Jan 032016
 

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I never thought my life would come to this: appreciating the humour of a grumpy, anthropomorphic piece of dockage equipment…on TV, no less! Even when I started buying and collecting Thomas the Train wooden railway parts, pieces, and trains for my little guy, I never imagined I’d give the series any screen time, or be able to name most of the characters. I have to say, a favorite character has grown on me, and it’s Cranky the Crane! Cranky is a stationary crane who works down at Thomas’s local docks. As his co-worker /  “friend?” Salty states, he is indeed “Cranky by name, and cranky by nature.” So what’s so fabulous about this guy?

1. Cutest face. Cranky is the cutest character in the Thomas the Tank Engine world, where everyone has a distinct, gray round or square face. Check out the faces; decide for yourself. I think Cranky is the cutest, hands down.

2. Most realistic personality. This guy is pretty grumpy. Cranky rolls his eyes, bosses the trains around, and is never without a snide or sarcastic comment. As an adult watching Cranky in action, this makes for some very comedic moments in an otherwise tame children’s program. His reactions are very applicable to what one might encounter in the real world. Cranky is just what one would expect from a gruff, middle-aged guy who works down at the docks. Under-paid and over-worked, full of one-liners, Cranky is probably a little too skilled and a little too smart for the job he’s stuck in. Because literally, Cranky is stuck at Brendam Docks; he is screwed into the ground as a permanent installation.

And now, a poem:

“Cranky
By R. Schuyler Hook

Off the train,
Onto the ship,
The crates and barrels
Must not slip.

Off the ship,
Onto the train,
In the sun,
The snow,
The rain.

Back
And forth
And to
And fro.
He has no wheels-
He cannot go.

Day in,
Day out,
The whole year through.
Wouldn’t you
Be cranky, too?”

I feel I could have a real conversation with Cranky, although it would probably turn into an amicable gripefest. This is in stark contrast to, for example, a train engine like Percy. Despite being an “adult” train tasked with delivering postal mail all over an island, Percy believes in monsters, has issues identifying friendship, and generally acts like a flighty six year-old. Cranky may be crabby, but he doesn’t have some of the other psychoses or personality flaws of many of the other characters.

3. Killer Toy: The Thomas Wooden Railway toys, or whatever you want to call them (action figures?) are AWESOME. Having kids is a great excuse to have the time of your life collecting some really awesome and cute characters, and pretty detailed buildings and quality train tracks. This isn’t a kid’s pursuit; Thomas’s Wooden Railway is an adult-driven passion. Any sum of lunch money or birthday checks from Grandma won’t get you very far in this world. This stuff is pricey!

Cranky himself goes for about $45 as of this writing, and he is worth every bit of it. He has a surprisingly pleasant expression on his face, and two controls that spin him and raise and lower his magnetic crane hook. An adorable addition to your train table, your life won’t be complete without a cranky “doll”. Score one of these, and it’s a slippery slope toward getting lost in the world of Thomas the Train, with all of its kooky characters and quality toys. Enjoy!

 Posted by on January 3, 2016 at 8:47 pm Uncategorized

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