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Imagination Island (titled Bedtime with Barney: Imagination Island in its initial broadcast) is a 1994 special that premiered on NBC on April 24, 1994[1] and a spin-off of Barney & Friends. It was the first Barney video to be on prime-time television. The special was later released on home video on October 4, 1994.


Min is having a sleepover at Tosha's house and Tosha’s mother reads them a story about a mystical place called “Imagination Island”. But she is unable to finish the story when Tosha’s baby twin brothers are heard crying. And she lets Tosha and Min play five minutes and will check to see if they're both in bed by then. When Barney comes to life in Tosha's bed, he shows Tosha and Min that they can go on a sailing adventure if they use their imaginations. And with that, Barney mystically takes them on deck aboard a huge ship destined for Imagination Island. That is, when Tosha and Min's book magically turns Tosha's bedroom closet into a set of stairs (leading them to a real life ship). Along the way, they meet up with Shawn, Derek, Baby Bop & BJ, but there is just one problem. As the ship sails closer to the island, a big storm causes a huge tidal wave to knock the ship up onto some palm trees on the island.

Baby Bop and the parrot

Baby Bop and the parrot.

While BJ and Baby Bop stay on the ship, Barney and the children go explore the island, and with no civilization on the island or ships patrolling the seas in the distance, they must find some help to get off the island. After hiking, patrolling and searching through the island’s jungle, they eventually find a tropical hut where they meet Professor Tinkerputt (full name: “Professor Erasmus Q. Tinkerputt”), a toy inventor who is initially unwilling to share his creations, and thus moved to Imagination Island to be isolated with his toys.


Promotional black and white photo of Barney and Professor Tinkerputt.

Professor Tinkerputt shows the group his new balloon machine called “Professor Tinkerputt’s Brilliant Balloon Blower”, which does not properly work, and after he demonstrates his balloon machine, Barney helps him understand that sharing is a good thing.

As a demonstration to sharing, Tosha realizes that her heart shaped necklace is the key to make the balloon machine work, and she gives Professor Tinkerputt her necklace as a solution to the flaw in his balloon machine, thus making it a success. Through the process, Barney helps Professor Tinkerputt understand that sharing with others makes people happy. And by finally sharing different toys with the group, Professor Tinkerputt realizes that making other people happy makes him happy, too.

Wanting to leave the island himself, Professor Tinkerputt agrees to help the gang get off the island, and after a moment of thinking, he gets an idea of how to get the ship out of the trees - they can fly back with help from his balloon machine.

The group returns to the ship where Professor Tinkerputt inflates many super giant-sized balloons to attach to the ship. (That is, after the group helps Professor Tinkerputt move everything from his hut on to the ship.) Professor Tinkerputt takes control of the ship, and it flies up to the sky. Hours later, when the ship reaches back home, Barney reminds the children the importance of home, and Barney and the children leave. Later, Tosha and Min are transported back to Tosha's bedroom. Then Tosha and Min open the book again (from offscreen). And the book magically transports the entrance door (to the ship) back to Tosha's bedroom closet. Then Tosha's mom comes into Tosha's bedroom and reminds the girls (Tosha and Min) that it is bedtime. Finally, with Tosha and Min falling asleep in bed, the ship sails off into the night sky with Professor Tinkerputt heading to build a new toy workshop away from the island.

Stories: "Imagination Island"


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Group photo of the main cast of Imagination Island.


  1. "Just Imagine"
  2. "Sea Medley ("Sailing, Sailing", "Row, Row, Row Your Boat", "Blow the Man Down", "My Blankie Lies Over the Ocean" and "A Sailor Went to Sea, Sea, Sea*")"
  3. "That's What an Island Is"
  4. "Jungle Adventure"
  5. "Tinkerputt's Song"
  6. "If You're Happy and You Know It"
  7. "Just Imagine" (reprise)
  8. "It's Good to Be Home"

* played during the credits.


II Cast & Crew

Cast & Crew of Imagination Island


The crew of Imagination Island

In June 1992, the same time that Barney & Friends was initially cancelled, Sheryl Leach (creator of Barney) and Kathy Parker (co-creator) were contacted by CBS about doing a fall prime-time special based on the show.[2]

In April 1993, it surfaced that two television networks were bidding the rights to a prime time special based on Barney & Friends that was scheduled to be released in Winter 1994.[3] In September 1993 it was announced that The Lyons Group was negotiating with four commercial networks for a prime-time Barney special that was now moved up to Spring 1994.[4]

Production for this video took place in February 1994 at Mercury Studios in Las Colinas, Irving, Texas. During production of this video, a lawsuit revolving around the song "I Love You" occurred. Unlike other Barney videos, "I Love You" was not sung due to the lawsuit but also to give the video a separate identity.[5]

(Left to right) Derek, Tosha, Shawn and Min on set of Imagination Island

(Left to right) Derek, Tosha, Shawn and Min on set of Imagination Island.


