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Bully for Mr. Conductor is the third episode of Season 3.
Dan and Becky enter the still and empty station, reflecting how quiet and peaceful it is. Stacy suddenly steps out of the workshop to invite them in where J.B. King is seated at Billy’s desk. When Becky asks where everyone is, Stacy reveals that Billy is working on the Sunset Flyer, while she is off to Chubby Corners. Mr. King adds they Stacy will be helping the Stationmaster there, and that he'll be minding the station during her absence. He appears to be distracted and looking for something as he comments that Shining Time Station is a very special place and that he's happy to be there. Dan asks his aunt if she would like him and Becky to go with her, but J.B. asks them to remain behind to entertain his young nephew Buster who will be visiting the station that afternoon, while he takes care of "serious adult railroad business." As he sees everyone out of the workshop, J.B. muses about where Mr. Conductor might be.
Before leaving, Stacy shares that she heard that Buster is not an easy person to get along with, and makes the kids promise to be nice to Buster and make him feel welcome. After Stacy departs, the kids are curious about when Buster will arrive and decide to go back into the workshop to ask Mr. King. J.B. is beneath the desk and the kids ask if he's dropped or lost something, but he replies that he hasn't. Dan and Becky figure out that he's looking for Mr. Conductor which Mr. King reacts to by bumping his head as he gets up, revealing a large magnifying glass in his hand. He admits that he is looking for Mr. Conductor and asks if they've seen him, and that he has a feeling that Mr. Conductor is currently at the station. When the kids try to tell him that they see Mr. Conductor all the time, J.B. interjects and lectures them about never interrupting an adult while they are speaking. Mr. Conductor appears on the desktop as J.B. King resumes his search on the floor and shares his conviction that Mr. Conductor spends his time at the station. The kids excitedly try to point out that Mr. Conductor is on the desk, but J.B. admonishes them once again for interrupting him. As Mr. Conductor mimics him, J.B. tells the kids to lock their lips and throw away the key. The oblivious Mr. King asserts that he's going to find him, while our tiny friend amuses the kids by monkeying around on the desk. A train is heard arriving and the kids leave the workshop to see who comes into the station.
A boy swaggers into the station and rebuffs Dan and Becky's welcome. They guess that he must be Buster and tell him that his uncle is inside the workshop if he would care to say hello to him. When they add that they like Mr. King, they're shocked when Buster refers to him as loser. When Dan disagrees, Buster intimidates the smaller boy into changing his mind by threatening to beat him up. Becky reminds Dan that they promised to be nice to Buster and try to approach him once more to invite him to play with them. Buster ignores them and props himself up on the bench with a marker pen in his hand. Becky asks what he's doing and Buster rudely informs her that he's going to draw on the wall mural. Becky pulls his arm away from the mural, and tells him not to do draw on it. Buster seems surprised by her reaction, but quickly challenges anyone to stop him. J.B. calls out to Buster, who quickly puts his marker away and begins flattering his uncle with compliments. Mr. King is pleased that the kids are getting along and tells them to have fun as he returns to the workshop. As soon as the workshop door is closed, J.B. King addresses Mr. Conductor aloud and asks why he can’t see him when he only wants to be his friend.
In the station, Buster is about to draw a moustache on one of the mural men, but Becky stops him and threatens to tell on him if he continues. Buster then threatens to have his uncle throw Stacy out of work and asks Becky if that's what she really wants. Becky replies no, but as Buster readies himself again to draw, warns that she'll still tell on him anyway. When Becky stands up to him, Buster says that lucky for her his marker pen ran out of ink and throws it on the floor. The bully then turns his attention to Dan, and is drawn to Schemer's arcade asking what the machines do. Dan shows him the picture machine, then the jukebox, which Buster begins to roughly rock complaining that it's not playing music. Inside the jukebox, the band is being jostled about and Tex thinks an earthquake is occuring while Rex quips that it's more like a "bully quake".
