in his direction and is suspicious at first, and asks if he is real. Mr. Conductor confirms this, and the two begin to talk. Mr. Conductor mentions that he’s been at Shining Time since the President’s train ran along the Indian Valley Railroad. Harry mentions that he remembers working on that train. Mr. Conductor mentions he was on that train as well, as he was the Indian Valley’s special conductor. It turns out they were both on the same train and didn’t even know it, until now. Stacy and the kids, who have been listening in on the conversation, quietly leave the two to talk, confident that Harry and Mr. Conductor are now firm friends.

Episode Morals:
•  There is more pleasure in giving than receiving.
•  We can participate in activities despite feelings of shyness.

Featured Jukebox Puppet Band Song:
•  A Railroader for Me

Featured Anything Tunnel Music Video:
•  Baking a Cake (performed by Rory Dodd)

Featured Thomas Stories:
•  Percy Runs Away
•  Thomas Comes to Breakfast

Episode Notes:
  • The shot of Tanya showing her pen pal’s picture to everybody was used in the original “clip show” title sequence.
  • To start “Thomas Comes to Breakfast,” Mr. Conductor does not use his whistle. Instead, he twirls his present to start the story.
  • In addition to Cheese Giggles, Schemer stocks Potato Boom-Booms and Corn Whammies in his vending machine.
  • This is the first episode to feature a story from Series 2 of Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends. The use of "Thomas Comes to Breakfast" caused some continuity errors for US audiences as Donald and Douglas, the Scottish Twins, would not receive a proper introduction until the episode “Sweet and Sour” during Shining Time Station's second season. Additionally, Toby the Tram Engine would not be introduced to US audiences until the episode “Ring in the Old” later in the first season. Finally, the diesel railcar referred to in the story, a character called Daisy, would never feature in a story during Shining Time Station's original three seasons, although stories featuring her would eventually be released on American video.
  • The song “Baking a Cake” was released on US video as part of "Shining Time Station Singsongs Vol. 1."
  • Harry’s recollection of the President’s train is accompanied by footage of the Chessie System’s ex-Reading Railroad steam locomotive #2101.
  • This episode marks one of the few times any attempt is made to explain Mr. Conductor's backstory.

Happy Accidents
Production #10 (1.10)
Written by Alan Kingsberg
Directed by Matthew Diamond
Summary by S. Das

Season 1 Episode 10: "Happy Accidents"

Episode Characters/Stars:
•  Stacy Jones (Didi Conn)
•  Schemer (Brian O’Connor)
•  Mr. Conductor (Ringo Starr)
•  Harry Cupper (Leonard Jackson)
•  Tanya Cupper (Nicole Leach)
•  Matt Jones (Jason Woliner)
•  The Jukebox Puppet Band
•  Acrobats (guest: Karen Gersch & Barbara Rhind)
•  Passenger (guest: Susan Greenhill)

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

Detailed Episode Summary:

Harry passes a very important note for Stacy

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

Stacy performs with the acrobats

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

an anxious lady asks how to get to Pelican Falls

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

Schemer loses a meatball

Stacy, Harry and Schemer enter the station, and Matt tells them about the incident with the passenger. Harry says he changed the schedule board to 11:00, and Stacy mentions that she changed it back to 9:00. Harry mentions the note, but Stacy says she never received one. Matt explains that he was going to give her the note, but got distracted. This creates an awkward predicament, especially since a passenger was given misleading information, and Stacy told the superintendent the station was running smoothly! Stacy composes herself, and says the first thing to do is fix their mistake. She says that people look to the railroad for reliability, and there should be no schedule mistakes in the future. Schemer, who has been listening the whole time, says the process of correcting the mistake is not fast enough, and their biggest goof-up was making a paying customer angry. He goes on to say if the station was his, he’d turn it into a restaurant. He takes a bite of his sandwich, but a meatball drops out, and the kids laugh. Schemer said he paid $2 for the sandwich, and there were 4 meatballs, and calculates almost a dollar for each meatball. He irately picks up the meatball with a napkin and leaves. Stacy agrees with Schemer in that they can’t afford to lose any passengers, and she leaves to find the passenger who was given the wrong information.

Mr. conductor enjoys a cup of tea

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

Schemer finds Mr. Conductor's dime!

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

Schemer gets rough with the jukebox!

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

Harry councels to never rush anything

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

Mr. Conductor has a nasty spill!

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

Another accident!

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

Schemer spills orange soda on his shoes

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

Episode Morals:
•  We must all learn to make the best of our mistakes.
•  We must learn to correct our mistakes instead of blaming others.

Featured Jukebox Puppet Band Song:
•  Wreck of Old ‘97

Featured Thomas Stories:
•  Coal
•  The Flying Kipper

Episode Notes:
  • Obviously Schemer is no good with math. A $2 sandwich with 4 meatballs equals 50 cents per meatball. Likewise, a $20 pair of shoes equals $10 per shoe.
  • Mr. Conductor does not use his whistle to start either of the two Thomas stories.
  • Rex and Tex play a banjo instead of a guitar in this episode.
  • Harry’s recollection of railroad rules is accompanied by footage from the 1926 silent film “The General” starring Buster Keaton.
  • In “The Flying Kipper,” after Henry’s accident, Sir Topham Hatt makes a reference to a place called Crewe, a town in England about 100 miles northwest of London. It is a reference to the location of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway’s workshops, where Henry will receive his new shape, which the Reverend W. Awdry patterned after an LMS Class 5 mixed traffic locomotive. British references such as this and the reference to Bournemouth (80 miles southeast of London) in “Thomas’ Christmas Party” would be strictly eschewed in Series 3 of Thomas (which makes its debut in season 2 of STS) to avoid alienating viewers outside the US.
  • This episode features another time Schemer puts glasses on to see clearly in the distance. He did it previously in "Whistle While You Work."
  • When the Dispatch Office telephones Harry at the beginning of the episode, the sped-up voice heard on the other end is actually a sped-up recording of T.S. Eliot reading from his poem Growltiger's Last Stand. Later, when a customer calls and When Harry informs them that the train to Pelican Falls is late, a sped-up recording of T.S. Eliot is heard again reading a few lines from The Naming of Cats. ~ contributed by Daniel Celano

Ring in the Old
Production #11 (1.11)
Written by Alan Kingsberg
Directed by Matthew Diamond 
Summary by J. Gratton

Season 1 Episode 11: "Ring in the Old"

Episode Characters/Stars:
•  Stacy Jones (Didi Conn)
•  Schemer (Brian O’Connor)
•  Mr. Conductor (Ringo Starr)
•  Harry Cupper (Leonard Jackson)
•  Tanya Cupper (Nicole Leach)
•  Matt Jones (Jason Woliner)
•  The Jukebox Puppet Band
•  Nat (Guest star Nathaniel Kaz as himself)
•  Passenger (Gordon Gould)

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

Detailed Episode Summary:

Schemer wants to get rid of the old soccer game

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

Harry talks to his friend Nat on the telephone

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

The kids ask Stacy about being old

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

Mr. C. tells the kids that old can be wonderful

Later, the children are in the Lost and Found where Tanya finds and tries on an old hat and shawl. Matt finds what he thinks is some kind of picture machine. It's actually an antique stereoscope that allows a viewer to see a pair of photos in 3D. Matt takes a look and sees a cartoon still of an elderly couple sitting in front of a fireplace. Tanya asks him what he's seeing, and Matt replies a couple of old people just as Mr. Conductor appears, makes a gesture and disappears. The picture Matt sees suddenly becomes an animated music video playing "In the Good Old Summer Time." Matt is stunned by what he just saw when Mr. Conductor reappears to ask if he enjoyed the show. He then asks Tanya about what she's wearing. When Tanya replies that it's just junk, Mr. Conductor reminds her that some of these old things are beautiful, have charm, style, personality and history. Tanya is amazed as she thinks about it, and Mr. Conductor adds that old things can be very special and tells the story about how the railway thought Toby the Tram Engine was too old and no longer useful. Afterward, Tanya asks what was in the letter that Toby's Driver received at the end of the story. Mr. Conductor hopes that it's good news for Toby and Henrietta, and goes off to find out. The kids also wish for the same just as a train arrives. Matt finds and wears an old top hat and jacket and joins Tanya as they wait for Nat to enter the station.

Matt: "What if Nat forgot to get on the train?"

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

Harry and Nat's gift

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

Mr. Conductor thinks memories are wonderful

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

THIS is the future of the arcade !

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

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

Nathaniel Kaz sculpts!

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

"Is this machine broken?"

Meanwhile in the arcade, Schemer is killing time by repeatedly removing and re-inserting a nickel from his belt coin changer. A well-dressed man with an English accent comes into the arcade asking if the old soccer game is broken. Schemer replies that it's not, but it's a piece of junk that has outlived its time. Schemer boasts that his arcade is entering the space age and points to the new video game poster. The man is unimpressed and says that he can play the new games anywhere. He adds that he comes to Shining Time Station for the old machines as they are the fun ones. The man asks if Schemer was really going to throw the old machine away, and Schemer awkwardly replies that it was originally part of his plan. The man cries out what a shame it is, based on the machine's workmanship and how they don't make arcade games like it anymore. He then coolly says that he'll need to take his business elsewhere and begins to leave. Schemer begs him to wait, and asks the man if he wants to play the machine. The man replies that it's why he came to the arcade in the first place. Schemer tells him that he'll put the game back in service just for him, and rips up the trash sign.

The old soccer game machine is as fun as ever!

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

Episode Morals:
•  Young and old people have something to offer each other.
•  You are only as old as you feel inside.

Featured Jukebox Puppet Band Song:
•  Train is a-Coming (sung by Vaneese Thomas)

Featured Picture Machine Song:
•  You're Only as Old as You Feel Inside

Featured Thomas Stories:
•  Toby & the Stout Gentleman
•  Thomas Breaks the Rules

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

Episode Notes:
  • Nathaniel Kaz was a renowned sculptor in the New York area and the last surviving founding member of the Sculptors Guild when he passed away at the age of 93 on December 13, 2010. Nathaniel's wife, Delphina, recalled that Nathaniel did not want to follow a script for his scenes in this episode, choosing instead to ad-lib his dialogue.
  • Gordon Gould is more renowned for his voice acting, notably in CBS Radio Mystery Theater in the mid-1970s, appearing in more than 60 episodes. He also voiced Maximilian Veers in an audio adaptation of The Empire Strikes Back in the 1980s.
  • The shot of Schemer combing his hair and flipping the comb in his hand as he tells the children “a sloppy place means sloppy business” was used for Schemer's character oval in the original Season 1 "clip show" opening sequence.
  • Mr. Conductor sings a few bars of the 1915 song "Memories" by Egbert Van Alstyne with lyrics by Gus Khan.
  • We learn that a now-retired steam engine once ran the Indian Valley Railroad Line: The Rainbow Tiger, which was Harry and his friend Nat's favorite to ride on the footplate.
  • We learn that a train to Turley stops at Shining Time Station three times a day.
  • The antique stereoscope that Matt finds is similar to a Sears Stereographoscope sold at the beginning of the 20th century. The one Matt is holding is visibly missing its lenses, however.
    Antique stereoscope
  • In the scene where Harry is talking to his old friend Nat about visiting the station, the telephone voice is actually a sped-up version of T.S. Eliot reading a few lines from his poem "The Naming of Cats". ~ contributed by Daniel Celano
  • The black coat and top hat Matt wears is similar to the one worn by Sir Topham Hatt in Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends.
    Matt dressed in Top Hat and Morning Jacket

Impractical Jokes
Production #12 (1.12)
Written by Ellis Weiner
Directed by Matthew Diamond
Summary by D. Dobrydney

Season 1 Episode 12: Impractical Jokes

Episode Characters/Stars:
•  Stacy Jones (Didi Conn)
•  Schemer (Brian O’Connor)
•  Mr. Conductor (Ringo Starr)
•  Harry Cupper (Leonard Jackson)
•  Tanya Cupper (Nicole Leach)
•  Matt Jones (Jason Woliner)
•  The Jukebox Puppet Band
•  Tom Callinan (as himself)

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

Detailed Episode Summary:

Stacy is preoccupied with something!

