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Shining Time Station

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Shining Time Station
Shining Time Station title card.jpg
The Shining Time Station title screen with UP 844
Created byBritt Allcroft
Rick Siggelkow
Directed byMatthew Diamond
Gregory Lehane
Stan Swan
Wayne Moss
John Ferraro
Steve Wright
StarringRingo Starr (1989–1990)
George Carlin (1991–1995)
Didi Conn
Leonard Jackson (1989)
Tom Jackson (1991–1995)
Nicole Leach (1989–1991)
Jason Woliner (1989–1991)
Erica Luttrell (1991–1995)
Ari Magder (1991–1995)
Danielle Marcot (1991–1995)
Brian O'Connor
Jonathan Freeman
Theme music composerJoe Raposo
Opening theme"Shining Time Station Theme" sung by Kevin Roth
Composer(s)Joe Raposo
Paul Derrick Mason (season 1)
Stacey Hersh (seasons 2 & 3)
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons3
No. of episodes70
Production
Executive producer(s)Donald Johnson (1989)
Angus Wright (1989)
Britt Allcroft (1991-1995)
Rick Siggelkow (1991-1995)
Jerry Hamza (1995)
Producer(s)Britt Allcroft (1989-1990)
Rick Siggelkow (1989-1990)
Nancy Chapelle (1991-1995)
Jim Corston (1995)
Running time27–28 minutes
60 minutes (1995 specials)
Production company(s)The Britt Allcroft Company
Quality Family Entertainment
Fuji Television Network (Some Thomas Stories from Seasons 2 and 3)
Release
Original networkPBS
Original releaseJanuary 29, 1989 –
June 11, 1993 (Regular series) February 28, 1995 (1995-02-28)
November 20, 1995 (1995-11-20) (1995 specials)
Chronology
Related showsThomas & Friends
Mr. Conductor's Thomas Tales
Storytime with Thomas
Noddy

Shining Time Station is an American children's drama television series jointly created by British television producer Britt Allcroft and American television producer Rick Siggelkow. The series was produced by The Britt Allcroft Company (now Gullane Entertainment, a subsidiary of HiT Entertainment) and Quality Family Entertainment in New York City for New York City's PBS station WNET, and was originally taped in New York City during its first season and in Toronto during the rest of its run. It incorporated sequences from the British television show Thomas & Friends, which was in turn based on a series of books that had been written by the Reverend Wilbert Awdry. The series aired on PBS from January 29, 1989 until June 11, 1993, with four hour-long "Family Specials" premiering in primetime throughout 1995. The show continued to air on the network in reruns until June 11, 1998.[1][2] It aired on Fox Family from 1998 to 1999. It also aired on Nick Jr. in 2000 and on Canadian television networks such as APTN and SCN. Elements from the show were incorporated into the Thomas and Friends film Thomas and the Magic Railroad.

Background

After the success of Thomas & Friends in the United Kingdom, Britt Allcroft and her production company teamed up with PBS station WNET in New York City to produce and distribute the sitcom-esque Shining Time Station, every episode of which would include a couple of episodes of Thomas & Friends. The series starred Ringo Starr, George Carlin, Didi Conn, Brian O'Connor, and The Flexitoon Puppets.[3] Ringo Starr, who had already been providing the voice of the storyteller for the British series, agreed to extend the role to include the on-screen character called Mr. Conductor in Shining Time Station. He later left the show and was replaced by George Carlin.

Shining Time Station received critical acclaim. In a review for Entertainment Weekly, Ken Tucker states that, compared to the faster paced Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?, "'Shining Time Station' wants to slow things down. It's an old-fashioned show that creates a gentle, lulling atmosphere to convince children that life is fun and that trains are the way to travel."[4] It was a ratings success as well. In its first season, the show averaged a 0.9 Nielsen rating, translating to about 1.2 million viewers on average.[2] At the peak of its popularity, the show brought in up to 7.5 million viewers per week.[2]

Overview

The Shining Time Station is a train station on the Indian Valley Railroad in an unknown part of the United States of America. It is managed by Stacy Jones. Its workshop is run in the first season by Harry Cupper, and thereafter by Billy Twofeathers. A local named Horace Schemer, simply referred to as Schemer, runs the station's arcade and serves as the series' comic relief. The narrative is driven by regular and incidental visitors to the station.

