|Ring in the Old|
April 9, 1989
Matt and Tanya see Schemer wheeling a handcart into the arcade. He's getting rid of the large soccer game machine, because no one wants to spend their money playing an old machine. Schemer strains his shoulder as he tries to lift the machine with the cart.
Harry is in a good mood after a phone call. His good friend Nathaniel Kaz, known as Nat, is coming to Shining Time for a visit. He then tells Matt and Tanya that he's off to pick up a present for Nat at the general store.
Later, the children are in the Lost and Found where Tanya finds and tries on an old hat and shawl. Matt finds what he thinks is some kind of picture machine. It's actually an antique stereoscope that allows a viewer to see a pair of photos in 3-D. Matt takes a look and sees a cartoon still of an elderly couple sitting in front of a fireplace. The picture Matt sees suddenly becomes an animated music video playing "In the Good Old Summer Time." Matt is stunned by what he just saw. Mr. Conductor appears and Matt realizes It was his Magic. Mr. Conductor ask Tanya about what she's wearing. When Tanya replies that it's just junk, Mr. Conductor reminds her that some of these old things are beautiful, have charm, style, personality and history. He tells the story about how the railway thought Toby the Tram Engine was too old and no longer useful.
Afterward, Tanya asks what was in the letter that Toby's Driver received at the end of the story. Mr. Conductor hopes that it's good news for Toby and Henrietta, and goes off to find out. The kids also wish for the same just as a train arrives. Matt finds and wears an old top hat and jacket and joins Tanya as they wait for Nat to enter the station.
The kids are disappointed when no one gets off, and hope Nat is still coming to visit. Stacy comes and tells the kids that Nat will likely be on the next train. She muses that the expression "older, but wiser" is true and Tanya agrees saying that is why her grandpa knows the answer to so many things. Stacy leads them to the Picture Machine where they watch a music video about what can be learned from older people.
Harry returns from his errand, wheeling in a cardboard box into his workshop. The kids wonder what's in the box. Mr. Conductor begins to sing a few bars of the song "Memories," and suggests that memories are wonderful as they let you experience a good time over and over again. He adds that things often have memories attached to them, making Matt and Tanya think that the clothes themselves have memories of the places the people who wore them went to. When Schemer is heard talking in the distance, Mr. Conductor disappears.
Schemer then puts a “TRASH” sign on the soccer game. Matt tries to reason with him that just because a machine is old, it doesn't mean that it needs to be thrown out. Schemer informs them that if they want to get ahead in the world, that they have to change with the times. He shows them a poster depicting a space scene with words that read “Hi-Tech Space Video Game.”
Matt and Tanya are disappointed, but become happy again when Mr. Conductor reappears. He excitedly tells them that he can now share what happened to Toby and Henrietta, and tells them how Thomas getting in trouble with a policeman led to Toby and Henrietta being rescued.
After the tale, Mr. Conductor vanishes just as Stacy calls out with some good news that the next train will soon be arriving. She suggests playing some music on the jukebox to help the train to speed along. The Jukebox Puppet Band then plays “The Train is a Comin.”
The train finally arrives at the station and Nat makes his entrance. Harry presents Nat with his gift. Nat removes the cardboard cover and is pleasantly surprised by what he describes as a block of magic clay. The kids do not see anything special about it and Nat explains that just about anything they want can be found in that block of clay. Nat begins to work the clay into a pony, and makes a second sculpture of Tanya's head as Harry beams with pleasure and the kids watch in awe.
Schemer is killing time by repeatedly removing and re-inserting a nickel from his coin changer. A well-dressed man with an English accent comes into the arcade asking if the old soccer game is broken. Schemer replies that it's not, but it's a piece of junk that has outlived its time. The man is unimpressed and says that he can play the new games anywhere. He adds that he comes to Shining Time Station for the old machines as they are the fun ones. The man asks if Schemer was really going to throw the old machine away, and Schemer awkwardly replies that it was originally part of his plan. After a lengthy conversation, Schemer tells him that he'll put the game back in service just for him, and rips up the trash sign.
The kids arrive and the man asks if they'd like to play the game with him. They are having fun when Schemer asks if they need a fourth player and is allowed to join them. Stacy answers the telephone as the players shout and laugh. Stacy confirms the caller's question that the train bound for Turley stops at the station three times a day. Stacy momentarily ducks into the workshop with the phone where it's quieter and asks the caller to repeat what they said as she witnesses Nat presenting a sculpture of a man and woman dancing to Harry.
- Mr. Conductor
- Stacy Jones
- Harry Cupper
- Matthew Jones
- Tanya Cupper
- Nathaniel Kaz
- Thomas (mentioned)
- Toby (mentioned)
- Henrietta (mentioned)
While Sir Topham Hatt was on Holiday he met a nice tram engine named Toby. His grand kids had a lot of fun riding around in his coach Henrietta. They are Henrietta’s first passengers in a long time because Toby has all but been put out of business by the trucks. Eventually Toby’s railway had to close. Fortunately for Toby, Sir Topham Hatt has plans for him.
Thomas gets in trouble with a new policeman. He is labeled a regular law breaker for running near public roads without side plates and a cow catcher. Thomas is afraid the others will laugh at him. Sir Topham Hatt gets the idea to bring Toby to his Railway. Toby is a tram engine that does have side plates and a cow catcher.
Jukebox Band Song Segment
- Train Is A-Coming
Cartoons and Songs
- The black coat and top hat Matt wears is similar to the one worn by Sir Topham Hatt in Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends.
- We learn that a now-retired steam engine once ran the Indian Valley Railroad Line: The "Rainbow Tiger", who was Harry and his friend Nat's favorite to ride on the footplate.
- Mr. Conductor sings a few bars of the 1915 song "Memories" by Eggbert Van Alstyne with lyrics by Gus Khan.
- Gordon Gould guest stars as the passenger in the arcade. He is most renowned for his voice acting, notably on CBS Radio Mystery Theater in the mid-1970's, appearing in more than 60 episodes. He also voiced Maximilian Veers in an audio adaptation of The Empire Strikes Back in the 1980's.
- Nathaniel Kaz was a renowned sculptor in the New York area and the last surviving member of the Sculptor's Guild when he passed away at the age of 93 on December 13, 2010. Nathaniel's wife, Delphina, recalled that Nathaniel did not want to follow a script for his scenes in this episode, choosing instead to ad-lib his dialogue.
- The shot of Schemer combing his hair and flipping the comb in his hand as he tells the children "a sloppy place means sloppy business" was used for Schemer's character oval in the original Season 1 "clip show" opening sequence.
- We learn that a train to Turley stops at Shining Time Station three times a day.
- The antique stereoscope that Matt finds is similar to a Sears Stereographoscope sold at the beginning of the 20th century. The one Matt is holding is visibly missing its lenses, however.
- In the scene where Harry is talking to his old friend Nat about visiting the station, the telephone voice is actually a sped-up version of T.S. Elliot reading a few lines from his poem "The Naming of Cats".
- Schemer: Around here if you don't pull your weight, boom! Into the trash you go!
- Kara: What was in the letter?
- Mr. Conductor: I don't know yet, but for Toby and Henrietta's sake, I hope it's good news. I'm off to find out.
- Matt: I hope it's good news, I like Toby and Henrietta.
- Kara: Me too.