You probably remember the TV show "Barney and Friends" which is still in syndication, though new episodes have not been produced since 2009. What a lot of people don't know is that the show was originally developed as a small concept that was only meant to have ten episodes. The show was always surrealistic, with a large purple Tyrannosaurus Rex trying to project happiness onto a group of children who are alone in a building with no parents in sight. Well, the creator of the show was kicking around with many different producers before the show aired on PBS, but with that said I still have absolutely no idea of how I got this tape in my possession. It was in a box of VHS tapes that had sticker markings meaning it was ripped from TV off of one of those late night channels, meaning someone was probably broadcasting it independently. I may upload it one of these days, if I ever get my hands on a VHS tape converter. The episode does not start out normally. The children are outside of the main building and going to meet Barney, but the door won't open. The entire first three minutes are the children trying desperately to get into the building.
They punch at the windows, grab at the door, and one of them even starts to cry. One of them gets a knife from next to the sandcastle and tries to jimmy the lock. Eventually the door opens and they go inside. "Where is he?" The child actors, a collection of boys and girls of young ages varying in race, all seem visibly shaken. "HAVE YOU SEEN ME?" is written on the wall in large, cartoon letters. They seem to want to know if Barney is playing a trick, so they start to act as though it's a game of hide and seek. There are bottles of seemingly spoiled milk near the door. The school doors around them start to open and close like a set malfunction. Specifically, the door into the common area where the show takes place opens and closes twice, and an alternate set door which is never seen on the show opens once. The set is visibly cold as the children begin shaking. One of the kids looks really sad. "I think Barney is in trouble" one of them says. None of them say anything now, it's as though they're trying not to say something that's on the tip of their tongue, maybe for the sake of acting.
There was an ant farm on the back wall next to a blue clay pot on a shelf. One of the younger girls points it out by saying "Our ants are dead". "We should just leave." Another girl points out a rotted, withered pumpkin, where even the flies surrounding it are dead. Suddenly, a bloodcurdling scream is heard in the alternate hall. Four of the students run into the hallway, struggling and panicking behind stage while a fifth runs over to the back wall and desperately starts ripping the children's drawings off the wall. One is of a car crash, another a graveyard, and a third a picture of a sick person in bed. The kids seem to be running behind the set forever until an unused corridor that was never seen on any other episode (As far as I know) seems to go on forever. It looks like either the creators reused the same set and had the kids run through the hall a dozen times, or it's just an extremely strange, overly long hall. There's a limbo bar in the middle of the hall and the all duck under it and keep moving. Somehow, they end up at a closet on a different set (The camera jumps). One child uses an asthma inhaler because he's visibly out of breath. There's a sixth child at the closet, who was doing all the screaming. Six paper skeletons. That's it. At this point, I thought maybe they were just doing a children's horror show. The kids grab the six skeletons, one for each child, and rip them up. One girl takes her purple sweater off. One of the children says "I know where he is" and then the screen fades out. "We'll be right back" is shown with a picture of Barney, but he's looking downward. He doesn't look like himself, and there's a visible rip in the fabric of the costume running up the left side. The only real creepy thing about it is how long this stays up, and the fact that the more I looked at it, the more I realized it was an empty costume, propped up by maybe a broom or something.
Back in the outdoors area, Barney is seen laying on his side, gasping for air. There's something clawing from within him which looks absolutely disturbing. "Where were you!" one of the kids runs up and starts to hug him but Barney pushes him off. "I was always here" he says. "You just never saw me until now." He's holding a balloon for each child. They go to grab one, and he releases them, letting them drift upward while the kids scramble to jump and grab them. "He's fading!" one of the kids becomes frantic. "I never taught any of you lessons." he says. "I just loved you. I only knew how to love you." The kids start to cry. "He's fading! I believe in you Barney!" The kids all start to shiver and Barney begins to scream frantically for them to move. Black cloth begins falling from the top of the set in pieces. "A part of you wants to hate me." he says. "I know that part of you, I see it, I can't resolve it. I can't teach you lessons and I can't fix what's broken." Every time the camera cuts back, Barney is in a different suit. First a stuffed bear, then a giant blanket with eyes. "I don't know who broke your heart, specifically, but someone did. And then you grew up, and you had a family, but nothing ever changed since then." One of the children has now changed into an unkempt 30-year-old in the same clothing, using the asthma inhaler. Another of the kids becomes more frantic and starts trying to rip the costume head off but Barney picks her up and violently throws her into the back set. For the duration of the show she never gets up. Barney starts to cry, which is the only time this has ever happened on the show. "Won't you look at me, please. I mean really look at me. You've never really seen me." Barney's suit is now completely white, and he's only at half opacity, holding a ticking clock. I am guessing the opacity is because they used a low budget overlay. He takes the knife from the child's hand and physically cuts down the center of his clothing. Two cats crawl out of the suit and run off. The set grows very dark and Barney's opacity begins to fade even more. "And remember, I always love you." I'm not sure what the remains of the VHS tape are, as someone seems to have taped over it with amateur footage of a car crash.