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

Mr. Conductor is ready for a tournament!

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

Stacy explains why telegraph is used...

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

Stacy gets a fright!

Just then, Schemer comes in. He’s dressed very smartly in a dinner jacket and is affecting a very cultured manner of speaking. He politely introduces himself to Stacy and kisses her hand. Stacy and the children are dumbfounded, with Tanya asking Schemer if he’s feeling all right. He professes not to know who this “Schemer” is, although he knows he’s a wonderful fellow! Schemer then offers Matt a toy telescope, which Matt takes and goes off to look through. Schemer then offers Stacy a snack of some delicious peanuts. Stacy opens the jar and some spring snakes come flying out instead! Stacy is not amused, and Schemer drops his act to explain that this is his new entrepreneurial endeavor, selling practical jokes. Stacy tells Schemer that she never liked practical jokes and considers them mean. Schemer counters that of course they’re mean, that's the point. Dismissing the girls’ opinion, Schemer turns to Matt, who now has a black ring around his eye from the trick telescope. Schemer thinks it’s hilarious, but Matt can only respond with a single, deadpan “yuck.” Schemer gets offended at this, declaring that Stacy, Matt and Tanya don’t know what funny is. However he considers that funny in itself as he takes his pranks and leaves.

Stacy: We must accept Schemer for who he is!

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

Harry introduces his friend Tom Callinan!

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

Harry: You must be doing something WRONG!

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

Mr. Conductor: Look for the little things!

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

The problem has been found by Matt!

Matt and Tanya go over to the ticket counter where Stacy and Harry are still stumped about the telegraph. Matt, remembering Mr. Conductor’s advice, looks down and sees a small break in the wire connecting the telegraph. Harry and Stacy are very impressed with the kids’ power of observation and sure enough, when Harry fixes the cable, the telegraph begins to receive messages again! Everyone cheers as Schemer returns, thinking he’s getting a big welcome. He decides to try his ‘cultured’ act on Harry and puts out his hand to shake. They shake and Schemer gets a jolt from the buzzer in his hand, because he was holding it backwards. Schemer then tries another prank, asking the kids to smell the squirting flower on his jacket, only to end up spraying water on himself. Schemer begins to lose interest in the practical jokes, saying that he’s not the sort of person people should be laughing at. Stacy comments that perhaps no one is. Schemer sheepishly agrees, and Stacy uses the moment to show Matt and Tanya that even someone like Schemer can learn a lesson.

Schemer uses his own nickel!

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

Tom Callinan teaches how to play the spoons

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

Episode Morals:
•  Joking sometimes hurts others.
•  We need to learn how to cope with hurt feelings.

Featured Jukebox Puppet Band Song:
•  Filimiooriooriay (Poor Paddy Works on the Railway)

Featured Anything Tunnel Video:
•  Unidentified stop-motion featurette about a bizarre art gallery.

Featured Thomas Stories:
•  Cows (A Cow on the Line)
•  Old Iron

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

Episode Notes:
  • To begin the first Thomas story, Mr. Conductor doesn’t just blow his whistle, he blows it in Morse code.
  • In keeping with his refined appearance in this episode, Schemer does not have the curl in his hair.
  • Two more named Indian Valley Railroad trains are mentioned in this episode, the West Wind Limited and Empire Limited.
  • Tom Callinan is a multi-talented performer who has been designated the “Official State Troubadour” of the state of Connecticut. More about him can be found here.
  • The Indian Valley Railroad of 1989 must be a special place. Western Union and U.S. railroad companies ceased using Morse telegraph in the 1960s, and its use lasted in Canada until the mid-1970s, with Mexico continuing to use the system until 1990. (Source

Finders Keepers
Production #13 (1.13)
Written by Brian McConnachie
Directed by Gregory Lehane
Summary by J. Gratton

Season 1 Episode 13: "Finders Keepers"

Episode Characters/Stars:
•  Stacy Jones (Didi Conn)
•  Schemer (Brian O’Connor)
•  Mr. Conductor (Ringo Starr)
•  Harry Cupper (Leonard Jackson)
•  Tanya Cupper (Nicole Leach)
•  Matt Jones (Jason Woliner)
•  The Jukebox Puppet Band
•  Amani A.W. Murray (guest: as himself)
•  Passenger (guest: Susan Terry)

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

Detailed Episode Summary:

At the Station's Lost & Found

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

Stacy admires Tanya's necklace

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

Matt returns with the luggage he found

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

Matt & Tanya rescue Mr. Conductor

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

The kids find a saxophone!

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

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

Schemer thinks he can play the saxophone

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

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

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

The winner is...SCHEMER!!!

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

Amani is sad that he can't find his saxophone :(

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

Mr. Conductor takes a bath!

Mr. Conductor stands in front of his signal box and tells the kids to hurry up with the bucket. When they place it just below the signal box, Mr. Conductor surprises the kids by jumping into the bucket. Now that he's in a good mood, he tells them the story of how James was rude to Toby and Henrietta about being dirty, only to end up covered in tar. When the story ends, Mr. Conductors says that it was very decent of Toby to be thinking of Henrietta and that thinking of others can be a gift. He drops a hint that it would be a gift like really being able to play the saxophone. The kids again glance knowingly to one another when Mr. Conductor asks Tanya what happened to her pretty necklace. Tanya realizes that she's lost it and goes looking for it near the Information Booth saying that her grandfather will be furious. Harry overhears this and asks her to explain. She confesses that she lost the necklace. Harry says that it was an accident and that he's not angry, but that they should all start looking for it.

Amani plays for the gang

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

Our friends wave goodbye to Amani

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

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

Featured Jukebox Puppet Band Song:
•  The Desperado (sung by Jonathan Freeman)

Featured Picture Machine Song:
•  Tubby the Tuba

Featured Thomas Stories:
•  Thomas, Percy and the Coal
•  Dirty Objects

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

Episode Notes:
  • The Picture Machine sequence features an excerpt from the 1947 George Pal Puppetoon short "Tubby the Tuba" narrated by Victor Jory.
  • Up to 1990, Amani A.W. Murray was a promising teenage jazz alto saxophonist.

Just Wild About Harry's Workshop
Production #14 (1.14)
Written by Ellis Weiner
Directed by Gregory Lehane
Summary by J. Gratton

Season 1 Ep.14: "Just Wild About Harry's Workshop"

Episode Characters/Stars:
•  Stacy Jones (Didi Conn)
•  Schemer (Brian O’Connor)
•  Mr. Conductor (Ringo Starr)
•  Harry Cupper (Leonard Jackson)
•  Tanya Cupper (Nicole Leach)
•  Matt Jones (Jason Woliner)
•  The Jukebox Puppet Band
•  Inspector Flanagan (guest star: William Duell)

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

Detailed Episode Summary:

Schemer is up to no good

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

Schemer has permission from the Railroads's HQ

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

Mr. Conductor to Stacy: "Good for you!"

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

Mr. Conductor prepares to go butterfly hunting!

The kids are concerned that Stacy may get fired for speaking like that to her boss, but Stacy says that she doesn't care; sometimes you must stand up for what you believe in. They notice Mr. Conductor appear on the Information Booth and go over to speak to him. He's going butterfly hunting, and mentions that the size of a butterfly for him is comparable to the size of an eagle for them. He plans to play a game of cards with any butterfly he catches before letting it go. Mr. Conductor notices that Stacy is preoccupied with something and asks her about it. She wonders if she should call Mr. King again to explain herself better. Mr. Conductor advises against it, explaining in a roundabout way that she shouldn't try to explain herself too well and to let J.B. King think about what she said to him. The kids are puzzled and Mr. Conductor elaborates by saying that when people know exactly what you mean, it's easier for them to disagree with you. But if they aren't sure what you mean, they can never quite sure whether they disagree with you or not. It reminds him of when Duck the Great Western Engine first arrived on the Island of Sodor, and tells them the story.

Harry confronts Schemer about the workshop

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

Stacy berates Schemer as the man observes

Just then a man wearing a trench coat and fedora enters the station. He doesn't say a word when Schemer greets him, and only nods to affirm that he's waiting for a train. Schemer invites him to play a tune on the jukebox. As the man heads to the arcade, Stacy continues to defend Harry's presence and his workshop at the station; Harry keeps the station running properly, he helps the passengers and he makes gadgets for Stacy and toys for the kids. Schemer interjects to say that today's railroads do not run on toys, gadgets or stories; they run on cheeseburgers and scrambled eggs. Stacy angrily makes the point that Harry also keeps everything in working order, but Schemer retorts that Stacy can manage that all on her own. Stacy has had enough and as the station's manager, kicks Schemer out.

"Does this thing work?"

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

Stacy explains why Schemer isn't a bully

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

Schemer's vending machine malfunctions!

Harry and Schemer walk into the station at the same time and nearly bump into one another, but carry on without exchanging a word. Schemer announces that he has spoken to his lawyer and that only the railroad’s main office can tell him what to do. An incensed Harry wants to have words with him, but Schemer offers him a piece of candy from his vending machine as a symbol that there are no hard feelings. Schemer is alarmed when his vending machine suddenly begins to malfunction and spit out its contents. Schemer asks Harry to have a look at the machine, but Harry steadfastly refuses. Schemer goes off to find somebody else to repair it while Stacy talks to Harry to say that he should fix the machine anyway as a show of good faith. Harry does not find Stacy's suggestion funny and stomps over to the vending machine. He yanks the machine's plug out from the wall and declares it “fixed.” Stacy chases after Harry and the drama attracts the attention of the passenger who follows behind them out of the station.

Tanya tells Mr. Conductor that Harry's very upset

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

Schemer is still acting insensitive

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

NULL & VOID

Schemer is interrupted by a voice telling him that won't be necessary, and we see that it's man in the trench coat. He flashes a badge and introduces himself as P. C. Flanagan, Chief Holdings Inspector for the Indian Valley Railroad. He's been observing the station goings-on and finds it all very interesting. He tells Schemer that he likes his jukebox and asks about his ambitious proposal to open up a café at the station. He also asks to see the letter from headquarters, and when Schemer hands it to him, the Inspector ceremoniously stamps it "null and void" much to Schemer's dismay. He explains that the letter is rescinded and Stacy, Harry and the kids are happy to hear the news. He addresses Harry next, saying that the Indian Valley Railroad is lucky to have a man like him on its payroll and apologizes for everything, adding that the workshop is his for as long as he wants it. Harry is overjoyed and shakes the Inspector's hand in gratitude. The inspector then turns his attention back to Schemer. He compliments his ambitions, but counsels that he needs to have more modesty and exercise more sense.

Schemer unlocks Harry's workshop

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

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

Featured Jukebox Puppet Band Song:
•  Union Train

Featured Picture Machine Song:
•  What Goes Around Comes Around

Featured Thomas Stories:
•  Duck Takes Charge
•  Percy and Harold

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

Episode Notes:
  • This episode's title is a play on words of a 1921 Broadway song "I'm Just Wild About Harry."
  • Harry mentions the "Silver Comet", another engine in the roster of trains working the Indian Valley Railroad.
  • The Jukebox Puppet Band's rendition of "Union Train" is featured on the CD compilation of "Jukebox Sleepytime Singsongs."
  • The song "What Goes Around Comes Around" was released on video as part of "Shining Time Station Singsongs Vol. 1."
  • William Duell who played Inspector Flanagan in this episode sadly passed away at the age of 88 in Manhattan on December 22, 2011.
  • Where Stacy talks to J.B. King on the telephone, the voice is actually a sped-up version of T.S. Eliot reading a few lines from his poem "The Naming of Cats". ~ contributed by Daniel Celano

Promises, Promises
Production #15 (1.15)
Written by Brian McConnachie
Directed by Gregory Lehane 
Summary by J. Gratton

Season 1 Episode 15: "Promises, Promises"

Episode Characters/Stars:
•  Stacy Jones (Didi Conn)
•  Schemer (Brian O’Connor)
•  Mr. Conductor (Ringo Starr)
•  Harry Cupper (Leonard Jackson)
•  Tanya Cupper (Nicole Leach)
•  Matt Jones (Jason Woliner)
•  The Jukebox Puppet Band
•  J.B. King, Esquire (Mart Hulswit)
•  Tony the Mover (Robert Hill)

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

Detailed Episode Summary:

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

Mr. Conductor skipping!

