Back in 1989, PBS premiered a show that to me and my four year old mind, was absolutely amazing. It about a place that just had something special about it. The two kids of the first season Matt and Tanya, were always having adventures and getting to have stories from their friend, a character called Mr. Conductor, played by Ringo Starr in the first season.
Yes, I’m talking about Shining Time Station. Where Thomas the Tank Engine was first seen. Along with all his friends like Gordon, Duck, Toby, Edward, Percy and James. Stacy Jones the station master and Harry, the railroad mechanic. Schemer. I’d had forgotten how much of a shmuck that character was.
And there was also the Juke Box Band. I loved those goofy little puppets. They sang a lot of songs you don’t really hear anymore.
The Shining Time Station program, introduced to a new generation the role that the railroads played to the United States. A large segment of our culture I would even say owes itself to the rail roads. The American Heritage that is a part of every american citizen (whether they like it or not), was built by the railroads and supported by it for a very long time. Even after the car and truck became popular, trains were always there.
While this viewer never went on to be a train engineer like she once dreamed, I went on a memory trip last night and found that there quite a few good people on youtube that have the seasons uploaded.
The quality on some of the episodes is wanting, but you’ll most of them will serve their purpose just fine. So if you’ve been wondering where Mr. Conductor has been, you’ll have to go find himself yourself. Now if you’ll excuse me, he promised to tell the story about the time Percy scared poor Thomas senseless again.