Continuing our series about anthropomorphic vehicles, we must begin at the beginning, Sodor.
“Harold the Helicopter is a character in the Railway Series books by the Rev. W. Awdry and Christopher Awdry and the television series Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends.” “Harold is based on a Sikorsky S-55 helicopter.”
He is a bit snooty in the TV series (at least that is how George Carlin plays him), but turns out to be a fine chap and a good complement to the railways (i.e. he is more mobile, but of course cannot carry large loads economically).
My wife informed me about Budgie the Little Helicopter “On release of the first book, [Sarah] Ferguson [the Duchess of York] was forced to deny she’d copied the idea for the series from the earlier Hector the Helicopter book by A.W. Baldwin”. Her being a royal, and me being an anti-Monarchist, I want to believe she is guilty, but I really have no evidence, and how many anthropomorphic helicopter stories can there be (helicopter meets airplane – helicopter loses airplane (to that crime-fighting rapscallion Zeppelin the Blimp) – helicopter regains airplane, helicopter vs. nature, helicopter vs. himself, etc.)? This Hector the Helicopter is not to be confused with the Hector at http://www.hectorthehelicopter.com/, which is based at the American Helicopter Museum and Education Center. Budgie seems to be based on a Bell 206.
I have both Budgie and Hector on order at Amazon, and will report back on the plagiarism charge. I have not seen the TV series based on Budgie, which sadly is available only in VHS but not a modern format (nor apparently on BT – maybe I should have searched for helicopterz). Some YouTube clips are available, I share the intro below. (There are anthropomorphic airplanes on Budgie, so those can be added to the previous entry).