Barney & Friends

Barney & Friends
Barney and Friends
Barney and Friends season three logo
Format Children's television series
Created by Sheryl Leach[1]
Starring David Voss (1988-1990)
David Joyner (1991-2001)
Carey Stinson (1994, 2002-present)
and Josh Martin (1999-2002) (Barney suit)
Bob West (1988-2001)
Duncan Brannan/Tim Dever (1999-2002)
and Dean Wendt (2002-present) (Barney voice)
Dao Knight (1991)
Jenny Dempsey (1992)
Jeff Ayers (1993-present) (Baby Bop suit)
Julie Johnson (Baby Bop voice)
Jeff Brooks (1993-2004)
and Kyle Nelson (2004-present) (B.J. suit)
Patty Wirtz (B.J. voice)
Adam Brown (Riff suit)
Michaela Dietz (Riff voice)
Country of origin United States
Language(s) English
No. of episodes 268 (List of episodes)
Running time 30 minutes
Production company(s) The Lyons Group (1992–2001)
HiT Entertainment[2] (2001–present)
Connecticut Public Television (1992–2005)
WNET New York (2006–present)
Original channel PBS[3]
Picture format NTSC (480i) (1992-2008)
HDTV (1080i) (2009-present)
Original airing April 6, 1992 (1992-04-06)
Preceded by Barney and the Backyard Gang

Barney and Friends, also referred to by HiT Entertainment as Barney the Friendly Dinosaur, is an independent children's television show produced in the United States, aimed at children from ages 1-8. The series, which first aired in 1992, features the title character Barney, a purple anthropomorphic Tyrannosaurus rex who conveys learning through songs and small dance routines with a friendly, optimistic attitude.[4][5][6][7]

Since September 18, 2009, the show has been on hiatus.[8]


Origin and development

Barney and Friends season 1 title card.

Barney was created in 1987 by Sheryl Leach of Dallas, Texas.[9] She came up with the idea for the program while considering TV shows that she felt would be educational and appeal to her son. Leach then brought together a team who created a series of home videos, Barney and the Backyard Gang, which also starred actress Sandy Duncan in the first three videos.[10] Later, Barney was joined by the characters Baby Bop, B.J., and Riff.

Although the original videos were only a modest success outside of Texas, Barney became a major success only when the character and format were revamped for the television series and were picked up by the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), debuting as Barney and Friends in 1992.[11] The series was produced by Lyrick Studios (bought by HIT Entertainment) and Connecticut Public Television.[12] For several years, the show was taped at the Color Dynamics Studios facility at Greenville Avenue & Bethany Drive in Allen, after which it moved to The Studios at Las Colinas in Dallas, Texas. Currently, the series is produced in Carrollton, Texas, a suburb of Dallas. The TV series and videos are currently distributed by HiT Entertainment and Lionsgate, while the TV series has been produced by WNET since 2006. Sheryl Leach left the show in 2002 after HiT Entertainment bought Lyrick Studios.

Episode format

Opening sequence

The series opens with the theme song (complete with clips from various episodes) and the title card before it dissolves into the school. The children are seen doing an activity, occasionally relating to the episode's topic. The children imagine something and Barney comes to life from a plush doll, transforming into the "real" Barney, how he appears to the children while they're imagining.

Main sequence

Here, the main plot of the episode takes place. Barney and the children learn about the main topic of the episode, with Baby Bop, B.J., or Riff appearing during the episode and numerous songs themed relating to the subject featured in the series. The roles of Baby Bop, B.J., and Riff have grown larger in later seasons and later episodes venture outside of the school to other places within the neighborhood and to other countries around the world in Season 13.

Closing sequence

Barney closes up with "I Love You" before he dissolves back into his original stuffed form. After the children discuss a bit about what they had learned, the sequence cuts to Barney Says where Barney, who is off-screen, narrates what he and his friends had done that day, along with still snapshots from the episode. Then Barney, himself, signs off before the credits roll. In Seasons 3-8, and 12, he later appeared on-screen by saying, "And remember, I love you." After he does that, he waves goodbye.


