Toby Towson (1977-1978)
Brian Muehl (1978-1984)
Fred Garver (1984-1993)
Bruce Connelly (1993-present)
Sesame Street Season 9 (1977)
Most recent appearance...
Sesame Street Season 43: Episode 4310 (2012)
Best known role...
Large, excitable, adorable dog on Sesame Street; Big Bird's international travel partner
Also known as...
WHO IS BARKLEY?
Barkley is the lovable pooch introduced to the Sesame family way back in 1977 in the ninth season. Barkley does not speak and was played as more of real dog on the show. He was originally owned by Linda and had a very close relationship with Big Bird even acting as his companion when Big Bird traveled to China and Japan. Barkley has been a recurring Muppet on Sesame Street since his appearance up until today.
Barkley has appeared in numerous specials including the somewhat forgotten A Special Sesame Street Christmas, and the 10th anniversary special, A Walking Tour of Sesame Street. However, perhaps Barkley's biggest role were in the specials Big Bird in China and Big Bird in Japan, where Barkley and Big Bird set off to China in 1983 and Japan in 1988. In China, Barkley was Big Bird's friend from Sesame Street on his exploration to find the legendary bird that rose from the ashes, the Phoenix. The pair made friends with a little Chinese girl named, Xiaoo Foo, and tried to get into a fight with Monkey King when Big Bird told Barkley to "sick 'em!"
Six years later after their visit to China, Big Bird and Barkley took off for Japan for a bus tour of the country. In 1985, Barkley went on to the big screen with the rest of Sesame Street in the feature film Follow That Bird. Though he wasn't part of the rescue group for Big Bird, Barkley was still notable since he was in about every scene in the movie on Sesame Street. Barkley continued to appear into the 21st century, but was seen less and less. His only appearances were inside Elmo's World, seen playing with Mr. Noodle. However, Barkley was seen in the crowd in the season premiere of Season 40. Though most fans at the time probably would've thought that this was just a hidden gem, Barkley appeared the next season too. Barkley will play a major role in the street story of Episode 4310 in Season 43.
WHY DOES SESAME STREET NEED BARKLEY?
On a street with eight-foot-two yellow birds, monsters, talking animals, counting vampires, grouches, Snuffleupaguses, and fairies, wouldn't it be nice for a Muppet like Barkley to come and add a little bit of sanity on the street? Plus, Barkley is so distinguishable amongst the crowd of Muppets and adds an animal that everyone can relate too. Barkley is also pretty funny and him being an advanced puppet would just show how amazing the Muppeteers are! It's a shame that Sesame Street has been lacking Barkley for the past couple years, but it looks like they are now making up for it by showing him in both season 40 and 41 and now giving him a central role in a upcoming season 43 episode.
The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, firstname.lastname@example.org