Barney the Dinosaur is the main character of Barney & Friends, a children's television series aimed at viewers aged 1 to 8, who was created by Sheryl Leach and is owned by HiT Entertainment. He is a purple anthropomorphic Tyrannosaurus rex who conveys educational messages through songs and small dance routines with a friendly, optimistic attitude. His show aired on PBS from April 6, 1992, to November 2, 2010 before his PBS show, he had a direct-to-video series, Barney and the Backyard Gang that premiered in 1988, and is rumored to be rebooted soon. A stuffed-animal character who comes to life through children's imaginations, Barney is known for quoting many things as being "super-dee-duper" and for his signature closing song "I Love You," set to the tune of "This Old Man." Despite being a carnivorous-type dinosaur, Barney likes many different foods, from peanut butter and jelly to fruits and vegetables. As his show progressed, he was joined by fellow dinosaur characters Baby Bop, B.J., and Riff.
History with the Macy's Parade
The ever-popular purple people-pleaser was first represented in the Macy's Parade just 2 years after his television debut. As part of the pre-parade entertainment, he, Baby Bop and B.J. performed "If You're Happy & You Know It." That same year, a giant 58-foot tall balloon, requiring 20 gallons of paint, debuted alongside The Cat in the Hat and the original version of Cloe the Holiday Clown. Over the next 8 years, the balloon became a Parade mainstay, before the original balloon was retired shortly after the 2002 Parade.
In 2003, Barney was brought to life in the form of a brand-new giant helium balloon. Marching to the music of his own horn, Barney keeps the beat dressed in a blue and gold drum major's hat and carrying a 17-foot long brass bugle as he marched down Broadway on Parade day. He was the first giant balloon in the 2003 Parade, and the balloon only made three appearances, soon being retired after the 2005 Parade. With the show being cancelled in 2009, as well as the franchise as a whole's fade into obscurity, a new Barney balloon is unlikely to be produced in the near future.
In addition to appearing as a balloon, Barney's costumed counterpart would appear on various occasions. As stated above, he and his friends served as a pre-parade act in the 1994 Parade. Over the next five years, Barney would appear on six floats, ranging from a circus center ring to a multi-tiered Christmas wonderland. A separate article for these floats can be read here.
As part of the Parade's 85th anniversary, the magicians at the Parade Studio would create a brand-new float, entitled Hats Off To Our Heritage, featuring past Parade directors Robin Hall and Jean McFaddin. Joining the two merry-makers were costumed counterparts of character balloons, past and present. Among these characters was Barney, who rode in the center of the float as he waved to his many fans along the Parade route.
This appearance marked Barney's final appearance in the Parade, and it is currently unknown if the prehistoric purple people-pleaser will return.
- In 1994, the balloon's left leg was torn by a tree along Central Park West. Additionally, a lamppost tore his side shortly after his NBC appearance.
- In 1997, in what's been described as his most notable appearance, high winds reaching up to 45 mph affected the Parade. The balloon's appearance was delayed due to Quik Bunny going out of control, thus missing his planned position. When the balloon made it down Central Park West, the balloon went out of control and knocked down a tree. The balloon remained largely intact until 51st Street, where a violent gust of wind blew the balloon into a lamppost, tearing a massive hole in its side. The balloon was lowered to the ground, and stabbed by NYPD officers to ensure a quick deflation. The balloon later was rolled up and laid to rest on a nearby curb, as the crowd chanted happily for his demise because a lot of people hated Barney. A little after the accident had ended, Barney's handlers would help to handle the Rugrats balloon (which survived the parade). This incident caught major viral attention in 2013 when a YouTuber named DelhiTheCat uploaded the incident in full. The balloon was later repaired at Macy's Parade Studio and returned to the lineup the following year, due to the extreme popularity of Barney at the time.
- In 2005, the second balloon's left foot was torn open by a tree, as the handlers nearly lost grip of it. Despite the accident, he stayed afloat for the rest of the Parade. Both balloons were retired and currently stays dormant at the Macy's Float Warehouse
Listed below are the music tracks that played during the balloon's appearances on the NBC telecast.
- "Barney & Friends Theme Song", composed by Milton DeLugg (1994-2002)
- "The I Love You Song", composed by Milton DeLugg (2003-2005)