DALLAS — Anyone reading this between the ages of 20 and 35 probably has at least tangential familiarity with the big purple dinosaur who hosted the children's educational show "Barney & Friends."
But, did you know this show has deep roots in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex? A new documentary series from Peacock will be going over the history of the kids show phenomenon, and some of the dark, hateful reactions which it drew.
The first episode of the new documentary series, called "I Love You, You Hate Me" (a reference to one of the show's most popular songs), will be released on the Peacock streaming service Oct. 12.
The hit TV series was thought up by Dallas schoolteacher Sheryl Leach. She initially thought up the idea while on a Dallas highway in need of children's tapes to keep her son entertained. After seeing him enamored by dinosaurs, she came up with Barney.
An Allen-based production company, The Lyon Group, began making straight-to-video episodes with Leach called "Barney and the Backyard Gang" which were distributed to local stores and schools before expanding across the country, eventually catching the eyes of PBS.
"Barney & Friends" eventually made its PBS debut in 1992, where it aired new episodes until November 2010. The show also filmed around Dallas, first in Allen, before moving to Irving, and later Carrollton.
Variety reports the movie will share stories of how the world turned against Barney the dinosaur, including death threats made against the performer behind Barney, Bob West, and his entire family.
"They were violent and explicit, death and dismemberment of my family,” West says in the trailer. “They were gonna come and find me, and they were going to kill me.”
This two-part series is being produced by Scout Productions, the company behind Netflix's "Queer Eye."