Shining Time Station, and a Shining example of a killer early style Ringo autograph.

MrConductorRingoStarrandDidiConn

Shining Time Station is an American children’s television series jointly created by British television producer Britt Allcroft and Rick Siggelkow, {seen below.} The series was produced by The Britt Allcroft Company (now Gullane Entertainment, a subsidiary of HiT Entertainment) and Quality Family Entertainment in New York for New York City’s PBS station WNET, and was originally taped in New York City and later in Toronto. It incorporated sequences from the British television show Thomas & Friends, which was in turn based on a series of books that had been written by the Reverend “W.” (for Wilbert) Awdry. The series aired on PBS from January 29, 1989 to June 11, 1993, and aired re-runs until June 11, 1998. It aired on Fox Family from 1998 to 1999. It also aired on Nick Jr. in 2000 and on Canadian television networks such as APTN and SCN. Elements from the show were incorporated into the Thomas and Friends film Thomas and the Magic Railroad.

RingoStarrBrittAllcroftandRickSiggelkow

After the success of Thomas & Friends in the United Kingdom, Britt Allcroft and her production company teamed up with PBS station WNET in New York City to produce and distribute the sitcom-esque Shining Time Station, every episode of which would include a couple of episodes of Thomas & Friends. The series starred Ringo Starr, George Carlin, Didi Conn, Brian O’Connor, and The Flexitoon Puppets. Ringo Starr, who had already been providing the voice of the storyteller for the British series, agreed to extend the role to include the on-screen character called Mr. Conductor in Shining Time Station. He later left the show and was replaced by George Carlin.

Shining Time Station received critical acclaim. In a review for Entertainment Weekly, Ken Tucker states that, compared to the faster paced Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?, “‘Shining Time Station’ wants to slow things down. It’s an old-fashioned show that creates a gentle, lulling atmosphere to convince children that life is fun and that trains are the way to travel.” It was a ratings success as well. In its first season, the show averaged a 0.9 Nielsen rating, translating to about 1.2 million viewers on average. At the peak of its popularity, the show brought in up to 7.5 million viewers per week.

Former Beatles drummer Ringo Starr with models of the Fat Controller and train characters from the TV series 'Thomas The Tank Engine', which he narrates, circa 1985. (Photo by Terry O'Neill/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Former Beatles drummer Ringo Starr with models of the Fat Controller and train characters from the TV series ‘Thomas The Tank Engine’, which he narrates, circa 1985. (Photo by Terry O’Neill/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

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Big Ringo and little Ringo as Mr. Conductor.

RingoStarrandMr.Conductor

As most Beatle and Ringo fans know, Ringo doesn’t sign anymore. Rarely for his charity. But these days, pretty much never.

His Beatle signatures from the 60’s can run the gamut from $700-800 to $1000 plus for a primo example on a great photo or early Beatle item. His later signatures much less as he has a few different styles he’s signed with since 1992. According to Perry Cox, well known noted Beatles expert he signed with his full name and star from 1962 until 1992. At this time he went to Ringo and a star, then dropped the star in favor of his lightening bolt according to Cox.

Below Ringo signs his full name and star. While a more recent signature, it’s his style from the early 60’s with The Beatles. Beautiful. Dates from roughly the beginning of the series in the early 90’s.

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