Jim Henson and Britt Allcroft Present: Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends

Discussion in 'Alternate History Books and Media' started by Andrew Boyd, Mar 24, 2018.

  1. Andrew Boyd Autistic, but Artistic

    Feb 23, 2018
    In 1977, Britt Allcroft secured the rights to producing the Rev W Awdry's Railway Series books for television. Then, Jim Henson took interest in the same project and decided to collaborate with Allcroft on the new show.

    The end result was Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends, which has reached the world record books for the longest-running children's show in history. This part of the show's history is narrated by Ringo Starr and Michael Angelis in the UK.

    SEASON 1
    1. Thomas and Gordon
    2. Edward and Gordon (Edward's Day Out/Edward and Gordon)
    3. The Sad Story of Henry
    4. Edward, Gordon and Henry
    5. Thomas' Train
    6. Thomas and the Trucks
    7. Thomas and the Breakdown Train
    8. James and the Coaches (James and the Top Hat/James and the Bootlace)
    9. Troublesome Trucks
    10. James and the Express
    11. Thomas and the Guard
    12. Thomas Goes Fishing
    13. Thomas, Terence and the Trucks
    14. Thomas and Bertie
    15. Henry and the Elephant
    16. Tenders and Turntables
    17. Trouble in the Shed
    18. Percy Runs Away
    19. Coal
    20. The Flying Kipper
    21. Whistles and Sneezes (Gordon's Whistle/Henry's Sneeze)
    22. Toby and the Stout Gentleman
    23. Thomas in Trouble
    24. Dirty Objects
    25. Off the Rails
    26. Leaves
    27. Down the Mine
    28. Paint Pots and Queens
    29. Mrs. Kyndley's Christmas
    30. Thomas' Christmas Party

    All stories come from books 1-8, excluding Percy and the Trousers, which airs as the season two premiere. The series is produced in 1980 and airs in 1981. Mrs. Kyndley's Christmas and Thomas' Christmas Party air as a two-part Christmas special.

    SEASON 2
    1. Percy and the Trousers
    2. Cows
    3. Bertie's Chase
    4. Saved from Scrap
    5. Old Iron
    6. A Bad Day for Sir Handel (Skarloey Remembers/Sir Handel)
    7. Peter Sam and the Refreshment Lady
    8. Old Faithful
    9. Percy and the Signal
    10. Duck Takes Charge
    11. Percy and Harold
    12. Percy's Promise
    13. Gordon Goes Foreign
    14. Double Header
    15. Pop Goes the Diesel
    16. Dirty Work
    17. A Close Shave
    18. Diesel Off The Quay (analogue to OTL's World's Strongest Engine)
    19. Trucks!
    20. Percy Takes the Plunge
    21. Home at Last
    22. Rock 'n' Roll
    23. The Missing Coach
    24. Break Van
    25. The Deputation
    26. Thomas Comes to Breakfast
    27. Daisy
    28. Bulls Eyes
    29. Percy's Predicament
    30. Little Old Twins

    With the exception of Percy and the Trousers, all stories come from books 9-16, but The Fat Controller's Engines is left out. The series is produced in 1981 and airs in 1982 and 1983.

    SPECIAL - Stepney the Bluebell Engine

    After season two is produced, Britt Allcroft and David Mitton produce a 30-minute special to help celebrate the Bluebell Railway's 25th anniversary in 1985. The special is produced from 1982 to 1983, and premieres in 1984.

    SEASON 3
    1. Special Funnel
    2. Steam Roller
    3. Passengers and Polish
    4. Gallant Old Engine
    5. Ghost Train
    6. Woolly Bear
    7. The Diseasel
    8. Buzz Buzz
    9. Wrong Road
    10. Edward's Exploit
    11. Ballast
    12. Tenders for Henry
    13. Donald's Duck
    14. Super Rescue
    15. Escape
    16. Little Western
    17. Resource and Sagacity
    18. Tit for Tat
    19. Mike's Whistle
    20. Toad Stands By
    21. Bulgy
    22. Useful Railway
    23. Crosspatch
    24. Bucking Bronco
    25. Stick-in-the-Mud
    26. Duck and Dukes
    27. Mavis
    28. Toby's Tightrope
    29/30. Thomas and the Missing Christmas Tree

    Due to the construction of new models, season three takes longer to produce, from 1984 to 1985. This season adapts the stories from Gallant Old Engine, and books 20-26, barring book 25, Duke the Lost Engine. (Book 19, Mountain Engines, is skipped due to production costs.) Thomas and the Missing Christmas Tree airs as a two-part finale, it's total length (without intro, nameboard sequence and end credits) being nine minutes. Season three airs in 1986.

