The Truth About “Barney”

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Kate Hovanec, Journalist

April 6th, 1992, the world was introduced to Barney, a kids show about a magical, singing, dancing, purple dinosaur. The show was intended for young kids between the ages of 2 and 7, and each episode provided educational messages through song and dance. Barney was often surrounded by a small group of younger children to experience his magic first-hand and even join in on his singing and dancing episodes.

Knowing what the show included, who would volunteer to be stuffed into an extremely hot, 70 pound purple dinosaur suit with only one opening through the mouth? 29-year-old David Joyner was eager for the role, being that he had always dreamed of entertaining. Along with this desire for wanting to entertain, Joyner was perceived as very bright and successful. He has an ITT Tech Degree in Electronic Engineering, he worked for Texas Instruments in software analysis, and on top of that, he was a musician, dancer, and athlete. He could have pursued a career in many different areas, but his mind and heart were set on entertaining. 

Despite Barney being a well-loved and fun show for children, dark rumours began to spread, not about the show but about Joyner himself. One of the most popular rumours involved Joyner being an insane cocaine addict who stuffed a bag of cocaine up Barney’s purple tail (Conley). People believed the claims, and he was then caught and thrown into jail, hence the ending of the show. However, this rumor was not true! Along with other rumours you may have heard of, David Joyner never went to jail and was never a criminal. He adored his days as Barney and kept the job for about 10 years. 

So why did Barney actually come to an end? After years of the show being on television, multiple inappropriate situations arose, and in 1997, the San Diego Chicken, a sports mascot, created sketches of Barney being brutally beaten up which spread and became seen by many people. On top of this, people began to create comedy sites including more harsh material titled  “150 ways to kill a dinosaur” and Youtube niche “Barney Blown up”. A number of lawsuits were created, and after some time, the producers decided it would be best to end the show.

While some disappointment may arise upon learning that the Barney rumors were false, people can now sleep peacefully at night now knowing the truth about the show and the true nature of the unproblematic man who brought the purple dinosaur to life: David Joyner.