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Barney and Friends, a Magical Place for a Child's Imaginations to Grow

Updated on January 12, 2018

1987 the Beginning Barney, Sandy Duncan, & the Back Yard Gang


In the begin Barney the Dinosaur was created in 1987 by Sheryl Leach, she was from the great state of Texas, and Barney naturally was Texas big. Sheryl came up with the Barney character as the center piece for children programing. She felt a television show with a purple dinosaur as the leading character would be educational and very appealing to her young son. Sheryl then began to bring together a wonderful team of experts who soon created the inspiring and unforgettable series of home children videos called Barney and the Backyard Gang, this amazing series had the talented actress Sandy Duncan in the very first three shows. Then in the later shows we meet Barney's great friends and amazing characters Baby Bop, B.J., and last but not least Riff.

The Great 1992 Talking Barney Plush Dinosaur made by Playskool

Larry Rifkin a executive in Public Broadcasting likened  Barney to Big Bird, and knew he would have appeal to  young children.  He was right on the money, Barney was the hit of the 1990s.
Larry Rifkin a executive in Public Broadcasting likened Barney to Big Bird, and knew he would have appeal to young children. He was right on the money, Barney was the hit of the 1990s.

They made 4 Different Versions Talking Barney, the First in 1993

Below is the Outside Cover of Barney's Alphabet Zoo VHS Video

Barney's Alphabet Zoo is an amazing video. It originally aired on television as "The Alphabet Zoo" In this video we learn that learning can be terrific fun when Barney and his classroom friends, Shawn, Julie, Tina and Derek use letters to imagine an ALPHABET ANIMAL ZOO. Their pretend zoo is a very special place where children can imitate animals, play animal guessing games and sing about camels, kookaburras and tigers. The group is joined by two new visitors: Julie's Aunt Molly who tells a silly story using animals sounds and Jason, who shows the group how to say "I love you" in sign language. The songs and rhymes in this video are Barney's theme song, Animals in Motion, Down by the Station, Sally the Camel, Kookaburra, My Aunt Came Back, Tiger Song, The Alphabet Song and I Love You.
Barney the dinosaur was created to celebrate children and childhood. It was the dream of Barney's creators for children to have Barney become their lifetime friend. Barney and the Backyard Gang and Barney and Friends were originally developed by Sheryl Leach, Kathy Parker and Dennis DeShazer. The lyrics for Barney Home Video were by Lee Bernstein and Shimbarah Music. The approximate running time of this video is 30 minutes, and it was made in the U.S.A. and recommended for ages one years old to eight year old.

Barney's Alphabet Zoo, part of the Barney & Friends Collection

"The Alphabet Zoo" In this video we learn that learning can be terrific fun when Barney and his classroom friends, Shawn, Julie, Tina and Derek use letters to imagine an ALPHABET ANIMAL ZOO.
"The Alphabet Zoo" In this video we learn that learning can be terrific fun when Barney and his classroom friends, Shawn, Julie, Tina and Derek use letters to imagine an ALPHABET ANIMAL ZOO.

Barney's Alphabet Zoo, Barney and Friends, 1994 VHS Tape

Here is the Push Barney Doll that was in the 1994 Alphabet Zoo

Barney the dinosaur was created to celebrate children and childhood. It was the dream of Barney's creators for children to have Barney become their lifetime friend.
Barney the dinosaur was created to celebrate children and childhood. It was the dream of Barney's creators for children to have Barney become their lifetime friend.

Part Six, Barney's Night Before Christmas, 1999, Holiday Fun

Barney and Friends take a trip to the North Pole to meet Santa

Barney's Night Before Christmas, 1999, Barney and friends take a trip to the North Pole to meet Santa ... Barney, Baby Bop, BJ and the kids take a musical journey to the North Pole where they are greeted as very special guests at Santa's Workshop.
Barney's Night Before Christmas, 1999, Barney and friends take a trip to the North Pole to meet Santa ... Barney, Baby Bop, BJ and the kids take a musical journey to the North Pole where they are greeted as very special guests at Santa's Workshop.

