Lyrick Studios, Inc., made in 1988 as The Lyons Group, was an American video production and distribution company based in Allen, Texas, a suburb in Dallas. They were known for producing and distributing shows like Barney & Friends and Wishbone, as well as videos and albums from two music artists, Joe Scruggs and The Wiggles. They also had book rights to Humongous Entertainment characters like Putt-Putt, Freddi Fish, and Pajama Sam. They paired with Big Idea for mass market distribution of prints and reprints of VeggieTales home videos, as well as rights to VeggieTales plush toys.
History[change | change source]
The Beginning Era (1988 - 1994)[change | change source]
In 1988, The Lyons Group was formed as a division of DLM, Inc., an educational company owned by Richard C. Leach. Lyons began producing and distributing a direct-to-video series titled Barney and the Backyard Gang, which was created by Leach's daughter-in-law, Sheryl Leach. Three years after the home video series debuted, Barney caught the attention of executives at PBS, and the concept was then changed for television as Barney & Friends. The show started broadcasting on the organization's flagship television service on April 6, 1992.
Lyrick Studios was formed in 1994, and The Lyons Group became a division of a new company under the name Lyons Partnership.
The Acquisitions and Expansion Era (1995 - 2000)[change | change source]
The company made the series Wishbone for PBS in 1995. This series was produced by Big Feats! Entertainment, another division of the company, and was primarily filmed on a studio backlot in Allen, Texas.
In the late 1990s, Lyrick got the distribution (selling) rights for VeggieTales and The Wiggles. They also had book and video game distribution rights for some Humongous Entertainment video game characters, such as Putt-Putt, Freddi Fish, and Pajama Sam.
The HIT Entertainment Acquisition Era (2001 - 2006)[change | change source]
According to Phil Vischer, he chose the company to release the videos since Lyrick Studios' founder and former chairman Richard C. Leach was a committed Christian, and the company let the religious tones on the shows remain intact, unlike other distributors Big Idea had asked beforehand. The company was acquired by HiT Entertainment on February 9, 2001, shortly before Richard C. Leach died.
In 2002, Big Idea turned to Warner Home Video to serve as their new mass market distributor; HiT responded to this by filing a lawsuit against them for $11 million, which was one of the major causes of Big Idea's 2003 bankruptcy with "The Ultimate Silly Song Countdown". The home video division of the company was rebranded under the HIT Entertainment name and remained trading until at the end of 2006, when HIT shuttered the division and began to release products in the United States through outside third-parties instead.
Distribution[change | change source]
Programs[change | change source]
|Name||First release date||Final release date||Notes|
|Barney and the Backyard Gang||August 29, 1988||August 1, 1991||Direct-to-video pilot series to Barney & Friends|
|Barney & Friends||April 6, 1992||August 31, 2001||Flagship puppet franchise|
|Wishbone||October 9, 1995||March 13, 1998|
|Francesco's Friendly World||1996||February 25, 1998|
|VeggieTales||March 31, 1998||March 27, 2001||Mass-market distribution[a]|
|Tall Tales & Legends||June 16, 1998||October 10, 1998|
|Groundling Marsh||June 23, 1998||September 8, 1998|
|Kipper||July 14, 1999[b]||August 31, 2001|
|The Wiggles||October 12, 1999 (music)
August 1, 2000 (video)[c]
|US home video distributions[d]|
|Bob the Builder||May 22, 2001|
Movies/TV Films[change | change source]
|Mother Goose Rock 'n' Rhyme||1990|
|Kids for Character||1996||Includes scenes from The Puzzle Place, Barney & Friends, The Magic School Bus, Lamb Chop's Play-Along, Gullah Gullah Island, and Babar|
|Joe Scruggs: Live Deep in the Jungle||1997||Shadow Play|
|Kids for Character: Choices Count||Includes scenes from Bananas in Pyjamas, The Big Comfy Couch, and Wishbone|
|Wishbone's Dog Days of the West||1998||Big Feats! Entertainment|
|Barney's Great Adventure||PolyGram Filmed Entertainment and Universal Pictures|
Notes[change | change source]
- Originally distributed in Christian bookstores.
- Originally released by Hallmark Home Entertainment from 1999 to 2000.
- The #1 preschool band collaborated Barney the purple dinosaur's national stage show tour "Barney’s Musical Castle" in America and Canada from Spring 2000 to Spring 2001.
- Except for alternate video copies of Angelina Ballerina.
References[change | change source]
- Browne, Ray Broadus; Browne, Pat (2001). The Guide to United States Popular Culture. Popular Press. ISBN 978-0-87972-821-2.
- Genzlinger, Neil (2017-04-07). "The Blame for 'Barney'? I'm a Little Guilty". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2022-11-24.
- Tanner, Lisa (Sep 5, 1999). "Lyrick Studios expanding". Dallas Business Journal. Retrieved 2022-11-24.