Mr. Conductor is a tiny man who lives in a signal house inside the station's mural and tells the stories taken from Thomas & Friends to the kids. He also introduces songs to the kids in The Anything Tunnel. Sometimes, he may present a magic bubble to the kids that has the song inside as a way of introducing it. On occasion, the kids may look through a film viewer to see the song or film.

Cast

Series regulars (1989–1995)

Season 1 regulars (1989)

Christmas Special characters (1990)

Seasons 2–3 regulars (1991–1993)

Recurring characters (full series; 1989–1995)

  • Jerome Dempsey - Mayor Osgood Bob Flopdinger
  • Mart Hulswit - Mr. J.B. King, Esq.
  • Bobo Lewis - Midge Smoot

Recurring characters (Seasons 2–3; 1991–1993)

1995 Family Specials characters

The Jukebox Band

  • Jonathan Freeman – Tito Swing The Piano Man
  • Olga Marin – Didi The Drummer
  • Wayne White – Tex The Guitarist (1989)
  • Alan Semok – Tex The Guitarist (1990–1995)
  • Craig Marin – Rex The Guitarist
  • Peter Baird/Alan Semok/Vaneese Thomas – Grace The Bass Player (1989)
  • Peter Baird/Kenny Miele – Grace The Bass Player (1990–1995)

Their songs were produced and arranged by Steve Horelick and co-arranged by Larry Wolf.

Segments

The intro to each episode consists of the main theme song of the show, played to footage of the Union Pacific Steam Locomotive 844 and the credits of the series' characters. Only the first verse is sung for the beginning theme. The closing credits contain more shots of the Union Pacific 844, in addition to the full Shining Time Station theme song. For the Christmas special "'Tis A Gift" the footage used for the opening and closing sequences were filmed at the Grand Canyon Railway in Williams, Arizona and features their locomotive #18.

  • Flexitoons Puppets & Marionettes - The Jukebox Band - the show's station band that performs a song inside the jukebox. They consist of pianist Tito Swing, drummer Didi, guitarists Tex and Rex (who control the guitar together), and bass guitarist Grace Bass. JJ Silvers is the manager of The Jukebox Band.
  • Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends - Storytellers, Ringo Starr and George Carlin
  • The Anything Tunnel- Inside the anything tunnel, which is the tunnel on the station mural, there is a song with a cartoon, a stop motion clip, or a live action clip. Sometimes instead of the anything tunnel, Mr. Conductor would show a magic bubble or one of the kids looks through a film viewer.

Episodes

Merchandise

VHS

The beginning of each VHS copy of Shining Time Station (except for Shining Time Station Singsongs, Schemer Presents: The World According to Me, The Jukebox Band: A Day in the Life, and The Jukebox Band: Lullaby) featured a model scale of a typical 1950's drive-in movie theater called the "Shining Time Drive In Movie Theater" with parody commercials before the episode started. Then, after the episode of Shining Time station was shown, a short segment known as "Schemer Presents!" was shown. Each segment featured Schemer and he taught the viewers how to do something and have someone help him. Afterwards, the announcer wishes everyone a safe drive home. The Drive-In segments were created by Chip Lord & Mickey McGowan.

  • 'Tis a Gift
  • Sweet and Sour
  • Stacy Cleans Up
  • Schemer Alone
  • Bully for Mr. Conductor
  • Becky Makes a Wish
  • Billy's Party
  • Schemer's Special Club
  • Mr. Conductor's Evil Twin
  • Shining Time Station Singsongs
  • Schemer Presents: The World According to Me
  • The Jukebox Band: A Day in the Life
  • The Jukebox Band: Lullaby

Books

  • A book, titled This Old Band, was written by Britt Allcroft and Rick Siggelkow. It featured the Juke Box Band and was published by Quality Family Entertainment in 1994.

References

  1. ^ "Thomas The Tank Engine Near End Of The Line With PBS". Spokesman.com. 1997-12-19. Retrieved 2015-07-16.
  2. ^ a b c "Shining Time Station Season Guide". Sodor-island.net. Retrieved 2015-07-16.
  3. ^ Whitlock, Natalie Walker; Michael Mallory (2006-11-06). "How Thomas the Tank Engine Works". HowStuffWorks, Inc. Retrieved 2008-06-25.
  4. ^ Tucker, Ken (1992-01-10). "Two Tickets to Ride". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2008-06-25.

External links

See also