My father is a huge “VeggieTales” fan, and for his birthday I gave him Phil Vischer’s memoir, “Me, Myself & Bob: A True Story About Dreams, God and Talking Vegetables.” I didn’t expect him to read it right away, because when I gave it to him last week he mentioned being in the middle of another book. But he picked it up and apparently couldn’t put it down.
In case you don’t know the back story, Vischer is the creator of VeggieTales and the voice of Bob the tomato. He grew Big Idea Productions into a huge company — and then lost it all, due to a variety of factors including his own self-admitted hubris and a prolonged legal battle with a video distributor (he ultimately won the legal battle, but by that time he’d already lost control of the company). Vischer still does the voice of Bob, writes one VeggieTales script a year and consults on two others.
I knew my father would be interested in anything VeggieTale-related but was afraid he might be put off by the losing-it-all aspect of the tale. On the contrary; he was fascinated by the story, admires Vischer’s frank self-assessment and says there’s enough material for several sermons in the book’s concluding chapters. (Dad may be retired, but he still thinks like a preacher.) Vischer, who fancied himself the next Walt Disney, got caught up in the idea that Bigger is automatically Better, and in the process he lost track of some things that should have been at the center of his vision.
I already knew some of this story from Vischer’s blog, but I’m going to have to take Dad up on his offer to loan me the book so that I can read the whole story for myself.