Part Seven, Barney's Night Before Christmas, 1999, Fun Video

Santa Claus taking a Nap, Barney's Night Before Christmas, 1999

Barney, Baby Bop, BJ and the kids take a musical journey to the North Pole ... With music in the air and Christmas presents everywhere, it's a dream come true as Santa unveils his secret toys for this year's Christmas.
Barney, Baby Bop, BJ and the kids take a musical journey to the North Pole ... With music in the air and Christmas presents everywhere, it's a dream come true as Santa unveils his secret toys for this year's Christmas.

Barney VHS Tape played on a 1967 Curtis Mathes Television

It was in the year 1991, when Larry Rifkin daughter rented one of the Barney and the Backyard Gang's videos and he could see she was totally in love with the show. Larry felt this Barney show would be a wonderful show for the Public Broadcasting System for children. Larry likened Barney to Big Bird and knew he would have appeal to young children.

The very first 1992 Plush Barney, and a early 1993 Baby Bop

Baby Box always wears a pink bow on her head, she has ballet slippers that are also pink. In many of the shows she carries a security blanket that is bright yellow.
Baby Box always wears a pink bow on her head, she has ballet slippers that are also pink. In many of the shows she carries a security blanket that is bright yellow.

Only Three, Baby Bop came to the Barney show on July 29, 1991

Baby Bop is 3 year old green dinosaur called a triceratops. She came to the Barney show on July 29, 1991. Baby Bop made her debut in the wonderful video "Barney in Concert". Baby Box always wears a pink bow on her head, she has ballet slippers that are also pink. In many of the shows she carries a security blanket that is bright yellow. She even has a song she sings called "My Yellow Blanket". Baby Bop loves pizza and is very entertaining when she gets the stage.

1967 Curtis Mathes playing , Barney, You Can be Anything, VHS

Three amazing Barney Christmas VHS videos, These are Classics

Here are three amazing Barney Christmas VHS videos, Waiting For Santa, Barney's Night Before Christmas, Star
Here are three amazing Barney Christmas VHS videos, Waiting For Santa, Barney's Night Before Christmas, Star

Part Eight, Barney's Night Before Christmas, 1999, Holiday Fun

Barney was a purple green Dinosaur called a Tyrannosaurs Rex

Barney was the main character of "Barney and the Back Yard Gang" He was is a purple and green Dinosaur called a Tyrannosaurs Rex, and in his plush and stuffed character outfit he fit the likeness of a dinosaur that would comes to life through a young child's very vivid imagination. His fund and upbeat song "Barney Is a Dinosaur," had the same beat as Yankee doodle.

Concluding Commercials, Barney's Night Before Christmas, 1999

Back side of the outside cases of three Barney Christmas VHS

This photo is of the back side of the outside cases of the three Barney Christmas VHS videos, Waiting For Santa, Barney's Night Before Christmas, Star
This photo is of the back side of the outside cases of the three Barney Christmas VHS videos, Waiting For Santa, Barney's Night Before Christmas, Star

VHS Tapes are almost Indestructible, Barney's, Imagination Island

One of Barney's favorite sayings is "Super dee-duper"

One of Barney's favorite sayings is "Super dee-duper", and in almost all his shows he sings "I Love You". Even though Barney is a carnivorous dinosaur called a Tyrannosaurs Rex he likes many different foods such as peanut-butter and jelly sandwiches, vegetables and fruits.

The VHS Barney Home Videos were very Popular in the 1990s

Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s Barney's home videos were very popular and great sellers in video stores.
Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s Barney's home videos were very popular and great sellers in video stores.

Part One, Barney, The Backyard Gang, First Show 1988, with Sandy Duncan

The First Barney 1988, The Backyard Show, With Sandy Duncan

Barney "The Backyard Show" was his first appearance. This features Sandy Duncan as Mom to Amy and Michael, who along with their neighborhood friends and a dinosaur who magically comes to life plane a lively surprise birthday show for their Daddy.
Barney "The Backyard Show" was his first appearance. This features Sandy Duncan as Mom to Amy and Michael, who along with their neighborhood friends and a dinosaur who magically comes to life plane a lively surprise birthday show for their Daddy.

