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- “Beg pardon, sir. Excuse my intrusion."
"No, I won't! You've frightened my customers. I'll teach you.”
- ―Duck and the barber
A Close Shave, retitled A Close Shave for Duck in American releases, is the fourteenth episode of the second series.
After recently being framed by Devious Diesel for telling jokes about the engines to the Troublesome Trucks, Duck sadly goes to Wellsworth where he meets Edward and tells him what happened. Edward assures Duck that the Fat Controller will find out what is really going on and asks him to help out with the trucks for the day.
Duck feels happy as he and Edward set to work with a goods train. Edward pulls the train while Duck pushes bunker-first from behind. However, the trucks are in a bad mood and make work hard for both of them. When they get to the top of Gordon’s Hill, Duck bids farewell to Edward and heads back to the station. But as he coasts down the hill, enjoying the breeze, he suddenly hears the whistle of a guard who was knocked out of his brake van because Edward's trucks have broken away and are intent on chasing Duck down the hill and derailing him.
Duck makes a run for it, but the trucks quickly start to catch up. Luckily for Duck, the trucks only catch him gradually and do not throw him off the rails, but nevertheless Duck is forced to keep going at top speed as the trucks push him. Just as they are starting to regain control, Duck and his driver spot James pulling out of the station ahead on their line with a train full of passengers. Duck tries his hardest to stop the trucks, knowing that a terrible accident could result otherwise, but is unable to slow down. Duck shuts his eyes and braces for the crash and is about to run into the coaches when he is diverted into a siding at the last second.
At the end of the siding is a small shop where a barber has set up his business. Duck barrels down the line and crashes right into the front of the shop, completely destroying the wall. The trucks pay no attention to the damage; they are rather pleased with themselves. As Duck peeks in through the debris, he apologises to the barber, but the barber is furious and coats Duck's face with shaving cream as revenge for frightening his customers.
Thomas and Percy arrive to help clear the mess, while the Fat Controller speaks with the barber and explains that while he understands how upset the barber is, Duck and his crew helped to prevent a serious accident, and it was "a close shave" that nobody was hurt. The barber apologises for his mistake, rinses the shaving cream off, and compliments Duck for his bravery, and so does the Fat Controller who tells Duck how proud he is of him.
Soon Duck is pulled out from the barber shop by Thomas, and the Fat Controller tells him he will be returning home once he is properly washed and repaired. Duck becomes worried, believing that the engines still hate him and prefer Diesel. The Fat Controller tells Duck that is no longer the case, as he never believed Diesel and has sent him packing. The other engines are now all very sorry and want Duck to come back.
A few days later, after being mended, Duck returns to the shed where the other engines welcome him back with happy whistles. Proudly taking his place alongside them, Duck feels happier than ever to be home with his friends.
- Sir Topham Hatt
- The Barber
- Thomas (does not speak)
- James (does not speak)
- Henry (cameo)
- Gordon (cameo)
- Percy (cameo)
- Mrs. Kyndley (cameo)
- The Butler (cameo)
- One Enthusiast (cameo)
- Diesel (mentioned)
- Gordon's Hill
- The Viaduct
- C&B Barber
- MC BUNN
- Tidmouth Sheds
- Suddery Castle
- Suddery Junction
- This episode is based on the story of the same name from The Railway Series book, Duck and the Diesel Engine.
- A large model of Duck is used for the scenes inside the barber shop. The face used for this model was actually designed for Thomas' large model.
- In the restored version, the scene of the trucks passing Wellsworth is sped up.
- In George Carlin's narration and most international versions (except the Japanese and Welsh versions):
- Duck's brakes being applied can be heard when he races through Crosby Station.
- The trucks laugh throughout the whole chase.
- The crash sound effect and runaway themes are different from the UK, Japanese and Welsh narrations.
- The line "and shut his eyes" is not included in George Carlin's narration.
- In the German version, when Duck passes through Edward's station, the line "But the trucks were catching up" is omitted.
- In all dubs except the German and George Carlin dubs, when Duck enters Crosby Station, a final repeat of the main section of the runaway theme is played before Duck veers into the siding, upon which an ending to the theme is played up to the crash.
- In the German dub, the music suddenly cuts forward and plays for a little bit before repeating itself, thereby cutting back to the version heard in most dubs.
- The Lynton and Barnstaple van that was used in this episode is currently owned by Twitter user ThomasTankMerch.
- In the George Carlin dub, the music played just before the crash is repeated an extra time instead of the final repeat of the runaway theme's main section.
- A deleted scene shows the barber and his customer looking at Duck before he crashes and the barber putting shaving foam on the customer's forehead by mistake, which may explain why it is there when the customer is shown after the crash.
- In the original version, there are five shots of the barber lathering Duck's face. In the restored version, there are four.
- When Duck goes into Crosby Yards, behind M.C. BUNN, the stationmaster's house from Thomas Comes to Breakfast can be seen.
- In the US, this episode aired after Better Late Than Never, when the viaduct was under repair.
- When Duck arrives at Wellsworth, his whistle valves are missing.
- When Duck buffers up to Edward's train, the brake van does not have a face, but it gains one when the engines pass through the level crossing. It disappears when Duck runs through Crosby Station.
- James stops once his last coach clears the points.
- In both Ringo Starr narrations, he states that Duck shut his eyes, but his eyes are wide open.
- When Duck crashes into the barber shop, the brake van can be seen coupled up to him.
- Both the barber and his customers are smiling when he says, "I'll teach you!".
- When the derailed trucks are shown, you can clearly see that the slate slabs have been deliberately placed.
- In the close-up of Thomas' wheels when he pulls Duck from the barbershop, a wire can be seen sticking out near his wheels.
- When Thomas arrives to help with the cleanup, a second track inexplicably appears next to the siding.
- The barber only washes half of the shaving cream off Duck's face, and when Duck is pulled back onto the rails the shaving cream is back all over his face again.
- In the deleted scene of the barber and his customer looking at Duck before the crash, Duck appears to be smiling. Duck is also smiling throughout being coated up in shaving cream.
- In the close up shots of Duck inside the barber shop, when he is being pulled out, studio equipment can be seen in the upper left corner behind the remains of the barber shop's roof.
- The truck behind Edward does not have a face at first, but gains one when they reach Gordon's Hill.
- In Ringo Starr's US narration, after Duck complains to Edward that Diesel has made the other engines think that he is horrid, there is an echo in the background. This is audio from the UK version.
- When Duck speeds down the siding leading toward the barber shop, there is one track leading towards the building, but when the mess is cleared up, there are two lines.
- As the trucks race past the level crossing, a string is seen pulling them.
- When Duck speeds past the camera moments before hitting the barber shop, the large van changes the direction it is facing.
- In the close up shots of Duck inside the barber's shop, he is wearing Thomas' large scale face and because of this, his nose is in a different shape and his face is undersized.
- There are a few points when the cattle truck has a face and a few when it does not.
- TrackMaster - Duck with shaving cream-covered face and trucks (reintroduced 2013)
- Buzz Books - A Close Shave
- Books - The Close Shave
- Ladybird Books - Pop Goes the Diesel/Dirty Work/A Close Shave
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