|PERFORMER||Toby Towson 1978|
|Brian Muehl 1979-1984, 1988|
|Fred Garbo 1984-1993|
|Bruce Connelly 1993-present|
|DESIGN||Michael K. Frith designer|
|Susan Moore builder|
Barkley is a full-bodied Muppet dog who appears on Sesame Street. He was named by the residents of Sesame Street in the premiere episode of the show's 10th season; he was initially called "Woof-Woof" and the cast voted to rename him "Barkley."
Barkley is energetic and playful, but is not anthropomorphized in the way that Rowlf and other characters are. While he may exhibit human-like emotions, he communicates only through barks, yelps, and physical contact. While Barkley was initially just a stray dog, he eventually became Linda's pet and understood the American Sign Language signs for "sit" and "stay." However, Barkley also had a close relationship with Big Bird. Indeed, in the 1993 book Imagine... Big Bird Meets Santa Claus, the large bird refers to Barkley as his dog. The book A Bird's Best Friend shows that Granny Bird brought Barkley as a puppy for a present for Big Bird. Although Linda has since moved on from Sesame Street, Barkley has remained, presumably becoming a ward of the community as a whole.
Barkley's appearances in television specials include the 1978 A Special Sesame Street Christmas and the 1979 A Walking Tour of Sesame Street. More prominently, he accompanied Big Bird on his trips to China in 1982 and Japan in 1988. He also appeared with the Muppets en masse on Night of 100 Stars. Additionally, from Season 12 (1980) through Season 23 (1992), the Sesame Street closing credits featured Barkley running through a park with the Kids.
Barkley's most recent appearances on the show include cameos in "Riding My Tricycle" and Episode 4214, and more prominent appearances in the premiere episode of season 40, being walked (or ran) by Bob, and in Episode 4310.
Behind the Scenes
The creation of Barkley traces to the early months of 1978, when Jim Henson and Michael K. Frith were tasked with developing ideas for new Muppet characters to reinvigorate Sesame Street for its upcoming tenth season. One of Frith's rejected character pitches, a living pile of trash that acted as a font of knowledge, would later become Marjory the Trash Heap for Fraggle Rock. Original performer Toby Towson claimed, in , that the full-bodied puppet character was initially conceived as an acrobatic ape, but was ultimately revised to a large furry dog.
According to Sesame Street: A Celebration - 40 Years of Life on the Street, the writers had created the character as a pretty savvy canine who knew how to count and had an almost human intelligence, but performer Brian Muehl thought that he should be portrayed like a regular dog.
While inside Barkley, the performer wears stilts on both arms. In order to make his mouth move, the performer must pull a trigger on one of its stilts to close the mouth, and tilt his head to make it open.
Barkley was Brian Muehl's favorite character to perform, along with Telly. According to him, the large canine "was the apogee of my mime roots and was pure visual puppetry."
- In Episode 2395, Elmo has a new pet fish that he names Barkley.
- Barkley is depicted on the emblem of Grover's dog walker hat and outfit in Episode 4919.
- I Like School (1980)
- The Sesame Street Storybook Alphabet (1980)
- Frazzle's Fantastic Day (1980)
- I Can Do It Myself (1980)
- The Sesame Street Dictionary (1980)
- The Tool Box Book (1980)
- What Did You Bring? (1980)
- A Day in the Life of Oscar the Grouch (1981)
- I Have a Friend (1981)
- Put & Play Magic Show (1981)
- The Sesame Street Circus of Opposites (1981)
- What Do You Do? (1981)
- Which One Doesn't Belong? (1981)
- Big and Little Stories (1982)
- City (1982)
- More Who's Who on Sesame Street (1982)
- Bert's Big Band Paint-with-Water Book (1983 reprint)
- Big Bird in China (1983)
- Puppy Love (1983)
- Big Bird's Copycat Day (1984)
- I Think That It Is Wonderful (1984)
- Big Bird Says... A Game to Read and Play (1985)
- ABC (1986)
- A My Name Is Annabel (1986)
- A Bird's Best Friend (1986)
- Baby Animals on the Farm (1986)
- Sesame Street ABC (1986)
- Through the Year (1986)
- Big Bird's Busy Day (1987)
- A Birthday Surprise (1987)
- Shape Up! (1987)
- Big Bird's Square Meal (1988)
- Mine! (1988)
- The Sesame Street ABC Book of Words (1988)
- A My Name Is Alice (1989)
- Alice's First Words (1989)
- Great Monsterpieces (1989)
- Grover's Bad Dream (1990)
- Museum of Monster Art (1990)
- Sesame Street 123 (1991)
- Feeling Fit: Postcards to Color and Send (1992)
- I Want to Be a Veterinarian (1992)
- Mini-Boxes to Color & Share (1992)
- We're Different, We're the Same (1992)
- Elmo's Mother Goose (1993)
- Big Bird's Animal Game (1993)
- Imagine... Big Bird Meets Santa Claus (1993)
- Around the Corner on Sesame Street (1994)
- Elmo's Big Lift-and-Look Book (1994)
- Elmo's Lift-and-Peek Around the Corner Book (1996)
- Rise and Shine! (1996; reworked as Up, Up, Up! in 2011)
- Zoe and the Runaway Ball (1996)
- Where Is Elmo's Blanket? (1999)
- Clap Your Hands! (2002)
- Look and Find Elmo (2002)
- Elmo Pops In! (2003)
- Animal Alphabet (2005)
- Be Polite (2006)
- Let's Share (2006)
- Rosita's Easter on Sesame Street (2007)
- I Can Do It! (2008)
- Storybook ABCs (2008)
- Count to 10 (2009)
- Love, Elmo (2009)
- What's Different? (2009)
- Who Are the People in Your Neighborhood? (2009)
- Elmo Doodle Dandy (2011)
- ↑ Falk, Karen. Imagination Illustrated. p. 114 (noted in Jim Henson's journal as taking place during "January/February")
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Fraggle Rock: Complete Third Season bonus feature "How the Trash Heap Came to Be"
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 Gikow, Louise Sesame Street: A Celebration - 40 Years of Life on the Street pages 92-93