A reptilian role model for three year olds, target practice for the older kids, the purple prehistoric pal named Barney has made quite an impression around the world, a benevolent behemoth who, above all else, loves you. Come regress into your childhood with us as we remember what all the fuss was about.
Created in 1987 by Sheryl Leach, Barney was the result of her wanting an educational TV show that would appeal to her young son. She assembled her own production team, got Sandy Duncan to appear in the first three videos, and the rest is history – a six foot tall purple dinosaur who found his fluffy way to the PBS television network in 1992 as the star of Barney and Friends. Along with a cast of ethnically diverse young cohorts, Barney sang, danced, and played his way into the hearts of millions of preschoolers, always with a message of love and acceptance.
Each episode was based upon a particular lesson – how to make friends, how to take responsibility, even how to count. Enlisted to help the kids were Barney’s colorful pals – a green, three-year-old triceratops named Baby Bop, her yellow older brother, BJ, and an orange hadrosaur cousin of BJ and Baby Bop named Riff. And just to make sure the big guy’s message was clear, he would reiterate these lessons at the end of each episode in a segment called “Barney Says.”
And from humble beginnings, Barney exploded on the kids scene with a marketing blitz that was downright staggering. Besides all of the toys, books, CD’s, videos, and a feature film called Barney’s Great Adventure (which was undoubtedly a memorable outing for many a parent,) Barney branched out into the real world. From one end of the globe to the other, Barney made countless personal appearances in malls, at children’s parties, and anywhere else a towering purple dinosaur could readily visit.
After two decades, Barney and Friends is still on the air, still releasing DVDs and Barney is still showering kids with love and affection everywhere he goes. He appears on television in Mexico as Barney y Sus Amigos and as far away as Israel. There is no stopping this doting dinosaur who loves everyone, even if they perhaps don’t always love him back.
Were you one of those little tykes who loved Barney with all your heart? Or, were you one of those older tykes who ruthlessly taunted your younger siblings because of their devotion to the big, purple guy? Share all of those Barney memories in our comments section as we pay tribute to one unforgettable dinosaur.