Mike Nawrocki–the voice of Larry the Cucumber–spoke Wednesday to a crowded concert hall about his route to vegetable glory.
This is Nawrocki’s second year speaking at Belmont, and like the previous year, Nawrocki started the presentation with a “Veggie Tales” clip. A catchy song about pairs introduced the story of Noah’s Ark, which was soon followed by Nawrocki’s own story.
Like last year’s event, Nawrocki’s story started with his Christian conversion at 13. Originally from Denver, Nawrocki eventually moved to Minneapolis to attend Crown University, a private Christian college where he would further his faith development. Although Nawrocki’s attendance at Crown University only lasted a year, he soon moved to Chicago where the idea for “Veggie Tales” was born.
In Chicago, Nawrocki worked at a video store. He entered into post production and spent his spare time on weekends making short videos. During the late 1980s, when Nawrocki was living in Chicago, computer animation was beginning to flourish.
“The advent of computer animation was key. I feel in a lot of ways we were at the right place at the right time,” Nawrocki said.
Alongside his tomato-in-crime Phil Vischer, the two began creating simple computer animated characters that could be easily pitched to interested buyers. Although “Veggie Tales” began as an outlet for production, it eventually morphed into a successful way to combine faith and performance.
To end the event, Nawrocki finished the Noah’s Ark episode. The once angry asparagus whose home had been destroyed by a large boat had now relaxed. The character embraced change.
“Always be open to changing courses,” Nawrocki said before showing the final “Veggie Tales” clip.
From its early beginnings as VHS tapes to the 150 new episodes that will be airing on Netflix for the 20th anniversary, “Veggie Tales” has flourished.
The faith in God that pushed this “Veggie Tales” creator to follow his spiritual animations has also pushed the creator to join with Belmont University and Operation Christmas Child to help children in over 70 countries transform their lives through the good news of Jesus Christ.
As far as additions to the cast, Nawrocki indicated that many vegetables have already joined the show.
“Character’s are added as they are needed. We now have over 50. We even have Bacon Bill,” said Nawrocki.
Bacon has been added. What more could be asked for?
This story was written by Taylor Berghoff.