Phil Vischer

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Phil Vischer
Born
Phillip Roger Vischer

(1966-06-16) June 16, 1966 (age 53)
Muscatine, Iowa, United States
ResidenceWheaton, Illinois
OccupationVoice actor, puppeteer, writer, producer, director, songwriter, speaker
Years active1993–present
Known forVeggieTales

JellyTelly

321 Penguins

Larryboy: The Cartoon Adventures

VeggieTales in the House

VeggieTales in the City

The VeggieTales Show

The Holy Post Podcast (formally known as The Phil Vischer Podcast)
Spouse(s)Lisa Vischer
Children3
Websitephilvischer.com

Phillip Roger "Phil" Vischer (born June 16, 1966) is an American animator, puppeteer, writer, voice actor and songwriter who created the computer-animated video series VeggieTales alongside Mike Nawrocki. He provided the voice of Bob the Tomato and about half of the other characters in the series. Currently, he owns a small film business, Jellyfish Labs, based in Wheaton, Illinois.

Early life and education[edit]

Phil Vischer was born June 16, 1966 in Muscatine, Iowa,[1] United States, and grew up in Chicago, Illinois. For three semesters, Vischer attended St. Paul Bible College; around that time, he also worked at a small Christian video production company.[2]

Career[edit]

According to Vischer's 2005 autobiography, Me Myself and Bob, Vischer and his longtime friend Mike Nawrocki founded Big Idea Productions in the late 1980s as GRAFx Studios. It started out as a small business that used computer animation to make their films. Eventually, Phil Vischer and Nawrocki created VeggieTales and renamed the company to Big Idea Productions. The "Big Idea" for Vischer, was to teach children about right-from-wrong using God's messages from the Bible. The characters they came up with were Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber. They chose vegetables to serve as the characters in order to promote healthy eating for children. A normal segment of VeggieTales would begin with both talking vegetables on a counter-top receiving a letter from someone asking about a particular Christian topic (selfishness, fear, lying, sharing, etcetera) followed by two short stories about the topic. In the middle of the segment would be a silly song. Not only would Vischer and Nawrocki serve as the producers and directors of the show, but they would also voice most of the characters in the franchise (the most by Vischer).

The studio's first big creation was the 1993 direct-to-video VeggieTales episode "Where's God When I'm S-Scared?" which was released on home video in late 1993. The video was a tremendous success and soon demand was high for sequels to the show. Big Idea's next video was "God Wants Me To Forgive Them?!?" which was released in 1994 and included the help of their first professional voice actor Jeff Morrow. In 1995, the series' third video, "Are You My Neighbor?", was released and VeggieTales continued releasing at least one video per year and even released their own newsletter called "What's the Big Idea?". The series was an enormous hit and, by the late-1990s, had earned the company millions of dollars every year.(5)(6)

By 1999, Vischer slowly found himself running a company that was losing money due to a variety of circumstances.(5)(6)(7) Their series continued being a big hit in the market, but Vischer's decision to take out a loan and produce their first full-length film, Jonah, caused the company to slowly fall apart financially. To make things worse, Big Idea's termination of their association with their long-time distributor Lyrick Studios (the company behind Barney & Friends & Wishbone), caused Lyrick's parent company, HiT Entertainment to file a frivolous lawsuit against the company for "breach-of-contract", even though Big Idea and Lyrick had never signed an official contract.(7)(8) Vischer offered to settle with HiT for $500,000 but, HiT declined and the case went to trial after the judge denied Big Idea's motion for summary judgement. A jury ultimately ruled against Big Idea in 2003, awarding Hit & Lyrick $11M. Although the verdict was later overturned on appeal, the damage was done and Big Idea filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in summer of 2003. After Big Idea was purchased by Classic Media in 2004, Vischer still worked on VeggieTales under contract as a writer and voice actor until 2017 when his contract ended. Soon after Vischer's departure, VeggieTales was cancelled, thus ending a 25-year run in animation (though the business still exists by name and by-name-only).

After selling Big Idea, Phil Vischer took two years off to recuperate. He then started a brand-new production studio called Jellyfish Labs in order to launch his new business vision; JellyTelly, which he intended to be "a Nickelodeon for Christians." Phil Vischer said in his book that he believed that his heart had turned from God while being CEO of Big Idea and that the company's fall was a "wake-up call" and, because of this, Vischer limits his own power at Jellyfish Labs and allows God to "guide the company." Since 2012, Vischer has hosted a weekly podcast discussing life in what he characterizes as a post-Christian America.[3] The podcast, co-hosted by writer and former Christianity Today editor Skye Jethani and actress Christian Taylor, regularly ranks in the top 100 podcasts.[4]

Revival of VeggieTales[edit]

In March of 2019, Phil Vischer announced on his Twitter that he had re-teamed with his longtime partner Mike Nawrocki at TBN to revive the VeggieTales series. Just like previously, Vischer and Nawrocki would return to voice their characters and also work as writers for the new show.[5]

Voice acting[edit]

As the co-creator of VeggieTales, alongside Mike Nawrocki, he has voiced hundreds of characters. Among them being; Bob the Tomato, Archibald Asparagus, Pa Grape, Mr. Lunt, Jimmy Gourd, Mr. Nezzer, Philippe Pea and several others.

With JellyTelly he has been the puppeteer and voice of several characters including Buck Denver, Captain Pete, Helen Rosenfiddle, Sunday School Lady, and others.