Part Two, Barney, The Backyard Gang, First Show 1988, with Sandy Duncan

Barney & The Backyard Gang, Sandy Duncan, First Show 1988

Photo below is of the Classic Collection of Barney Goes to School

In the photo below is the classic collection of Barney Goes to School we have Barney enjoying a typical day at school with all of his friends. He joins them in finger-painting, pretend play, learning center activates with numbers, letters, colors and shapes, and scampers after a mischievous hamster named Zippity. Barney discovers why the children love to go to school every day and learning is so much fun! The songs and rhymes in this video are, I wish there was school every day, the welcome song, You're my darling Clementine, the weather riddle song, the fishing song, the shape song, Alligator Pie, Hug a Color, what I want to be, if all the raindrops were lemon drops, the three bears rap, ABC song, Alphabet Chant, Goodby song, and I love you. The release date for this video is August 15, 1990.

1990 Barney Goes to School, Barney Enjoying a Day at school

He joins them in finger-painting, pretend play, learning center activates with numbers, letters, colors and shapes, and scampers after a mischievous hamster named Zippity. Barney discovers why  the children love to go to school every day.
He joins them in finger-painting, pretend play, learning center activates with numbers, letters, colors and shapes, and scampers after a mischievous hamster named Zippity. Barney discovers why the children love to go to school every day.

Barney Goes to School, VHS Barney Home Video, Made in 1990

The Photo below is of the Microsoft Barney the Talking Dinosaur

This amazing Barney was made by Microsoft, This company developed the amazing ActiMates system for this plush Barney Doll. This was in conjunction with the help of many early learning specialists and had amazing experts in technology and shows they wonderful world of electronic learning. This Barney ActiMates was extensively tested the line with a lot of input from parents and children. The result is Barney interactive companion that comprised of three wonderful products, each would be acquired separately. The first is the talking and moving plush ActiMates Interactive plush Barney companion. The next is a TV Pack which is equipped with a RF transmitter that plugs into the VCR and operates specially encoded Barney VHS videotape.Next you have the personal computer package with a CD-ROM game and an RF transmitter that plugs into the game port on the personal computer. Then there was going to be a growing library of personal computer software and Barney VHS tapes throughout the late 1990s to the early 2000s.

The 1997 BARNEY Talking Interactive Plush ActiMates Microsoft

BARNEY the Dinosaur 1997 Talking Interactive Plush ActiMates Microsoft ... This company developed the amazing ActiMates system for this plush Barney Doll. This was in conjunction with the help of many early learning specialists & had amazing experts.
BARNEY the Dinosaur 1997 Talking Interactive Plush ActiMates Microsoft ... This company developed the amazing ActiMates system for this plush Barney Doll. This was in conjunction with the help of many early learning specialists & had amazing experts.

1997 Plush ActiMates by Microsoft, Talking Interactive BARNEY

Barney and his Friends on a mission to find the Christmas Star

Barney's Christmas Star, 2002, sends Barney and his friends on a mission to find the perfect Christmas star for the top of the tree! Barney and his friends in the holiday spirit, they trim the Christmas tree in the snow covered park.
Barney's Christmas Star, 2002, sends Barney and his friends on a mission to find the perfect Christmas star for the top of the tree! Barney and his friends in the holiday spirit, they trim the Christmas tree in the snow covered park.

Part One, Barney's Christmas Star, 2002, Barney and Friends

Barney and the Children are quite Excited, as the Find the Star

So it is over the river and through the woods to grandmother's attic to search for the missing star. Just imagine all the treasures they discover - little drummer boys and an antique typewriter that is perfect for writing a letter to Santa.
So it is over the river and through the woods to grandmother's attic to search for the missing star. Just imagine all the treasures they discover - little drummer boys and an antique typewriter that is perfect for writing a letter to Santa.

Part Two, Barney's Christmas Star, 2002

Interactive Plush Barney & His Specially Encoded VHS Videotape

The first is the talking and moving plush ActiMates Interactive plush Barney companion. The next is a TV Pack which is equipped with a RF transmitter that plugs into the VCR and operates specially encoded Barney VHS videotape.
The first is the talking and moving plush ActiMates Interactive plush Barney companion. The next is a TV Pack which is equipped with a RF transmitter that plugs into the VCR and operates specially encoded Barney VHS videotape.

