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ChurchWatch: Craig von Buseck

Join Craig von Buseck weekdays as he shares his perspective on the major trends and news affecting the Body of Christ today.

 

february 5, 2007

Veggie News: New Video Releases as Phil Vischer Book Tells His Story

Holy Moses! Another VeggieTales caper is about to be released, Moe and the Big Exit, this time featuring Moe (played by Larry the Cucumber) a good-natured cowboy living high on the hog out in Dodgeball City. The drama kicks in to high gear when Moe discovers that his kinfolk have been lassoed into digging the Grand Canyon. When Moe asks the heartless mayor to let his people go, he refuses and a heap of trouble comes to town.

Can Moe help free his people from bondage and flee Dodgeball City once and fer all?

VeggieTalesI love Bob, Larry, and the whole Veggie Tales crew. Since the founding of Big Idea Productions (the parent company of VeggieTales), more than 50 million VeggieTales videos have been purchased. So I was thrilled to have the opportunity to interview co-founders Phil Vischer and Mike Nawrocki (see Big Changes at Big Idea) at the Christian Booksellers Convention in 2005.

This was not long after Phil was forced to sell Big Idea in the midst of a lawsuit. Phil was later vindicated when a guilty ruling was overturned by the appeals court, but not before he lost his company in the process (see the ChurchWatch Blog: Veggie Tales Founder Vindicated in Court).

So I asked Phil the question that everyone wanted to know, "What are the big lessons from Big Idea?"

"See, that's too big," Phil answered at the time. "We're not going there yet. It's really my testimony that has come out of this that has affected everything. I'm starting to speak about it a little bit and finding a whole new ministry in just getting out there talking, not about fictitious vegetables, but about my journey. But it's such a big thing that we're not ready to try to crush it into ten minutes to make it work. So we'll take a rain check on that one."

Well, the time has come for Phil to tell his story. He recently released Me, Myself, & Bob, a new book through Thomas Nelson Publishers to tell his story.

On his Web site, philvischer.com, he writes, "Ever wondered how Bob and Larry came to be? How a young computer animator and a few friends with no money and no clue managed to launch the most successful direct-to-video series EVER?"

"Even more interesting… how did such a huge success flame-out and fall to pieces – and what role did faith and God play in what happened to Big Idea Productions and in what has happened since then to that computer animator with the big idea?"

"Shortly after the bankruptcy of Big Idea Productions, Phil wrote an account on this Web site to briefly explain what had happened to everyone’s favorite vegetables. A lot of people really enjoyed that account – some even made it required reading for their own employees at their own ‘big ideas’. And then some asked, 'But how did it all start? What was it like when it was a big hit? And what did Phil learn from the entire experience?' And Phil realized he had more to say than one Web site article could contain."

"Two years later, here it is. The whole story. A tale so big, it could only be called Me, Myself & Bob. If you thought VeggieTales and Big Idea were interesting to watch from the outside – whoo boy! Strap yourselves in for the real adventure!"

In Me, Myself, and Bob, Phil Vischer, gives a behind-the-scenes look at his journey with the loveable veggies. This is a story of dreaming big and working hard, of spectacular success and breathtaking failure, of shouted questions, and, at long last, whispered answers.

With trademark wit and heart, Phil shares an amazing story that shows how God can use our failures and the death of a dream to point us toward true success.

“Technically, the cucumber came first," Phil writes in the book. "By that I mean he was created first. The cucumber. Larry. But he was alone, and it was not good. So I gave him a sidekick. A tomato. Named Bob.”

Larry the Cucumber“Larry was the loveable goofball—the guy who would entertain your kids at a birthday party. But Bob had ambition. The first words that ever came out of his mouth were, in fact, ‘I have a dream….’ Bob was a dreamer. He wanted to change the world. Like me.”

Vischer’s dream, known to the world as VeggieTales, changed the landscape of children’s videos. But most people have no idea of the intense struggle its creator would endure as he desperately tried to build—then witnessed the tremendous fall—of a new media empire for God.

Bob the TomatoIn 1990, 24-year-old computer-animator, Phil Vischer, sat down to create a group of characters that could teach Christian values to kids in a delightfully weird way. Hence, a tomato named Bob and a cucumber named Larry were born. VeggieTales would go on to revolutionize Christian filmmaking, placing Phil's faith-filled stories in one in three American households with young children.

Phil continues to pursue new ways to integrate faith and storytelling through his new company, Jellyfish Labs. Phil lives with his wife Lisa and their three kids in Illinois.

Order your copy of Phil's new book, Me, Myself, & Bob

More from PhilVischer.com and Jellyfish Productions

Order your copy of Moe and the Big Exit (releases March, 2007)

More from Big Idea Productions

ChurchWatch Blog: Veggie Tales Founder Vindicated in Court

Related Article: Big Changes at Big Idea

ChurchWatch Blog: Muted Vegetables? VeggieTales Goes to NBC

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