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

Stacy and Harry can make the trains run on time!

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

The caring, loving, hugging side of Schemer?

Schemer enters the workshop and, in a flattering manner, offers to manage the station and to watch over the "adorable tykes" during Stacy and Harry's absence. Stacy doesn't think Schemer would want to babysit, but he claims to have another side that they're not familiar with. When Harry cautiously asks Schemer about this "side," Schemer stands affectionately beside Harry explaining that it's his “loving” side - a caring, giving, kissing, hugging side. Stacy expresses her doubts as we hear a train stopping at the station. Harry announces that it's the 10:35 express, the last train bound for the main office that day. As Harry gets ready, Stacy leaves Schemer with instructions to call the train dispatcher within the next half hour to tell him that there's a broken signal on track 2, and stresses that it's important for him not to forget. Schemer asserts that he'll remember, and Stacy shakes his hand, telling him that she's giving him the opportunity to prove how reliable he can be, making him promise to only run the station, help the passengers, and not leave the station or the children alone. Schemer promises and quickly flashes two thumbs-up behind Stacy's back as she and Harry hurry to board the train.

Schemereeno's in charge!

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

Schemer's customer service!

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

Mr. Conductor prepares to protect the kids!

Once inside the workshop, Matt wishes that Stacy was back just as Mr. Conductor appears dressed as a Roman soldier. Matt and Tanya warn that Schemer might see him, but Mr. Conductor says that he is ready to do battle to protect them, but timidly adds not just yet. He's been watching what Schemer's doing and Matt asks if he can stop him. Mr. Conductor explains that while his magic can do many things, it only works if you believe in it, and Schemer only believes in himself. All of the trouble with Schemer reminds Mr. Conductor of when Diesel first met the engines on the Island of Sodor, and goes on to tell them the story. At the end of the tale Mr. Conductor compares Diesel to Schemer; he has his mind more on himself than on anything or anyone around him. Suddenly, Schemer is heard ordering someone around in the station. Mr.Conductor is reluctant to leave, but does not want to actually confront Schemer. Before vanishing he says that if he ever had to face him, he doesn't know what he'll do.

Schemer introduces the kids to "Tony"

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

Ride 'em Schemer!

The kids are shocked by what they've just witnessed when Tony comes over to tell them that he's charging a quarter a ride, then leaves. Tanya asks if she can ride one of the machines and Schemer asks for 50 cents. Tanya points out that Tony told them it costs a quarter, but Schemer retorts that it's a quarter for the ride, with another for postage and handling. The kids begin to protest with Schemer relenting to only charge 25 cents for a ride. Tanya searches her pockets but doesn't have a quarter, and asks Schemer if he has one. Schemer confirms that he does and climbs onto the pony ride as he inserts a quarter into the machine. Tanya looks on in dismay as Schemer is having fun, but it ends with the ride abruptly stopping. Schemer complains about paying for a ride that only lasted ten seconds, and begins to hit the coin box. Matt rebukes him for messing up the station with rides that don't even work, and Schemer admits that he'll need to speak to Tony about the matter and to get his quarter back. As he leaves, Matt warns him that he'd better be polite to Tony.

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

J.B. King surveys the situation

As Stacy and Harry come in, Mr. King is complaining how their train was kept in a siding all day because no one from the station notified the train dispatcher. Stacy explains that they had to leave someone else in charge of the station in order to meet with him, and is shocked when she glances at the arcade machines everywhere. Seeing Matt and Tanya, Mr. King accuses Stacy of leaving two children in charge of the station. Stacy panics and whispers to the kids asking where Schemer is. Mr. King notices the arcade rides and games and asks if they intend on turning the station into some sort of funhouse just as Schemer walks in. Schemer warns Mr. King not to mess with his rides as he has a maintenance man coming over to repair them while Harry gesticulates wildly in an attempt to make Schemer cease being rude.

J.B. King: "EXCUSE ME, SIR!!"

Mr. King calls Harry and Stacy aside to remind them that since putting them in charge, they've increased traffic to the station as well as their responsibilities. He adds that he can see now that it was a mistake and berates them for leaving children in charge and filling the station with cheap carnival rides. Schemer comes over to correct Mr. King by informing that they are not cheap as they cost 25 cents a ride. An infuriated Mr. King sputters out "Excuse me, sir!", and Schemer makes a hasty retreat after excusing him! Mr. King refocuses his attention to Stacy and Harry and informs them that he will be reducing the number of trains that stop there, cutting back their service to secondary branch line traffic only. Mr. King then shouts at Schemer to remove all of the arcade equipment from the station at once before leaving.

Stacy takes her Stationmaster's cap back!

Schemer thinks it's all a big joke and asks who Mr. King thinks he is. Harry sternly reveals that Mr. King is Superintendent of the Indian Valley Railroad. Stacy confronts Schemer by first yanking her cap back, and then telling him that he's broken every promise made to her by leaving the children alone and not calling the dispatcher which resulted in her, Harry and Mr. King being parked in a siding for an hour, not to mention filling the station with junk. Schemer tries to defend his position by insisting that they'll do a lot of business as soon as the machines are repaired.

Tony gives Schemer the bad news!

Just then, Tony returns and informs Schemer that he's changed his mind and will be putting his machines in a new shopping mall as there's more business there, and will be back the next day with his truck to take them away. Schemer says that he's disappointed after trying so hard to make the station work. Stacy angrily tells him that his interference almost got her and Harry fired, and the railroad might take away the station. Matt asks if they'd really do that, and Stacy replies that they could, but will wait to see how they do under their new circumstances first. Schemer tells them to change their attitude and not to worry because he'll think of something and leaves in a chipper mood as our friends look on in stunned disbelief.

Our friends try to clean up the mess!

Mr. Conductor appears on the riding pony and suggests explaining Schemer's actions to Mr. King. Stacy replies that Mr. King would only tell them that they should have known better than to leave Schemer in charge. She continues that she just wanted to make the station special and something they could all be proud of. Harry tells Stacy that she did, which inspires Stacy not to give up, and that they can show the railroad that they are still a first-rate station. She suggests beginning by removing the rides from the station. When Matt tells her that Tony will be picking them up the next day, Stacy replies that they're in their way now. The episode ends as our friends band together to move the pony ride.

Episode Morals:
  • It is important to keep your promises and there are consequences if you break them.
  • If someone gives you a great responsibility, it is important to never let it go to your head.

Featured Jukebox Puppet Band Song:
•  Oh! Susanna

Featured Thomas the Tank Engine Stories:
•  Better Late than Never
•  Pop Goes the Diesel

Quotes of Note:
  • Schemer: A herd of wild wombats could not drag me from their side.
  • Schemer: (after finding out who J.B. King is) Open foot, insert mouth.

Episode Notes:
  • Schemer reveals that he weighs 146 pounds (if that number is to be believed!).
  • This is the first time J.B. King is seen in person.
  • This is the only episode in the series to use a 'To Be Continued' cliffhanger.
  • The audio from the scene where Stacy and Harry are takling about how railroad timetables are promises has been reused in many subsequent episode sped-up telephone conversations. The extent of the conversation is transcribed below (referenced in episode notes where found).
    Stacy: I'm very worried, Harry. The railroad told us the repairs will be done in 3 days. It's already been 6 days and it's still not finished.
    Harry: Well, the repair crew is doing the best they can. People have to travel in safety.
    Stacy: I know, but the main office sends us a new schedule impractically every day. The Indian Valley Railroad has to understand that a train schedule is like a promise and a promise has to be kept whether it's made by a person or a railroad. We've got go come up with something to help our passengers.
    ~ Discovered by fan johnnynyl and passed on to us by Daniel Celano.
  • The sped-up telephone voice heard when Schemer is speaking to a caller on the phone is actually T.S. Eliot reading the poem Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer. Fan Daniel Celano shares a slowed-down version of that scene below...

Word's Out
Production #16 (1.16)
Written by Brian McConnachie
Directed by Gregory Lehane
Summary by J. Gratton 

Season 1 Episode 16: "Word's Out"

Episode Characters/Stars:
•  Stacy Jones (Didi Conn)
•  Schemer (Brian O’Connor)
•  Mr. Conductor (Ringo Starr)
•  Harry Cupper (Leonard Jackson)
•  Tanya Cupper (Nicole Leach)
•  Matt Jones (Jason Woliner)
•  The Jukebox Puppet Band
•  Midge Smoot (Bobo Lewis)

Episode Synopsis: When the railroad reduces the train schedule, everyone fears the station will be closed. Then the town gossip, Midge Smoot, comes to the rescue. Midge praises Shining Time Station for coming to her aid, forcing the railroad to change their mind and return the station to being a train stop on the line's timetable.

Detailed Episode Summary:

There's not a soul in sight at Shining Time Station and the Jukebox Puppet Band remark how quiet it is. Tito suggests that they make some noise to liven things up, and begin to jam and play a rocking instrumental tune very loudly.

Schemer Dancercise!

Schemer and Stacy enter the station while the music blares. Stacy covers her ears and makes her way to the ticket counter, while Schemer appears to be enjoying the music, snapping his fingers to the beat. In a "Genius Time" moment Schemer runs over to Stacy's desk to share his latest idea. Instead of turning the station into an amusement park, he'll turn it into a health club. He begins making outrageous “dancercise” moves as Stacy looks on bemused. He then demonstrates aerobic leaping by jumping up the arcade stairs in a single bound. Stacy chides him about his ideas that always end up getting them into trouble. Schemer insists that this time will be different. He goes on to describe that he'll bring in weight-lifting equipment but he'll first need to get rid of the silly-looking jukebox. As soon as those words are uttered, the music grinds to a sudden halt. The puppets are startled and Rex asks his brother Tex if health club people like railroad songs. Tex replies that he doesn’t think so. Schemer shakes and yells at the now silent jukebox, then says that he can make his own noise, twisting and holding his jacket over his head, dancing wildly to his own beat as he prances out of the station.

Stacy receives the bad news

A train passes through as Stacy answers the phone. The caller is trying to give Stacy new train schedule information, but the noise and rumble of the passing train makes it difficult for her to hear. She asks them to wait a moment until she's able to hear them better. As she's about to receive the information, another train rushes by and Matt and Tanya come in. The quiet returns at last and Stacy is able to tell the caller to go ahead. Her facial expression becomes shocked as she listens. The caller tells her that trains will not be stopping at Shining Time Station that day. She asks why and is given an explanation and looks dejected as she hangs up.

Mr. Conductor calls an emergency meeting!

Over near the station entrance, Harry is running back and forth yelling at the passing trains to slow down and stop. Harry runs in to ask Stacy why their morning express went through without even slowing down. Stacy reveals that the railroad rerouted all of their trains as a test to see if they can do without their station. The kids react in dismay just as Mr. Conductor appears on the Picture Machine and calls everyone over for a special meeting. To fortify their courage and pick up their spirits, he drops a nickel into the Picture Machine and shows them a music video. When the video is over, Mr. Conductor reminds them that no matter how bad things are, they must always be good to themselves. Harry, Stacy, Matt and Tanya all voice their agreement as Mr. Conductor sparkles away.