BARNEY 1997 Talking Interactive Plush ActiMates by Microsoft

Here is the Barney "Loves to Paint" Five Piece Child Dinner Set

The  Barney "Loves to Paint" came out in 1993 and has very good graphics, it was one of many dinner set  for children made in the early year of the Barney era.
The Barney "Loves to Paint" came out in 1993 and has very good graphics, it was one of many dinner set for children made in the early year of the Barney era.

The photo below is the VHS Case for Barney's Sense-Sational Day

In this wonderful video that was released on January 14, 1997, you have Barney showing us how each of the five senses help us experience the world around us, Join Jason, Tosha, Carlos and Kim as they use their imaginations, along with Barney's video camera, to capture the fun filled events of the day everything they see, hear smell taste and touch. Then it is another feast for the senses when barney and the children stage a movie with BJ in the lead role and watch in Bernays's "Super Dee-Duper Theater." There is only one word to describe this much Sense-Sational!

Barney's Sense-Sational Day, from the Classic Collection, 1997

From  whistles and rainbows to pickles and paints, the senses come alive like never before in this amazing  and fun filled VHS video.
From whistles and rainbows to pickles and paints, the senses come alive like never before in this amazing and fun filled VHS video.

Barney's Sense-Sational Day, from the Classic Collection, 1997

B. J. is Seven years old, and He is the big brother of Baby Bop

B. J. is seven years old and is a Protoceratops dinosaur. He has been on the Barney show since his premier on September 27, 1993. B. J. is the big brother of Baby Bop's. B.J. is always wearing his baseball cap and bright red sneakers. He talks a lot to cover up his fears, and he loves pickles on everything he likes to eat.

A very Cool 1994 Barney Character B. J. was Seven Years Old

Here is a vintage 1994 Barney Character B. J. Plush 13 inches stuffed yellow dinosaur with  his famous vinyl sneakers.
Here is a vintage 1994 Barney Character B. J. Plush 13 inches stuffed yellow dinosaur with his famous vinyl sneakers.

1996 VHS Video, Barney's Talent Show, Sold at Hollywood Videos

Here is a copy of Barney's Talent Show that I purchased many years ago at Hollywood Video, back during the golden age of VHS and video stores.  The video was released on March 26, 1996.
Here is a copy of Barney's Talent Show that I purchased many years ago at Hollywood Video, back during the golden age of VHS and video stores. The video was released on March 26, 1996.

Barney's Talent Show, Released on March 26, 1996, Barney VHS

Through the 1990s era Barney's Books & Figures were Popular

Barney and Friends was a huge success and his books and figurines were very populate with both parents and children. He could be found in all the bookstores and shopping centers of the 1990s era.
Barney and Friends was a huge success and his books and figurines were very populate with both parents and children. He could be found in all the bookstores and shopping centers of the 1990s era.

Barney Figures & in many Sizes, & in many Themes for Collecting

In this group of Barney figures the size ranging is from two inches  to four inches, there are six Barney and two Baby Bop. Many children in this era had huge collections proudly  displayed on their shelf's  during  this era  ...
In this group of Barney figures the size ranging is from two inches to four inches, there are six Barney and two Baby Bop. Many children in this era had huge collections proudly displayed on their shelf's during this era ...

Barney & Baby Bop Figures, & Barney Loves to Paint Dinner Set

These Amazing 1990s Barney Videos & Plush Toys are Awesome

These Amazing Barney VHS  videos and plush toys are awesome, the videos still play great, and both the talking Barneys still work very well. They really made great products for the children of this era.
These Amazing Barney VHS videos and plush toys are awesome, the videos still play great, and both the talking Barneys still work very well. They really made great products for the children of this era.

Barney's Once Upon A Time, With Stella the Storyteller, Made 1995

From "Once upon a time" to "And they all lived happily ever after," it is a day of fun, favorite stories and songs with Barney Baby Bop and Stella the Storyteller.
From "Once upon a time" to "And they all lived happily ever after," it is a day of fun, favorite stories and songs with Barney Baby Bop and Stella the Storyteller.

