VeggieTales

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VeggieTales
VeggieTales logo.svg
Logo (2008-present)
Genre Christian
Children
Format Computer animation
Created by Phil Vischer
Mike Nawrocki
Voices of Phil Vischer
Mike Nawrocki
Tim Hodge
Brian K. Roberts
Lisa Vischer
Jim Poole
G. Bock (or Gail Freeman)
Megan Murphy
Cydney Trent
Charlotte Jackson
Theme music composer Kurt Heinecke
Lisa Vischer
Mike Nawrocki
Opening theme VeggieTales Theme Song
Ending theme What We Have Learned?
Composer(s) Kurt Heinecke
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of series 1
No. of episodes 43 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) Phil Vischer
Terry Botwick
Dan Philips
Terry Pefanis
Mike Heap
Producer(s) Kevin Gamble
David Pitts
J. Chris Wall
Chris Olsen (1993–1998)
Jennifer Combs (2000–2001)
Jon Gadsby (1998–1999)
Editor(s) John Wahba
J. Chris Wall
David Watson
Mike Nawrocki (1993–1997)
Joel Mains
Running time 40–50 minutes (videos)
30 minutes (television)
Production company(s) Big Idea Entertainment (1993–present)
Lyrick Studios (1995-2003)
HiT Entertainment (2001-2004)
DKP Studios (2004–2006)
Starz Animation (2006–2009)
Huhu Studios, Ltd. (2009–present)
Entertainment Rights (2006–2009)
Classic Media (2002–2012)
Boomerang Media (2009-2012)
DreamWorks Classics (2012–present)
Broadcast
Original channel NBC Kids
Picture format 4:3 480i (SDTV) (1993-2009)
16:9 1080i (HDTV) (2009-present)
Audio format Stereo
First shown in United States
Original run December 21, 1993 (direct-to-video) – present
External links
Website

VeggieTales is an American series of children's computer animated films featuring anthropomorphic vegetables in stories conveying moral themes based on Christianity. The episodes frequently retell Bible stories anachronistically reframed and include humorous references to pop culture. The series was developed by Big Idea Entertainment and is owned by DreamWorks Animation through its subsidiary, Classic Media.[1]

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 appeared on NBC as part of the qubo Saturday morning children's programming block. On November 3, 2012 the show began running on the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN)[2] as well as its children's network Smile of a Child,[3] where it currently continues to air episodes (in a repackaged and edited format).

In 2009, Netflix made many VeggieTales videos (in their uncut, original formats) and feature films available via their video streaming service. On March 14, 2014, Netflix announced a new VeggieTales television show from DreamWorks Animation Television entitled VeggieTales In The House.[4] Big Idea has also published VeggieTales books and music CDs and branded items such as toys, clothing, and garden seeds for vegetables and flowers.

History[edit]

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.[5]

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.[6] Due to the limitations of the software available to him at the time, he chose to avoid the technical production hurdle of creating characters with arms, legs, or hair. His first animation model was an anthropomorphic candy bar. When his wife suggested that parents might prefer a hero who promoted healthier eating habits, he began basing characters on fruits and vegetables.

Format[edit]

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. The Silly Songs are generally introduced with a title card and a 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 usually in the middle of the program, often at a cliffhanger moment or in between two stories (although the LarryBoy episodes, in particular, often lack this segment). Each tale ends with the program's signature sign-off: "Remember kids, God made you special and He loves you very much."

VeggieTales on TV[edit]

The NBC VeggieTales television show altered the general format by opening in the living room of Bob the Tomato's house. Bob, Larry the Cucumber, and other Veggie characters then 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. Bob and Larry then 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. Similar to the opening counter-top sequence of the VeggieTales videos, Bob and Larry read the letter and the cast tries to decide how to solve the viewer's problem through one of three regular segments: Archibald reads a story from his Big Book of Oddities, Pa Grape shows an old film, or Mr. Lunt appears with his stick puppet, Paco the Storytelling Mule, 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 video. 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. NBC episodes end with characters bidding the audience a simple "Good-bye".

