Barney & Friends is an American children's television series aimed at children aged 1 to 8, created by Sheryl Leach and produced by HIT Entertainment. It premiered on PBS on April 6, 1992. The series features the title character Barney, a purple anthropomorphic Tyrannosaurus rex who conveys educational messages through songs and small dance routines with a friendly, optimistic attitude. The last episode aired on September 18, 2009. Reruns aired on Sprout from 2005 until 2015, and have aired since December 17, 2018 under Sprout's new name Universal Kids.
A revival had been announced in 2015 to premiere in 2017, but to date, this has not occurred. On October 18, 2019, Mattel Films announced that a second Barney film was to be produced; British actor Daniel Kaluuya will be involved in some capacity.
History with the Macy's Parade
The super-dee-duper tyrannosaurus rex was first represented in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1994, through a giant 58-foot tall balloon, and was retired in 2002. A second balloon version of Barney debuted in 2003 and was retired in 2005. A separate article for these balloons can be read here.
From the big top to the blacktop, the first-ever Barney & Friends float would make its debut in the 1995 Parade and was based on a circus theme. The float was recycled from the Saggy Baggy float in 1988. The float featured a standard circus center ring, decorated with colorful flags and circus-themed decor. Serving up smiles on the float was Barney dressed as the ringmaster, Baby Bop dressed as a ballerina, and BJ dressed as a clown. This float only made one appearance and was retired after the 1995 Parade.
In 1996, the circus-themed toy float was revamped into an all-new Western-themed Barney float. The float featured a large cutout of western mountains and cacti, mirroring the look of a movie set. Joining Barney on his wild west adventure were his favorite buckaroos, Baby Bop and BJ. Parade participants dressed as cowpoke also waved to the crowd from the float. Like the floats previous incarnation, it was retired after only one appearance.
In 1997, Barney would receive his first-ever full-sized float in the Parade. Being recycled from 1991's Taz-Mania! float, the float depicted Barney going Hollywood from his first feature film, Barney's Great Adventure. The namesake float was adorned with an over-sized movie camera capturing the scene. Barney sits in his directors chair as his friends, Baby Bop and BJ, man the camera and clapboard. As with Barney's previous two floats, it was retired after its lone appearance and was reworked the following year into the M&M's Network Falloon.
In 1998, Barney would sweeten the day with an all-new gingerbread house float. Recycled from Dunkin' Donuts' Holiday Sweets float, the float showcased Barney's sweet tooth as he stood in front of an over-sized gingerbread house, decorated with cookies, gumdrops, frosting, candies, and more holiday treats. The float would only make one appearance, and was disposed of shortly after its retirement.
In 1999, Barney gained his largest float yet. A massive, two-story which depicts a scene from the direct-to-DVD film, Barney's Night Before Christmas, overlooking Santa's North Pole workshop, was chosen as the float's design. At the rear of the float, a large clock ticks slowly towards midnight on Christmas day, as the trio of dinos wait patiently. Below the balcony, a toy train chugs its way along around the float, with children dressed in pajamas riding in it. In 2001, after the standard three-year tenure of a float, it was retired.
The sixth and most recent Barney float was based on the television show's iconic park setting. Titled "Barney's Playtime in the Park" the float was made in commemoration of the show's 10th anniversary that past April. The float featured a playground of every child's dreams, with a swing set, gazebo, picnic bench, a bridge over a small pond, autumn-colored trees, and the iconic red Magic Caboose car. Like the previous float, it was retired after three appearances in 2004 and hasn't been seen since.
Barney was represented in the Parade one last time during the Parade's 85th anniversay, where he rode the Hats Off To Our Heritage float, alongside past Parade directors Jean McFaddin, Robin Hall, and various other balloon characters whose balloons had been retired, such as Blue, Arthur, Mr. Potato Head, and others.
Songs Performed on Floats
- 1997: Imagine
- 1998: If All the Raindrops
- 1999: Christmas is Our Favorite Time of Year
- 2000: A Christmas Medley (Up on the Housetop, Jingle Bells, and We Wish You a Merry Christmas)
- 2001: I Love the Holidays
- 2002: Colors All-Around
- 2003: The Best Manners Medley ("Please and Thank You" and "Good Manners")
- 2004: It's C-C-Cold, BRRRR!