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With the help of Britt Allcroft, the producer who created the Thomas the Tank Engine television, film, and licensing franchise, we take a look inside Thomas the Tank Engine -- his fascinating history, his cross-continental television series, and his cast of characters, all as we find out what's in store for the future. But let's go back to the beginning and uncover the origins of the world's favorite little engine. Awdry decided it was time to commit the stories to print after Christopher kept correcting his father during his frequent retellings. The Reverand Awdry continued to write a new book nearly every year until he retired in 1972. The younger Awdry wrote an additional 40 stories and was instrumental in bringing the popular series to the small screen. To rent Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends: The Best of James just jointhe Cinema Paradiso DVD rental and Blu-ray Rental service today and get a Free DVD rental trial.
Cinema Paradiso and all other Cinema Paradiso product and service names are trademarks of Pace-e-Solutions Limited or its affiliates. For 60 years, Thomas and his friends have been delighting children and adults alike with stories of exploration and imagination. Awdry amused his son with original stories and rhymes during the long days of his recovery. Awdry wrote another story featuring Edward that also introduced Gordon, a proud and boastful engine who eventually got his comeuppance.

Awdry drew simple companion illustrations as well -- pictures of the engines with human faces on them -- each with a different expression. After many rejection letters, he finally found a publisher willing to take the stories to print. Christmas 1942 saw the birth of the character that would become the favorite locomotive of many children and adults.
Awdry always felt it was important to model his fictional stories and characters around real-life trains and events as much as possible. An obscure 0-6-0T Class E2 shunting engine built for the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway was the model for Thomas. His son Christopher -- now grown and with a son of his own -- took up the writing of the series soon after.
Like his father before him, Christopher was also quite adamant that his stories be set in real time and based in real-life events.
Since then Thomas & Friends has captured the hearts and imaginations of children and parents around the world. He and his railway friends have been working the railways on the Island of Sodor for more than 60 years. In fact, at the time the television series began, there had only been two books named after Thomas specifically.

Part of that phenomenon has been the episodes that children have adored since the launch of the TV series in 1984.To celebrate 65 years of Thomas & Friends we have put together the very best 20 episodes, from the classic live action to the all new animation. Awdry said, as quoted on the official Awdry Family Website, "I, along with my brother George, inherited our father's love of railways, and after moving to Box, Wiltshire, in 1917, our house was within sight and sound of the Great Western Railway's main line near Middle Hill.
Percy was pattered after an old Avonside locomotive, and the Scottish Twins, Donald and Douglas, are based on members of the 812 Caledonian class of 1899.
He wrote three short stories (this time about Thomas, Percy, and Duck) and then brought them all together in a final story. Rather, the Awdrys treated the characters in the books as an ensemble and wrote about many different characters, some recurring and others appearing only in one or two stories. Watch Thomas and his friends in their most thrilling adventures featuring legendary storytellers Ringo Starr and Michael Angelis. Sir Topham Hatt), offers to an engine -- and though he sometimes gets into trouble, he always comes out on top. Encouragement from fans and pressure from publishers and producers eager to capitalize on the tank engine's fame convinced the Awdrys to focus the spotlight on Thomas.

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