Personal life[edit]

Vischer currently lives near Chicago with his wife Lisa. He has three children.[6]

Filmography[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1993–present VeggieTales Bob the Tomato, Archibald Asparagus, Mr. Lunt, Pa Grape, Jimmy Gourd, Mr. Nezzer, Phillipe Pea, Scallion 1, Frankencelery, Grandpa George, Annie's Dad, Tom Grape, Apollo Gourd, Goliath, Percy Pea, and other unnamed characters. (voice) Co-creator, director, producer, writer and composer
2000-2006 3-2-1 Penguins! N/A Co-developer and writer
2002 Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie Archibald Asparagus (as Jonah and Twippo), Bob the Tomato, Mr. Lunt, Pa Grape, Percy Pea, Phillipe Pea, King Twistomer. (voice) Director, writer and composer
2002 Larryboy: The Cartoon Adventures Alfred and Bob the Tomato (voice)
2008 The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: A VeggieTales Movie George (Pa Grape), Sedgewick (Mr. Lunt), Wilory (Archibald Asparagus), Mr. Hibbing (Mr. Nezzer), Bob the Tomato, Sir Frederick (Jimmy Gourd), Pirate Phillipe Pea, Pirate Spy (Scallion 1), , and other unnamed characters. (voice) Writer and composer
2010–2014 What's in the Bible? Himself, Buck Denver, Clive & Ian, Sunday School Lady, Cap'n Pete, various voices (voice) Creator, director, producer, writer and composer
2012–present The Holy Post (formerly the Phil Vischer Poscast) Himself/Host
2014–2016 VeggieTales in the House Bob the Tomato, Archibald Asparagus, Pa Grape, Jimmy Gourd, Mr. Lunt, Rooney the Olive Dog, Phillipe Pea, Granny Asparagus, and other unnamed characters. (voice)
2014 Holy Ghost Himself Documentary
2015 Galaxy Buck: Mission to Sector 9 Buck Denver, Clive & Ian, Sunday School Lady, Marcy, Pastor Paul, Cap'n Pete, Aliens, Old Man (voice) Director, producer and writer
2017 VeggieTales in the City Bob the Tomato, Archibald Asparagus, Pa Grape, Jimmy Gourd, Mr. Lunt, Rooney the Olive Dog, Granny Asparagus, SuperMato, JimmyBoy, Philippe Pea, and other unnamed characters. (voice)
2019 The VeggieTales Show Bob the Tomato, Archibald Asparagus, Pa Grape, Jimmy Gourd, Mr. Lunt, various voices (voice) Writer

Published works[edit]

Books by Phil Vischer include the following:

  • Junior's Colors (1997) ISBN 0-8499-1487-6
  • How Many Veggies? (1997) ISBN 0-8499-1488-4
  • Pa Grape's Shapes (1997) ISBN 0-8499-1507-4
  • Bob & Larry's ABC's (1997) ISBN 0-8499-5986-1
  • The Story of Flibber-o-Loo (1997)
  • Rack, Shack and Benny (1997)
  • Dave and the Giant Pickle (1997)
  • Larry-Boy! And the Fib from Outer Space! (1997)
  • Archibald's Opposites (1998) ISBN 0-8499-1533-3
  • Time for Tom (1998) ISBN 0-8499-1534-1
  • A Snoodle's Tale (2004) ISBN 0-310-70751-X
  • Sidney & Norman: A Tale of Two Pigs (2005) ISBN 1-4003-0834-8
  • Me, Myself, & Bob (2005) ISBN 0-7852-2207-3
  • 47 Beavers On the Big Blue Sea (2007) ISBN 1-4003-0836-4
  • Why Do We Call it Christmas? (2014)
  • What is Easter? (2015)

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Phil Vischer". Behind The Voice Actors. June 16, 1966. Retrieved September 27, 2015.
  2. ^ Vischer, Phil (2006). Me, Myself, and Bob: A True Story About Dreams, God, and Talking Vegetables. Thomas Nelson.
  3. ^ "The Phil Podcast". Philvischer.com. Retrieved December 9, 2015.
  4. ^ "Stats for The Phil Vischer Podcast on podbay". Podbay.fm. Retrieved April 5, 2015.
  5. ^ Vischer, Phil (March 28, 2019). "Correction - TBN is licensing VT from Universal... they didn't buy it. Bob and Larry still live with Shrek and Donkey and Minions. BUT... TBN is producing new eps and Mike and I are writing!https://twitter.com/ericmetaxas/status/1111281056013967360 …". @philvischer. Retrieved May 3, 2019.
  6. ^ "About - Phil Vischer - Official Blog of VeggieTales Creator". Phil Vischer. Retrieved August 9, 2019.

6. WHAT HAPPENED TO BIG IDEA? (PART 1) - PhilVischer.com https://philvischer.com/news/what-happened-to-big-idea-part-1/

7. WHAT HAPPENED TO BIG IDEA? (PART 4) - PhilVischer.com https://philvischer.com/news/what-happened-to-big-idea-part-4/

8. WHAT HAPPENED TO BIG IDEA? (PART 6) - PhilVischer.com https://philvischer.com/news/what-happened-to-big-idea-part-6/

9. WHAT HAPPENED TO BIG IDEA? (PART 9) - PhilVischer.com https://philvischer.com/news/what-happened-to-big-idea-part-9/

External links[edit]