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Group Members: Phil Vischer
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The enormously popular VeggieTales series of shows and movies about computer-animated garden vegetables that learn about Bible stories and Sunday-school lessons also spawned a series of albums, ranging from VeggieTales: Veggie Tunes to VeggieTales: On the Road with Bob & Larry. Part of a family media company called Big Idea, VeggieTales was the brainchild of Phil Vischer, who wanted to create family entertainment with a set of strong moral values. He began Big Idea and VeggieTales in 1993, working with friends and art-school grads until the first VeggieTales episode, Where's God When I'm S-Scared?, was completed just before Christmas that year. By 1995, 130,000 VeggieTales videos were sold; a year later, over 750,000 had been purchased. By 2001, more than 20 million copies of VeggieTales videos had been sold. The VeggieTales albums earned similar success.
VeggieTales is an American series of children's computer animated films featuring anthropomorphic vegetables in stories conveying moral themes based on Christianity. They frequently retell Biblical stories, sometimes anachronistically reframed, and include humorous references to pop culture in many different eras by putting Veggie spins on them (e.g., classic literature, TV shows, etc.). The series was developed by Big Idea Entertainment.
VeggieTales was created by Phil Vischer and Mike Nawrocki, who also provide many of the voices. Originally released in direct-to-video format, the series debuted on December 21, 1993. From September 9, 2006 to September 7, 2009, VeggieTales was featured on the children's programming block qubo. In 2009, the Gospel Music Channel also aired previously-released VeggieTales programs. Big Idea has also published VeggieTales books and music CDs and branded items such as toys, clothing, and garden seeds for vegetables and flowers.
VeggieTales was created by Phil Vischer and Mike Nawrocki through their company Big Idea Productions. Their aim was to produce children's videos which conveyed Christian moral themes and taught Biblical values and lessons. The animated feature involved stories told by a group of recurring vegetable characters who lived on a kitchen countertop. The program was offered in the direct-to-video market, with the first 30-minute program, Where's God When I'm S-Scared?, released in July 1993. In all, Big Idea has released 45 VeggieTales episodes including three Silly Song collections, 5 holiday specials, 4 LarryBoy episodes and a drawing tutorial. In addition to these episodes, there are 13 compilations that combine previously released material, and two feature length movies, Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie and The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: A VeggieTales Movie. Beginning in 2006, the VeggieTales videos were adapted as a regular television program through the Qubo multi-platform network and NBC network. On September 30, 2008, Big Idea said that Mike Nawrocki would create an "original new VeggieTales TV series," though no further news has been revealed.
The idea for VeggieTales came in the early 90's when Phil Vischer was testing out animation software as a medium for children's videos. Due to the limitations of the software available to him, he chose to avoid the technical production hurdle of creating characters with arms, legs, or hair. His first animation model on the software was an anthropomorphic candy bar, but after his wife suggested that parents might not want to show their children videos with a candy hero, he instead chose to use fruits and vegetables, their polar opposite.
The episodes generally follow a standard format where a moral issue is posited in the opening countertop sequence, either through a viewer question or an issue brought up by Bob or Larry, followed by one or more "films" that address the issue, with a silly song in the middle. Often Larry, Jimmy & Jerry Gourd, Archibald, or The French Peas will show short videos in an attempt to address the issue only to be saved in the end as Bob introduces the main story. The Silly Songs are generally introduced with a title card and the voiceover saying, "And now it's time for Silly Songs with Larry, the part of the show where Larry comes out and sings a silly song." Some silly songs have alternate titles, such as "Love Songs with Mr. Lunt," where another character sings the song instead. The Silly Song, if one appears, is always in the middle of the program, often at a cliffhanger moment. The LarryBoy episodes, in particular, lack this segment.
VeggieTales on TV 
The television show altered the general format by opening with Bob greeting kids and inviting them over to his house. Then Bob, Larry, and other characters (Archibald Asparagus, Junior Asparagus, Mr. Lunt, Pa Grape, and Jimmy Gourd) sing the show's theme song as they hop to Bob's front door. The theme song ends with a character making a random comment, such as Pa Grape commenting on Archibald's new sweater. The television show opens in Bob's living room where Bob says "Hi kids! Welcome to VeggieTales!" Followed by Larry saying "On TV!" The two wait for the mailman, Jimmy Gourd, to deliver a letter. When Jimmy comes, he happily sings his Mail Song, which Bob and Larry both find tedious. Then instead of handing the letter to Bob and Larry, he insists on cramming it through the mail slot.