Characters[edit]

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.

Episodes[edit]

Re-issues and re-releases[edit]

Big Idea has released a few "special edition" DVDs which consist of remastered videos and additional features not on the original DVD.

  1. Lyle the Kindly Viking Special Edition (also includes 3-2-1 Penguins! Trouble on Planet Wait-Your-Turn)[7]
  2. Esther... The Girl Who Became Queen Special Edition (also includes 3-2-1 Penguins! The Cheating Scales of Bullamanka)
  3. Larry-Boy and the Rumor Weed Special Edition (also includes 3-2-1 Penguins! The Amazing Carnival of Complaining)
  4. King George and the Ducky Special Edition (also includes 3-2-1 Penguins! Runaway Pride at Lightstation Kilowatt)[8]
  5. Where's God When I'm S-Scared? 15th Anniversary Collector's Edition (also includes 3-2-1 Penguins! Trouble on Planet Wait-Your-Turn)[9]

Compilation videos[edit]

Originally, Big Idea, Classic Media, and DreamWorks Animation have all bundled the various VeggieTales episodes into video collections ranging in size from double features all the way up to a boxed collection of the first 30 VeggieTales videos. In addition, the three companies have also released compilation videos including only collections of the Silly Songs from the various videos. These song collections have included the songs in "Sing Along" format as well as countdowns of the most popular Silly Songs as voted on by fans.

Reception[edit]

The video series and stage productions have enjoyed more financial success than the films.

The revenue for Big Idea grew between 1996 and 1999 from $1.3 million to over $44 million as the moral tales and off-beat humor proved popular with parents.[10] The media group Common Sense Media commented on the TV series that VeggieTales "will probably be most amusing for younger kids, or, perhaps more accurately, less sophisticated viewers. It's not the lessons themselves that older kids might object to--more the fact that you can see them coming a mile away, and even the best songs can't make getting there any more exciting." [11]

Reception to the films was lukewarm both among critics and at the box office. The films have Jonah - A VeggieTales Movie currently holds a 65% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 55 reviews from critics, with an average score of 5.8 out of 10.[12] The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything received generally negative reviews and performed poorly at the box office. It holds a 39% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

NBC controversy[edit]

When NBC, a national broadcasting company based in New York, began airing VeggieTales episodes in September 2006, it edited the episodes to remove overtly religious messages, including references to God. The original sign-off message--"Remember kids, God made you special and He loves you very much!"--became a simple, inclusive "Good-bye!" The changes were made at the request of the network's standards and practices department to enforce compliance with network policies regarding religious neutrality. The original dialogue remained viewable by users of the network's closed-caption feature. [13]

The conservative watch group Parents Television Council complained to NBC about the changes.[14] L. Brent Bozell, president of the group, complained of the network "ripping the heart and soul out of a successful product," adding that "if NBC is so concerned about that four-letter-word God, then they shouldn't have taken 'VeggieTales.' This just documents the disconnect between Hollywood and the real world."[15]

NBC replied that the editing conformed to the network's broadcast standards, which direct producers "not to advocate any one religious point of view." NBC spokeswoman Rebecca Marks said "Our goal is to reach as broad an audience as possible with these positive messages while being careful not to advocate any one religious point of view."[15]

Vischer said he was not informed that overtly religious content would be removed and said he would have declined to sign the contract had he known. "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," he said.[16] Vischer added that he still understood NBC's wish to remain religiously neutral. "VeggieTales is religious, NBC is not. I want to focus people more on 'Isn't it cool that Bob and Larry are on television.'"[17]

Feature-length films[edit]

  • 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 three slackers learn that a hero doesn't have to be tall, strong, and handsome to be useful.

Stage production[edit]

The VeggieTales characters (left to right) of Mr. Lunt, Pa Grape, and Larry the Cucumber on the main stage at the Georgia International Horse Park in Conyers during the Celebrate Freedom 2007 concert on September 1, 2007 dressed in costume for their new film The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: A VeggieTales Movie that was released on January 11, 2008.

