File puptcrit/puptcrit.0909, message 6

Date: Wed, 02 Sep 2009 07:43:55 -0400
Subject: Re: [Puptcrit] Veggie Tales-way back when


Kinda feel bad now that in my younger days of a lot of construction, I  
made me a Big Bird and a Cookie Monster. Perhaps it was because the  
toy copies were always child-size and wanted ones that were better  
quality and fit my hand. However, I did use them at school and they  
brought lots of children joy.

On Sep 2, 2009, at 5:33 AM, Alan Cook wrote:

> I am reminded of seeing a live hand-puppet production of Veggie  
> Tales in a small theater in Burbank, California many years ago. The  
> building was on a triagular plot surrounded on three sides by city  
> streets. Last time I saw the spot, the building was gone.
> My memory was that the Veggie puppets were pretty overt back in the  
> beginnings, before the TV work was in full swing. Also, I thought  
> the quality was much higher than a lot of what passes for "religious  
> puppetry", but which really seems more like Muppet ripoffs. Veggies  
> had some originality in their puppet design.
> In Portland OR, a group made close copies of Sesame Street Muppets  
> for their "religious" shows---the big change was doing the famous  
> characters in different colors. Apparently these fine people never  
> heard about "Thou shalt not steal". Jimmy Swaggart told us on TV  
> that he had sinned (after he'd gotten caught in that New Orleans  
> motel near the airport).
> Of course Jim Bakker & Tammy Faye started their TV ministry with  
> puppets---that is a curious bit of puppet history, then Jerry  
> Falwell, pretending to be their friend at an awkward time, took over  
> their TV stations. Is there a lesson in all of this?
> Maybe we need to take things with a grain of salt. As my friend  
> Jimmy Gorno, a real fifth genration Italian puppeteer who worked  
> with Teatro dei Piccoli & Sid & Marty Krofft, it needs to be "a BIG  
> grain of salt".
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Steve Axtell
> Sent: Tuesday, September 1, 2009 8:22 PM
> To:
> Subject: Re: [Puptcrit] JellyTelly
> The Jelly Telly puppets were built by Barry
> Gordemer of Handimonium, who I recommended to
> Phil.  I hope he succeeds and that he also hears
> what you have communicated to him.  He IS a great
> guy and a hard worker and no dummy.  I've worked
> with him back in the early 90s with VeggieTales,
> we had the puppet license.  He's been way up in
> show biz and way down with his then company Big
> Idea...amazing story of corporate
> shenanigans.  Interesting read 
> p=38      Ax
> At 07:56 PM 9/1/2009, you wrote:
>> Today I received an e-mail announcement from
>> Maybe many other puppeteers
>> did too.  JellyTelly is an internet
>> entertainment company that was started by Phil
>> Vischer, the man behind the "Veggietales"
>> phenomenon.  This time, Phil Vischer is
>> producing adaptations of the Bible (overtly
>> rather than covertly as before) and selling them as downloads from  
>> his site.
>> I must say that his production values are first
>> rate (although coincidentally, Alan Cook posted
>> a link to some photos of some George Latshaw
>> puppets that were similar but oh, so much better).
>> Anyway, excuse me for maybe getting off topic,
>> but Phil Vischler's videos interpret Jewish
>> stories from a Christian point of view.  Hey,
>> it's a free country, and we can all say as we
>> please, and I'm for that.  But as a Jewish
>> person, I take offense.  Why?  Because in this
>> case Phil Vischler is communicating with young
>> children, and he is obliterating the true
>> meaning of these ancient stories in order to promote his personal  
>> view.
>> This is a topic that could be hotly debated, and
>> it's not my intention to do so.  But as most
>> puppeteers have taken it upon themselves to be
>> entertainers (and sometimes, educators) for
>> impressionable young people, it's our duty to
>> make sure that we are responsible and honest.
>> You may wonder why I don't address my
>> frustration to Phil Vischler instead of venting
>> on puptcrit.  Well, I did.  I sighted specific
>> examples where his work really went off on a
>> tangent - and hey, I'm no religious scholar, so
>> it was all very obvious.  All I got was a reply
>> from a staff member telling me that Phil was an
>> awfully nice guy and hard worker.
>> Anyway, while I usually applaud all efforts of
>> puppet theater, I hope this one fails.
>> Just my two cents.
>> Robert Rogers
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> Steve Axtell
> Axtell Expressions, Inc.
> ****************************************
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