PBS
Alim Kheraj
June 08, 2017 5:55 am

If you’ve ever wondered what it was *really* like to play Barney the Dinosaur, look no further. The man behind the costume, 52-year-old David Joyner, has spilled all the details.

Speaking to Business Insider, Joyner, who played the role of Barney for 10 years, shared all the details about what the experience of playing the giant purple dinosaur was like. Of course, many of our faves, like Demi Lovato and Selena Gomez, got their start on the beloved children’s show, which ran from 1991 to 2009.

First of all, Joyner said that costume was actually pretty darn heavy.

“Barney is about 70 pounds, and it can get over 120 degrees inside. So inside you’re sweating profusely. It’s a t-rex, so you’re basically just up to your elbows in being able to move,” he said. And then also, Barney’s feet were huge. Now I did have some sneakers inside that were glued to the bottom of the feet.”

He also detailed that the costume’s head didn’t rotate, and that he could only partially see out of massive dinosaur head. In fact, when the mouth of the costume was closed you couldn’t see out of it at all.

“So what I would literally do is I would walk around my apartment as if I was blind,” he recalled of learning to navigate the suit. “I would close my eyes, and I would try to feel energy. And try to feel the energy of anything that was around me. And then try to pick things up.”

While Joyner might have been inside the costume, there was actually someone else voicing Barney throughout his tenure on the show.

“The voice of Barney was a gentleman named Bob West. We would do what we call ‘dinosync,'” he said. “As I have my headphones on, I can literally hear him taking his breath.  And knowing that as he’s about to speak, I’m almost inside of him, knowing exactly what he’s about to say.” 

Joyner told Business Insider that he went on to move to L.A. and actually star in shows such as Shameless, That ’70s Show, and 24. However, he admitted, he still has a soft spot for that giant purple dinosaur.

“Barney was beautiful. Barney was very, very good to me. I loved being Barney. I loved everything about being Barney,” he said. “But that chapter is gone.”

We love getting a behind-the-scenes look at how some of our fave shows were made, and, actually, this has got us feeling super nostalgic for Barney the Dinosaur. So, if you need us, we’ll be spending the rest of the day watching clips on YouTube…

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