Introducing Shining Time's Gossip: Midge Smoot

A woman is seen looking around the station and Stacy and Harry greet her by name. When Tanya asks who just came in, Harry whispers that it's Midge Smoot, the town gossip. Matt asks Stacy what Harry meant by the term "town gossip" and she quietly explains that anything said to Midge Smoot will be spread across town within ten minutes. Tanya then asks how Midge is able to do that, and Harry whispers that it's the only secret that Midge Smoot has been able to keep.

Midge shares the gossip to Schemer

Schemer comes running into the station dressed in gaudy exercise clothes. Midge greets him and immediately begins fishing for gossip by asking what he's been up to lately. He's glad that she asks, and as he does standing push-ups and jumping jacks, tells her that he's turning the entire station into a health club as soon as the trains quit stopping there.

The kids feed Midge a few made up stories!

Midge Smoot is buoyed with the new exciting gossip that Shining Time Station is closing. She asks Stacy if it's true that the station is closing as she's putting a canceled notice over the train timetable. Stacy tells her that it's only for today as she goes into the workshop. Midge then runs over to the children to pry additional information out of them by asking them what they've heard about the station closing down. The kids act surprised and deny the rumor. When Midge points out that the trains aren’t stopping at the station, the kids feed her made up excuses. Matt tells her that a new huge building will be built nearby and that there will be bricks and construction material all over the place. Tanya follows his lead and tells Midge that Stacy is going to be the new head of the railroad. Midge is surprised at the news and goes off to find Stacy.

"Hey watch where you're sitting!"

The kids are self-conscious of their fibs and go off to sit on the arcade steps, and almost sit on Mr. Conductor. He tells them to be more careful where they're sitting, as the next life they save may be his own. They apologize, but Mr. Conductor questions their sincerity after hearing them tell Midge Smoot lies. He warns them that if they go around telling lies they'll end up being like Diesel. He then tells them the story about how Diesel's lies got Duck into trouble.

Mr. Conductor gives the kids some advice

After the story Tanya says that Diesel tried to hurt Duck but she and Matt weren’t trying to hurt anyone. Mr. Conductor counters that if someone continues telling lies, it will become a habit. She then asks if Mr. Conductor is mad at them. He replies that he's not, but wants to be proud of them. He wants them to remember the three "do's"; do stand up straight, do tell the truth, and the third one is to never sit on top of him, he's not an egg, then sparkles away.

Midge and Schemer kiss up to Stacy

Midge Smoot returns still looking for Stacy. Schemer joins her while shadow boxing. Midge tells him that Stacy Jones has been picked to run the railroad. Schemer is surprised by the news and Midge coyly adds that it's always good to have friends in high places. Schemer picks up on this and begins to say nice things about Stacy. When they see her emerge from the workshop, Midge immediately runs up and begins pandering to Stacy. She compliments Stacy's shirt and in turn Stacy compliments Midge's brooch. Midge offers it to her even though it's very valuable. Not to be left out, Schemer kneels and invites Stacy to have dinner with him and his mother the following Tuesday. As Schemer fawns over her at the ticket desk, Midge peppers Stacy with questions about her job.

Midge: "OWWW My Tooth!"

When they leave Stacy, Schemer tells Midge about what he is planning to prepare for dinner the following week: raw celery with peanut butter sprinkled with raisins, served with raw potatoes. For dessert he'll serve candy bars like the two he pulls out of his pocket. He asks Midge which one should be given to Stacy. She chooses one, and Schemer then offers Midge the other one. She thanks him, but as she takes the first bite, she begins screaming and crying about her tooth. Matt and Tanya come over and confess that the things they told her earlier weren't true. Midge suddenly forgets her toothache and storms over to the ticket desk with Schemer in tow. She demands to know if Stacy is going to be the head of the railroad. Stacy is surprised by the question and answers that she's not, as J.B. King is the head of the railroad. Midge demands the return of her brooch and Schemer cancels the dinner date.

Harry gives first aid to Midge

Midge's toothache returns and Stacy comes to her aid when she begins to moan loudly. She chides herself for skipping her dental checkup. Stacy brings Midge into the workshop to see if Harry has anything to treat a toothache. He makes Midge an ice pack which gives her enough relief for her to say her dentist is in Doodlehaven, which is quite far away. Unfortunately they can’t get her there as the trains no longer stops at Shining Time Station. Stacy is firm as she tells Harry that they'll have to get a train for Midge, though Harry worries that the railroad won’t like it. Stacy asserts that Midge will appreciate it, and Harry telephones Ben the switchman. Midge later exits the workshop with Harry just as a train pulls in. Stacy tells her that they managed to get a train to stop for her and escorts Midge to catch her ride.

Mr. Conductor appreciates his button

The station clock reads 2:05 p.m. then flashes forward to 4:40 p.m. At the ticket counter Stacy asks Harry if he thinks they'll get into trouble for stopping a train against the railroad's orders. Harry jokes that they can’t take any more trains away from them, as they don't have any. Matt and Tanya give Stacy and Harry happy face badges that they made to cheer everyone up. When Mr. Conductor appears on the Information Desk, they offer him one as well. He tells them how proud he is that they told Midge Smoot the truth, and rewards them by telling them the rest of the story about Duck and Diesel. Afterward, Mr. Conductor tells the kids that like Duck, if you try to do what's right, things will usually work out for you.. He hopes that things will also work out for Shining Time Station and vanishes.

Stacy shares the good news!

Stacy answers the telephone and when she hangs up Harry is in suspense to know what was said. Stacy was told that they had no right to stop that train and what they did was against the rules. But everyone in Doodlehaven is talking about how wonderful they are for their good deed. Harry, Matt and Tanya are overjoyed while Stacy adds that Midge had contacted J. B. King personally to get some of their trains back. Schemer comes in having heard the news that the trains will be stopping again at Shining Time Station. He gives up on the idea of a health club and mentions that he'll be keeping the old jukebox after all. The Jukebox Puppet Band members celebrate by performing “Jesse James" with Tito singing the lead.

Stacy is happy to be back in business!

Stacy gives Harry a big hug exclaiming that Shining Time Station is back in business. She rips the 'cancelled' banner from the timetable and the episode ends with her donning her stationmaster hat at the Information Booth just as a train arrives.

Episode Morals:
•  Lies and gossip often hurt people and it can lead to being a bad habit.

Featured Jukebox Puppet Band Song:
•  Jesse James

Featured Picture Machine Video:
•  Be Good to Yourself

Featured Thomas Stories:
•  Diesel's Devious Deed
•  A Close Shave for Duck

Quotes of Note:
  • Mr. Conductor: Those are mighty tall tales for such short people.

Episode Notes:
  • This is the first appearance of Midge Smoot.
  • Though not explicitly stated, this episode is a follow-up to Episode 15, "Promises, Promises." Besides resolving the issue of Shining Time Station losing its trains, it also features the third story in the Duck and Diesel trilogy of Thomas stories.
  • The song “Be Good to Yourself” was released on video as part of “Shining Time Station Singsongs Vol. 1.”
  • The person heard on the other end of Stacys telephone conversations in this episode are actually sped-up version of T.S. Eliot reading a few lines from his poems "The Naming of Cats" and "Growltiger's Last Stand". ~ contributed by Daniel Celano

Too Many Cooks
Production #17 (1.17)
Written by Ellis Weiner
Directed by Gregory Lehane
Summary by J. Gratton

Season 1 Episode 17: "Too Many Cooks"

Episode Characters/Stars:
•  Stacy Jones (Didi Conn)
•  Schemer (Brian O’Connor)
•  Mr. Conductor (Ringo Starr)
•  Harry Cupper (Leonard Jackson)
•  Tanya Cupper (Nicole Leach)
•  Matt Jones (Jason Woliner)
•  The Jukebox Puppet Band
•  Mayor Flopdinger (Jerome Dempsey)

Episode Synopsis: Misreading his mother's recipe for a sandwich spread causes all kinds of trouble for Schemer when he sends a jar of it to the Mayor of East Shemp. Everyone tries to help Schemer correct his mistake and to also learn a valuable lesson.

Detailed Episode Summary:

A surprise for our friends from Schemer

The episode opens with Harry waving goodbye to a friend who has just dropped off a package. It's addressed “To All My Friends at Shining Time Station.” Our friends are surprised to discover that the package came from Schemer, and contains two jars as a free sample of his new “savory sandwich spread” made from his mother's recipe.

Schemer realizes his mistake!

Schemer walks in unnoticed as Stacy receives a telephone call from the very agitated Mayor of East Shemp asking for Schemer and complaining that his package hasn't arrived. The mayor abruptly hangs up on Stacy as Schemer begins to moan that he's ruined. Schemer was sure that he sent the mayor a box of his sandwich spread for the Friends of the Flowering Cactus Ladies Auxiliary for their annual benefit luncheon. He's shocked when he checks his post office receipt and finds he had instead mistakenly mailed the package to Caracas, Venezuela!

The kids give one of the jars to Schemer

As Schemer weeps on Stacy's shoulder, Tanya suggests that he send the Mayor their sample and Matt adds that they'd still be able to keep one jar for themselves. Schemer is initially very grateful, but quickly reverts to his normal self as he takes credit for Tanya's idea. Stacy offers to re-wrap the package and send it off to the mayor, and Harry and Schemer join her in the workshop.

Mr. Conductor is going fishing

Mr. Conductor appears near the kids and informs them that he's off to do some fishing and rafting on the Island of Sodor, on a raft similar to the one seen in the station's mural. Tanya says that she didn’t know that Mr. Conductor liked boats as she assumed that he only liked trains. Mr. Conductor explains that he likes trains as they are good for going from place to place in an interesting way, while boats are good for going nowhere in an interesting way, and that fishing teaches you to be patient.

Matt suggests that Mr. Conductor take Schemer fishing with him, but he declines, adding that Schemer would only scare the fish away. When Tanya asks if he thinks Schemer should learn how to be patient, Mr. Conductor agrees and mentions that Schemer only thinks of himself, just as Gordon did the previous week. As the kids look on in anticipation, Mr. Conductor relents and tells the story of when Gordon's pride landed him in a ditch. After the story, he bids the kids goodbye just as Schemer and Stacy come out of the workshop.

Schemer tastes his sandwich spread!

An impatient Schemer pesters Stacy about the local train's arrival and leaves the station to send the package on its way to East Shemp. The kids bring Stacy a second jar of Schemer's sandwich spread, and, being curious, decide to sample some of it. Stacy butters a few slices of bread with it and hands a slice to Harry, Matt and Tanya, leaving one for herself. They all begin to gag after taking the first bite. Schemer returns and asks what the commotion is all about. They ask him if he's tried tasting his spread, and when he does, he experiences a comedic reaction to its horrible taste. He immediately blames his mother's recipe and rattles off the ingredients: mayonnaise, yogurt, garlic salt, lemon juice, white pepper and cocoa powder. Harry asks him to repeat the last ingredient, and Schemer shows them the recipe where it says "C. Powder.” Stacy points out that it was meant to read chili powder, not cocoa powder.

Inside the Jukebox, Tito reacts in disbelief to Schemer's blunder. Didi on the other hand thinks that it's a great idea to put chocolate on sandwiches so no time is wasted waiting for dessert.

Harry does not want to talk about Schemer

The kids join a rather grumpy Harry in the workshop who asks them not to bring up the topic of Schemer or his sandwich spread. Tanya presses him about helping Schemer earlier with his package. Harry relents and admits that he didn't mind helping Schemer, as silly as he is, to wrap the package with Stacy, and adds that helping someone who is in need comes naturally for those who have a nurturing nature. Harry then sends the kids off to play.