    SPECIAL - Duke the Lost Engine

    The 30-minute Duke special is produced in 1986 and 1987, and airs in 1987. This marks Ringo's last appearance as narrator and the end of the series for the time being.

    While Awdry's Railway Stories goes on hiatus, David Mitton and Robert Cardona work on an independent series about two rival tugboat fleets with similar filming techniques to Thomas. This series is called TUGS and runs for three seasons with 13 episodes each, from 1988 to 1990.

    Meanwhile, Britt Allcroft and Rick Siggelkow work on bringing Thomas to America with Shining Time Station, featuring Ringo Starr as Mr. Conductor. He leaves after a 26 episode series and a Christmas special to pursue his music career and is replaced by comedian George Carlin as Mr. Conductor for seasons two and three. The show is largely the same as in OTL, except for the major change in Mr Conductor's character. Rather than being a magical sort of fairy, Mr. Conductor is portrayed as a former US solider who was stationed on Sodor, and has went at least once a year to visit the island ever since.

    SEASON 4
    1. Stop Theif!
    2. Mind That Bike
    3. Fish
    4. Triple Header
    5. Patience is a Virtue
    6. Peter Sam and the Prickly Problem
    7. Crossed Lines
    8. Fire Engine
    9. Pop Special
    10. Sir Handel Comes Home
    11. Thomas, Percy and the Coal
    12. The Runaway
    13. Better Late Than Never
    14. Drip Tank
    15. Scrambled Eggs
    16. What a Picture!
    17. High Speed Gordon
    18. Smokescreen
    19. Fire Escape
    20. Gordon Proves His Point
    21. Mavis and the Lorry
    22. Trevor Helps Out
    23. Toby's Seaside Holiday
    24. Bulstrode
    25. Down the Drain
    26. Toby Takes the Road
    27. Deep Freeze
    28. We Need Another Engine
    29. Sticking Power
    30. Mike and Jock (Jock/Teamwork)

    Season four is produced in 1990 and 1991 and airs in 1991 and 1992. For this season, Michael Angelis takes over as narrator for the UK while George Carlin narrates for the US, as well as re-narrating S1-3 for US VHS tapes and for Shining Time Station. This season is based upon books 27-34 by Christopher Awdry, which the exception of Old Stuck-Up.

    SPECIAL - Thomas and the Great Railway Show

    Based upon book 35, this 30-minute special is produced from 1992 to 1994 to celebrate the Railway Series' 50th anniversary, airing in 1995.

    By this point, Mike O'Donnell and Junior Campbell have composed 19 songs for the series (they're those from seasons 4 and 5, as well as Thomas' Anthem) and they become US exclusives on VHS until they become available on sing-along VHS tapes for the UK audience.

    SEASON 5
    1. Snow Problem
    2. Washout!
    3. Toby's Megatrain
    4. Thomas Comes Home
    5. Oliver Gets the Bird
    6. Bertie Saves the Day
    7. Out of Puff
    8. Overhaul
    9. Sliding Scales
    10. Henry Sees Red
    11. The Twins' Passing Problem
    12. Donald and the Lost Tarpaulin
    13. Speedkiller
    14. Sir Handel's Plan
    15. Dirty Water
    16. I Name This Engine
    17. On Your Guard
    18. Thomas and the Evil Diesel
    19. Percy's Porridge
    20. Cab Over Wheels
    21. Foaming at the Funnel
    22. Wired Up
    23. Whistle Trouble
    24. Old Groaner
    25. Responsibilities
    26. Terence Turns Pot Hunter
    27. Birdstrike
    28. Edward and the Cabbages
    29. Rabbits
    30. Golden Jubilee

    Season five continues where Thomas and the Great Railway Show left off, as well as books 36-40, as well as Thomas and the Evil Diesel, and nine annual stories, completing the 30-episode run. Golden Jubilee premieres as the 150th episode of the series overall. This season is produced in 1995 and 1996, airing in 1996 and 1997. The last episode is dedicated to the Rev. W. Awdry's memory.
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2018
  2. Andrew Boyd Autistic, but Artistic