Bob and Larry read their letter and try to decide how to solve the viewer's problem. One of their neighbors comes in and attempts to solve it, followed by one of three regular segments: Archibald reads a story from his Big Book of Oddities (which he got from Oprah's Book Club), Pa Grape shows an old film, or Mr. Lunt appears as Paco the Storytelling Mule (a stick puppet) and tells a story. The result always proves disastrous, as the story or film makes no sense. Bob and Larry then intervene with a story from a VeggieTales episode to solve the problem. The show ends with Bob and Larry wrapping things up by reiterating the story's lesson and thanking the kids for coming to his house. The closing credits then start to be shown.
NBC controversy 
When the show aired on NBC network television in September 2006, VeggieTales episodes were edited to remove most references to God, at the request of the NBC network's standards and practices department. The religious references remained intact in the closed-captions accompanying each episode. Notable was the removal of the program's signature sign-off message: "Remember kids, God made you special and He loves you very much." Despite this, Bob and Larry would always say "Goodbye!" at the end. The Christian conservative watch group Parents Television Council complained about the removal to NBC. NBC replied that the editing conformed to the network's broadcast standards of "not to advocate any one religious point of view." Vischer also expressed discontent with the edits, stating that he was not informed that religious content would be removed from the series, and he would have refused to sign a contract if he had known of this beforehand. Vischer said, "I would have declined partly because I knew a lot of fans would feel like it was a sellout or it was done for money." Still, Vischer added that he understood NBC's wish to remain religiously neutral, and said, "VeggieTales is religious, NBC is not. I want to focus people more on 'Isn't it cool that Bob and Larry are on television.'" Bozell wasn't satisfied about the broadcasting. He said, "If NBC is so concerned about that three-letter-word God, then they shouldn't have taken 'VeggieTales.' This just documents the disconnect between Hollywood and the real world."
Although VeggieTales no longer airs on NBC or Qubo, the show is now shown weekly on the Smile of a Child children's television network. Episodes are presented in their original format without the "Bob and Larry on TV" segments.
Streaming television 
In 2009, Netflix, the DVD delivery and streaming video service, made many VeggieTales feature films and television episodes available via Netflix's video streaming service. Original and even more recent episodes and full length features are uncut, in their original format.
VeggieTales has a continuous back story that all of the cartoons are actually teleplays, performed by various vegetables and fruit that live together on the same kitchen countertop. Some of these characters have "real names," and take on various roles in the teleplays, although they will also frequently appear as themselves. Most of these "regulars" were established in the very earliest videos, while some have been added more recently.
Re-issues and re-releases King George and the Ducky Exclusive Special Edition (2008)Where's God When I'm S-Scared? 15th Anniversary Collector's Edition (2008)Lyle the Kindly Viking Exclusive Special Edition (2008)Esther... The Girl Who Became Queen Exclusive Special Edition with LarryBoy and the Angry Eyebrows. (2009)God Wants Me to Forgive Them!?! 20th Anniversary Edition with the 3-2-1 Penguins episode: The Cheating Scales of Bullamanka and the "Asparagus of LaMancha" episode from Sheerluck Holmes and the Golden Ruler. (2013)
Episode compilations Heroes of the Bible Volume 1: Lions, Shepherds and Queens - Oh My! (2002): Includes "Daniel and the Lion's Den" (from Where's God When I'm S-Scared?), Dave and the Giant Pickle, and Esther… The Girl Who Became Queen.Heroes of the Bible Volume 2: Stand Up, Stand Tall, Stand Strong! (2002): Includes "The Story of Flibber-O-Loo" (from Are You My Neighbor?), Rack, Shack, and Benny, and Josh and the Big Wall!.Heroes of the Bible Volume 3: A Baby, a Quest, and the Wild, Wild West - (2009): A compilation episode featuring three previously released episodes, The Ballad of Little Joe, Moe and the Big Exit, and "Baby Sitter in De-Nile" from Duke and the Great Pie War.Heroes of the Bible Volume 4: A BIG Fish, A BIG Carnival and a BIG Promise - (2011): A compilation episode feature three previously released videos, Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie, The Wonderful Wizard of Ha's, and Abe and the Amazing Promise.Heroes of the Bible Volume 5: A Selfish King and a Tuba Player - (2012): Includes "King George and the Ducky" and "Gideon: Tuba Warrior".The Bumblyburg Super-Hero Value Pack: Includes Larry-Boy! And the Fib from Outer Space!, Larry-Boy and the Rumor Weed, Dave and the Giant Pickle (which was the first appearance of Larry-Boy), and a special disc which includes all four episodes of LarryBoy: The Cartoon Adventures.The VeggieValue Pack: Includes Josh and the Big Wall!, King George and the Ducky, The Toy That Saved Christmas, and a special disc which includes the first six episodes of 3-2-1 Penguins! - "Trouble on Planet Wait-Your-Turn", "Cheating Scales of Bullamanka", "Amazing Carnival of Complaining", "Runaway Pride at Lightstation Kilowatt", "Doom Funnel Rescue" and "Moon Menance on Planet Tell-a-Lie".
