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- “He may have whirly arms instead of wheels, but he seems to understand just what an engine needs!”
When Harold first met Percy, he stated that railways were "slow and out-of-date", but was proven wrong when Percy beat him in a race. When Thomas' brakes failed while boarding at a station, with an inspector Harold chased him down the line. For Christmas that year Harold brought Santa Claus to the party at Tidmouth Station. Harold also dropped hot drinks for Percy's crew when they were stranded in a floating river and made friends with Duck after rescuing an injured sailor.
As of Misty Island Rescue, he joined the Sodor Search and Rescue team and lives in his own hangar at the Sodor Search and Rescue Centre. Since joining the team he has been involved in a search for Thomas when he got lost, saving Bertie from the Shake Shake Bridge and helping Charlie to recapture an elephant which escaped from the Sodor Animal Park. Once, Harold's rotors became jammed, so Thomas and Duck took him to the Sodor Search and Rescue Centre.
He and the rest of the rescue team helped out after a big storm and they were rewarded with a new alarm bell for the rescue centre. He later found Percy and Diesel trapped in a flood at the old quarry and the rescue team helped them out. He also helped The Duke and Duchess of Boxford get to Callan Castle, after Thomas, Spencer and Bertie failed.
In the twentieth season, he and Percy's rivalry resurfaced at Christmas. Percy was struggling to get through the snow while delivering mail for Santa, so Harold offered to help, but Percy refused. Percy then left behind a sack of letters at Dryaw and Harold decided to get them to him. Percy, believing Harold was mocking his speed again, decided to race him, only to crash into a snowdrift. Harold again offered to help deliver the mail and this time, Percy agreed. While he was able to deliver the mail to Hiro, he ran out of fuel and was grounded in a field on the Mainland for the night. When Percy found out, he raced off to find him and then brought him some fuel, not wanting him to spend Christmas alone and believing "one good turn deserves another". The two friends then returned to Sodor.
Harold on the Big Screen
Harold was voiced by Kevin Frank in Thomas and the Magic Railroad. In the film, Harold flew by at Tidmouth Sheds, spreading sneezing powder all over Thomas, Splatter and Dodge. In earlier scripts, he didn't speak and he spread quarry dust in the quarry bowl all over Thomas, Splatter, and Dodge.
Harold speaks in a manner reminiscent of an RAF pilot, using terms such as "wizard" and "old chap" in conversation.
Throughout the second to fourth seasons, Harold somewhat tended to be full of himself as he felt that "railways are slow", but he always got his comeuppance in the end. He temporarily regained this part of his personality in the sixth season episode, A Bad Day for Harold the Helicopter. Since then, he has acted a lot more mature and almost never teases the engines. He takes his job as part of the Sodor Search and Rescue Centre team very seriously and is always alert when there is an emergency.
Harold is based on a Sikorsky S-55 helicopter (also known as Sikorsky H-19 Chickasaw), built in the UK as the Westland Whirlwind. He has added floats. Around 70 of these still survive in some form.
Harold is painted white with red lining. His name is painted on his sides, near his tail, in red.
- One of Harold's models is on display in Japan at the Hara Model Railway Museum (previously on display at Nitrogen Studios) and is currently missing his mouth.
- Harold has gone through several changes throughout the Television Series:
- Season 2:
- His spinning rotors were achieved using a transparent disk.
- In The Runaway and Thomas and the Missing Christmas Tree, he is shown with a lamp.
- Season 3:
- His model's blades now spun when shown flying.
- His blades were flimsy and bent a bit.
- The lamp reappears only in Thomas, Percy and the Post Train.
- Season 4:
- His blades become straight again.
- Season 5:
- His blades go back to being flimsy and bent.
- Thomas and the Magic Railroad:
- His blades are straight once again.
- Season 8:
- The lamp becomes permanent.
- Season 10:
- His eyes now move with a motor.
- Season 12:
- He becomes rendered in full CGI.
- His red lining becomes a darker shade of red.
- Misty Island Rescue:
- His main body becomes smaller.
- His face becomes smaller and lowered slightly.
- His livery changed back to the red colour it normally was.
- Season 2:
- In both of his appearances in the sixth season, Harold's unhappy expression was always visible behind his mouth on his happy face.
- Harold's theme in the second season is a musical variation on the main score of the 1955 film, The Dam Busters.
- Harold has never flown oustside of The Island of Sodor.
- In the television series, Harold has never had eyebrows. However, he did have them in the magazine stories Mountain Rescue and False Alarm and in illustrations by Ken Stott.
- It is revealed in the Playing Around with Thomas & Friends video, Learning Colors that Harold's favourite colour is orange.
- Harold was called Herbert in the French dub from Seasons 2 to 7.
- One of Harold's Wooden Railway models appears in an episode of CW's show Smallville entitled Nicodemus.
- "Hello", said Percy "Who are you?"
- "I'm Harold. Who are you?"
- "I'm Percy. What whirley great arms you've got!"
- "They're nice arms!" said Harold, offended. "I can hover like a bird. Don't you wish you could hover?"
- "Certainly not! I like my rails, thank you".
- "I think railways are slow!" said Harold in a bored voice. "They're not much use and quite out of date".
- A conversation between Percy and Harold in Percy and Harold, Percy the Small Engine.
- The engines were just leaving the station, when they heard a familiar buzzing.
- "I say you two, there's news flying about!"
- "Where?" puffed Percy.
- "All over the place. They're going to scrap the Post Train and use me instead. Wings work wonders you know! Always!"
- "Rubbish!" huffed Thomas.
- Harold boasting to Thomas and Percy, Thomas, Percy and the Mail Train, third season.