Barney's Once Upon A Time, with Baby Bop, Video made in 1996

Riff is a 6 year Hadrosaur, and the Cousin to B. J. & Baby Bop

Riff  is the cousin to B. J. and Baby Bop. He premiered on the Barney show on September 6, 2006. Riff is known for his green colored sneakers, and he loves music very much. Riff even hears music everywhere he goes. Riff also is a great inventor ...
Riff is the cousin to B. J. and Baby Bop. He premiered on the Barney show on September 6, 2006. Riff is known for his green colored sneakers, and he loves music very much. Riff even hears music everywhere he goes. Riff also is a great inventor ...

Barney's Adventure Bus is a Barney Home Video, Barney and Friends VHS

Below Barney Toy Cars released by Child Dimension in 1992

Seven die-cast Barney vehicles from 1993 and 1 Ramp Walker Barney ... Barney Vehicles was a line of toy cars originally released by Child Dimension in 1992. It was around the years 1997-1998, when the Lyons Group was renamed as Lyrick Studios, it was then that Playskool took over manufacture and distribution of the toys including the line of die-cast vehicles. Much like the Hasbro and Playskool's line of Sesame Street cars, these Barney cars were made of metal with a plastic character head sticking out of the center, including Barney, Baby Bop, and later BJ. Some of the vehicles in the photo and video below are Baby Bop's Birthday Mobile, Barney's School Bus, Barney's Firetruck, Barney's Utility Vehicle, Baby Bop's Roadster and more.

Die-cast Barney vehicles from 1993 and 1 Ramp Walker Barney

Barney, Baby Bop, and later BJ. Baby Bop's Birthday Mobile, Barney's School Bus, Barney's Firetruck, Barney's Utility Vehicle, Baby Bop's Roadster and more.
Barney, Baby Bop, and later BJ. Baby Bop's Birthday Mobile, Barney's School Bus, Barney's Firetruck, Barney's Utility Vehicle, Baby Bop's Roadster and more.

Seven Die-cast Barney vehicles from 1993 & One Walker Barney

In 1987 Barney was Invented and Created in Dallas Texas, by Sheryl Leach

Barney's, Good, Clean Fun! Season 4 of Barney & Friends.

Barney and Baby Bop Plastic Toys by Playskool Baby Inc 1993

Barney & Baby Bop Plastic Toys distributed by Playskool Baby Inc 1993 Trademark Lyons Company
Barney & Baby Bop Plastic Toys distributed by Playskool Baby Inc 1993 Trademark Lyons Company

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    • profile image

      Flores12 

      7 months ago

      Although a great read, there are a few incorrect details and it's missing quite a few key facts. But, Hey, can't all be Barneyᴵᴵᴵᴵᴵᴵᴵᴵᴵᴵᴵᴵᴵᴵᴵc­­­­­a­­­­­s­­­­­h­­­­­s­­­­­t­­­­­a­­­­­r­­­­­2­­­­­.­­ℂ­­ℴ­­ℳ­­­­ᴵᴵᴵᴵᴵᴵᴵᴵᴵᴵᴵᴵᴵᴵᴵ

    • profile image

      J. Jackson 

      21 months ago

      Not exactly accurate, but a good article nonetheless. I stumbled across your blog while searching for a particular Barney newspaper article. Although a great read, there are a few incorrect details and it's missing quite a few key facts. But, Hey, we can't all be Barney Historians. Sincerely, Longtime friend, fan, collector and Barney employee.

    • Glenn Waters profile imageAUTHOR

      Glenn Waters 

      2 years ago

      Hi Kierstin,

      Yes great fun, and very good memories ... my children grew up watching Barney, and I cannot tell you how many times I watched "Imagination Island" with my two oldest girls. Now that the two oldest girls are out on their own, I miss the Barney days of them in their Pocahontas tent, eating grill-cheese sandwiches while watching Barney. I was right there with them every night :)

      WOW seeing Barney live in Florida, now that is something to remember.

      Thank you for your comment :)

    • Kierstin Gunsberg profile image

      Kierstin Gunsberg 

      2 years ago from Traverse City, Michigan

      What a trip down memory lane! I grew up on Barney and even had the privilege of seeing Barney live in Florida when I was a tot. Now, my own kids love this purple dino! He's so timeless.

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