Julie Johnson was not on set during production due to an off Broadway gig she received at the time the video was being filmed. Carol Farabee replaced Julie Johnson as the voice of Baby Bop but soon later returned to dub over Carol Farabee's lines, due to the NBC network wanting the continuity to continue from the television series.[6] This explains why both actresses were listed in the end credits for voicing that said character.



Main Article: Imagination Island (book)

The video was adapted into a book of the same name. Released on April 12, 1994. It was adapted by Stephen White, who also contributed in writing to the special, and illustrated by Jay B. Johnson.



Newspaper ad with the "Bedtime with Barney" title.


Airing at 7PM (EST), the airing of Imagination Island on NBC was sponsored by JCPenney. 7.7 million American households watched the original broadcast on NBC[7] but the special scored 4.6 in ratings and ranked eighty-seventh (out of eighty-nine) in prime-time ratings. Imagination Island only attracted 9% of preschoolers upon its premiere.[8]

Home media[]

Prior to the release of Imagination Island on home video, The Lyons Group hosted a screening of the video at the 1994 VSDA conference in Las Vegas, Nevada for their VSDA Island Party event that took place on July 26, 1994 from 5PM-7PM at the Las Vegas Hilton in Ballroom C. Following the event was a sing along appearance and keepsake photo with Barney.

Imagination Island was available for pre-order on home video on September 14, 1994. It was available on October 4, 1994 at a suggested retail price of $14.95.[7] In 2001, this special was featured in the Blockbuster Exclusive video, Barney's Island Safari (along with Let's Go to the Zoo) and it released with the video The Land of Make Believe in 2007 by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment and HIT Entertainment under the Kids' Double Features banner.



Photo shoots[]

Behind the scenes[]



Title Cards[]


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Barney on the ship set during production of Imagination Island.


  • Most home video releases claim that the special contains the song, "Our Friend Barney Had a Boat". That song was never sung in this TV special/video, not even during its original air date.
    • When the tape was reprinted in 1996, the song was properly removed from the song list. However, every home video release since 1999 has the song reinserted in the list. 
  • Although the "Barney Theme Song" is not sung in this video, it is heard as an underscore when Barney greats the viewers, and when he fixes Tosha's bed, and greets Tosha & Min.


  • This TV special/video marked:
    • The first video, in home video releases, to feature the "Please Stay Tuned" bumper. It’s also the first video to have previews at the end.
    • Another time something happens to the Barney doll before coming to life.
    • The first appearance of the prototype Season 3 Barney costume.
    • The first appearance of the 1994 BJ costume, and first time BJ is shorter and performed by Jeff Brooks, according to production order.
    • The first appearance of Professor Tinkerputt, who would later return in the stage show, Barney's Big Surprise to demonstrate Barney, BJ, Baby Bop, and the audience his toy factory.
    • The final appearances of Tosha's Parents.
    • The first video where Dennis DeShazer served as an executive producer solely on his own. This was not put into permanent use yet until Barney's Halloween Party.
    • The second time where a Barney Home Video does not take place at the school set. Instead, it takes place at nighttime in Tosha's bedroom at her house.
    • The final video where Kathy Parker served as a co-producer prior to her split from the franchise that same year.
    • The second time "I Love You" isn't sung in production order.
    • The fourth time no one says goodbye to Barney before he reverts to his doll form.
  • This group (Tosha, Min, Derek and Shawn) also appeared in "May I Help You?".


  • On the original NBC airing, an extended shot of Professor Tinkerputt looking out the window door accompanied with the final few notes of "Pop Goes the Weasel" was used. This short clip was edited out of all home video releases.
  • The Original 1995 UK/Ireland Release cut out the Bedtime with Barney title card, instead just fading in to Barney's Introduction. It was later restored in the 1998 Actimates Compatible Release.
  • The 2010 DVD release refers to this video as a movie as evidenced on the front cover (similar to the releases of Barney's Jungle Friends, Big World Adventure and A Very Merry Christmas for instance) despite Barney's Great Adventure being the only movie released during the series' original run.
    • Also, the cover received new artwork by showcasing the dinosaur's current costume performers at the time on the front.
  • When this video was released on DVD, it was closed captioned by Caption Technologies, Inc

Scrapped ideas[]

  • According to Stephen White:
    • An idea he had that was cut from the final script included a "monkey see, monkey do" routine with puppet monkeys, and a bridge with xylophone steps which had been made by Professor Tinkerputt.
    • During initial brainstorming sessions for the video, Sheryl Leach, creator of Barney, suggested that one of the kids fall off a cliff and that Barney could appear in Professor Tinkerputt's doorway holding the limp body and asking for help.