"Family Builders" episode compilations Larry Learns to Listen: Featuring a new story plus Pistachio - The Little Boy That Woodn't and Josh and the Big Wall!. The video is narrated by the Barbershop Quartet of the Scallions and Frankencelery.Bob Lends a Helping...Hand?: Featuring a new story plus Tomato Sawyer and Huckleberry Larry's Big River Rescue and Lyle the Kindly Viking. The episode is narrated by Barbershop Quartet of the Scallions and Frankencelery.Girl Power! A VeggieTriple Feature: Includes Madame Blueberry, Duke and the Great Pie War, and Esther: The Girl Who Became Queen.Superhero! A VeggieTriple Feature: Includes Larry-Boy! And the Fib from Outer Space!, Larry-Boy and the Rumor Weed, and LarryBoy and the Bad Apple.Lessons for a Lifetime! A VeggieTriple Feature: Includes Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie, Lyle the Kindly Viking, and Gideon: Tuba Warrior.God Made You Special! A VeggieTriple Feature: Includes Pistachio – The Little Boy That Woodn't, A Snoodle's Tale, Dave and the Giant Pickle.Rocket Power! A VeggieTriple Feature: Includes Josh and the Big Wall!, King George and the Ducky, and Gideon: Tuba Warrior.Christmas Love! A VeggieTriple Feature: Includes The Toy That Saved Christmas, The Star of Christmas, and Saint Nicholas: A Story of Joyful Giving.Sing a Song! A VeggieTriple Feature: Includes Very Silly Songs!, The End of Silliness?, and The Ultimate Silly Song Countdown.Western Fun! A VeggieDouble Feature: Includes The Ballad of Little Joe and Moe and the Big Exit.Happy Together!: Includes Lord of the Beans, "Daniel and the Lions' Den" (from Where's God When I'm S-Scared?), and King George and the Ducky, plus two Silly Songs, "Dance of the Cucumber" and "Pants." Also includes thoughts from the "Veggie Kids" (as voiced by real children) sharing their perspectives on the video themes.Veggie Classics! A VeggieTriple Feature: Includes Where's God When I'm S-Scared?, God Wants Me to Forgive Them!?!, and Are You My Neighbor?, plus two Silly Songs, "The Water Buffalo Song" and "The Hairbrush Song", and the "The Forgive-O-Matic" commercial from The Wonderful World of Auto-Tainment!.Silly Little Thing Called Love (2010): Includes three stories of true love with lessons from The Story of Flibber-O-Loo, Duke and the Great Pie War and The Star of Christmas, plus the Silly Songs "Endangered Love", "His Cheeseburger", and "I Love My Lips". Also includes thoughts from the "Veggie Kids" (as voiced by real children) sharing their perspective on love.VeggieTales Live! Sing Yourself Silly (2011): Includes live footage from the VeggieTales touring stage show.Story Heroes Collection: Confidence, Loving Neighbors, and Trust: Includes Minnesota Cuke and the Search for Noah's Umbrella, The Ballad of Little Joe and Are You My Neighbor?.VeggieTales Live! God Made You Special (June 26, 2012)Little Ones Can Do Big Things Too (2012) Includes Pistachio: the Little Boy That Wood'nt, Lyle The Kindly Viking, and Dave and the Giant Pickle.VeggieTales 20th Anniversary Collection (2013): Includes Where's God When I'm S-Scared?, Rack, Shack, and Benny, Tomato Sawyer and Huckleberry Larry's Big River Rescue, Gideon: Tuba Warrior, and Esther... The Girl Who Became Queen.
Feature-length films Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie (2002): Archibald Asparagus stars as Jonah in this version of the Biblical story. The Veggies learn that God is a God of second chances, and that we need to give second chances too and be compassionate and merciful.The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: A VeggieTales Movie (2008): In this second VeggieTales feature film, three lazy wannabe pirates go back in time to the 17th century to fight real pirates and become heroes in a battle to rescue a royal family from an evil tyrant. The Veggies learn that a hero doesn't have to be tall, strong, and handsome to be useful.
