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- “It isn't wrong, but we just don't do it.”
- ―Gordon commenting on Henry's whistling
Whistles and Sneezes is the twentieth episode of the first season. It first aired in the US on the Shining Time Station episode Achoo in 1991 and re-aired in the Mr. Conductor's Thomas Tales episode, Paint the Town Red in 1996.
One morning, soon after Henry has returned from Crewe in his new shape, Gordon is jealous that Henry now gets to pull the express and complains that he never needed a new shape and left them all his work as well as their own. He also claims that Henry whistles too much and too loudly at stations, saying that "it isn't wrong, but we just don't do it". Henry is hurt at these words, but Percy tells him he is glad that he is back and likes his whistling.
Later when Henry arrives at Wellsworth, Edward tells Henry that he was glad to hear his whistle, cheering Henry up. Suddenly, the sound of a far-off and continuous whistle can be heard much to the engines' confusion. It turns out to be Gordon, who flies down the hill and through the station. Edward is surprised, while Henry tells him what Gordon had said about whistling.
Gordon speeds down the line, the awful noise from his whistle continuing even when he reaches the last station which causes everyone, including the Fat Controller to hold their ears. Gordon leaves the express behind and is taken to some fitters who hammer his whistle back into place, which causes the noise to finally stop. Gordon sneaks home that night to an empty shed, much to his relief. As the other engines arrive back, Henry whispers that "It isn't wrong, but we just don't do it", but says nothing about whistles.
The next day, Henry takes a train feeling as well as ever and soon approaches a bridge where three boys are waiting. Henry whistles in greeting, but suddenly feels pain as the boys do not answer but instead throw stones on him and his train, breaking the coaches' windows, which makes the passengers cross.
The passengers want to call the police, but are interrupted when Henry's driver, however, has another plan to get their own back. After getting everyone to promise to keep the plan a secret, the driver tells them. The plan is to have Henry sneeze and release the ashes that are built up in his smokebox. The passengers are excited and on the way back from the other end of the line, the driver makes sure everyone is ready and to keep all the windows shut because Henry is about to sneeze.
Soon Henry approaches the bridge where the boys are waiting with stones. Judging the moment, the driver has Henry sneeze at exactly the right time, covering the boys from head to toe in soot, much to their horror.
Henry goes home satisfied knowing that, thanks to a whistle and a sneeze, he was able to teach Gordon and the boys a lesson they won't quickly forget.
- Sir Topham Hatt
- The Stone-dropping Boys (do not speak)
- Thomas (cameo)
- James (cameo)
- Tidmouth Sheds
- Gordon's Hill
- Lower Tidmouth
- Vicarstown Sheds
- The Main Line
- Rail Under Road Bridge and Signalbox
- Crewe (mentioned in UK version)
- This episode is based on the stories Gordon's Whistle and Henry's Sneeze from The Railway Series book, Henry the Green Engine.
- Stock footage from Coal and The Flying Kipper is used.
- In the restored version when the scene of Percy comes back to the shed at night appeared, there is no transition.
- When Gordon leaves Knapford, music can be heard in the US and international versions but not in some versions of the UK dub.
- This is the only episode of the first season that is not narrated by Ringo Starr for Shining Time Station in the US.
- This is the only episode in the classic series that features Henry's closed eyes face.
- Because stock footage is used, Henry is in his old shape in a close-up of himself before reaching the bridge and his coaches disappear and his red stripe on his cylinder is peeling away.
- When Henry is seen puffing towards the bridge the first time, the branch of a tree on the bottom right hand corner of the screen can be seen wiggling. This was done to emphasise the fact that the boys were throwing stones, but two shots later, it is obvious to see how it was achieved, as the branch is clearly seen hanging over the line, where Henry could just run into it at the right moment.
- After the boys throw stones at Henry, a black mark is visible on Henry's tender.
- In the wide shot of Henry puffing towards the bridge the second time, he is not moving for the first couple of seconds.
- In the shot of Gordon going down his hill, his wheels are moving slower than he is.
- In the shots of Gordon entering and leaving Knapford, nobody is holding their ears even though the narrator says they are.
- In the unrestored version, when Henry sneezes, a bush near the bridge changes shape. The restored version shows Henry with his wincing face as he is passing by before he sneezes with the bush in the same position, indicating a take of Henry passing underneath the bridge with his cross face was filmed after the shot of him passing with his wincing face.
- When Henry sneezed at the boys, two of the boys are already covered in ashes before getting blown by steam.
- Magazine Stories - Whistles and Sneezes
- My Thomas Story Library - Gordon (discontinued)
- Engine Adventures - Gordon
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