VeggieTales Live is a series of stage shows based on the VeggieTales videos. Six versions of the shows have been staged. The shows have toured across the U.S. and at theme parks including Dollywood and Silver Dollar City.[18]

Video games[edit]

Macintosh/PC[edit]

  1. Veggie Tales Super Silly Fun! (unknown release date, 2005)[19]
  2. Veggie Carnival (November 20, 2001)[20]
  3. Jonah: A VeggieTales Game (August 27, 2002)[21]
  4. Veggie Tales Creativity City (March 19, 2002)[22]
  5. The Mystery of VeggieIsland (May 21, 2002)[23]
  6. Minnesota Cuke and the Coconut Apes (May 20, 2003)[24]

PlayStation 2 and Game Boy Advance Games[edit]

  1. LarryBoy and the Bad Apple (August 1, 2006)[25]

iOS[edit]

  1. "Step-by-Story presents: The Goofy Gift" (December 28, 2011)[26]
  2. "VeggieTales Spotisodes Collection" (February 7, 2012)[27]
  3. "Step-by-Story presents: Larry's Missing Music" (March 19, 2012)[28]

Android[edit]

  1. "Step-by-Story presents: The Goofy Gift" (December 28, 2011)
  2. "VeggieTales Spotisodes Collection" (February 7, 2012)
  3. "Step-by-Story presents: Larry's Missing Music" (March 19, 2012)

VideoNow Jr.[edit]

A number of VeggieTales titles were released on Personal Video Disc (PVD) for Playskool's VideoNow Jr., a portable video player for children.

  1. "Where's God When I'm S-Scared"
  2. "Dave and the Giant Pickle"
  3. "LarryBoy and the Fib from Outer Space"
  4. "Josh and the Big Wall"
  5. "LarryBoy and the Rumor Weed"
  6. "King George and the Ducky"
  7. "The Ballad of Little Joe"
  8. "LarryBoy and the Bad Apple"
  9. "The League of Incredible Vegetables"
  10. "Gideon"
  11. "Esther"
  12. "Little House that Stood"

Music and audio CDs[edit]

  1. VeggieTunes 1
  2. VeggieTunes 2
  3. Larry-Boy Soundtrack
  4. VeggieTunes 3: A Queen, a King, and a Very Blue Berry
  5. Silly Songs with Larry
  6. Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie Soundtrack
  7. A Very Veggie Christmas
  8. The Incredible Singing Christmas Tree
  9. VeggieTunes 4
  10. Veggie Rocks!
  11. Boyz in the Sink
  12. Bob and Larry Sing The 70's
  13. A Very Veggie Easter
  14. VeggieTales Worship Songs
  15. Pirates Boatload of Fun
  16. On the Road with Bob and Larry
  17. Bob and Larry's Sunday Morning Songs
  18. Bob and Larry's Backyard Party
  19. O Veggie, Where Art Thou?
  20. Bob and Larry's Campfire Songs
  21. Junior's Bedtime Songs
  22. Junior's Playtime Songs
  23. More Sunday Morning Songs with Bob and Larry
  24. Bob and Larry's Toddler Songs
  25. LarryBoy: The New Soundtrack
  26. The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything Original Movie Soundtrack
  27. God Made You Special
  28. Christian Hits Music
  29. VeggieTales Greatest Hits
  30. Storytime with Bob and Larry Volume 1
  31. Storytime with Bob and Larry Volume 2
  32. Here I Am To Worship
  33. Bob and Larry Sing the 80's
  34. Sweetpea's Songs for Girls
  35. Hosanna: Top 10 worship songs
  36. Bob and Larry Go Country
  37. 25 Favorite Very VeggieTunes
  38. 25 Favorite Sunday School Songs
  39. 25 Favorite Christmas Songs
  40. 25 Favorite Lullaby Songs
  41. 25 Favorite Toddler Songs
  42. 25 Favorite Travel Songs
  43. 25 Favorite Action Songs
  44. 25 Favorite Silly Songs
  45. 25 Favorite Bible Songs