Although the show has been criticized for its lack of educational value,[13] Yale researchers Dorothy and Jerome Singer have concluded that episodes contain a great deal of age-appropriate educational material, calling the program a "model of what preschool television should be."[14]

One specific criticism is:

"His shows do not assist children in learning to deal with negative feelings and emotions. As one commentator puts it, the real danger from Barney is 'denial: the refusal to recognize the existence of unpleasant realities. For along with his steady diet of giggles and unconditional love, Barney offers our children a one-dimensional world where everyone must be happy and everything must be resolved right away.'"[15]

It is ranked on TV Guide's List of the 50 Worst TV Shows of All Time at #50.[16]

Characters and cast


The main character is a purple and green Tyrannosaurus Rex in stuffed animal likeness, who comes to life through a child's imagination. His theme song is "Barney Is a Dinosaur," which is sung to the tune of "Yankee Doodle". Barney often quotes things as being "Super dee-duper". Episodes frequently end with the song "I Love You", sung to the tune of "This Old Man", which happens to be Barney's favorite song.[citation needed] Despite being a carnivorous type dinosaur, Barney likes many different foods such as fruits and vegetables, but his main favorite is a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with a glass of milk. He also loves marching bands and parades[citation needed].
Baby Bop
A three-year-old green Triceratops[citation needed]. Baby Bop has been on the show since July 29, 1991, she debuted in the video "Barney In Concert". She wears a pink bow and pink ballet slippers, and carries a yellow security blanket. She sings the song "My Yellow Blankey" to show how much her security blanket means to her. She likes to eat macaroni and cheese and pizza[citation needed]. She is B.J.'s little sister.
A seven-year-old yellow Protoceratops[citation needed], B.J. has been on the show since September 27, 1993. He is Baby Bop's older brother. His theme song is "B.J.'s Song". He wears a red baseball cap and red sneakers. He lost his hat in the episode "Hats Off to B.J.!", and sometimes says things to hide his fears (for example, in the episode "Barney's Halloween Party", he was shocked by the paper spiders and after learning they were fake, he said "I knew that, sort of"). Pickles are his favorite food and because of that, he actually has had them in different ways like pickles (also with pepperoni, peppers, pineapple, and peanut butter) on a pizza.[17]
An orange six-year-old[citation needed] Hadrosaur, who is Baby Bop and B.J.'s cousin. He wears green sneakers. His theme music is "I Hear Music Everywhere." Riff loves music and it is in almost everything he does. In the episode "Barney: Let's Go to the Firehouse", it was revealed that Riff also likes to invent things; he created a four-sound smoke detector (the first three were different alarm sounds and the final one his own voice). He is shown to have an interest in marching bands and parades.[citation needed]


The adults on the show appear as teachers, storytellers, or other characters.

