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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 series.
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 of 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," to make his point. Henry is hurt at these words, but Percy tells him he is glad that he is back and likes his whistling. Gordon soon leaves to pull the express, whilst reminding Henry to remember what he said.
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, whose whistle is jammed. He 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 valve 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 softly says to no one in particular "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 the boys do not answer and instead throw stones on him and his train, breaking the coaches' windows.
The passengers are unhurt but they are, naturally, furious. They want to call the police, but are interrupted by Henry's driver who has another plan to get their own back. After getting everyone to promise to keep the plan a secret, the driver tells them that Henry is going to sneeze at the boys. 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 until they are past the bridge.
Soon Henry approaches the bridge where the boys are waiting with more stones. Judging the moment, the driver has Henry sneeze at exactly the right time, causing the ashes that are built up in his smokebox to fly high into the air, covering the boys from head to toe in soot, to their horror and the amusement of Henry and his crew.
Henry goes home satisfied knowing that, with a whistle and a sneeze, he was able to teach Gordon and silly boys a lesson they will not forget.
- Sir Topham Hatt
- The Little Boys (do not speak)
- 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
- Rail Under Road Bridge and Stone Wall
- Crewe (mentioned in UK version; not named in US narration)
- The Pond Runby (deleted scene)
- 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, the scenes of Percy coming back to the shed at night, Henry pulling the express, Henry arriving at Lower Tidmouth and the last scene had no fade effects.
- 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 series that is not re-narrated by Ringo Starr for Shining Time Station in the US, as well as the first series 1 episode narrated by George Carlin in said show.
- Because stock footage is used, Henry is in his old shape in a close-up of himself before reaching the bridge, his coaches are gone and the 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 emphasize 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 seen hanging over the line, where Henry could just run into it at the right moment.
- In the wide shot of Henry puffing towards the bridge the second time, he is not moving for the first couple of seconds, and when he finally moves the telephone pole near him shakes.
- 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 original 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.
- As Henry leaves the bridge to head to the next station, the boys have disappeared from the bridge.
- In the close-up of Gordon's whistle when the hammer hits it, the shed beside Gordon is gone.
- In a deleted scene, Gordon’s eyes are wonky.
- Magazine Stories - Whistles and Sneezes
- My Thomas Story Library - Gordon (discontinued)
- Engine Adventures - Gordon
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