VeggieTales: Redefining Christian Animation

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VeggieTales, a beloved show that impacted millions of Christians, brought a fresh perspective to the animation genre. Created by Phil Vischer, this iconic series took the Christian subculture by storm. Let’s explore 25 fascinating facts about VeggieTales that you may not have known.

1. Chocolate Tales?

Did you know that VeggieTales almost featured a talking candy bar as its main character? However, Phil Vischer’s wife wisely suggested using a cucumber instead, to promote healthy eating habits.

2. Look Ma, No Hands

Vischer chose vegetables as the stars of VeggieTales for practical reasons. Since they didn’t require animating arms, legs, or hair, the show found its place in the produce aisle.

3. Creative Role Models

Vischer drew inspiration from storytelling legends Walt Disney and Jim Henson. Their influence can be seen in VeggieTales’ humor, creativity, and engaging narratives.

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4. Playing with the Big Boys

Big Idea, Vischer’s company, once surpassed animation giants like Disney, Pixar, and DreamWorks, making it the largest animation studio between the coasts.

5. Crazy (Early) Success

VeggieTales became the most successful direct-to-video series in history, experiencing a staggering revenue growth of 3,300% between 1996 and 1999.

6. A Treasure Trove of Hidden Content

Did you know that many VeggieTales DVDs hid secret Easter Eggs? In one of them, the French Peas attempted to create a bootleg copy of the show’s first feature movie. It’s time to dust off those old DVDs and go on a hidden features hunt!

7. Virtual Veggies

Released in the same year as Jurassic Park and the beginning of Toy Story, VeggieTales showcased the capabilities of computer animation, setting new standards for children’s programming.

8. Not as Much Bible As You Remember

Contrary to popular belief, VeggieTales didn’t solely focus on retelling Bible stories. While episodes included spoofs of literary tales and pop culture references, they always tied in a Bible verse that supported the theme.

9. Old Testament Emphasis

When VeggieTales did feature stories from Scripture, they heavily leaned towards the Old Testament. This selective representation was due to Phil Vischer’s promise to his mom not to depict Jesus as a vegetable.

10. Mom’s Rules

Vischer’s mom, a Ph.D. in Christian Education, set some ground rules for VeggieTales. These included not portraying Jesus as a vegetable and avoiding implications that vegetables could have a redemptive relationship with God.

11. Streamed Vegetables

In 2015, VeggieTales made its way to Netflix, marking a transition from direct-to-home videos to digital streaming. The characters even starred in two original series created by the streaming giant.

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12. Big Idea = Big Problems

Prior to the move to Netflix, Big Idea faced numerous difficulties, including a flawed growth strategy, financial struggles, heavy debt, legal issues, and a lost lawsuit. This led to the company filing for bankruptcy in 2003.

13. VeggieTales Drops the Bible, God

After the bankruptcy, VeggieTales went through significant changes. Classic Media, a secular company, removed Scripture passages and references to God from the show to appeal to a broader audience. Bob’s farewell line was altered as well.

14. Vischer’s VeggieTale Regret

Reflecting on VeggieTales, Vischer realized that the show had emphasized moral values more than teaching the tenets of Christianity. This realization fueled his desire to create content that focused on biblical teachings.

15. Getting Back to the Bible

Following VeggieTales, Vischer developed “Buck Denver Asks, ‘What’s In the Bible?'” This 13-episode program takes children on a journey through the Bible, showcasing the grand narrative from Genesis to Revelation.

16. Hope He’s Waterproof

Qwerty, the animated computer in VeggieTales, got his name from the first six letters on a computer keyboard. While the idea of having a desktop computer on a kitchen counter may seem odd, Qwerty upgraded to an Apple iMac in 2010.

17. No Onions, Please

Despite common misconceptions, Mr. Lunt, with his peculiar love for cheeseburgers, is actually a decorative gourd and not an onion, as often thought by fans.

18. Say, Isn’t That…?

VeggieTales featured some notable guest voices, including Amy Grant, Wayne Brady, Jaci Velasquez, Si Robertson, Matthew West, Kellie Pickler, and Terry Crews.

19. Monkeying Around with Silly Songs

Andrew Peterson, along with Randall Goodgame, wrote some of VeggieTales’ catchy Silly Songs. These tunes captivated audiences, educating them on everything from monkeys to the difference between apes and monkeys.

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20. Multiple Personalities

Vischer provided the voices for almost half of the VeggieTales characters, including Bob the Tomato, Archibald Asparagus, Mr. Lunt, Pa Grape, Jimmy Gourd, Mr. Nezzer, and Phillipe Pea. Bob represented his inner Mr. Rogers, while Archibald reflected his true personality.

21. Because I’m Bat-Bob!

Originally, Vischer planned to give Bob a superhero alter ego named Bat-Bob. However, Larryboy ended up taking on the role, becoming a fan favorite and spawning a line of toys and video games.

22. Tommy and Kooky

If VeggieTales had followed the typical Christian show naming convention, Bob and Larry would have been called Tommy the Tomato and Kooky Cucumber. Vischer, however, wanted more relatable names for his characters.

23. 14 Years in the Making

VeggieTales initially aimed to be a Christian TV show. However, it was released as a home video series for most of its existence. It took 14 years for VeggieTales to finally become a TV series, fulfilling Bob’s lifelong dream.

24. The Dangers of Living the Dream

The rise and fall of Big Idea taught Vischer a valuable lesson about idolizing dreams. He recognized that his work had become more important than his relationship with God and learned to prioritize his Creator.

25. Vegetable Cannibalism

In a shocking turn of events, Larry the Cucumber’s hunger got the best of him. In the first episode of VeggieTales in the City, he unknowingly consumes sliced tomatoes in a sandwich. Bob remains silent on the matter.

VeggieTales revolutionized the Christian animation landscape, impacting families and children for a quarter of a century. Phil Vischer’s vision continues to inspire, and his commitment to teaching the tenets of Christianity remains unwavering. To learn more about fascinating topics like this, visit 5 WS for informative and engaging articles.

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