And the Band Played Off is the third episode of Season 1.
Mr. Conductor answers the phone and the voice on the other end asks to speak to Stacy. 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. When Stacy hears the news, she is excited, and so are Matt, Tanya and Harry. Mr. Conductor asks if she wants to write the schedule down, but Stacy indicates she can remember it.
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.
Stacy suddenly forgets the new schedule. 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.
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. Unfortunately still can't remember. Mr. Conductor, 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. 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.
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. Stacy attempts to give him an explanation, but Schemer interrupts, claiming that since Stacy gave out wrong information, encourages the passenger to report Stacy to the railroad.
Harry explains to Matt and Tanya 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. 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.
After the story, Mr. Conductor 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.
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, which harry finds difficult to believe, even when Matt explains. 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's attending 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 finds a tiny piece of paper on the bench next to him. He begins to wonder if Mr. Conductor really exists, while Mr. Conductor appears behind his back.
Cast and Characters
- Ringo Starr as Mr. Conductor
- Didi Conn as Stacy Jones
- Leonard Jackson as Harry Cupper
- Nicole Leach as Tanya Cupper
- Brian O'Connor as Schemer
- Jason Woliner as Matthew Jones
- Peter Baird as Grace Bass
- Jonathan Freeman as Tito Swing
- Craig Marin as Rex
- Olga Marin as DiDi
- Alan Semok as Grace Bass
- Vaneese Thomas as Grace Bass
- Wayne White as Tex
Thomas is jealous that the big engines get to leave the yard to go out on journeys, and longs to do the same himself. His chance comes when Henry takes unwell, and the men cannot fix him in time for the morning train. As the only engine available, Thomas is chosen to take the train in Henry’s place and becomes eager to start work at once. However, because they haven’t coupled him to the train or the Driver started by mistake, Thomas manages to leave the station without the coaches and sets off along the Main Line on his own. People wave and shout at him – but he thinks they’re just being friendly and carries on until he reaches a ‘Danger’ signal, and the Signalman explains they have no coaches in tow! Thomas puffs back feeling very embarrassed, but puts things right when he manages to pull the train second time around. But the other engines think it a great joke, and for a long time afterward say, “Look, there’s Thomas, who wanted to pull a train but forgot about the coaches!”
Thomas is tired of pushing coaches in the yard and wants to explore. One night, Edward comes to shed and offers to swap duties with him. Thomas accepts the offer but it involves taking the freight cars, which he isn’t used to. He’s unaware of the fact that they like playing tricks on engines, especially those who aren’t used to them. After what seems like a pleasant journey for Thomas, the freight cars push him down the hill and almost make him crash into some buffers. In the end, Sir Topham Hatt tells Thomas he has a lot to learn about freight cars - - and when he does learn, he’ll be a Really Useful Engine.
Jukebox Band Segment Song
- She'll Be Comin' Round the Mountain
Cartoons & Songs
- Learn From Your Mistakes
- Cartoons used in the song:
- Color Classics - The Little Stranger (1934)
- Color Classics - An Elephant Never Forgets (1935)
- ComiColor Classics - Happy Days (1936)
- Color Classics - Christmas Comes But Once a Year (1936)
- Color Classics - Peeping Penguins (1937)
- Color Classics - Fleischer Studios - The Fresh Vegetable Mystery (1939)
- Color Classics - Little Lambkins (1940)
- Color Classics - Snubbed by a Snob (1940)
- Screen Songs - The Ski's The Limit (1949)
- Screen Songs - The Golden State (1948)
- Screen Songs - The Funshine State (1949)
- Screen Songs - The Stork Market (1949)
- The title of the episode is based on the book "And the Band Played On".
- This is the first time we hear the voice of Mr. J.B. King, although he wasn't named. 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 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. Elliot reading a few lines from his poem "The Naming of Cats".
- Mr. Conductor tells A Big Day for Thomas to Matt & Tanya in this episode.
- Mr. Conductor tells Trouble for Thomas to Stacy, Matt & Tanya in this episode.