Schemer's pitiful disguise

Schemer enters the station poorly disguised in a wig and a long mustache. He's immediately recognized by the kids who ask him if he’s going to a costume party. Annoyed, he sends them off just as we hear automobile tires screeching to a stop outside.

A furious Mayor Flopdinger!

A man rushes into the station and introduces himself to Stacy as Osgood Bob Flopdinger, the Mayor of East Shemp. He's looking for Schemer. He doesn’t know what he looks like, but would recognize his voice anywhere. Stacy is able to distract the mayor's attention long enough for Schemer to hide near the arcade. The mayor goes on to describe how horrible the sandwich spread is, adding that shaving cream tastes better. He tells Stacy to warn Schemer that if he doesn't have an improved version of his sandwich spread delivered to him by lunch time, he'll have to answer to not only the mayor, but to all the members of Friends of the Flowering Cactus Ladies Auxiliary. The mayor then leaves with a horrified expression on his face which leaves the impression that the Auxiliary’s wrath would be quite unpleasant.

Schemer is now wailing in utter defeat and pounding the floor in front of his arcade as the children look on in curiosity. Stacy asks him for his mother's telephone number, and he provides it. Schemer asks her why she wanted it and panics when he sees her use the information desk’s telephone to call his mother.

Schemer doesn't want Stacy to talk to his "Mommy!"

Schemer tries in vain to prevent Stacy from speaking to his mother, going as far as offering her first a nickel, then several nickels, and finally his entire coin changer. Stacy asks Schemer’s mother to confirm that her sandwich spread ingredients call for chili powder. When she confirms that it does, Stacy tells her about Schemer misinterpreting it as cocoa powder. Before ending the call, Schemer's mother asks Stacy to tell "Horace" to call her. An annoyed Schemer can't believe that Stacy told his mother about the cocoa powder, and then accidentally slams the telephone receiver hard on his hand. Stacy gets her purse and gathers the kids to go shopping for items needed to mix a new batch of sandwich spread - this time correctly following the recipe. Schemer asks what he is supposed to do in the meantime, and Stacy advises him to stay calm. Schemer then decides to curl up on the information desk with the intention of taking a nap. He's too restless to sleep, so he goes over to the jukebox to play a tune.

This version of the sandwich spread is divine!

When the nickel reaches the bottom of the jukebox, Tito is ecstatic to discover that it's a rare buffalo nickel. After some banter about the origin of the coin, the band plays their rendition of "Casey Jones". During the performance, Stacy and the kids are seen unpacking the groceries and making a new sandwich spread. It's ready by the time the song ends, and Schemer begs to be the first one to taste it. His face lights up, indicating that this batch of sandwich spread tastes great. Stacy jars it and then she and Schemer rush outside to send it on the next train to East Shemp that will arrive there just before lunch.

Mr. Conductor reappears and Matt asks him why Schemer does not appear to have learned anything from his mistake. Mr. Conductor says that although Schemer may not have learned anything, the kids have learned about helping others, just as Gordon did. Mr. Conductor then shares his story about how Gordon helped a rather cheeky Thomas after he fell into a collapsed mine. After the tale, Tanya asks if Schemer will ever learn how to help someone other than himself. Mr. Conductor replies that stranger things have happened and vanishes.

Schemer tries to take full credit!

Later, Stacy is at the ticket desk when Schemer runs in wearing his disguise. He breathlessly tells Stacy not to tell the mayor where he is just as the mayor enters the station to inform Stacy that he received the sandwich spread and that it tasted heavenly. Schemer throws his voice asking the mayor if he liked the spread. When the mayor says that he did indeed, Schemer removes his disguise and introduces himself. He tries to take all the credit for the success, but Stacy rebukes him. He then credits everyone who helped, but adds that mostly it was all his doing. The mayor, now in a jubilant mood, pays Schemer his compliments and departs with the sound of screeching tires heard outside the station as he drives off.

Schemer on the phone with his "Mommy"

The phone rings as Schemer combs his hair in relief and resumes being his cocky self. Stacy hands the phone over to Schemer; it's his mother. Schemer lies and gives his name as Scrammer before hanging up. Stacy is shocked by Schemer's deceit just as the phone rings again. This time they wait until Schemer answers it himself. It's his mother again, but this time he is truthful. His mother asks him if he knows the difference between chili powder and cocoa powder; he replies that chili powder is put into chili con carne, and cocoa powder is put into cocoa con carne. She corrects him that cocoa powder is intended for making hot chocolate.

At the end of the phone call, Schemer reveals that his mother was very disappointed in him. Stacy tells him not to feel so bad; when she was a young girl, she tried to make a lemon meringue pie and mistakenly thought egg shells were egg whites in the recipe. When Schemer asks her how it turned out, she replies that it was awful. Schemer begins walking away when the lesson told by Stacy finally sinks in. The episode ends with Schemer, in a eureka moment, acknowledging it as he leaves the station.

Episode Morals:
  • It feels good to help others and we should also be grateful when we receive help ourselves.

Featured Jukebox Puppet Band Song:
•  Casey Jones

Featured Thomas Stories:
•  Off the Rails
•  Down the Mine

Quotes of Note:
  • Tanya: I didn't know Schemer could cook.
    Harry: You haven't tasted it yet!

Episode Notes:
  • Schemer's mother's telephone number is 555-3387.
  • Schemer's mother reveals that his first name is Horace.
  • This would be the last episode to debut stories from Series 1 of Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends until “Whistles & Sneezes” appeared during the season 2 episode “Achoo.”
  • This is the first appearance of the Mayor of East Shemp who introduces himself as Osgood Bob Flopdinger.
  • The shot of Tito stopping Tex and Rex's discussion of why buffalo nickels aren't made anymore was used for the Band's oval in the "clip show" title sequence.

Mapping it Out
Production #18 (1.18)
Written by Ellis Weiner 
Directed by Gregory Lehane 
Summary by J. Gratton 

Season 1 Episode 18: "Mapping it Out"

Episode Characters/Stars:
•  Stacy Jones (Didi Conn)
•  Harry Cupper (Leonard Jackson)
•  Schemer (Brian O'Connor)
•  Mr. Conductor (Ringo Starr)
•  Matt Jones (Jason Woliner)
•  Tanya Cupper (Nicole Leach)
•  The Jukebox Puppet Band
•  Pepe (Guest: Julian 'Pepe" Santana)

Episode Synopsis: When our friends discover that the only Indian Valley Railroad Line map in Shining Time Station is over 50 years old, Stacy leaves it up to the kids to draft up a new one to hang on the station wall. Schemer has his own ideas of how to map the line, and convinces the kids to accompany him on a train ride misadventure without first asking Harry or Stacy for their permission.

Detailed Episode Summary:

The kids find a bunny in the station!

Tanya and Matt are pleasantly surprised to find a rabbit inside the station, which attracts the attention of Stacy and Harry. Harry finds a cage conveniently left in the Lost and Found, and Stacy gently places the rabbit inside. Matt asks if they'd be able to keep it. Stacy says that they could, but only if no one comes looking for it. She adds that in the meantime they'll need to take really good care of it, and the kids promise to do so.

Harry gives Pepe directions

A passenger dressed in a poncho arrives and hands Stacy a note. Stacy calls Harry over and the man is introduced in the note as Pepe Santana who is trying to go to Farmers Dell. While Harry gives the man directions, Stacy says what a shame it is for a railroad station not to have a map. This inspires an idea that they should make one for the entire Indian Valley Railway system.

Mr. Conductor remembers this map

Mr. Conductor materializes just as Harry retrieves an old map of the Indian Valley Railroad from his workshop. Harry says that the map is fifty years out of date, but Mr. Conductor informs him that the map is actually fifty-six years old, and that he remembers when it was new. Stacy suggests that the kids make a new map by tracing the old one. While Tanya fetches some paper and Harry goes off to answer a phone call, Matt asks Mr. Conductor if the engines on Sodor ever use a map or get lost. Mr. Conductor explains that engines rarely get lost if they stay on the tracks, but they sometimes find themselves running away when they don't expect to. He elaborates by telling the story of when such a thing actually happened to Thomas the Tank Engine. After the story, Stacy leaves to buy food for their new guest (the rabbit) and tells the kids not to go anywhere until she gets back. Mr. Conductor says that he'd like to meet the new guest, and rematerializes beside the cage to chat with the rabbit. He vanishes from sight when he hears Schemer coming.

Mr. Conductor warns Matt not to go with Schemer!

At first, Schemer laughs at the kids' attempts at making a map. When Tanya informs him that they're making a map of the Indian Valley Railroad line Schemer, in a "genius time" moment, suggests doing that as his own idea! The kids are wary of Schemer when he suggests that they all hop on the next train to map the line as they travel along. Mr. Conductor appears and flashes a sign to Matt that says "DON'T GO, SAY NO." Matt reads the sign aloud, while Schemer wonders why he looks so distracted. Mr. Conductor then shows Matt the sign's reverse side which he also reads aloud, "HE'LL GET LOST, YOU'LL PAY THE COST." Tanya tries to convince Matt that going for a train ride would be fun, but Matt expresses his misgivings. Schemer then offers to pay the train fare for all three if he agrees to come, but Matt wants to play a song on the Jukebox as he decides what to do. Inside the Jukebox, Grace suggests that they play a long tune to give Matt enough time to think about it. Tito and Didi disagree by saying that it would be cool to ride on a train. Instead of playing a song, Grace urges them to wait and see what happens next.

Schemer drops the map as he rushes out!

Schemer tells Matt to take his time making a decision when the sound of a departing steam engine is heard. Declaring time's up, Schemer suddenly herds the children out of the station to catch the train. On the way out Schemer puts the new map into his inside jacket pocket, but it falls onto the floor near the station exit. Back in the Jukebox, the band decide to play "Red River Valley" even though there is no one presently in the station to listen.

Mr. Conductor tells Harry & Stacy everything

Stacy returns with groceries and calls out to Matt and Tanya. Not finding them, she asks Harry if the kids are inside the workshop with him, but he thought that they were with her. Mr. Conductor appears to inform them what happened. Stacy and Harry are now both worried and disappointed. While Harry goes to look for the kids on the station platform, Mr. Conductor tries to reassure Stacy by saying that the kids are smart enough not to get lost and were likely confused about what to do. He demonstrates his point by showing Stacy a music video from the Anything Tunnel about finding your own way by following directions.

The children have been found safe and sound!

After the song, Harry comes in and shows Stacy the map that he found near the station's exit. Stacy deduces from looking at the map that they boarded a northbound train because Twiddly Junction was circled with an arrow pointing north. Stacy phones the Twiddly Junction stationmaster, Jean Campbell, to ask if she's seen the children. She's told that they're in the Twiddly Junction Station waiting room. A relieved Stacy asks Jean to put them on the next southbound train. Harry's relief quickly turns to irritation as he contemplates how he's going to punish Tanya for this escapade. Stacy tries to reassure him by saying that they were only curious children and what matters is that they are both safe and sound.

The kids arrive!

Mr. Conductor appears and offers the adults some advice to share with the kids: the next time they want to go exploring without permission, let them do it through their imaginations. Harry quips that by doing so, they'll also be saving on train fare. A few hours later, Matt and Tanya return to the station with heads bowed low with shame. They begin to argue about whose fault it is when Stacy and Harry run up to greet and hug them. Stacy admonishes them for going off without permission, but Matt explains that Schemer made it sound like a great way to make a map. Harry asks where Schemer is at the moment, but the kids don't know; they left him behind on the train when they decided to get off at Twiddly Junction. Matt tells Stacy that they just wanted to work on the map, but Tanya confesses that they really wanted to go for a train ride. Stacy advises them that they ask either Harry or her to accompany them the next time they want to go on a train journey.

