What, exactly, is the deal with Veggie Tales?

I think these characters have been waging an extensive underground media campaign, never in the spotlight, but always in the background. I have been seeing them around, in the background, in many newspaper and TV spots (Today, for instance, in the NY Times, two VeggieTale characters are behind a small boy rescued from a foster home - they are not mentioned in the caption).
OK, so it’s a series of videos, is it Christian Fundamentalist (to me, like Davy and Golith)? Or just do-gooder moralist (like the 80s Gumby - ugh, those episodes stunk)?
And why has there not been either a in-your-face Barney style advertising campaign? Is the series selling successfully without one?

Seems subversive if you ask me… :dubious:

Do-gooder moralist except funny, not merely psychedelic like “Gumby” and “Davey and Goliath.” (BTW, both made by the same guy who turns out to be a Buddhist hippie. And that Mountain Dew ad was a contender for Greatest Ad Ever.)

Sells well (often the top kids’ videos) but the makers’ reach exceeded their grasp, they went bankrupt, and sold out to the people who own “Rocky and Bullwinkle.”

Veggie Tales is much like Davey and Goliath, but I wouldn’t call either Christian Fundamentalist. They are both mainstream Christian morality tales, fairly non-controversial.

(Davey and Goliath is by definition non-Fundamentalist, since the series and characters were owned by the Lutheran Church.)

Morals, Be Good To Your Neighbor Teachings done by Vegetables, that are really annoying on the level of Barney.

I’ve seen a few episodes. The Veggie Tales gang retells stories from the Bible, but uses them not for religious indoctrination but for teaching values – and indeed, explaining that good behavior is important not by reference to God but because acting in other ways can be hurtful to others. I’m a militant atheist and I find very little to object to. (Also, they’re really quite funny.)


[hijack]The Lutheran Church actually licensed Davey and Goliath for that ad so they could earn money to make new Davey and Goliath programs. Unlike Big Idea, being a church means you can’t really make a profit in any form…I think.[/hijack]

dropzone, you’re right. I knew Big Idea was in money trouble, but I didn’t know they were purchased by Classic Media. (Classic also owns, among other things, the Harvey Comics characters and the assets of Golden Books Entertainment, which include the Lone Ranger and Rankin-Bass characters such as Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Frosty the Snowman.)

Can anyone recommend any Veggie Tales CDs? Not so much recycled Sunday School Sing-a-Long stuff, but a nice collection of the clever, original songs that are featured in the videos.

But which Lutheran Church organization owns D&G? I somehow can’t imagine the Missouri Synod approving Davey saying, “We got hosed, Tommy.”

The ELCA, on the other hand…

My three yo used to love Veggie Tales. When he was given a Bob the Builder toy and video for Christmas two years ago, though, they fell from favor and have not returned. he doesn’t care, I miss them. Specifically the Silly Songs With Larry segments. I enjoyed the humor and imagination in general, not so much the Bible stories, although those also were amusing and very imaginatively done. Ending with a Bible verse just comes off preachy no matter how it’s done. But it was certainly mild-mannered about it all.

(after further research)

Yeah, it’s the ELCA, alright.


Back in the mid-90’s I had a friend who worked at Big Ideas as an animator, and I remember when he was working on the very first VeggieTales videos. The company was really struggling at the time, and did not have a distributor, so he would sometimes go weeks without getting paid. He brought copies of the first two videos in for us to see, and we all thought they were hysterical – funny and imaginative, with really clever and catchy songs.

Later on, the Christian publishing giant Word agreed to distribute them and they started showing up in Christian bookstores everywhere. They really took off because in contrast to many Christian children’s videos they didn’t, you know, suck. Bob & Larry plush toys started appearing, and I remember back around 1999 seeing an inflatable Bob the Tomato being tossed around at a rock concert. As they got more popular, the videos started appearing in libraries and non-religious bookstores.

I heard that Big Idea may have mismanaged their growth some, and the feature length movie Jonah didn’t do so well with the critics or the box office. However, I was at a Triple-A baseball game a few months ago and there was Larry the Cucumber, working the crowd.

If you see the cartoons again, you’ll see how strange the ELCA bit is–IIRC, in the titles, Davey launches a model rocket that flies into the air, then lands and forms itself into the cross-and-heart medallion logo of the ELCA. Friggin weird.