Shining Time Station (TV Series 1989–1993)

TVSeries


Shining Time Station (TV Series 1989–1993)

An American version of the popular British children's program. Every episode, the kids (and sometimes the adults, too) at Shining Time Station learn some special lessons about life and getting along with others from the miniature Mr. Conductor. The lessons are then illustrated in segments featuring Thomas the Tank Engine.
USA
Canada
UK
IMDb  7.9 /10
Creators
Creator Britt Allcroft
Creator Rick Siggelkow
Information
Release Date1989-01-29
Runtime30mins
GenreComedy, Family, Fantasy
Content RatingTV-G (TV-G)
AwardsNominated for 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 3 wins & 6 nominations.
CompanyBritt Allcroft (Thomas) Ltd., WNET Channel 13 New York, Quality Family Entertainment
CountryUSA, Canada, UK
LanguageEnglish
Stacy Jones / ... 65 episodes, 1989-1993
Schemer / ... 65 episodes, 1989-1993
Didi / ... 59 episodes, 1989-1993
Grace the Bass (puppet) / ... 59 episodes, 1989-1993
Rex Boy / ... 59 episodes, 1989-1993
Tex Boy / ... 59 episodes, 1989-1993
Tito Swing / ... 58 episodes, 1989-1993
Mr. Conductor / ... 45 episodes, 1991-1993
Billy Twofeathers / ... 45 episodes, 1991-1993
Ari Magder
Ari Magder
Dan Jones 45 episodes, 1991-1993
Kara Cupper 45 episodes, 1991-1993
Danielle Marcot
Danielle Marcot
Becky 45 episodes, 1991-1993
Vanéese Y. Thomas
Vanéese Y. Thomas
Grace the Bass 20 episodes, 1989-1993
Kenny Miele
Kenny Miele
Grace the Bass (puppet) / ... 39 episodes, 1991-1993

Shining Time Station

Shining Time Station is an American children's 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 the books of The Railway Series 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. Reruns continued to air on PBS until June 11, 1998. It aired on Fox Family from 1998 to 1999. It also aired on Nick Jr. in the summer of 2000 and on Canadian television networks such as APTN and SCN. Elements from the show were incorporated into the 2000 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. 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 left the show after its initial season 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." 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. At the peak of its popularity, the show brought in up to 7.5 million viewers per week.


Overview

The Shining Time Station is a train station on the Indian Valley Railroad in an unknown part of the United States. 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)

  • Didi Conn – Stacy Jones
  • Brian O'Connor – Horace Schemer

Season 1 regulars (1989)

  • Ringo Starr – Mr. Conductor
  • Leonard Jackson – Henry "Harry" Cupper
  • Jason Woliner – Matthew "Matt" Jones
  • Nicole Leach – Tanya Cupper

Christmas Special characters (1990)

  • Ringo Starr – Mr. Conductor
  • Didi Conn – Stacy Jones
  • Brian O'Connor – Horace Schemer
  • Jason Woliner – Matthew "Matt" Jones
  • Nicole Leach – Tanya Cupper
  • Ardon Bess – Tucker Cooper (Harry's cousin)
  • Lloyd Bridges – Mr. Nicholas
  • Judy Marshak – Claire
  • Rachel Miner – Vickie

Seasons 2 & 3 regulars (1991–1993)

  • George Carlin – Mr. Conductor
  • Erica Luttrell – Kara Cupper
  • Ari Magder – Daniel "Dan" Jones
  • Danielle Marcot – Becky (recurring in season 2)
  • Tom Jackson – Billy Twofeathers

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)

  • Jason Woliner – Matthew "Matt" Jones (Season 2 only)
  • Nicole Leach – Tanya Cupper (Season 2 only)
  • Jonathan Shapiro – Schemee
  • Gerard Parkes – Barton Winslow
  • Barbara Hamilton – Ginny Johnson
  • Aurelio Padrón – Felix Perez
  • George Carlin – Mr. Conductor's Evil Twin

1995 Family Specials characters

  • George Carlin – Mr. Conductor
  • Didi Conn – Stacy Jones
  • Tom Jackson – Billy Twofeathers
  • Erica Luttrell – Kara Cupper
  • Danielle Marcot – Becky
  • Brian Edward O'Connor – Horace Schemer
  • Barbara Hamilton – Ginny Johnson
  • Bobo Lewis – Midge Smoot
  • Jerome Dempsey – Mayor Osgood Bob Flopdinger (Once Upon a Time only)
  • Mart Hulswit – Mr. J.B. King, Esq.
  • Bucky Hill – Kit Twofeathers (All but Once Upon a Time)
  • Ari Magder – Daniel "Dan" Jones (Once Upon a Time and Second Chances)
  • Jonathan Shapiro – Schemee (Second Chances and One of the Family)
  • Aurelio Pardón – Felix Perez (Second Chances and Queen for a Day)
  • Leonard Jackson – Henry "Harry" Cupper (One of the Family only)
  • Teri Garr – Sister Conductor (One of the Family only)
  • Jeannette Charles – The Queen (Queen for a Day only)

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.

Merchandise

VHS

The beginning of each VHS release (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 1950s 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 teaching the viewers how to do something, with one of the other regular characters helping 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.