Mr. Conductor calls the kids over, and they tell him about the wonderful things they saw from the train. Mr. Conductor is impressed, but also reiterates the advice that Stacy gave them. The kids agree, with Tanya adding that they wanted to explore. Mr. Conductor reveals that the engines of Sodor also like to explore, but you can't always be sure of what's going to happen and tells them about the time Percy got into trouble exploring at the harbor, thanks to his freight cars. After the story, Tanya suggests that what happened to Percy was the freight cars' fault. Mr. Conductor corrects her by saying that Percy should have known better than to trust them and to think twice before going exploring.

Pepe plays some South American music!

The sound of a train stopping signals Schemer's return, and Mr. Conductor takes this as his cue to disappear. Schemer enters the station led by Pepe Santana. Pepe tells Stacy that he brought back a "lost" Schemer to Shining Time Station. Schemer tries to save face by claiming that he wasn't lost; he just momentarily forgot his way. Stacy tries to make Schemer admit that it was wrong to take the children with him. Pepe mentions that even though he's from far away, he managed to find his way back to the station. He reveals that he's from Ambato, a city in Ecuador up in the high mountains of South America. He asks if they'd like to listen to some South American music. He pulls out pan-pipes and a drum from his satchel and plays a short tune for them. Schemer then helps Pepe with his things and accompanies him to the station platform, while giving him some Schemerly advice about performing in America.

Mr. Conductor plans to let the rabbit go home

Mr. Conductor summons the kids over to the ticket counter to talk about the rabbit. He explains that the rabbit would be much more happier if it went back home. Tanya asks if he knows where the rabbit lives, and Mr. Conductor reveals that it lives in a farm field with his friends and family. Mr. Conductor offers to take the rabbit home. As the kids say goodbye, Mr. Conductor and the rabbit disappear in a sparkle of gold dust, much to the kids' amazement.

Schemer notices the empty rabbit cage!

Stacy emerges from the workshop with the new map and hangs it on the station wall. Schemer returns, and asks what happened to the rabbit when he sees the now empty cage. The kids awkwardly tell him that someone took it, but Schemer claims that he did not see anyone come in or out of the station carrying it, and goes on to express his opinion that the station is haunted. Just as he finishes saying this, Stacy sneaks up behind and startles him. The episode ends as everyone gets a good laugh from Schemer's reaction.

Episode Morals:
  • Children should always ask a responsible adult for permission or to accompany them before going anywhere.

Featured Jukebox Puppet Band Song:
•  Red River Valley (Sung by Vaneese Thomas)

Featured Anything Tunnel Music Video:
•  Follow Directions

Featured Thomas Stories:
•  The Runaway
•  Percy Takes the Plunge

Quotes of Note:
  • Schemer: I wasn't lost - I just momentarily forgot my way.
  • Schemer (to Pepe): My friend, I know this place! I am Shining Time Station!
    Stacy: I beg your pardon?
    Schemer: Well, I am the Arcade -- aren't I?

Episode Notes:
  • Stacy uses the term "railway" instead of the American "railroad" when she describes the need for a new map.
  • Mr. Conductor reveals that the old Indian Valley Railroad Line map is 56 years old. Since the episode first aired in 1989, this would put the map's origin to be drafted @1933. 
  • The song "Follow Directions" was released on video as part of "Shining Time Station Singsongs Vol. 1."
  • Prior to the 2001 release of Anchor Bay's "Best of Percy" video, Ringo Starr's US dub of "Percy Takes the Plunge" could only be heard in this episode.
  • Curiously near the episode's end, Stacy hangs the old unaltered map up on the mural wall to the right of the ticket desk. The map would eventually end up back on the inside wall of the workshop nearest to the wall bookcase in the seasons that followed.

Things that Go Ga-Hooga in the Night
Production #19 (1.19)
Written by Brian McConnachie
Directed by Gregory Lehane
Summary by J. Gratton

S1-Ep.19:"Things that go Ga-Hooga in the Night"

Episode Characters/Stars:
•  Stacy Jones (Didi Conn)
•  Harry Cupper (Leonard Jackson)
•  Schemer (Brian O'Connor)
•  Mr. Conductor (Ringo Starr)
•  Matt Jones (Jason Woliner)
•  Tanya Cupper (Nicole Leach)
•  The Jukebox Puppet Band
•  Wendy (Guest star Wendy Brackman as herself)

Episode Synopsis: Harry rigs up a contraption to handle the night mail automatically so that Stacy will not have to spend the night at the station. When she wants to anyway, Harry, Matt and Tanya decide to join her, while Schemer plans to scare the kids and prove the station is haunted.

Detailed Episode Summary:

Harry's automatic mail transfer contraption!

The episode opens with Harry explaining to Stacy how a wire and pulley system he set up will automatically take care of the overnight mail. When the Midnight Special comes roaring through, the mail bag will be caught by a hook and slide across a wire to the other side of the station to be picked up in the morning by the Daybreak Express. Harry tells Stacy that since all of the work is done for her, she doesn't have to spend the night at the station. Stacy politely tells Harry that she intends on staying overnight anyway.

The kids are curious about staying overnight

Matt and Tanya arrive and ask Stacy if she's really going to spend the night at the station. When Tanya asks where she'll sleep, Stacy replies that she'll be in her sleeping bag. Harry is confident that his mail switching system will work and tries once more to convince Stacy that she can go home that evening. Stacy again kindly declines, explaining that she doesn't want to risk the mail bag getting stuck on Harry's system as she wants Shining Time Station to be known as the most reliable station on the line. Harry then decides to also spend the night with her so she won't be alone.

A top hat scuttles along the station floor!!!

The kids are curious and Matt asks his aunt if she's going to wear pajamas. Stacy intends to sleep in her work clothes and change in the morning, and even though the kids think that the concept is cool, she adds that she'll still be brushing her teeth and washing her face. When Stacy goes off to look for a sleeping bag they ponder what spending the night at the station would be like, and if it might be scary being there with ghosts. Just as Tanya states that she's not afraid of ghosts, they are suddenly startled to see a top hat scuttle across the station floor and stop at the arcade stairs. As they go closer to investigate, Mr. Conductor emerges from beneath the hat with a groan.

Mr. Conductor emerges from beneath the hat

Mr. Conductor explains that he found the top hat in the lounge car on the express to Twiddly Junction. He then asks why they look as if they’ve just seen a ghost. The kids claim that they knew all along that it was Mr. Conductor, but he catches on and teases the kids for being frightened when they saw the hat float across the floor. The kids deny it at first, but admit to being a little scared when Mr. Conductor tells them that he would've been just as frightened to see such a sight and would have jumped and screamed. Tanya confesses that she was about to scream and Matt was ready to run for the station door. Just the same, Mr. Conductor compliments them for being brave. This all reminds Mr. Conductor of the time Percy played a scary joke on Thomas, and he proceeds to tell them the story.

Afterward, Tanya thinks that it was silly of Thomas to believe that Percy was a ghost. Mr. Conductor says that our imaginations usually fill up more at night than during the daytime. Tanya asks Mr. Conductor if he ever spent the night in the Station. He affirms that he does when not traveling, and sleeps in his bunk bed inside the mural switch house. Matt asks if he sleeps in his clothes, to which Mr. Conductor says no, he sleeps in his brand new pair of train-covered pajamas. Mentioning them reminds him that he needs to take them out of the dryer, and sparkles away.

The kids beg Stacy to spend the night

Since Stacy and Harry intend on staying overnight, Matt and Tanya decide they want to as well, and beg Stacy to let them do so. Stacy makes it conditional on if their parents give their permission. The kids become excited and Stacy remarks that their parents haven't even agreed yet.

Wendy Brackman makes masks for the kids

Just then, a woman wearing an ornate paper hat and costume calls out to Stacy. It's Wendy Brackman, an old friend of Stacy's. She introduces Wendy to the Matt and Tanya who are curious and ask her about her appearance. Stacy reveals that Wendy can make anything out of paper, and Wendy adds that she makes hats but likes making masks. Stacy asks Wendy if she could show demonstrate her talents to the kids as she goes to the ticket desk to call the kids' parents. The kids want to make scary masks and when we next see them, Tanya is wearing a dragon-like mask as Wendy makes a skeletal one for Matt. Wendy bids everyone goodbye just as her train arrives. Stacy breaks the good news to Matt and Tanya that their parents agreed to let them spend the night at the station, and Stacy leaves to jubilant children to go find extra sleeping bags for them.

Schemer: "Aren't you scared?"

Schemer comes in and asks the kids why they're so happy. When they tell him, Schemer tries to frighten them by telling them about how scary the station is at night in the dark with the boogieman, and tells them about "the man with his head on backwards", who used to frighten Schemer when he was small. Matt asks skeptically if he ever saw him, but Schemer admits that he didn't. Tanya adds that this man was all in Schemer's imagination. They run off outside to play as Schemer complains that today's children aren't as afraid as he was at that age. He begins to scare himself as he privately admits that he'd be terrified to spend the night at the station without any lights on, his “blankie,” and his "mommy." He reaffirms his conviction that the Station is haunted, and asks himself why the children do not share his beliefs. Schemer suddenly experiences a “Genius Time” moment, and decides that the children need something to be afraid of. He startles himself when he backs into the Information Desk and hastily leaves the station.

Harry tells the kidst the railroad never sleeps

That night, Tanya and Matt are in their sleeping bags camped in front of the ticket counter. Harry joins them from his workshop with a blanket roll. When the kids tell him that they can't sleep, Harry shares his experience of being the same way when he drove the overnight train to Pelican Falls. When they complain that they're still not sleepy, Harry tells them to close their eyes and pretend to be asleep. Harry then leaves the kids and goes into his workshop.

Mr Conductor in his pyjamas!

Mr. Conductor appears wearing his pajamas and a nightcap and asks them if they've brushed their teeth. The kids aren't sleepy and ask Mr. Conductor to tell them a bedtime story, but not a scary one. Mr. Conductor settles on telling them a “hairy” story about the time Percy got covered with treacle and hay, making for quite a sight.

Who is putting a nickel into the jukebox?

Having finished his story, Mr. Conductor repeats Harry's advice for the kids to close their eyes and pretend to be asleep before he leaves. The kids try to but a screeching sound startles them. They hear it again and the camera pans into the arcade where a hand is seen inserting a nickel into the jukebox. Tito awakens his band mates to tell them that a mysterious hand just gave them a nickel to play something. The band sleepily begins to play a slow version of “Clementine.”

Stacys tucks in the kids

The kids are still wondering who played the jukebox when Stacy comes in to check in on them. She's surprised to find them still awake and tucks them in pretending that she's putting them into envelopes (their sleeping bags) and asks where they want to be sent off to. Tanya asks to be sent far away to Alaska and Stacy kisses her goodnight. Matt wants to go to California as Stacy tucks him in. She tells them that she'll be in Harry's office and that she'll see them in the morning. When they insist again that they're not sleepy, Stacy tells them to close their eyes and pretend that they are. As his aunt leaves Matt asks Tanya why grown-ups always say that.

The children become increasingly startled when they hear crashing sounds. Stacy and Harry rush out of the workshop having heard it too. Harry and Stacy decide to investigate, reassuring the kids that it was probably the wind knocking something over.

It's "the man with his head on backwards" !!!!!

Just then, a figure covered in a white sheet and wearing a ball cap slinks into the station, but retreats when Harry's voice is heard. Stacy notes that the Midnight Special is due any time with the night mail, and Harry is eager to see if his pulley system works. As they both leave the station, the sheeted figure returns, but is revealed to be Schemer when he steps on the sheet and pulls it off. Irritated at being foiled, he throws the sheet away and it lands over the wire of Harry's pulley system. In another "Genius Time" moment, Schemer decides to become "the man with his head on backwards" to frighten the children.

Strange creatures frighten Schemer!