One-time guests

Role Played by Episode/description
Aunt Rachel Saint Adeogba Ashley and Alissa's aunt from the episode "Aunt Rachel is Here".
Aunt Molly Mary Ann Brewer Julie's aunt who appeared in the episode "The Alphabet Zoo".
Firefighter Frank Frank Crim A real firefighter who appeared in the episode "I Can Be a Firefighter!"
Mr. Tenagain R. Bruce Elliott A close friend of Barney's, who loves anything to do with the number 10. He appeared in the episode "Having Tens of Fun!"
Teri Garr Teri Garr She was a guest in Barney's First Adventures.
Melissa Gilbert Melissa Gilbert She was a guest in Barney's First Adventures.
Rebecca Garcia Rebecca Garcia A Mexican dancer who appeared in the episode "Hola Mexíco".
Ella Jenkins Ella Jenkins A children's singer and a friend of Barney's who appeared in the episode "A Very Special Delivery".
Captain Kangaroo John McDonough This children's TV host was a guest in Barney's First Adventures.
Mr. Delivery Man Mark S. Bernthal A delivery man who delivered a package to Barney in the episode "Everyone Is Special".
Tosha's mom J.D. Mosley Tosha's mother, who brought her twins with her father in the episode "A Very Special Delivery".
Tina's mom Sonya Resendez She appeared in Barney's Campfire Sing-Along.
Joe Scruggs Joe Scruggs A children's musician who appeared in the episode "The Exercise Circus". Lyrick Studios owned the rights to his music in the mid-late 1990's[citation needed].
James Turner James Turner A singer who appeared in the episode "Eat, Drink and Be Healthy!"
Farmer Henderson Max Vaughan Barney's farmer friend who appeared in the episode "Down on Barney's Farm" with a whole bunch of animals.
Rainbowbeard the Pirate Stephen White A mysterious pirate who left his treasure for Barney and the kids to find in the episode "Treasure of Rainbowbeard".
Princess Zulie Alexander Hairston The princess of the Land of Make Believe, who Barney and the kids have to return home in the video The Land Of Make Believe.
Patty Donna Kraft Luci's blind friend from the episode "1-2-3-4-5 Senses".
Kathy's Nana Jane Hall Kathy's grandmother who appeared in the episode "Grandparents Are Grand!"
Granddad Richards Cliff Porter Derek's grandfather from the episode "Grandparents Are Grand!"
Tosha's dad David J. Courtney Tosha's father, who brought her twin baby brothers in the episode "A Very Special Delivery", along with Tosha's mom. He makes a brief appearance in the special Barney's Imagination Island.
Doug and Becky Doug and Becky from Kathy Burk's marionettes Marionette performers who guest appeared in the episode "Grown Ups For A Day".
Joe Ferguson Joe Ferguson A storyteller who comes to visit in the episode "My Favorite Things".
Old King Cole DeWayne Hambrick One of Barney's friends who lives in a castle. He comes to visit the treehouse in the episode "A Royal Welcome" and makes an appearance in the stage show Barney's Big Surprise.

Multiple appearances

Role Real Name Description and Appearances
Mother Goose Sandy Walper, Michelle McCarel, Julie Johnson The rhyme master herself appears in the episodes "Let's Help Mother Goose", "Honk! Honk! A Goose On The Loose", "A Little Mother Goose", "Barney's Big Surprise", and "Mother Goose/Fairy Tales".
Stella the Storyteller Phyllis Cicero Stella travels all around the world, collecting new stories to tell Barney and friends, among other people. She appeared in several episodes from Season 3 to Season 6. Stella reappeared in the video The Best of Barney, where she gave Barney a photo album of his friends over the years she made herself.
Professor Tinkerputt Barry Pearl He appeared in Barney's Imagination Island and in the Barney's Big Surprise stage show tour. Professor Tinkerputt did not want to share his invented toys, until Barney and the kids showed him that good things happen when you share. For this reason, Tinkerputt left Imagination Island with Barney and the others and started a new toy factory.
Tomie dePaola Tomie dePaola The famous children's author is also good friends with Barney and usually meets his friends in the episodes he appeared in, which are "Picture This", "It's Raining, It's Pouring", and "Oh Brother, She's my Sister".
Mom Sandy Duncan Michael and Amy's mom in the Barney and the Backyard Gang videos.
Mr. Boyd Robert Sweatman His full name is Grady Boyd and he has a niece named Colleen. He first worked as a janitor in Seasons 3 to 6 and as a park keeper in Seasons 7 and 8.
Colleen Claire Burdett Colleen is Mr. Boyd's niece, who comes to town for a visit and is introduced to Barney and the Children. She is a congenitial amputee born without her right hand, as is her actress. She appeared in two episodes, "A New Friend!" and "A Perfectly Purple Day".


