Brian Shrader's Siteseeing Blog

Remembering the First "Barney"

Posted September 26, 2007


Ask a kid about Barney, and they'll probably tell you about the purple dinosaur.

But if you grew up in our area in the late 1970s and early 1980s, you might have grown up with a very different Barney.   Do you remember the kids' show "Barney's Army"?  It aired weekdays at 3 p.m. on the defunct WPTF-TV, Channel 28, until about 1983.

<arcane knowledge>

Short history: Back in the 1950s, Durham Life Insurance, which owned WPTF Radio, battled with Capitol Broadcasting for the Channel 5 TV license for Raleigh.  We won, and WRAL-TV went on the air in 1956.  Durham Life bought Channel 28 in the late 1970s and signed on WPTF-TV as an NBC affiliate.  The station never attracted much of an audience, and Durham Life unloaded it in the early 1990s.

</arcane knowledge>

The show had a lot of afterschool fare.  Barney was the host and main character on the show.  He was an "Aniform," a form of live animation using a puppet.  (I'm trying to learn more about how it worked.)  The show featured some great local rock bands from the early 80s, cartoons and a weird interactive video game called "TV Pow."  Kids would watch the game, call in, shout "POW!" which would fire a gun at space invaders.  Revolutionary for its time.

Hal Earp, a Raleigh graphic designer, has launched a wonderful Web site about "Barney's Army."  It's full of information, pictures and video clips. 

Hal asked me to let you know about it.  He's looking for any Barney-related material to add to the site.  Check out and click "contact" to get in touch with him.


Please with your account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • Jimmy Sep 27, 2007

    I always thought the original Barney looked a lot more like a cheesy used car salesman. :-)

    Cheesy as it was, that was one AWESOME show.

  • carolinamissy Sep 26, 2007

    I loved Frog Hollow Pfaseesha was my favorite characture

  • hoberto25 Sep 26, 2007

    My sister and I watched Barney's Army. I won 6 tickets to Kings Dominion playing tv-pow

  • appgrad95 Sep 26, 2007

    I remember this show. In rural Moore County, where I grew up, we could only get 5 channels over the air, and that was only if the wind wasn't blowing and airplanes weren't flying overhead. I believe I vaguely remember calling in to the show and speaking to Barney live on the air! I also remember sending in drawings, but I can't remember if they ever got shown on TV. Star Blazers was awesome! I loved that show. I remember being disappointed, though, when they got rid of "suit" Barney for "dog" Barney.

  • Jeremiah Sep 26, 2007

    i was on frog hollow

  • Bassgtrzan Sep 26, 2007

    POW!!! in lee county it had 2 syllables PAYOW!!!!

  • TheDude abides... Sep 26, 2007

    Thanks Brian! Its exactly how I vaguely remember it. You had me going way back. I even had the theme song tune right. Frog Holler! Frog Holler!

  • Brian Shrader Sep 26, 2007

    Check our classic video page for clips of "Frog Hollow," "Sparks," "Uncle Paul" and more!

  • fishnett5977 Sep 26, 2007

    pta , they still show it there??? WOW! I really remember one of the last shows that was shown here. Something major happened and AstroBoy died. As AstroGirl looked on, he just laid down in a field and the flowers grew where he was lying. Weird to remember that part of it - guess I was shocked at an early age about death! Do you know of anywhere they sell this cartoon? I know you can find it on the internet - good graceous can you ever!! - but I wonder if there is somewhere local that has it.

  • TheDude abides... Sep 26, 2007

    One thing I do remember was that it came on around lunch. I think after The Price is Right. Around 20+ years ago. Its almost like a dream. Any help would be great.




About this Blog:

WRAL's Brian Shrader blogs about cool video clips and other interesting Web sites. If you have any video you would like to share, please let us know.