The kids complain that their sleeping bags are knotted at the bottom, so they both dive inside their bags to fix the problem. Meanwhile, Schemer has put his jacket and cap on backwards and walks towards the kids. He becomes frightened himself when he glances around and sees two sleeping bags standing upright and wriggling. Schemer runs off screaming and knocks himself out when he bumps into the jukebox, waking up the puppets. As he runs toward the station's exit, the children's paper masks are lit up from behind by the passing Midnight Special, while the sheet is caught by the mail bag sliding across the pulley system and pulled ghostlike across to the other side. Convinced he's just seen the real man with his head on backwards, an unnerved Schemer panics and runs away screaming just as Harry and Stacy come back into the station.

Schemer: "Goodnight!"

The kids complain of being tired, while Harry congratulates himself that his system worked and the mail is now ready to be picked up by the Daybreak Express. Stacy concurs but says that she wanted to be there to be sure. Harry and Stacy lay out their bedding beside Matt and Tanya as the kids chide them to get to sleep. Everyone wishes one another goodnight, even in the jukebox. The episode ends with everyone saying goodnight to Schemer, who suddenly appears from behind the ticket counter to wish them one final goodnight.

Episode Morals:
  • We can all overcome and cope with our fears.

Featured Jukebox Puppet Band Song:
•  Clementine (sung by Rory Dodd)

Featured Thomas Stories:
•  Ghost Train
•  Wooly Bear

Quotes of Note:
  • Mr. Conductor: You know what they always say; ugly things are hairy, but spooky things are scary.
  • Mr. Conductor: Our imaginations usually fill up more at night than during the daytime.

Episode Notes:
  • The episode's title is a play on words taken from an old Scottish prayer: "From ghoulies and ghosties; And long-leggedy beasties; And things that go bump in the night, Good Lord, deliver us!".
  • Ringo Starr's US narrations of “Ghost Train” and “Wooly Bear” were never released on home video.

Is this the End?
Production #20 (1.20)
Written by Brian McConnachie
Directed by Gregory Lehane
Summary by J.Gratton

Season 1 Episode 20: "Is This the End?"

Episode Characters/Stars:
•  Stacy Jones (Didi Conn)
•  Harry Cupper (Leonard Jackson)
•  Schemer (Brian O'Connor)
•  Mr. Conductor (Ringo Starr)
•  Matt Jones (Jason Woliner)
•  Tanya Cupper (Nicole Leach)
•  J.B. King, Esquire (Mart Hulswit)
•  The Jukebox Puppet Band
•  Jerry the Juggler (Gabriel Barre)

Episode Synopsis: A new big station has been built in Snarlyville and our friends at Shining Time Station are saddened when they learn of the decision by the Indian Valley Railroad to close the station. Stacy, Harry and the kids try to cope with the bad news while Schemer decides to fight back. Hopefully J.B. King will realize before it's too late just how special Shining Time Staion is to everyone.

Detailed Episode Summary:

Mr. Conductor finds his bicycle

Harry is wheeling away a handcart of assorted baggage from the front of the arcade when a voice asks him to stop. Mr. Conductor appears from in front of the cart and asks Harry where he is taking the station's Lost and Found department. Harry reveals that he's on his way to load the items onto the train bound for the new big station in Snarlyville. The station's Lost and Found is being moved there, which Mr. Conductor sees as not being a good sign. Harry admits that it's definitely bad news for Shining Time Station. Before Harry leaves, Mr. Conductor retrieves his bicycle from the cart to take one last ride around the station.

Stacy & the kids wave goodbye to the last train

Stacy is at the station entrance and calls for Matt and Tanya to come join her. she tells them to take a good look at old #499. The children are confused and ask if #499 is being taken out of service. Harry clarifies that the train simply will not be stopping at the station anymore, and leaves it up to Stacy to break the bad news. Now that there's a new, bigger station in Snarlyville, the trains will be making a stop there instead of the smaller Shining Time Station. Matt asks if this means that the station will close, which Stacy sadly affirms.

Schemer can't contain his joy

As they all wave goodbye to #499, Schemer comes in and returns a greeting, believing that they were waving to him. When the kids correct and tell him that this will likely be the last time a train stops at the station, Schemer can't restrain his joy. After Stacy explains that the entire station will be closed, Schemer realizes that it also means closing the arcade. Visibly upset, Schemer storms off vowing that they need to do something about this.

An unwelcome phone call from J.B. King

Stacy answers a telephone call and after she hangs up is asked who it was. A tearful and choked-up Stacy tells them that J.B. King will be down later today to tell them something. Stacy believes that it's to notify them in person that Shining Time Station will be closed down. The kids are sad and Tanya asks her grandfather where he and Stacy will go. As he walks away, Harry glumly answers that they'll probably find work for them at Snarlyville Station.

Mr. Conductor has already heard the bad news :(

Mr. Conductor appears and solemnly admits that he's heard the bad news. Tanya questions what is wrong with Shining Time Station that would make the railroad decide to close it. Mr. Conductor says that the railroad thinks that it's too old fashioned, just like his friend Trevor. Mr. Conductor decides to tell the story of Trevor the Traction Engine as it has a sad beginning but a happy ending, in the hopes that the tale will cheer the kids up. At the end of the story Tanya suggests that like Trevor, Shining Time Station can be saved too. They're interrupted by a loud thumping sound which prompts Mr. Conductor to disappear.

Sergeant Schemer will protect his arcade!

Schemer walks in dressed head to toe in soldier's camouflage and carry a large stack of lumber. A concerned Stacy asks Schemer what he's doing, and he informs them that he's declared war and will be barricading himself in his arcade. Stacy tries to convince him that she has a feeling that things will work out all right in the end, but he defiantly tells her that "Sergeant Schemer" is taking the closure personally. He places his army helmet over his heart and tells everyone that he loves the station and everything about it, even the old jukebox. To prove it, he readies a nickel and asks what song they'd like to hear - it's his treat. Stacy and the kids are surprised by his uncommon generosity and request a railroad song. Schemer then marches over to the jukebox to choose a song.

Harry packs his things :(

Inside the jukebox the puppets are glum realizing that they'll soon be out of a job and have nowhere to go. Didi sobs that they might be able to get a job in a popcorn maker throwing popped kernels up into the air. Schemer inserts the nickel and Tito announces that the selection is "Little Black Train." Tito asks if they can perform the song in a hard-rock groove, but is met by silence until Didi prompts them to play. While the song is playing, Harry is shown in his workshop packing away mementoes into a cardboard box, Tanya is drawing the station interior on her sketch pad, and Matt is helping Stacy to pack away papers at the ticket desk. Matt spontaneously reaches over to give Stacy a hug as the song ends.

Schemer barricades his arcade!

Back at the arcade, Schemer is just about finished building his wooden barricade, buts as he hammers in the last nail the entire thing collapses. Harry comes out of the workshop and announces that he’s just about finished packing up his things. Although it may be their last day at the station, Harry asks Stacy if she knows what day it is, and she answers with a smile that she does. Matt asks Stacy about its significance, and she tells them that on this very day once a year, the Circus Train stops at Shining Time Station. Schemer becomes excited at the prospect as he looks forward to seeing his favorite circus performer, "Jerry the Juggler". Just then, the Circus Train rushes by the station and Schemer starts yelling for it and Jerry to stop. When it doesn't, Schemer becomes furious and states that this calls for drastic action before stomping out of the station.

Stacy says  they'll always have their memories

Harry and the kids go into the workshop where Tanya asks her grandfather if the Circus Train will stop at Snarlyville. Harry explains that with Snarlyville being a big station, a small station like Shining Time is a thing of the past and obsolete. He reminds them of the sad reality that there are abandoned stations on every railroad. He then sends them both away to help Stacy pack as he stares into the distance. A tearful-looking Stacy tells the kids that sometimes moving away can be really sad, but they should always remember the good times and memories they have of being at the station. Whenever they want to visit Shining Time Station again in the future, all they need to do is close their eyes and remember to make them happy again. The kids still feel sad and hug Stacy for comfort.

A sad goodbye for Mr. Conductor

We watch as the station clock flashes forward from 2:05 PM to 4:40 PM. As the kids are playing near the Picture Machine, Mr. Conductor appears with his belongings tied in a kerchief at the end of a stick, hobo-style. Tanya asks him if he's leaving already, and he replies that he is. The kids beg him not to go as they'll miss him, but Mr. Conductor tells them that this is nonsense and that they'll be making new friends. The kids insist that they only want his friendship and Mr. Conductor argues that everyone likes to make new friends, even Thomas the Tank Engine. He's about to leave when the kids plead with him to tell them what happened. Mr. Conductor gives in, saying that there's always time for one more story, and tells about the first time Thomas met Trevor. After the story, Mr. Conductor is about to leave again when the kids tell him not to. Mr. Conductor removes his hat, throws it on the floor, and begins to wipe his eyes and brow with a handkerchief as he tells them that no matter what happens, they'll always be friends. He makes this a promise and leaves just as Tanya shouts out to him that he's left his hat behind. Matt sadly reflects that it's too late and that Mr. Conductor is gone forever.

Schemer meets J.B. King, Esquire

J.B. King enters the station and Stacy has a difficult time maintaining her composure as she greets him. He informs her that as Superintendent of the Indian Valley Railroad it's his duty to close Shining Time Station. Matt and Tanya begin to protest loudly. J.B. King asks them if they are major stockholders in the railroad, and they reply that they are not. He explains that they recently built a large new station at Snarlyville and that they don't need little stations like this one anymore. He goes on to add that bigger is better, and asks them if they want to be big when they grow up. The kids hemming and hawing confirms to J.B. King that they're thinking correctly and that "big is better." Matt retorts that he doesn't want to be big if it means losing what's nice. J.B. King admits that he has a point just as Schemer runs into the station still attired in army gear. Ignoring J.B. King, Schemer tells Stacy that he has a plan. His "mommy" believes that it might be possible to move the entire station building into their back yard. Stacy kindly declines the offer as a station isn't really a station without trains. Stacy introduces Schemer to J.B,. King who extends his hand, but Schemer refuses to shake it and accuses him for being responsible for all of the recent misery they've been experiencing by taking away all the trains at the station.

Jerry the Juggler greets Stacy

The moment is interrupted by the sound of a train stopping, and J.B. King indignantly states that trains are not supposed to stop here anymore. Harry comes out of his workshop just as Jerry the Juggler comes into the station juggling several balls. J.B. King recognizes him as his most favorite juggling clown in the world. Jerry hugs Stacy who playfully tweaks his clown nose. Jerry tells Stacy that the Circus Train must've accidentally been switched to Snarlyville, as they had to reverse their way back to Shining Time Station.

Jerry confronts J.B. King

Stacy introduces an overjoyed J.B. King to Jerry, who does not share the sentiment. Instead of exchanging a handshake, Jerry shoves his hat into J.B. King's hand and crossly asks him if he's responsible for closing the station. J.B. King laughs nervously, but sobers up quickly. Jerry informs him that the circus train goes two hundred miles out of its way every year to stop at Shining Time Station because it is a special place. He begins juggling and adds they would not go on tour without first stopping at the station as they consider it to be their lucky charm. Jerry tosses the balls to Schemer as he confronts J.B. King to say that he hopes that the station has not been shut down. J.B. King doesn’t know what to say, but Stacy does; the Circus Train stops at all small towns and big cities all over the state to give everyone the chance to see the circus. She adds that trains are like a circus in that everyone should be able to ride the train, even if they live in the tiniest of towns. If he closes the station, the residents of Shining Time will never be able to see the circus perform in their own town again, let alone be able to ever take a train that will drop them off at Shining Time Station.

A shaken J.B. King offers that he'll have to think about the decision, while Jerry adds that at least it’s a step in the right direction. Schemer yells for everyone to look at him as he begins to juggle the balls he was holding. Just as everyone looks, Jerry takes them away from him mid-air to juggle them on his own, leaving Schemer dumbfounded at what just happened. Jerry then runs out of the station to tell his fellow performers about what is going on.