  • Following Imagination Island, Stephen White (writer of the video) thought of a sequel for the video that involved Rainbow Beard the Pirate, a character from the episode "The Treasure of Rainbow Beard", stealing all the colors from the Island. This idea never came to fruition.




See also[]


v - e
Barney Home Video (Wink Gif)
Barney & The Backyard Gang
The Backyard Show (1988) • Three Wishes (1988) • A Day At The Beach (1989) • Waiting for Santa (1990) • Campfire Sing-Along (1990) • Barney Goes To School (1990) • Barney in Concert (1991) • Rock with Barney (1991)
1992: Barney's Magical Musical AdventureBarney's Birthday

1993: Barney's Best MannersBarney Rhymes with Mother GooseBarney's Home Sweet HomesLove To Read, With Barney

1994: Let's Pretend with BarneyBarney's Alphabet ZooBarney Live! In New York CityImagination Island

1995: Barney's Families are SpecialBarney SafetyMaking New FriendsBarney's Birthday / Home Sweet HomesRiding In Barney's CarBarney Songs

1996: Barney's All Aboard For SharingBarney's Talent ShowBarney's Fun & GamesBarney's Exercises Circus / Barney's Parade of NumbersBarney's 1-2-3-4 SeasonsOnce Upon A Time

1997: Barney's Sense-Sational DayBarney's Colors & ShapesBarney's Musical ScrapbookCamp WannarunnaroundBarney's Adventure BusBarney's Stu-u-upendous Puzzle Fun!Barney's Good Day, Good Night

1998: It's Time For CountingDown on Barney's FarmBarney in Outer SpaceMy Party with BarneyBarney's Big SurpriseBarney's Halloween PartyBarney's First AdventuresBarney's Good, Clean Fun! / Barney's Oh, Brother...She's My Sister

1999: Sing & Dance With BarneyWhat A World We ShareWalk Around The Block With BarneyLet's Play School!Barney's Night Before ChristmasMore Barney Songs

2000: Barney's Rhyme Time RhythmBarney's Super Singing CircusCome on Over to Barney's HouseBe My Valentine Love, Barney

2001: Barney's Musical CastleA to Z with BarneyBarney's Dino Dancin' TunesLet's Go To The ZooBarney's Pajama Party

2002: You Can Be Anything!Barney's Beach PartyRound and Round We GoBarney's Christmas Star

2003: Barney Songs from the ParkRead With Me/Dance With MeBarney's It's A Happy Day!It's Nice To Meet YouBarney's Red, Yellow and Blue!Barney's Numbers! Numbers!Barney's Best Manners: Your Invitation to Fun!Happy Mad Silly Sad

2004: Movin' and Groovin'Let's Pretend with BarneyNow I Know My ABCsBarney's Colorful World!Ready, Set, Play!

2005: Let's Go to the FarmJust ImagineEveryone Is SpecialThe Land of Make BelieveCan You Sing That Song?

2006: Let's Make Music

2007: Let's Go To The FirehouseShake Your Dino Tail!Dino-Mite Birthday

2008: Celebrating Around The WorldBarney's Animal ABC'sHi! I'm Riff!The Best of Barney

2009: Once Upon A Dino TaleTop 20 CountdownLet's Go on VacationSharing is Caring!Barney's Jungle FriendsWe Love Our Family
2010: Please & Thank YouEgg-Cellent AdventuresLet's Play OutsideFurry FriendsA-Counting We Will GoBest Fairy Tales

2011: Musical ZooShapes & Colors All AroundI Can Do It!1-2-3 LearnBig World AdventureA Very Merry Christmas

2012: I Love My FriendsClean Up, Clean Up!Planes, Trains & CarsAll About OppositesMost Loveable MomentsLet's Go to the Doctor

2013: Let's Go To The MoonPlay with BarneyDance with BarneyImagine with BarneyMost Huggable MomentsPerfectly Purple

2014: Story Time with BarneyHappy Birthday, Barney!A Super-Dee-Duper DayThis Is How I Feel

2015: Tee-rific Bugs & AnimalsIt's Showtime with BarneyBarney's Worldwide Adventure!

2016: Dinos in the Park

2017: Playground Fun
Other releases
Feature film: Barney's Great Adventure

Blockbuster: Play and Learn with BarneyBarney's Time for SchoolBarney's Rockin' Rhyme TimeBarney's Favorite SongsBarney's Big Top FunBarney's Valentine AdventureMovin' & Groovin' with BarneyBarney's Learning Round-UpBarney's Island SafariBarney's Night-Light StoriesBarney's Summertime FunGoing Places With BarneyOn The Move with BarneySing-Along Fun!

Re-releases: Barney's ABC's and 123'sBarney's Outdoor Fun!Let's Go to the BeachBarney's Book FairFun on WheelsMother Goose Collection