Horns as Stage Props, III (The Blue French Horn)


On the American television romantic comedy How I Met Your Mother, a horn has been a regular prop for many seasons. The infamous ‘blue French horn’ (which is actually an old classic mellophone painted bright blue) has had a regular place in the background, resting on a mantel with other knick-knacks.

Beyond being a background prop though, the blue horn has taken center stage in several episodes. It has played out to represent one character’s love for the other.

This falls in line with ancient tradition actually – the color blue is part of a long-standing Victorian wedding tradition. It represents faithfulness, purity and loyalty.

In the very first episode of Season 1, the main character Ted steals the blue horn from a restaurant, which had it mounted on the wall as a decoration. He does this to impress Robin, his love interest.

Later, in the final episode of Season 2, the blue horn takes center stage again as Robin and Ted’s on-again/off-again relationship arrives at a pivotal moment. The lovers return to the restaurant, and Ted gets recognized by one of the waiters as the thief who stole the horn.

The entire scenario is difficult to encapsulate – these links provide more details.

As Robin and Ted drift apart, the blue horn makes another appearance in at least one other episode.

Barney and Ted get drunk, fight over Robin, go to her place and yell outside her window, and then get dressed down by her for their immaturity.

She says she’s got to withdraw from the group in order to take the next step with Don.  And a few days later, just when Ted thought she’d forgotten about it, he storms her room to confront her about another empty milk carton and finds it empty, save for a blue French horn.

The inspired blue horn fad

This whole blue horn scenario has become something of a fad with fans that follow the show.

At The Kevin Dolan, an entire scenario is documented of a girl who runs away to Boston and her boyfriend who travels 6 hours to bring her a blue horn as a gesture of his love.

At Darnivorous, author Dariane Nabor adds the blue horn to a list of “how to be a perfect boyfriend.”

  • How To Be a Perfect Boyfriend

A blue French horn was found stenciled on a sidewalk in San Francisco and this inspired the photographer to paint her own blue horn. In the comments section too, she offers some tips about how she found and made it.

Toe-may-toe, toe-mah-toe

While we could all quibble over the technicality of the show repeatedly calling the blue mellophone a French horn, I think that it is very cool that a show of such great popularity in America has used a horn so prominently as a central plot device!

*All images in this article are used without permission under the auspices of fair and limited use. These images remain the sole and absolute property of the CBS broadcasting network.

University of Horn Matters