December 6, 2014

​Netflix Gives Veggie Tales’ Bob, Larry a New World

BY DIANA CHANDLER ©2014 Baptist Press

VeggieTales in the House" premiered on November 26 as a new series exclusively on Netflix featuring the veggie characters that have modeled biblical principles for 21 years.

Yet, had it not been for Lisa Vischer, wife of VeggieTales co-creator Phil Vischer, children might have been giggling instead to "candy" tales.

Vischer, a computer animator at the time, needed characters for the series that could be created simply by computer animation. "I decided I needed characters that had no hands, arms, hair or clothes, or I wouldn't be able to animate them. And I started out playing with a candy bar character," Vischer told Baptist Press upon the debut of the Netflix series.

"And then my wife saw the candy bar and said, 'You know, moms are going to be mad at you for making their kids fall in love with candy bars.' And I thought, 'Ooh, good point. What wouldn't moms be mad about their kids falling in love with?'

"And the next thing that popped into my head was a cucumber."

VeggieTales in the House will feature two all-new stories with original songs in each 22-minute Netflix episode.

"The all-new series marks the first time in the 21-year history of VeggieTales that Bob [the Tomato], Larry [the Cucumber] and the veggie crew venture off the countertop for exciting new adventures, while remaining true to the values-driven storytelling that has long made VeggieTales such a beloved part of childhood," Netflix and Dream Works Animation announced in a joint press release.

When Vischer created the original VeggieTales through Big Idea Productions, VHS players were state-of-the-art technology, which progressed to DVD, Blue Ray and now online streaming. Netflix allows the series to continue in the latest technology, Vischer said.

"It's been clear that if we want the characters and the ministry to stay alive, then they need to keep moving as kids move to viewing media in different ways." Vischer said. "Bob and Larry need to be there.

"The great thing about Netflix is they have 50 million subscribers, so Bob and Larry will be a push button away for all those people to watch whenever they want, and also on whatever device they want," Vischer said, "whether it's their phone, or tablet, or smart TV, or you name it. Whenever parents are looking for Bob and Larry to help teach values to their kids, it's just a push button away."

Mike Nawrocki, who co-created VeggieTales with Vischer, said VeggieTales in the House will pick up where the VeggieTales DVDs end.

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