Stage production 
VeggieTales Live is a series of stage shows based on the VeggieTales videos. Five versions of the shows have been staged. The shows have toured across the U.S. and appeared at theme parks including Dollywood and Silver Dollar City. The 2002 appeared at May 14–19 at the Rosemont Theatre.
Video games 
Macintosh/PC Veggie Tales Super Silly Fun! (unknown release date, 2005)Veggie Carnival (October 15, 2002)Jonah: A VeggieTales Game (October 15, 2002)Veggie Tales Creativity City (January 31, 2003)The Mystery of VeggieIsland (May 30, 2003)Minnesota Cuke and the Coconut Apes (June 13, 2003)
PlayStation 2 and Game Boy Advance Games Larryboy and The Bad Apple (August 1, 2006)
iOS "Step-by-Story presents: The Goofy Gift" (December 28, 2011)"VeggieTales Spotisodes Collection" (February 7, 2012)"Step-by-Story presents: Larry's Missing Music" (March 19, 2012)
Android "Step-by-Story presents: The Goofy Gift" (December 28, 2011)"VeggieTales Spotisodes Collection" (February 7, 2012)"Step-by-Story presents: Larry's Missing Music" (March 19, 2012)
Music and audio CDs VeggieTunes 1 (March 1995)VeggieTunes 2 (October 1997)Larryboy Soundtrack (July 13, 1999)VeggieTunes 3: A Queen, a King, and a Very Blue Berry (November 24, 2000)Silly Songs with Larry (September 15, 2001): Includes songs from Esther… The Girl Who Became Queen The Toy That Saved Christmas and The Ultimate Silly Song CountdownJonah: A VeggieTales Movie Soundtrack (October 3, 2002): Features songs from Newsboys, Chris Rice and Relient KA Very Veggie Christmas (October 1996)The Incredible Singing Christmas Tree (July 19, 2002)VeggieTunes 4 (May 10, 2004)Veggie Rocks! (March 9, 2004)Boyz in the Sink (2004)Bob and Larry Sing The 70's (2005)A Very Veggie Easter (2006)VeggieTales Worship Songs (July 28, 2006)Pirates Boatload of Fun (July 22, 2002): Includes such songs as "We're Vikings!" "There's a Hole in the Bottom of the Sea" "Modern Major General" and "Erie Canal"On the Road with Bob and Larry (January 31, 2003)Bob and Larry's Sunday Morning Songs (July 10, 2002) with two songs with "Zaccheus" and "Love Your Neighbor"Bob and Larry's Backyard Party (July 19, 2002) with two songs "You Are My Sunshine" and "I Can Be Your Friend"O Veggie, Where Art Thou? (June 13, 2003)Bob and Larry's Campfire Songs (July 12, 2004)Junior's Bedtime Songs (July 13, 2002) with three songs with "My Day," " Think of Me" and "The Thankfulness Song"Junior's Playtime Songs with two songs with "Love My Lips" and "Look, Olaf!"More Sunday Morning Songs with Bob and LarryBob and Larry's Toddler SongsLarryBoy: The New Soundtrack (2006) with the score of LarryBoy and the Bad AppleThe Pirates Who Don't Do Anything Original Movie Soundtrack (2008) including a song by Anointed entitled Second Chancesand songs by: Mandisa, Newsboys featuring Steve Taylor, and TobymacGod Made You Special (2007)Christian Hits Music (2007)VeggieTales Greatest Hits (2008)Storytime with Bob and Larry Volume 1 (2009) with three stories: "King George," "Esther… The Girl Who Became Queen," and "Minnesota Cuke"Storytime with Bob and Larry Volume 2 (2009) with three stories: "LarryBoy and the Bad Apple," "Ballad of Little Joe," and "Lyle the Kindly Viking"Here I Am To Worship (July 1, 2009)Bob and Larry Sing the 80's (January 17, 2010)Sweetpea's Songs for Girls (July 23, 2010)Hosanna: Top 10 worship songs (January 3, 2011)Minnesota Cuke The Soundtrack: Songs and Score from the Minnesota Cuke Videos (2011)
Compilation Albums 25 Favorite Very VeggieTunes25 Favorite Sunday School Songs25 Favorite Christmas Songs25 Favorite Lullaby Songs25 Favorite Toddler Songs25 Favorite Western Songs25 Favorite Action Songs25 Favorite Silly Songs
On February 10, 2011, Big Idea Entertainment announced several new product promotions, including partnerships with Chick-fil-A (kids meal promotions), American Puzzle Company (wooden puzzles and trains), CTI Industries (mylar and latex balloons), Tabbies (index tabs, stickers, temporary tattoos and wall clings), Victory Designs (children's guitars), and Zoobies (plush pillows and blankets).