Buster gripes that the machine doesn't work but Dan informs him that it needs a nickel to do so. He then asks Dan if he has any money, and when Dan reveals that he has a nickel, the bully demands it from him. Dan refuses to hand it over and the bully tells Becky not to interfere as he begins wresting the nickel away from the smaller boy. Schemer arrives just in time to intervene and questions Buster why he’s picking on a kid half his size. Dan tells Schemer that Buster took his nickel, which prompts Schemer to forcefully take it back and return it to its rightful owner. Schemer rebukes the bully that he should feel ashamed of himself and asks his identity. Buster refuses to say, but the kids reveal that he's J.B. King's nephew. Realizing the connection, Schemer immediately grabs the nickel from Dan and presents it to Buster. Buster asks how the jukebox works and Schemer informs him that he needs to insert a nickel into the machine. Buster then says that he's keeping Dan’s nickel for himself, and demands the now-intimidated Schemer to hand over one of his own nickels, which he reluctantly surrenders. After the nickel is inserted, the jukebox band decides to make their own musical selection, and begin to play "Jamaican Farewell".
Buster seems impressed by the song, but now wants something else. He orders Schemer to get him an ice cream cone and intimidates him further by threatening to tell his uncle on him. He shouts at Schemer causing him to fall backward from the arcade and onto the station floor, sending him scurrying out of the station. Buster then asks Dan if he has any more nickels. Dan stands up to him and says no, so Buster responds by grabbing Dan in a headlock. Dan screams to be let go just as Mr. King exits the workshop, with a fishing net in his hand. Mr. King asks his nephew what he's doing to Dan, but Buster claims sweetly that they're just having fun. J.B. tells them to carry on and, as he watches Dan struggling, reminds them to take a five minute rest once in a while. Dan finally manages to wriggle himself free and Buster warns him that if he'll beat him up if he's still at the station when he returns. After he leaves, Becky tries to encourage Dan by telling him not to let Buster push him around. Dan counters that Buster is bigger than he is, but Becky says that Buster is trying to scare him. Dan confesses that he doesn’t want to get beaten up, so Becky suggests that they go talk to Mr. King to see if he can help them.
In the workshop, J.B. King is intently examining the desk surface with his magnifying glass. He’s enthralled to find Mr. Conductor’s footprints in the powder he'd left on the desk, and believes that he’s close to finding him. He's totally engrossed in his pursuit and ignores Becky's pleas, all the while not seeing Mr. Conductor dressed as Sherlock Holmes watching him from above on the filing cabinet. Becky gives up trying to get Mr. King's attention to end this situation and, as a result, leaves the station, telling Dan that she's going home.
Dan is alone on the station bench in front of the mural signal box fretting, when Mr. Conductor appears and asks if he's having troubles. Dan replies that he has bully troubles, with Mr. Conductor remarking that Buster is playing the bully game. He explains that some people like to push other people around because it makes them feel important, and that it's a mean sort of game that bullies play. Mr. Conductor tells Dan that he can play his own game by showing that he can stand up for himself without picking a fight. Dan asks if there are any bullies on the Island of Sodor and Mr. Conductor tells him the story about Bulgy the Bus.
At the end of the story Dan asks if Bulgy ever beat up anyone. Mr. Conductor doesn’t think so, but knows that the bus lied and made fun of the railway engines, which is another form of bullying. Dan tells Mr. Conductor that Buster intends to beat him up and wants to hide. Mr. Conductor tries to reason with Dan, but the boy's fear makes him try to hide behind the picture machine. Mr. Conductor appears on top of the machine and invites Dan to look into it instead of hiding. Mr. Conductor inserts a nickel into the picture machine to let Dan watch a music video about bad guys and bullies. After the video, Mr. Conductor asks Dan if it's given him any ideas. Dan only replies that he’d better hide. Mr. Conductor insists that sometimes people have to stand up to a bully to tell him that they've had enough. Dan is intimidated by Buster’s size, so Mr. Conductor suggests that Dan let him talk to Buster. Dan advises against it, emphasizing that Buster is mean and if he picks on Dan because of his size it'll be worse for Mr. Conductor, and so begs him to hide from Buster as well.
