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by MagicRailroader category: Film
One of the most beloved fictional characters on the globe started as a present in the form of a little wooden tank engine. A gift from a Reverend to his two-year-old son, the little tank engine soon made his fame in a series of books that lasted from the mid 1940s to the early 1970s. He later went on to take the world by storm as he appeared on the television screen from the 1980s onwards. By the mid-1990s he was set to hit a new visual medium: the silver screen. But what was to be his breakthrough was to be diminished by Hollywood's degrading view of him as nothing more than a preschooler's marketing target.
Thomas the Tank Engine was first created by the Rev. W. Awdry in 1945 as a little wooden toy train who would later make his appearance in the world-renowned Railway Series books (though the first book was written two years beforehand). Despite a twelve year absence of any new books, Thomas continued to be beloved by families in over 120 countries. In 1984, Britt Allcroft was given the Rev. W. Awdry's blessings to create a new television show based on his books. Thomas made a triumphant return in Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends of the UK and Shining Time Station of the USA and has continued to entertain children on the TV screen ever since.
In the mid-1990s Britt decided to bring Thomas to the silver screen. Touched by the many fan letters she received from children, she decided to give them a gift in the form of a movie, not just for those who saw Thomas, but also those who saw Shining Time Station. During 1999, she worked hard to create a story that everyone could enjoy, a story about Thomas, who has to once again prove his worth, and Lily, a young girl who has to find a way to connect to her grandfather and restore his faith in the wondrous talking trains. Unfortunately the movie was given a negative response from a rather ignorant test audience, resulting in the film loosing many important and defining elements, including a very necessary character, clear definition of the story line and the engines' original British voice cast being replaced by an American one.
The original cuts of the film have been lying dormant in the vaults for several year, but now, thanks to the support of many Thomas and Shining Time Station fans, the official production team have journeyed into the vaults and uncovered the rough cuts. However, what has been found aren't fully completed reels, unsuitable enough as of yet for an official release. Rights for release and distribution are also an issue that needs to be resolved. The release of a completed cut of the original version of Thomas and the Magic Railroad can only be made possible if fans continue to give support by signing petitions so that the distributors can know how important this film is.
I'm doing my part by developing a YouTube prequel series that explains the past events described in Thomas and the Magic Railroad. But now there are petitions up and running to have the original cut of the film uncovered, restored and released onto DVD. Fans are gathering together to let HiT Entertainment, Sony Pictures, Shout Factory and Creek Mill Entertainment know that we want to see Britt Allcroft's gift to her fans in it's true, full version. The team worked hard on this massive production and it is unfair to have all they strived for go to waste. So let's take that shovelful of coal, revive the life and steam in this film and have it chug onto DVD for everyone to watch and enjoy the true story of Thomas and the Magic Railroad.
Be sure to visit these links as well to sign the petitions: