George Denis Patrick Carlin (12th May 1937 - 22nd June 2008) was a five-time Grammy-winning American stand-up comedian, actor, social critic, producer, writer and author.
He narrated the third through fourth series of Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends, along with recordings of the first two series after Ringo Starr left for American audiences on Shining Time Station and played Mr. Conductor in Shining Time Station and "Mr Conductor's Thomas Tales". His third series narrations were also used for New Zealand VHS releases. After narrating the fourth series, Carlin left the series to do several explicit comedy specials and pursued other projects.
On 22nd June 2008, a short while after David Mitton's death, Carlin unfortunately died of heart failure at a hospital in Santa Monica, California, at the age of 71. He was cremated and his ashes were scattered without any religious ceremonies, as he wished. Following his death, Britt Allcroft and Rick Siggelkow (the co-producer of Shining Time Station) wrote tributes to him.
Carlin was known to insult most of the shows he worked on due to issues on set (such as his time on his own series The George Carlin Show), but often spoke very fondly of both Shining Time Station and Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends, even in some of his stand-up comedy routines. In an interview on "TV Legends" conducted shortly before his death, he explained that he signed on to both shows so that people could see a different side of him from his profanity-laden persona.
- "Burns and Carlin at the Playboy Club Tonight" (1963)
- "Take-Offs and Put-Ons" (1967)
- "FM and AM" (1972)
- "Class Clown" (1972)
- "Occupation: Foole" (1973)
- "Toledo Window Box" (1974)
- "An Evening with Wally Londo Featuring Bill Slaszo" (1975)
- "On the Road" (1977)
- "Indecent Exposure: Some of the Best of George Carlin" (1978)
- "Killer Carlin" (1981)
- "A Place for My Stuff" (1981)
- "Carlin on Campus" (1984)
- "Playin' with Your Head" (1986)
- "What am I Doing in New Jersey?" (1988)
- "Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics" (1990)
- "Jammin' in New York" (1992)
- "Classic Gold" (1992)
- "Back in Town" (1996)
- "You are All Diseased" (1999)
- "The Little David Years (1971-1977)" (1999)
- "Complaints and Grievances" (2001)
- "George Carlin on Comedy" (2002)
- "Life is Worth Losing" (2006)
- "More Napalm and Silly Putty" (2007)
- "It's Bad for Ya" (2008)
- "I Kinda Like It When A Lotta People Die" (2016)
- "Sometimes a Little Brain Damage can Help" (1984)
- "Brain Droppings" (1997)
- "Napalm and Silly Putty" (2001)
- "When will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops?" (2004)
- "Watch my Language" (2007)
Major awards and nominations
- WON: Grammy Award for Best Comedy Recording, 1972, for "FM and AM"
- WON: Grammy Award for Best Spoken Comedy Album, 1993, for "Jammin' in New York"
- WON: Grammy Award for Best Spoken Comedy Album, 2001, for "Brain Droppings"
- WON: Grammy Award for Best Spoken Comedy Album, 2002, for "Napalm and Silly Putty"
- WON: Grammy Award for Best Comedy Recording, 2008, for "It's Bad For Ya"
- Nominated - Daytime Emmy Awards - Outstanding Performer in a Children's Series, 1992 and 1994 for "Shining Time Station"
- He was a proponent of the choice by Kenn Viselman.
- He was good friends with Russell Means, who played Billy Twofeathers in Thomas and the Magic Railroad.
- Despite him being a North American narrator, the second and third series of Shining Time Station were broadcast on Channel 2 in New Zealand. He also narrated the Taiwanese version of the fourth series and was credited as a narrator on all Series 1-2 DVD releases in the Philippines. In some ways, this makes him a semi-international narrator.
- In technicality, George Carlin was the first official American Thomas narrator after Ringo Starr left Shining Time Station for his music career.
- George stated in an interview that when he worked on Shining Time Station, he would tell children when they came up to see if he was Mr. Conductor, because he was tall, "I'm not on the Island of Sodor today, I'm working here, but I am Mr. Conductor".
- George was born on the same day The Railway Series was first published. More specifically, The Three Railway Engines was published on his eighth birthday in 1945.
- Carlin sometimes referred to himself as the "anti-Pete Best" with regards to his replacing Ringo Starr on Shining Time Station: this was a nod to the original drummer for The Beatles whom Ringo Starr famously replaced.
- According to Britt Allcroft, on his first day of recording narration for the series, George expressed nervousness at the fact he had no audience to deliver the story to in the booth. As bringing an actual child in was not an option, Britta had a teddy bear delivered to the studio, which became Carlin's audience for all of the voiceover sessions. At the end of George's run, he gifted Britt with her own teddy bear named Teddy Carlin, which sits on her piano to this day.