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VeggieTales' Top Tomato

Phil Vischer's tenacious campaign to dominate family entertainment

Is too much VeggieTales a bad thing? My 2½-year-old daughter doesn't think so. She struts around the house with her Junior Asparagus plush toy in hand, joyfully screaming the theme song from the popular video series, butchering every lyric except the climactic "There's never ever, ever, ever, ever been a show like VeggieTales!" Which, of course, is true.

Before the singing vegetables of VeggieTales hit the scene in 1993, there had never been a Christian video series that sold 25 million copies. There had never ever been a fully computer-animated feature (Pixar's Toy Story was still two years away). And there had never ever, ever been Christian-produced entertainment so funny and smart that viewers did not realize they were receiving moral instruction.

And so my little girl pleads for more Veggies: a morning screening of Madame Blueberry, an afternoon jam session with the VeggieTunes 2 CD, a bedtime reading of her VeggieTales storybooks. She's not alone in her appetite for more. In fact, the 2½-year-old demographic is only one sliver of a wide-ranging Veggie fan base. Watching VeggieTales videos has become a favorite pastime of church youth groups, the raison d'être for numerous parties on college campuses, and a not entirely unpleasant experience for that huge captive audience known as Mom and Dad. (Indeed, many parents can recite the words to Silly Songs like "His Cheeseburger" and "The Hairbrush Song" as well as their offspring.)

Phil Vischer certainly isn't worried about Veggie overexposure. He's the creator of the VeggieTales series, the voice of Bob the Tomato and other characters, and the mastermind behind Big Idea Productions, which produces VeggieTales and another hit video series, 3-2-1 Penguins! "Our mission is to ...

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