Stacy finds Kara, Dan, and Becky playing with some glasses filled with water. Becky and Kara explain that each one contains a certain amount of water, and when tapped they produce a musical note.
Back in the station, Mr. Conductor appears and everyone greets him. When Dan asks him how everyone on the Island of Sodor is doing, Mr. Conductor then tells them what happened to Thomas when he tried to help Bertie, only to end up getting into trouble when Gordon and James play a trick on him.
But after Mr. Conductor finishes his story he immediately begins to sneeze. At this, Stacy asks him if he has a cold. Mr. Conductor denies it, because he’s going to the South Pole to visit a penguin. Stacy tells him that he shouldn’t go but get some rest instead. Stacy tells him a story from a pop-up book about a bear cub named Lil’ Sneezer who refused to take care of himself by wearing the proper clothes during bad weather.
Even after the story, Mr. Conductor still denies that he is sick, then he sneezes several times, which spreads his magic dust on the water glasses and a nearby balloon, but nobody notices. And when he tries to leave, only the lower half of his body disappears.
Stacy then notices that there’s a little too much water in some of the glasses, so she and Billy drink some of it. When they start talking again, their voices are swapped, which gets the kids laughing. They realize that Mr. Conductor’s magic dust is in the water and drink from different glasses hoping to reverse the effect, but it ends up making Billy meow like a cat and Stacy bark like a dog! Seeing that the situation is getting out of hand, the kids immediately try to find Mr. Conductor so that he can put things right.
After they leave, Schemer walks into the station and begins to play with the water glasses. The balloon then begins talking to him, commenting in a sultry, feminine voice on his hair. Astonished, Schemer immediately goes into “genius time” mode and makes plans to charge people money to talk to the balloon, who doesn’t agree with Schemer’s idea but agrees after he promises “her own private supply of helium” and to only let classy people talk to her. He then takes the balloon with him to continue chatting about his "beautiful hair and good looks".
At that same moment, J.B. King arrives and demands to know who’s running the empty station. After he's greeted by Stacy, a passenger arrives asking to help with her luggage, to which Stacy barks in reply and offends the passenger. Wondering what is going on, J.B. takes from one of the water glasses. This causes his voice to sound like Becky’s! After shouting at Schemer for saying he sounds like a little girl, J.B. storms away, leaving Schemer and the balloon saying how they didn’t like his hair.
Meanwhile, the kids get together by the jukebox and make a plan; to get Mr. Conductor to return, they'll play his favorite song. After the nickel comes down the chute, Tito, still believes he’s becoming famous, and everyone begins making fun of him. To show them that they’re just jealous, he performs a Spike Jones-esque rendition of “Cosher Bailey’s Engine”. He gives such an energetic performance he goes out of control and rocks the jukebox, shocking the kids.
After the song, Mr. Conductor appears but then disappears. After A few attempts and almost accidentally making a penguin appear in his place, he finally appears. Stacy and Billy come up and begin barking and meowing at him. Mr. Conductor throws some of his magic dust on them and they start talking in their own voice again. Stacy and Billy begin to reprimand him for going to the South Pole and not staying so he could recover. Mr. Conductor then tells them why he wanted to go; he wanted to be with the penguins because they're his friends and little like him. The kids show him a music video from The Picture Machine, which shows how some children help their tired mother by cleaning the house for her.
After the song, the kids tell Mr. Conductor finally agrees to settle down. Later, in Billy’s workshop, when he comes back, dressed in his pajamas, he finds that the kids have made a bed for him out of a shoebox so that he can rest, much to his surprise. As he gets ready to sleep, the kids try to think of a story to tell him but can’t think of anything. Mr. Conductor ends up telling them the story about Henry the Green Engine who solved a problem by sneezing.
After he finishes, he goes to sleep and the kids put a lid (with holes in it so he can breathe) on the box. Schemer approaches the ticket counter and tells Stacy that his balloon has stopped talking to him. Schemer spots the box and immediately thinks that it's a present for him. He opens it to find only the scarf and some earmuffs that Mr. Conductor was wearing, much to the kids’ relief. Upon seeing this, Schemer, disgusted, walks away and sarcastically comments that he’s already got those for his doll.
As the kids get the impression that Mr. Conductor has recovered, he suddenly appears and magically plays the scales on the glasses, confirming it.
Cast and Characters
- George Carlin as Mr. Conductor
- Didi Conn as Stacy Jones
- Tom Jackson as Billy Twofeathers
- Erica Luttrell as Kara Cupper
- Ari Magder as Dan Jones
- Danielle Marcot as Becky
- Brian O'Connor as Schemer
The Flexitoon Puppeteers
- Jonathan Freeman as Tito Swing
- Olga Felgemacher-Marin as DiDi
- Craig Marin as Rex
- Peter Baird as Grace Bass
- Kenny Miele as Grace Bass
- Alan Semok as Tex
- Bertie becomes angry about large potholes on the road on account of the railway never delivering the tar to mend them. Thomas promises to help Bertie out, but not before falling victim to a cruel joke – James pretends to be ill, leaving Thomas to do his work with the freight cars. The cars, feeling spiteful, push Thomas onto the wrong line, finishing up in a muddy pond. Edward arrives to help him out, who becomes aware of the missing tar after Thomas mentions it. Edward promises to have the tar delivered straight away. Soon after, James apologises to Thomas for his accident and Bertie comes to thank Thomas for remembering about the tar.
- Gordon rants on about Henry being rebuilt and says he whistles too much. Henry becomes sad, but the tables turn when Gordon’s whistle suddenly whistles loudly and out of control. Henry has the last laugh, but the following day while pulling a passenger train, a group of boys throw stones at him from an overhead bridge, breaking his coaches’ windows. Henry passes the same bridge later that afternoon, this time “sneezing” at the naughty boys by blowing thick black smoke high above to them. Once again, Henry has the last laugh and goes home happy.
Jukebox Band Segment Song
Songs and Cartoons
- In the Fox Family Version:
- The scene where the Jukebox Band thought the kids were calling out Tito's name was cut out.
- The Story of Lil' Sneezer was cut out.
- Billy's line after Mr. Conductor said he could just make his cold go away with his magic was shortened.
- The scene with JB King was cut out.
- The scene where the kids thought Mr. Conductor turned into a penguin was cut out.
- The song, Caring was cut out.
- A scene of the station clock after Mr. Conductor falls asleep was cut out.
- At the beginning of the episode, a boom mic is visible at the top of the screen.
- When Mr. Conductor first appears, he's a bit bigger than usual.
- This is the first time Billy Twofeathers sees Mr. Conductor, and despite not being formally introduced onscreen, Billy already knows who he is.
- The song "Caring" was released on video as part of "Shining Time Station Singsongs Vol. 1."
- This is the last episode where a story from Season 1 of Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends made its original US debut. While originally narrated in the UK by Ringo Starr, “Whistles & Sneezes” would only be seen in the US with George Carlin's narration during the home video era. Ringo's Narration was heard on some versions of Best Of Percy and The Early Years.
- Mr. Conductor tells Trust Thomas to Stacy, Billy, Dan, Becky and Kara in this episode.
- Mr. Conductor tells Whistles and Sneezes to Dan, Becky and Kara in this episode.