Whistle While You Work is the eighth episode of the first season.
Stacy and the kids are hard at work inside the station cleaning up litter left by passengers. Tanya thought of calling Mr. Conductor in using magic to clean the station. He replies that he never uses magic for cleaning as it doesn't the reach hard to get at places, so he uses different tools that are suited for different cleaning jobs.
Schemer claims that the only reason people come to the station is to visit his arcade. He boasts that he can double the number of people going to his arcade.
The kids tell Mr. Conductor how dismissive Schemer was of their efforts to clean the station. Mr. Conductor counters by saying all things to do, whether big and small, are all important as they all help to get the job done. He elaborates by telling the story of how Gordon, James and Henry became indignant and decided to go on strike when they had to perform what they considered menial work.
Schemer comes back carrying a stack of poster paper and begins posting all over the mural. Schemer even offers Matt a nickel to become a walking billboard. When Matt refuses, Schemer uses the same nickel to select a jukebox song to inspire him as he plasters his adverts all over the station. The band then begins to play their rendition of "Pop Goes the Weasel" as Schemer gleefully puts up his posters.
Schemer sees additional advertising space on the clock and over Mr. Conductor's house. Unfortunately for Schemer both locations are beyond his reach. Despite Matt and Tanya's protests, Schemer leaves the station saying that he knows a guy who'll be able to help him. The kids cry out for Mr. Conductor to warn him about Schemer's intentions. Mr. Conductor is not impressed by what he hears and vanishes just as Schemer returns.
Schemer is accompanied by Ed, an incredibly tall man. He tells Ed to place a poster over the clock. As he's about to do so, Mr. Conductor appears with a seltzer bottle and unleashes a jet of water into Ed's face. Ed is naturally upset and accuses Schemer of playing pranks. Schemer pleads innocence and asks the children who did it. Matt answers truthfully and Tanya hands Ed a cloth to wipe his face. He takes down one of the adverts to see more of the mural, much to Schemer's consternation.
Stacy becomes incensed when she suddenly notices the posters covering the mural and orders Schemer to take them down. Matt then introduces her to Ed. Ed expresses an interest to go to Doodle Haven. It reveals that he's just a normal-sized man walking on stilts.
Mr. Conductor reappears as soon as Schemer leaves, saying he feels bad for squirting water in Ed's face, but that he could not allow him to cover up his home with Schemer's posters. He tells Matt and Tanya what happened when Henry, Gordon and James began their strike.
Tanya and Matt visit Harry in the workshop and ask him to make stilts for them. Stacy is surprised to see what they're wearing, and although mentioning that there's still a lot of work to do, takes a break to join the kids to watch a feature on The Picture Machine about working together.
Schemer arrives to ask if people paid any attention to his posters, but the answer is no. He shrugs it off by blaming it on the fact that he can't draw and proposes that the kids can draw the posters and he will hang them up, but the kids turn him down. They'll give him their artwork only if his adverts are taken down. Despite to Schemer's disliking, he relents when Tanya tells him to either take it or leave it. He convinces them to add a slogan to their art: "Elephants are big, elephants are gray. Spend money." The kids agree.
- Mr. Conductor
- Stacy Jones
- Harry Cupper
- Tanya Cupper
- Matthew Jones
- Ed the Stilt Man
- Henry (mentioned)
- Gordon (mentioned)
- James (mentioned)
- Sir Topham Hatt (mentioned)
Without Thomas in the yard, the big engines have more work to do and have to shunt their own coaches. Thinking tender engines are more important than they are, Gordon, Henry and James complain bitterly about the situation, feeling they are being treated no better than ‘little tank engines’. However, Gordon soon gets a taste of how it is to run as a tank engine when he cannot sit on the turntable properly during a blustery day - and ends up taking his next train backwards. James, feeling more confident of success against the wind, ends up spinning around helplessly like a top - as Gordon watches with glee. But by now, things have come to a head, and the big engines decide to take action aginst their ‘mistreatment’ and decide to go on strike to get back at Sir Topham Hatt.
Gordon, James and Henry refuse to move out of their shed, claiming they’re too important to shunt coaches. Sir Topham Hatt tries to ease the situation by asking Edward to do the shunting, but the big engines hiss at him and make him sad. Sir Topham Hatt then decides to bring a new tank engine (Percy) to help out in the yard. Thomas returns, and he and Edward are asked to work the Main Line, while Percy works the Branch Line. As for the big engines, Sir Topham Hatt shuts them up in the shed - - all wishing they haven’t been so naughty.
Jukebox Band Segment Song
- Pop Goes the Weasel
Cartoons and Songs
- Let's All Work Together
- Cartoons used in the song:
Happy Harmonies - To Spring (1936)
Fleischer Studios - Ants in the Plants
Fleischer Studios - Greedy Humpty Dumpty
Noveltoons - Spring Song (1949)
Noveltoons - Little Brown Jug (1948)
Fleischer Studios - All's Fair at the Fair
- The title is based on the Disney song of the same name.
- This is the only episode where none of the members of the Jukebox Band sing a song.
- Continuing his tradition of nicknames, Mr. Conductor uses "Tanya Savania" in this episode.
- Schemer has put on a pair of glasses so that he could see the station clock more clearly.
- Ed's overly long pants suddenly revert to normal pant leg size when the cut shot reveals that he is standing on stilts.
- Eighteen years after this show was taped, Pluto would be removed from the list of planets in the solar system, making a total of 8, but if you followed Didi's lead and excluded Earth, you'd still be wrong.
- US viewers may be confused by Edward's lament that he has 'gray wheels' in the story "Trouble in the Shed." This is because the line in the original UK version was 'black wheels,' which was a play on the word blackleg, which in turn is British slang for a strikebreaker. In this case, Edward was breaking the other tender engines' strike against Sir Topham Hatt.
- Guest star Clinton Smith was at the time a member of a stilt dancing team known as "Friends in High Places."