J.B. King finds Mr. Conductor's hat!

J.B. King's attention meanwhile is attracted by what he sees on the arcade floor near the jukebox. He reaches down and picks up the hat Mr. Conductor left behind. Realizing what he's holding, he deduces that this is where Mr. Conductor lives. He returns that hat to where he found it and admits that the station is a special place. He addresses the kids to announce that the station will remain open. Everyone is jubilant, but J.B. King adds one condition - that Stacy obtains Jerry the Juggler's autograph for him. Our friends celebrate as J.B. King leaves them to go inspect the circus train, and remarks that Jerry has a serious side which he likes to see in a clown. A happy Schemer again professes his love for the station, and trips on the stairs on his way out, as Stacy and Harry follow him to see the Circus Train.

Mr. Conductor returns for his hat! =)

Matt and Tanya are now glad that the station will remain open, but are at the same time sad that Mr. Conductor is gone. They say that it's not Shining Time Station without Mr. Conductor and that they can't even put Mr. Conductor's hat in the "Lost and Found" department as it is no longer at the station. A voice chimes up to say that the hat is not lost, and Mr. Conductor suddenly appears sitting on his bicycle. The kids express their joy upon seeing him again.

There's something special about this place!

As Stacy and Harry come back into the station, Harry reminds her what she said earlier about having a good feeling that things would work out in the end. Stacy replies that things always have a way of working out right at the station and they both exchange laughs and hugs as they both say "there's just something about this place", and walk off to the workshop. The episode ends with Mr. Conductor appearing on the Information Desk and bowing in the direction of the workshop, the kids, then to the viewer.

Episode Morals:
  • Saying good-bye is sometimes sad, but we must learn how to cope with it.

Featured Jukebox Puppet Band Song:
•  Little Black Trains

Featured Thomas Stories:
•  Saved from Scrap
•  Thomas and Trevor

Quotes of Note:
  • Mr. Conductor (on leaving Shining Time Station): I'm a railroad man, Tanya, I have to be where the trains are.

Episode Notes:
  • The Circus Train's annual stop at Shining Time Station will be featured again in the Season 3 episode "Mysterious Stranger".
  • This episode marks the first time J.B. King acknowledges Mr. Conductor's existance.
  • Ringo Starr's US narrations of “Saved From Scrap” and “Thomas and Trevor” were never released on home video.
  • This would be Leonard Jackson's final appearance as Harry Cupper until the special episode “One of the Family.”
  • The person heard on the other end of the telephone conversations in this episode are actually sped-up version of T.S. Eliot reading a few lines from his poems "The Naming of Cats", "Growltiger's Last Stand" and "Mungojerrie And Rumpelteazer". ~ contributed by Daniel Celano

'Tis a Gift
HOLIDAY SPECIAL
Production #21 (1.21)
Written by Brian McConnachie
Directed by Gregory Lehane
Summary by A. Su

Shining Time Station Holiday Special: 'Tis a Gift

Episode Characters/Stars:
•  Stacy Jones (Didi Conn)
•  Schemer (Brian O'Connor)
•  Mr. Conductor (Ringo Starr)
•  Matt (Jason Woliner)
•  Tanya (Nicole Leach)
•  J.B. King (Mart Hulswit)
•  Midge Smoot (Bobo Lewis)
•  Mayor Flopdinger (Jerome Dempsey)
•  Tucker Cooper (Ardon Bess)
•  Vickie (Rachel Miner)
•  Claire, Vickie's mother (Judy Marshak)
•  Mr. Nicholas (Special Guest Star Lloyd Bridges)
•  The Jukebox Puppet Band

Episode Synopsis: It's Christmas at Shining Time Station and Schemer is as scheming as ever as he campaigns to be chosen as Santa's helper for the Indian Valley Gala Holiday Pageant. A mysterious elderly stranger by the name of Mr. Nicholas visits the station and seems to know a lot about the Shining Time Station residents.

Detailed Episode Summary:

Schemer is over-confident

It is the Christmas holidays at Shining Time Station, and the place is bustling with activity as people are rushing to catch trains to take them to see their families. Even Schemer is in a good mood, as he reveals to the kids Matt and Tanya that the Indian Valley Christmas Committee is putting on a Christmas pageant and will pick one lucky contestant to play the role of Santa’s Helper. Schemer is confident that he will get the role.

Tucker Cooper fills in for cousin Harry Cupper

J.B. King, the superintendent of the Indian Valley Railroad, arrives at the station and meets a new engineer, who introduces himself as Harry's cousin, Tucker Cooper. He has come to help out following Harry's transfer to Twiddly Junction. Mr. King welcomes Tucker to Shining Time Station and asks if he’s met Mr. Conductor. Cooper has not, and is a bit skeptical due to Mr. King’s description.

Stacy tells the kids that Christmas is her favorite time of the year because the sight of the passengers hurrying through the stations shows everyone's desire to get together for the holidays. When the kids mention having nothing to do, Stacy suggests that they write letters to Santa Claus, which they do to the accompaniment of some music performed by the Jukebox Puppets.

Mr. Conductor tells the kids to wear their mittens

Having finished their letters, the kids take them to Stacy to find out how to address them to Santa, but Mayor Flopdinger rushes in to inform Stacy that the Christmas Committee has no place to meet that night, so they’ve decided to hold the meeting to elect Santa’s Helper at Shining Time Station, much to her frustration. The kids still don't know Santa Claus' exact address, but fortunately they are aided by Mr. Conductor, who has written to Santa before. He suggests the kids to go outside and build a snowman to pass the time waiting for Santa, and they begin to go outside with only their coats on, claiming they don’t need their hats and mittens. Mr. Conductor then tells them a story about how Thomas the Tank Engine once felt the same way about his snow plow.

Tanya & Matt aren't looking forward to see  Vickie

Having finished his story, Mr. Conductor tells Matt and Tanya everyone has something special to offer the world, but they don’t always know it. He then magically sends off their letters and disappears. The kids then overhear that Vickie, a bratty local girl, will be spending the afternoon at the station with them. They both protest, knowing that Vickie is difficult to get along with, but Stacy encourages them to try to be nice to her and think of her good traits. Tanya notes that Vickie does have a good singing voice.

Nom...nom...nom...nom...!

Meanwhile, Schemer is binge eating, as he hopes to become fat enough to look the part for Santa's Helper. He also reveals his own costume for the role with an advertisement that reads "Santa says: Give Your Money to Schemer!" Stacy tries to explain to Schemer the true qualities to be Santa's Helper, only for Schemer to dismiss them with contempt. He also laughs at the idea of Stacy being Santa's Helper, provoking Stacy enough to compete for the role against him.

Mr. Nicholas recognizes Stacy

Tucker arrives at the station with a Christmas tree, aided by an elderly man called Mr. Nicholas. This visitor soon proves to be no ordinary passenger, as he knows several things about Stacy from when she was a child. Mr. Nicholas says he has come to Shining Time Station to catch the Northern Star. Stacy informs him that no train by that name runs on the Indian Valley Railroad, but Mr. Nicholas is confident it will come. Meanwhile, Vickie is dropped off at the station by her mother, who has to leave to do her Christmas shopping. She quickly turns out to be as rude and selfish as Matt and Tanya feared.

Schemer begins a smear campaign against Stacy!

Mr. King returns to tell Stacy the weather is turning bad and if it gets any worse the trains will have to be stopped. He takes notice of Mr. Nicholas and tries to tell him there is no train called the Northern Star. Mr. Nicholas insists that the Northern Star has never been late yet and distracts Mr. King with some memories from his childhood. Schemer, who has begun his campaign against Stacy by hanging posters all over the station, tells Mr. King, as well as Midge Smoot and the Mayor, untrue things about her. However, his words only encourage them to compete for the role as well.

Vickie admires the Mr. Conductor "doll"

Meanwhile, Vickie is still being difficult and Matt and Tanya finally tell her to go away. Sulking on a bench, she meets Mr. Nicholas who suggests she smile more. Encouraged, she returns to try again, and the kids accept her help on decorating the Christmas tree. Her helpfulness ends in disaster when she accidentally knocks over the Christmas tree while attempting to put an angel figurine on the top. The kids blame her for it, and Vicky runs off in shame. Mr. King then comes in to announce that he’s had to stop all trains due to the weather. He tells Mr. Nicholas, but he’s still adamant that the Northern Star will arrive.

Mr. Nicholas comforts Vickie

Mr. Nicholas also comforts Vickie, and they watch a movie in the Picture Machine in which a little boy visits the lonely hobo to provide him some company on Christmas. Vickie learns that some people are alone on Christmas and Mr. Nicholas also teaches her that some presents don't come in decorated boxes or cost money. Vickie then expresses her desire to see Santa Claus, as she wishes for him to bring a present for her mother. Mr. Nicholas counsels that the best present comes from the heart, and Vickie realizes that her gift of song is what her mother likes best of her.

The Christmas tree is upright again, but the lights don’t work anymore and Matt and Tanya still blame Vickie. However, Mr. Conductor tells another story about Thomas to show the kids that sometimes accidents happen and it’s really no one person’s fault. Once the story is finished, Matt and Tanya decide to forgive Vickie.

Mayor Flopdinger announces the winner - himself!

Stacy offers to let Mr. Nicholas spend the night at the station, but to her surprise, the Northern Star arrives as he had predicted. Meanwhile, the Christmas Committee meeting has started. To everyone's surprise, the Mayor declares himself the winner of the Santa’s Helper contest, and a loud argument breaks out. When Vickie asks Mr. Nicholas for help, he tells her to use her gift. Vickie does so, singing a song that not only stops the argument, but reminds them all of the true spirit of Christmas. It even touches her mother, who has just arrived to pick her up. Later Schemer calls his mother to report that everyone will play Santa’s Helper in the pageant.

The friends gather 'round the Christmas tree...

Knowing his work is done, Mr. Nicholas leaves to board his train, but not before meeting Mr. Conductor and magically repairing the Christmas tree lights. The story ends as all gather around the Christmas Tree, and Vickie, with a little help from the adults, places the angel figurine on the tree successfully.

Episode Morals:
•  Nothing is impossible, unless you stop believing in it
•  The best gifts come from the heart.

Featured Jukebox Puppet Band Song:
•  Over the River and through the Woods
•  Jingle Bells
•  It's Christmastime at the Railway Station

Featured Picture Machine Music Video:
•  The Hobo Song

Featured Thomas Stories:
•  Terrence the Tractor
•  Thomas' Christmas Party

Episode Notes:
  • Mr. Conductor sings a modified bar of "The Lumberjack Song" from Monty Python’s Flying Circus as he carries his Christmas tree. He adds "and I'm all right" in place of the song's original "and I'm okay". 
  • This is the only appearance of Mr. Nicholas, Vickie, Claire and Tucker Cooper.
  • This is Ringo Starr's last appearance as Mr. Conductor. His role would be taken over by George Carlin in the next season.
  • Although generally considered to be a 'special', this was the 21st and final episode of Season 1.
  • Upon release on VHS, the Thomas stories in this episode were rearranged. "Thomas’ Christmas Party" was made the first story, while "Thomas and the Missing Christmas Tree" became the second story. As Ringo Starr never created a US version of the latter, the original UK soundtrack was used, however all dialogue including the phrase "Fat Controller" was removed.
  • The sped-up voice heard in Stacy's telephone conversations is actually dialogue from her and Harry from a scene in Promises Promises. (See Season 1: Promises, Promises Episode Notes).

Click to see Season 1 Episode Guide
Click to see Season 2 Episode Guide
Click to see Season 3 Episode Guide
Click to see Family Specials Episode Guide
Click to see Mr. C.'s Thomas Tales Episode Guide
Click to see Video Specials Guide