Things that Go Ga-Hooga in the Night is the nineteenth episode of the first season.
Harry explains to Stacy how a wire and pulley system he set up will automatically take care of the overnight mail. Harry tells Stacy that since all of the work is done for her, she doesn't have to spend the night at the station. Stacy politely tells Harry that she intends on staying overnight anyway.
Matt and Tanya arrive and ask Stacy if she's really going to spend the night at the station. Harry is confident that his mail switching system will work and tries once more to convince Stacy. Stacy again kindly declines, explaining that she doesn't want to risk the mail bag getting stuck on Harry's system as she wants Shining Time Station to be known as the most reliable station on the line. Harry then decides to also spend the night with her so she won't be alone.
When Stacy goes off to look for a sleeping bag, Matt and Tanya ponder what spending the night at the station would be like. They are suddenly startled to see a top hat scuttle across the station floor and stop at the arcade stairs. As they go closer to investigate, Mr. Conductor emerges from beneath the hat.
Mr. Conductor explains that he found the top hat in the lounge car on the express to Twiddly Junction. He then asks why they look as if they’ve just seen a ghost. The kids claim that they knew all along that it was Mr. Conductor, but he catches on and teases the kids for being frightened. He tells them that he would've been just as frightened to see such a sight and would have jumped and screamed. This all reminds Mr. Conductor of the time Percy played a scary joke on Thomas, and he proceeds to tell them the story.
Since Stacy and Harry intend on staying overnight, Matt and Tanya decide they want to as well, and beg Stacy to let them do so. Stacy makes it conditional on if their parents give their permission. The kids become excited and Stacy remarks that their parents haven't even agreed yet.
Just then, a woman wearing an ornate paper hat and costume calls out to Stacy. It's Wendy Brackman, an old friend of Stacy's. She introduces Wendy to the Matt and Tanya who are curious and ask her about her appearance. Stacy reveals that Wendy can make anything out of paper, and Wendy adds that she makes hats but likes making masks. Stacy asks Wendy if she could show demonstrate her talents to the kids as she goes to the ticket desk to call the kids' parents. The kids want to make scary masks and when we next see them, Tanya is wearing a dragon-like mask as Wendy makes a skeletal one for Matt. Wendy bids everyone goodbye just as her train arrives. Stacy breaks the good news to Matt and Tanya that their parents agreed to let them spend the night at the station.
Schemer tries to frighten them by telling them about how scary the station is at night in the dark with the boogieman, and tells them about "the man with his head on backwards", who used to frighten Schemer when he was small. They run off outside to play as Schemer complains that today's children aren't as afraid as he was at that age. Schemer suddenly experiences a “Genius Time” moment, and decides that the children need something to be afraid of.
That night, Tanya and Matt are in their sleeping bags. Harry joins them from his workshop with a blanket roll. When the kids tell him that they can't sleep, Harry shares his experience of being the same way when he drove the overnight train to Pelican Falls. Harry then leaves the kids and goes into his workshop.
When Mr. Conductor appears, the kids aren't sleepy and ask Mr. Conductor to tell them a bedtime story. Mr. Conductor settles on telling them a story about the time Percy got covered with treacle and hay, making for quite a sight.
The kids try to sleep but a screeching sound startles them. A hand places an nickel in a jukebox. Tito awakens his band mates to tell them that a mysterious hand just gave them a nickel to play something. The band sleepily begins to play a slow version of “Clementine.”
The kids are still pondering who played the jukebox when Stacy comes in to check in on them. She's surprised to find them still awake and tucks them in pretending that she's putting them into envelopes (their sleeping bags). She tells them that she'll be in Harry's office and that she'll see them in the morning.
The children become increasingly startled when they hear crashing sounds. Stacy and Harry rush out of the workshop having heard it too. Harry and Stacy decide to investigate, reassuring the kids that it was probably the wind knocking something over.