Over the years, more than one hundred children have appeared as cast members on the show[citation needed]. Barney & Friends mostly uses local talent based in and around North Texas and the Dallas – Fort Worth Metroplex[citation needed]. Some notable children who have appeared on Barney & Friends and in other Barney media include:


  • Sheryl Leach (creator)
  • Kathy Parker (producer)
  • Dennis DeShazer (director)
  • Mark S. Bernthal (writer)
  • Stephen White (writer)

Movies and specials


Besides the United States, the TV show has aired in Canada, Mexico and Latin America, France, Ireland, Italy, Malaysia, Spain, the United Kingdom, Japan (On English-based DVDs under the name "Let's Play with Barney in English! (バーニーと英語であそぼう! Bānī to Eigo de asobō!?)" and on television as simply "Barney & Friends (バーニー&フレンズ Bānī ando Furenzu!?)" ), the Philippines, Turkey, Australia, and New Zealand, among others. Two known co-productions of Barney & Friends have been produced outside of the US. The Israeli co-production (החברים של ברני Hachaverim shel Barney (The Friends of Barney)) produced from 1997–1999 in Tel Aviv, Israel, was the first of these. Rather than dubbing the original American episodes from Seasons 1–3, the episodes are adapted with a unique set and exclusive child actors.[18] The other co-production was one shot in South Korea from 2001–2003, airing on KBS (under the name "바니와 친구들" (Baniwa Chingudeul (Barney and Friends))). This one, however, adapted the first six seasons (including the first three that the Israel co-production did). It was done in a similar manner as the Israel production.


A majority of the albums of Barney & Friends feature Bob West's voice as the voice of Barney, however the recent album The Land of Make-Believe has Dean Wendt's voice.

Barney's song "I Love You" (as well as songs from Sesame Street and Metallica) has been used by interrogators at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to coerce the detainees.[19]

See also


  1. ^ Hofmeister, Sallie (October 20, 1994). "A Blue Year for the Purple-and-Green Dinosaur". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-08-14. 
  2. ^ "Richard Leach; Bankrolled Creation of 'Barney' Dinosaur". Los Angeles TImes. June 2, 2001. Retrieved 2010-09-09. 
  3. ^ Carter, Bill (March 21, 1994). "A Cable Challenger for PBS As King of the Preschool Hill". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-08-14. 
  4. ^ Gorman, James (April 11, 1993). "TELEVISION VIEW; Of Dinosaurs Why Must This One Thrive?". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-08-14. 
  5. ^ "Stuuuupendous!". Time. December 21, 1992.,9171,977303,00.html. Retrieved 2010-08-14. 
  6. ^ Cerone, Daniel (April 3, 1993). "Dinosaur Is a Star, Spreading Love With Hugs, Kisses, Songs". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-08-24. 
  7. ^ "Barney the launching pad". The Los Angeles Times. January 30, 2009. Retrieved 2010-08-24. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ Lev, Michael A (December 10, 1992). "Barney! Barney! He's Kid Dinomite". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2010-09-09. 
  10. ^ Lawson, Carol (December 3, 1992). "Why Young Children Scream". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-08-14. 
  11. ^ Heffley, Lynne (April 6, 1992). "Dinosaur 'Barney' to Join PBS Gang". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-08-24. 
  12. ^ Heffley, Lynne (March 28, 2008). "Barney is far from extinct". Los Angeles TImes. Retrieved 2010-09-09. 
  13. ^ "Advertising; Barney's Image Gets Makeover For New Crop Of Toddlers". The New York Times. August 12, 2002. Retrieved 2010-08-14. 
  14. ^ IPTV[dead link]
  15. ^ Lyons Partnership v. Ted Giannoulas, 179 F.3d 384, 386 (5th Cir. 1999), citing Chala Willig Levy, "The Bad News About Barney", Parents, Feb. 1994, at 191–92 (136–39).
  16. ^ The Worst TV Shows Ever at CBS News (Entertainment) February 11, 2009
  17. ^ B.J.'s favorite food is revealed in the episode "Barney's Adventure Bus"
  18. ^ Zacharia, Janine (December 25, 1997). "Why Barney Doesn't Wear a Yarmulke". Jerusalem Report. 
  19. ^ Sesame Street breaks Iraqi POWs

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