    Feb 23, 2018
    A few details on my personal take on TUGs, Thomas' short-lived but excellent maritime counterpart...
    • Clearwater never goes bankrupt. As such, three more seasons are made until the show ends in 1991 due to the crew's desire to return to working on Thomas full time.
    • Also, Puffa has a face. With face masks being revised versions of Edward's in TTTE.
    • The original show is released in the US in the late 1990s on VHS, replacing Sally's Lighthouse.
    • Season 1 gets 12 more episodes.
    • Season 2 focuses on the Bigg City Port during the Great Depression. This season is considered a major improvement over the already great season 1. As for one thing, humans are also featured. Mainly as wooden figures like in Thomas. But more importantly, Hercules get far more screen time and development.
    • Season Three focuses on the Bigg City during the Second World War. With such plots as a Luftwaffe air raid on the ports and how the Tugs of both teams helped. As well as the subsequent arrival of the US Army. Among those who are sadly killed in the war are Billy Shoepack (sacrificed himself to save Sunshine from the Luftwaffe), Bluenose (bombed in air raid), and Lord Stinker (also destroyed in air raid, when he was used as a makeshift carrier of munitions).
    • Season 4 is the ultimate series finale as during the immediate postwar era. All loose ends are tied up. Including Starr and Zero's tugs burying their hatchets. As they look forward to a newer future for them.
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  3. Andrew Boyd Autistic, but Artistic

    Feb 23, 2018
    Shining Time Station

    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 later left the show and was replaced by George Carlin.

    The show was largely the same as OTL. But there was a key difference in the form of its take on Mr. Conductor. Instead of one tiny man played by two actors, he was now two real-sized men with different histories. Ringo Starr's conductor had lived in the UK for years before, then came to America for more work when steam ended on British Railways. Ringo's conductor was quiet and reserved, though good with children. George Carlin's Mr. Conductor was more lively and outgoing, and was stationed at a US military base on Sodor during the Cold War. In general, Sodor was portrayed as a real life place people could visit, as opposed to a magical realm.

    The show ran for five seasons from 1989 to 1996. With a few specials in addition to the normal episodes. After the show proper ended, it was succeeded by Mr. Conducter's Thomas Tales, which focused on releasing the unreleased narrations of Thomas' Season 5 episodes.

    The show is still fondly remembered by those who saw it.
  4. Andrew Boyd Autistic, but Artistic

    Feb 23, 2018
    SEASON 6
    1. Thomas, Percy, and Old Slowcoach
    2. Oliver to the Rescue (TTL's analogue to Rusty to the Rescue; Part 1 of the Molly the Yellow Engine saga)
    3. Mountain Engine
    4. Bad-Look Out
    5. Molly and the Express (TTL's analogue to Molly's Special Special; Part 2 of the Molly the Yellow Engine saga)
    6. Henry's Rocky Experience (TTL's analogue to Edward Strikes Out; Part 3 of the Molly the Yellow Engine saga)
    7. Danger Points
    8. Domeless Engines
    9. James, Molly and the Tree (TTL's analogue to James and the Trouble with Trees; Part 4 of the Molly the Yellow Engine saga)
    10. Devil's Back
    11. Overloaded
    12. Avalance
    13. Susan's First Day (TTL's analogue to Emily's Adventure; Part 1 of the Susan the Orange Engine saga)
    14. The Speed Demon (TTL's analogue to As Good As Gordon; Part 2 of the Susan the Orange Engine saga)
    15. Double Teething Troubles
    16. Eels On Wheels
    17. Toby's Vintage Train
    18. Her Finest Hour (TTL's analogue to Thomas Saves The Day; Part 3 of the Susan the Orange Engine saga)
    19. Something in the Air (Same as OTL, but with Susan in Thomas' role; part 1 of the Barry the Rescue Engine saga)
    20. Barry's Shakedown (TTL's analogue to S11 Thomas in Trouble; Part 2 of the Barry the Rescue Engine saga)
    21. Bringing Back Emily (TTL's introduction of Emily as the star of a railway museum in Vicarstown)
    22. Emily to the Rescue (TTL's analogue to Emily's New Coaches)
    23. James Goes Backwards (TTL's analogue to Don't Go Back; Part 3 of the Barry the Rescue Engine saga)
    24. Barry, Mud, and Sheep (TTL's analogue to Muddy Matters; Part 4 of the Barry the Rescue Engine saga)
    25. A Better View for Gordon
    26. No Joke for James
    27. Lady Hatt's Birthday Party
    28. Put Upon Percy
    29. All At Sea
    30. The Fat Controller's Engines