Merchandise[edit]

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).[29]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.christianitytoday.com/gleanings/2012/august/dreamworks-buys-veggietaless-owner.html
  2. ^ http://www.tbn.org/watch-us/broadcast-schedule
  3. ^ http://ww.smileofachildtv.org
  4. ^ http://www.engadget.com/2014/03/13/netflix-dreamworks-originals-puss-in-boots-king-julien/
  5. ^ Big Idea Inc, Appoints VeggieTales Co-Creator Mike Nawrocki to Head of Creative and Development, Press release, Big Idea Inc., September 30th, 2008
  6. ^ Phil Vischer Me, Myself, and Bob (January 2007)
  7. ^ http://www.amazon.com/VeggieTales-Kindly-Viking-Penguins-Feature/dp/B002SOP8O4/
  8. ^ http://www.amazon.com/VeggieTales-George-Ducky-Penguins-Episode/dp/B006LC3ZGM/
  9. ^ http://www.amazon.com/Wheres-When-S-Scared-15th-Anniversary/dp/B002NMV5TS/
  10. ^ Vischer, Phil (2008). Me, Myself, and Bob. Thomas Nelson. p. 54. ISBN 1595551220. 
  11. ^ Common Sense Media - VeggieTales - TV Review: http://www.commonsensemedia.org/tv-reviews/veggietales
  12. ^ "Jonah - A VeggieTales Movie 2002)". RottenTomatoes.com. Retrieved 27 December 2013. 
  13. ^ Westbury, Joe, NBC chooses family values over spiritual values in VeggieTales Saturday morning line-up, The Christian Index, September 26, 2008
  14. ^ Talking Veggies Stir Controversy at NBC - AP Online | HighBeam Research
  15. ^ a b Cohen, Sandy Talking Veggies Stir Controversy at NBC at the Wayback Machine (archived June 29, 2011), Associated Press, Foxnews.com, September 22, 2006
  16. ^ (Cohen 2006)
  17. ^ Parker, Jenni,PTC Applauds NBC's Airing of VeggieTales, Religious Content Intact, Agape Press, December 6, 2006
  18. ^ http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/veggietales-live-happy-birthday-bob--larry-tour-returns-this-fall-with-first-time-show-dates-for-west-coast-221632901.html
  19. ^ ValuSoft (2008-08-13). "Veggie Tales Super Silly Fun! Cd-rom: Video Games". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2014-01-22. 
  20. ^ "VeggieTales: Veggie Carnival (Jewel Case) - PC: Video Games". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2014-01-22. 
  21. ^ "Jonah: A VeggieTales Game - PC: Video Games". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2014-01-22. 
  22. ^ "Veggie Tales Creativity City (PC Game): Video Games". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2014-01-22. 
  23. ^ "VeggieTales: The Mystery of Veggie Island - PC: Video Games". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2014-01-22. 
  24. ^ "Veggie Tales: Minnesota Cuke and the Coconut Apes (Jewel Case): Video Games". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2014-01-22. 
  25. ^ "Veggietales: Larry Boy and the Bad Apple - PlayStation 2: Big Idea: Video Games". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2014-01-22. 
  26. ^ "Connecting to the iTunes Store". Itunes.apple.com. Retrieved 2014-01-22. 
  27. ^ "Watch and Find - VeggieTales Games and Video Clips - A Fingerprint Network App on the App Store on iTunes". Itunes.apple.com. 2013-12-07. Retrieved 2014-01-22. 
  28. ^ "Connecting to the iTunes Store". Itunes.apple.com. Retrieved 2014-01-22. 
  29. ^ "Big Idea Grows VeggieTales Brand". Licensemag.com. 2011-02-10. Retrieved 2011-10-09. 

External links[edit]