Barnaby is the main antagonist in the operetta Babes in Toyland and its various adaptations in other media. He is a miser and is often after someone's money. In some versions, he also desires power, specifically to conquer Toyland. Whatever the motivation, he is always shown to be a cruel, selfish weasel of a man who doesn't care who gets hurt in order for him to get everything he wants.
In the films, it is always left unknown and up for debate whether he dies, as he is often put in a scenario or suffers an injury that makes his death likely, but is unknown whether he survives or escapes.
In the operetta, Barnaby is the uncle of Alan and Jane. He tries to kill them and steal their fortune. Eventually he is killed when he drinks poisoned wine intended for Alan.
In the 1934 film that stars Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy as Stannie Dum and Ollie Dee, Barnaby holds the mortgage on the outsized shoe where Widow Peep and her daughter Little Bo Peep reside, and where Stannie and Ollie pay room and board. Bo Peep would be forced to marry the odious Barnaby if the rent isn't paid. The wedding between Barnaby and Bo Peep goes on as planned—except that it's Stannie, disguised as the bride, who ends up walking down the altar. Publicly humiliated, Barnaby vows revenge. He steals one of the Three Little Pigs and places the blame on Bo Peep's boy friend, Tom-Tom the Piper's Son on a trumped-up charge of "pignapping", and getting him banished to Bogeyland. Barnaby proceeds to abduct Little Elmer, one of the Three Little Pigs, and then has a henchman plant false evidence (including sausage links) in Tom-Tom's house. Tom-Tom is put on trial, convicted, and banished to Bogeyland, which he is taken to on a raft by two hooded executioners across an alligator infested river. A distraught but brave Bo Peep follows him. Meanwhile, Ollie and Stannie find evidence implicating Barnaby in the pignaping, including the fact that the alleged sausage links presented as evidence at Tom-Tom's trial are made of beef. They later find the kidnapped pig alive in Barnaby's cellar. A manhunt commences for Barnaby, who flees to Bogeyland through a secret passageway at the bottom of an empty well. Stannie and Ollie eventually follow Barnaby down the well. Meanwhile, Bo Peep crosses the river to Bogeyland, finds Tom-Tom and explains Barnaby's trickery to him. Barnaby catches up to Tom-Tom and Bo-Peep, and attempts to abduct Bo-Peep but gets into a fight with Tom-Tom, who gives Barnaby a well-deserved thrashing. An enraged Barnaby grabs a large stick and beats a stalactite to summon an army of Bogeymen, who chase Bo-Peep and Tom-Tom through the caverns of Bogeyland. The lovers run into Stannie and Ollie, who help them escape back through the well and are welcomed by the town, who now realize Barnaby's treachery. Barnaby leads an invasion of Toyland on a fleet of rafts in a scene reminiscent of the painting of Washington Crossing the Delaware. Ollie and Stan tell their story to Old King Cole,the King of Toyland and the townspeople as two Bogeymen scale the wall and open the gate. The crowd flees in panic as the army of torch-wielding Bogeymen attacks Toyland. Ollie and Stannie run and hide in the toy shop. There they discover boxes of darts and use them to fight off the Bogeymen. Stan and Ollie then empty an entire box of darts into a cannon, but as the two search for the last remaining darts, they realize instead that they should activate the wooden soldiers. Barnaby is defeated and trapped and covered by blocks that spell "rat", while the Bogeymen are routed and driven back into Bogeyland, where alligators appear to feast on them, although this is never made clear.
1961 filmIn the 1961 film, Barnaby wants to marry Mary so he can get the money she will inherit. She is going to marry Tom, so he hires two mercenaries named Gonzorgo and Roderigo to kill him by throwing him in the sea, and also stealing her sheep that she could still get a living off of to force her to marry him. Unfortunately for him, Gonzorgo and Roderigo sell Tom to a Gypsy camp instead so they can receive more money. Barnaby and his henchmen follow Tom, Mary, and the kids to Toyland, where Barnaby looks for the right moment to attack but is always interrupted. Eventually, the toymaker's assistant, Grumio, throws away a device that reduces things to a toy size. Barnaby catches it and uses it to shrink the toymaker. As he is attempting to do the same to Tom, Gonzorgo and Roderigo decide to stop being evil, so he shrinks them as well. He threatens to shoot Tom with the device again (which, if used twice, will completely destroy the object or victim) unless Mary marries him. The toymaker, as mayor of Toyland, presides over the wedding, though he delays it as long as possible. Gonzorgo and Roderigo help Tom escape and he leads an army of toys to fight Barnaby, but he destroys them and tries to destroy Tom with the shrinking device, but Mary destroys it with a toy cannon, causing it to explode and shrink him to Tom's size. Barnaby attempts to escape, but Tom stops him and engages him in a swordfight. Half the time, Barnaby topples objects over to try and crush Tom, but in the end, Tom is victorious, stabbing Barnaby and causing him to fall over the edge into a toybox. It is unknown if he survived, as he is never seen again following this.
He was portrayed by the late Ray Bolger.
1986 filmLisa arrives to Toyland before Mary Contrary is to be wedded to the unpleasant Barnaby Barnacle, although Mary loves Barnaby's nephew, Jack Nimble. Lisa stops the wedding and, with her new friends, finds out that Barnaby plans to take over Toyland. Barnaby confronts them and the Toymaster, finally showing his true colors, and steals a flask containing distilled evil that the Toymaster had been collecting, before leaving Lisa and company to be eaten by Troller, a vulture-like monster with a single enchanted eye that Barnaby uses to spy on his enemies.
Barnaby reveals that he had been creating an army of trolls to take over Toyland, and then attempts to corrupt his captives into being his servants with the contents of the flask, stating he would replace Troller with Lisa and make Mary his Troll Princess. Lisa, however, proves to be immune to the evil, and manages to reverse the effects on her friends. After escaping from Barnaby's stronghold, they return to the Toymaster. When Barnaby unleashes his army of trolls upon Toyland, Lisa's newfound belief animates an army of life-sized toy soldiers that the Toymaster had created, and they drive Barnaby and his trolls into the Forest of the Night. Barnaby, having lost control of his creatures and having failed at making Lisa his new Troller, is then banished from Toyland. The trolls in his army turn against him when Lisa points out that he's the one who transformed them into their monstrous forms, and it's implied that they kill him.
In this version, he was portrayed by the late Richard Mulligan.