    Season six features two books Christopher Awdry intended to have published - Thomas and Victoria and Barry the Rescue Engine, and Mountain Engines, Domeless Engines, and The Fat Controller's Engines are finally adapted for television. The remaining sixteen episodes are new stories written by the likes of Andrew Brenner, Paul Larson, Laura Beaumont, Davey Moore, Mark Huckerby and Nick Ostler, with Christopher Awdry's input, as well as railway consultant David Maidment.

    The first staff-written character is introduced in the form the kind and gentle Molly, a yellow female tender engines based on the Great Eastern Claud Hamilton 4-4-0. Also introduced here the lively and witty Susan, an orange tender engine based on the Great Central Railway Pom-Pom 0-6-0. Third is the elderly and wise Emily, based on the Great Northern Stirling Single. Also introduced is Barry the Rescue Engine, a character Christopher Awdry hoped to write about, is also introduced into the show at this point.

    A few of the stories are featured in OTL's seasons three and five (Double Teething Troubles, No Joke for James, Thomas, Percy and Old Slow Coach, and A Better View for Gordon), and they also help to expand the world of Sodor on television. In the US, George Carlin leaves the show to return to his comedy career, being replaced by veteran actor Michael Keaton (Batman 1989, Beetlejuice), while Michael Angelis continues for the UK. The series is produced in 1997 and it airs in 1998 and 1999.
  5. Andrew Boyd Autistic, but Artistic

    Feb 23, 2018
    Variations of the intro

    Unlike OTL, the intro to show always uses the original theme music by Mike O'Donnel and Junior Campbell. However, the visual layout of the intro changed many times. These are some of the changes made to it over the years.

    Season 1 (1981)

    Largely the same as OTL.

    Seasons 2-10 (1982-2005)

    Largely uses footage from the beginning of Thomas Comes to Breakfast. But with a fw extended and deleted shots in there as well.

    Season 10-14 (2005-2009)

    Same as later model era with theme still present. With the obligatory classic theme.
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  6. edgeworthy Well-Known Member

    Oct 1, 2013
    I always preferred the audio adaptions done by Johnny Morris. To me the TV series always came across as an inferior rip-off.

    Compared to vinyl delivered with soul and class.
  7. Andrew Boyd Autistic, but Artistic

    Feb 23, 2018
    Models of Thomas' First few characters

    Here are details on how the models of TTL are different from OTL...

    • Handrails on sides of cabs and occasionally on boilers.
    • Visible safety valves on front of whistle.
    Thomas: Mostly same as OTL

    Edward: Mostly same as OTL

    • MK1 shape resembles RWS design more closely
    • MK2 resembles an LMS Black 5 more.
    Gordon: Mostly same as OTL

    James: Mostly same as OTL

    Percy: Mostly same as OTL

    Toby: Dark blue sideplates like in the Railway series. also based on the LNER Y6 instead of J70.

    Duck and Oliver: Painted GWR Brunswick Green like in the RWS

    Donald/Douglas: Blue like in the RWS
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2018
  8. Loulou Well-Known Member

    Sep 26, 2016
    So will Thomas be modified after he comes to breakfast?
  9. Andrew Boyd Autistic, but Artistic

    Feb 23, 2018
    I had considered it, butI have decided against it because Thomas' original shape is too endearing for me. Though the back bufferbeam is still lower.
  10. Andrew Boyd Autistic, but Artistic

    Feb 23, 2018
    In case anyone is wondering how I would make the Small Railway possible in my alternate model series. My ideas is that each gauge would be built in a different scale.

    Standard Gauge: S Scale

    Skarloey railway: On3 Scale

    Small Railway: HO Scale
  11. Andrew Boyd Autistic, but Artistic

    Feb 23, 2018
    Educational Segments
    After Thomas was no longer aired as part of Shining Time Station, Britt Allcroft made a series of educational segments to help extend an episode's air time to 30 Minutes.