Just then, a figure covered in a white sheet and wearing a ball cap slinks into the station, but retreats when Harry's voice is heard. Stacy notes that the Midnight Special is due any time with the night mail, and Harry is eager to see if his pulley system works. As they both leave the station, the sheeted figure returns, but is revealed to be Schemer when he steps on the sheet and pulls it off. Irritated at being foiled, he throws the sheet away and it lands over the wire of Harry's pulley system. In another "Genius Time" moment, Schemer decides to become "the man with his head on backwards" to frighten the children.
The kids complain that their sleeping bags are knotted at the bottom, so they both dive inside their bags to fix them. Schemer has put his jacket and cap on backwards and walks towards the kids. He becomes frightened himself when he glances around and sees two sleeping bags standing upright and wriggling. Schemer runs off screaming and knocks himself out when he bumps into the jukebox, waking up the puppets. As he runs toward the station's exit, the children's paper masks are lit up from behind by the passing Midnight Special, while the sheet is caught by the mail bag sliding across the pulley system and pulled ghostlike across to the other side. Convinced he's just seen the real man with his head on backwards, an unnerved Schemer panics and runs away screaming just as Harry and Stacy come back into the station.
The kids complain of being tired, while Harry congratulates himself that his system worked and the mail is now ready to be picked up by the Daybreak Express. Stacy concurs but says that she wanted to be there to be sure. Harry and Stacy lay out their bedding beside Matt and Tanya as the kids chide them to get to sleep. Everyone wishes one another goodnight, even in the jukebox. The episodes with Schemer, coming out of hiding saying a very quick "good night" frightening Stacy, Harry and the kids, who then laugh it off.
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
- Craig Marin as Rex
- Olga Marin as DiDi
- Alan Semok as Grace Bass
- Vaneese Thomas as Grace Bass
- Wayne White as Tex
- Wendy Brackman as Herself
- Percy tells Thomas and Toby a story about a Ghost Train, which he believes haunts the line. Thomas dismisses the story and calls Percy “a silly little engine”. Percy is disappointed to find that the story was simply a pretend story, but seizes an opportunity to get back at Thomas after crashing into a stray cartload of lime, which gives him a ghostly appearance. With Toby’s help, they deceive Thomas into believing that Percy’s “ghost” is coming back to warn them. And when Percy does indeed arrive, Thomas hurries away in fright, too afraid to return to the shed until next morning. Percy and Toby chuckle about their adventure afterwards.
- Mr Conductor finishes the story of Percy's tricks. In the Summer, work crews cut the long grass by the lineside. Percy collects the hay for the farmers to use for their stock. The hay collecting makes Thomas late and he grumbles to Percy about it, going as far as calling him “a green caterpillar with red stripes, crawling in the hay till all hours!” Percy decides to make an effort to keep on time, but, while shunting at the harbour, a crate of treacle is upset all over him. Still sticky, Percy hurries up the line to keep time and is caught amidst strong winds, which delay him and cause the flying hay to stick on his boiler and cab. When Percy eventually meets Thomas, to him he looks like a giant Woolly Bear Caterpillar, giving Thomas the best laugh of the day! Still covered in hay, Percy returns home to be cleaned, while Thomas and Toby make jokes about Woolly Bears… Percy is not amused!
Jukebox Band Segment Song
- Tanya is shown to have brought a Garfield pillow when she and Matt stay at the station for the night.
- The episode's title is a play on words taken from an old Scottish prayer: "From ghoulies and ghosties; And long-leggedy beasties; And things that go bump in the night, Good Lord, deliver us!".
- Ringo Starr's US narrations of "Percy's Ghostly Trick" and "Woolly Bear" were never released on home video, though the latter can be heard on the Audio CD of the Random House book Diesel's Devious Deed.
- Nicole Leach said in an interview with SiF that she had fond memories of this episode.
- Mr. Conductor tells both stories to Matt and Tanya in this episode.
- Tanya: I think Thomas was silly to imagine that Percy was really a ghost.
- Mr. Conductor: Our imaginations usually fill up more at night than during the daytime and Thomas has certainally did that night.
- Mr. Conductor: Percy was quite a sight. It was good, it was daytime. At night I don't know what they would have made of him.
- Stacy: Is that Schemer?
- Harry: I do believe he was.
- Stacy: Why his clothes on backwards?
- Harry: I do believe they were.