Large, laughing, purple dinosaur be the first...

COULD A

January 07, 1993

COULD A large, laughing, purple dinosaur be the first fissure in the next generation gap?

Most young parents I know like to consider themselves hip to the ways of youth. After all, this baby boom crop of parents grew up on TV and rock 'n roll, like kids today, and held the promise of youth themselves not all that long ago.

But most parents we meet these days seem at a loss to explain their toddlers' fascination with a new character on public television named "Barney." He's a big dinosaur -- technically, someone in a big dinosaur costume because dinosaurs, as you remember from school, are extinct.

Public television execs say he's already more popular than Big Bird. The prehistoric pal is cute enough; he basically laughs a lot and delivers bland homilies about hard work and fair play to his show's supporting cast with the subtlely of, well, a dinosaur.

There's nothing amiss with the character. But parents, who in the past have found even themselves entertained along with their progeny by Disney movies or the wry humor of Sesame Street or the late Jim Henson's "Muppets," can't fathom their youngins' fascination with Barney.

Heaven forbid he should lead them all to Woodstock!

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