    Among these were:
    • Union Pacific Big Boy: Detailing the iconic articulated engines. This segment is them most recalled of the group.
    • Casey Jones: The story of the Illinois Central engineer is detailed. The segment was lost until 2012.
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  12. Andrew Boyd Autistic, but Artistic

    Feb 23, 2018
    I'm actually going to detail some ideas I had for if we were to keep this closer to OTL.

    • The Classic Seasons have 30 episodes each.
    • George Carlin stays on longer. With whatever would stop him being butterflied.
    • This is the general model followed by model makers when making the characters...
      • Standard Gauge: S Scale
      • Skarloey/Mid Sodor/Culdee Fell Railway: On30 Scale
      • Small Railway: HOn3 Scale
    • Duck, Oliver, and BoCo are painted in Brunswick Green.
    • Donald and Douglas are eventually painted blue.
    • The stories for characters like Molly, Rosie, and Neville are based on these fan stories.
    • Molly has the number 19 painted on her tender in blue.
    • Emily S8-11 character is instead used for an orange engine called Susan. Who is a CGR 9J and numbered 26.
    • Emily is based on the SECR O Class instead of the Stirling Single.
    • Neville has the number 33 painted in yellow on his cab, and "North Western" on his tender.
    • Belle is now a fictional 2-8-4T version of the Stanier 8F. 31 is painted on her coal bunker.
    • Rosie's Current number is one her from the start.
    Season 1
    • Henry and the Elephant, Leaves, Mrs. Kindley's Christmas, and Paint Pots and Queens are adapted here instead of later.
    Season 2
    • The Missing Coach is adapted.
    • Better Late Than Never is replaced with an adaptation of Percy's Promise.
    • Bulls Eye is adapted in this season.
    • Diesel Off the Quay, TTL's analogue to the World's Strongest Engine, is made.
    • Percy and the Trousers is adapted.
    Season 3
    • An adaptation of Super Rescue replaces OTL's Trust Thomas.
    • Toad Stands By is adapted in the Season.
    • An adaptation of Thomas and the Evil Diesel replaces Diesel Does It Again.
    Season 4
    • Out of the Narrow Gauge, only the ones from Four Little Engines and The Little Old Engine are adapted. With the rest being in Season 5.
    • The narrow gauge stories not adapted are replaced with the best stories from OTL's Season 5: A Better View for Gordon, Thomas, Percy, and Old Slowcoach, etc.
    • The entirety of RWS 27: Really Useful Engines is adapted.
    • Rusty to the Rescue is replaced with Stepney Gets Lost. Though Stepney does meet Rusty when he wander all the way to Crovan's Gate.
    • Molly and Susan are introduced in this season.
    Season 5
    • The rest of the Rev Awdry's Narrow Gauge Stories are adapted.
    • The events of Small Railway Engines are adapted. The story Ballast is reworked to take place while the line is being built.
    • Smudger is not created, and Alcroft instead brings in Stanley: MSR No. 2.
    • Emily and Arthur are introduced in this season.
    Thomas and the Magic Railroad is not produced.

    Season 6
    • Season 6 and the following ones maintains the lighting of Seasons 4 and 5.
    • Jock the New Engine and Wilbert the Forest Engine are adapted.
    • Murdoch and Spencer are introduced.
    Season 7
    • Neville and Belle are introduced.
    • Gordon the High Speed Engine and Thomas and the Twins are adapted.
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2019
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  13. Andrew Boyd Autistic, but Artistic

    Feb 23, 2018
    Nameboard details

    ITTL, the show reshot many of their nameboard sequences as better models came and camera improved too. From here on, the engines would have individual places hwere their nameplates were shown off...

    - Thomas: At Ffaeqhuar
    - Edward: On the siding at Wellsworth
    - Henry: At the goods yard in Tidmouth
    - Gordon: At Knapford Station
    - James: At Tidmouth Sheds
    - Percy: At the Ffarqhuar Quarry
    - Toby: Right next to Percy
    - Duck: At Arlesburgh
    - Donald and Douglas: In the open shed at Tidmouth harbor
    - Molly: In the coach shed at Tidmouth
    - Susan: At Elsbridge
    - Oliver: At a shed near the sea, likely on the Little Western
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