Buster re-enters the station with his ice cream cone and asks Dan who he's talking to as Dan tries to shield Mr. Conductor from the bully’s view. Buster finally sees Mr. Conductor and orders Dan to get out of his way. Dan stands his ground and shouts "NO!” Momentarily taken aback, Buster repeats his order and threatens to beat Dan up. Dan refuses to and steps closer to Buster. Buster tries once again, but Dan is on the offensive telling Buster to get away from the arcade. In the workshop, Mr. King is under the table searching and overhears Dan ordering Buster to leave Mr. Conductor alone. This gets a reaction from J.B. who hits his head beneath the table as he rises to get up.
Dan warns the retreating Buster that he'll turn him upside down if he ever lays a hand on Mr. Conductor, then spin him around by his feet, and stick the ice cream cone on his head. Buster is now cowed by Dan's courage and does not hesitate giving back Dan's nickel when he demands it. Schemer runs in with a second ice cream cone for Buster as he whines that Dan is dangerous. Schemer sides with Buster and warns Dan of what will happen when Mr. King learns about this. As Buster retreats, he vows to see how tough Dan is once he tells his "dumb" uncle what happened, not realizing that J.B. is standing immediately behind him to see the action as he adds that he’ll then be able to draw on the walls all he wants. Suddenly, he backs into his uncle and, one last time, he claims something by immediately beginning to flatter him with compliments again, but J.B. tells Buster that he's in enough trouble already, and that he shouldn't be making matters worse by lying to him. Buster plays innocent, but J.B. will have none of it, and orders his nephew to wait for him outside the station so they can talk about what Buster has been doing to the others very soon. Buster leaves whining that he never has any fun and blames everything on Dan.
As Buster exits the station, Mr. King addresses Dan and apologizes on behalf of the entire King family. Schemer interjects, lamely attempting to claim the credit for what Dan did, and gives J.B. the ice cream cone before leaving. J.B. asks Dan if he was protecting someone smaller than himself, and when Dan just nods "yes," J.B. adds that it was a mighty fine thing to do and that he's proud of him. He offers out his hand to shake and then gives Dan the ice cream cone saying that he deserves it. As J.B. leaves to go have a word with his nephew, Dan asks him if he saw Mr. Conductor. J.B. replies that he didn’t, but suspects that Mr. Conductor had a small hand in what just transpired, as we see our miniature friend, Mr. Conductor standing on the wall edge behind him. The second before Mr. King leaves, he says that he knows Mr. Conductor is around somewhere. Mr. Conductor shushes Dan to keep quiet (presumably because he always avoids being discovered by J.B. King for some reason) and the episode ends as they both wave at J.B. King as he exits the station.
Cast and Characters
- George Carlin as Mr. Conductor
- Didi Conn as Stacy Jones
- 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
- During the Bank Holiday, the engines have more passengers to charter. Duck and Oliver’s schedule is disrupted by the arrival of Bulgy, a bad-tempered double-decker bus, who upsets the engines claiming that railways would be ripped up. Bulgy then attempts to steal Duck’s passengers by pretending to be a “Railway Bus” and succeeds. However, after getting stuck under a low bridge, the passengers realise Bulgy was lying so they wouldn’t ride the trains. Duck arrives on scene to take the “stolen” passengers home, and following the bridges’ repairs, Bulgy is turned into a henhouse.
Jukebox Band Segment Song
- Jamaica Farewell
Songs and Cartoons
- Bad Guy
- Cartoons in the song:
- This episode is well known for giving a strong message on bullying and the bully picking on kids and the victim standing up to for themselves, where most shows today do not do as strongly as this episode.
- Neither Billy nor Kara appear in this episode.
- Another Indian Valley Railroad engine is named in this episode: The Sunset Flyer.
- Ira Glasner makes another appearance as Buster in the direct to video spinoff Schemer Presents! episode, How to Share. In this episode, Buster still acts like a bully but reconciles with Schemee.
- This is the first episode to have Mr. Conductor's name in the title.
- The pen Buster keeps trying to draw on the mural with is a Mr. Sketch blue pen.
- This episode has a noticably red color saturation to it in some places.
- Mr. Conductor tells Bulgy to Dan in this episode.