August 30, 2016

"He got this bright idea that he could save money on haircuts. So he let his hair grow, he got a perm, and decided he would never need a haircut again."

"Before he could change it back, though, the perm became his company's logo — Ross hated it. 'He could never, ever, ever change his hair, and he was so mad about that... He got tired of that curly hair.'"

The truth about Bob Ross.
"Bob used to lay in bed at night, he told me, he rehearsed every word," Kowalski says. "He knew exactly what he was going to say on every one of those programs."

Like this famous phrase: "You know without question that we don't make mistakes here. We just have happy accidents."

37 comments:

mockturtle said...

Kowalski should know better. Lie, not lay.

Birches said...

My kids are completely transfixed by Bob Ross. It's on Netflix now.

John said...

I'd not seen or even thought of Bob Ross for years. I used to watch him from time to time in the 80s.

For reasons known only to them Netflix recommended him to me the other day and I watched a couple episodes.

I really don't care much about learning to paint but I found watching him paint and explain to be very relaxing and soothing. I also thought in the 80s and still think now that the way he paints looks like magic.

He puts a little paint on the brush, waves his hand a bit and Voila! A happy little tree. Or an angry ocean wave.

Now that I have found him again, I will certainly be watching more.

What he does may or may not be "Art" in some people's eyes. It is certainly more art than the pile of rags that I saw in the Rizoli museum in Turin last summer. In my philistine opinion, anyway.

John Henry

John Henry

Sharc said...

Heard the original broadcast. "He called me the wind beneath his wings," remembered Annette Kowalski about the now-dead Ross, whom she apparently hated. They both sounded like typical hippies-turned-entrepreneurs. He was admittedly fun to watch in action, but he always added about 75% more crapola to his paintings than was tasteful. Every canvas looked like a George Lucas director's cut in the end.

Fernandinande said...

I watched his show semi-non-regularly-sometimes and often thought "he just wrecked his painting", and I was always wrong. Cool guy.

http://mentalfloss.com/article/31206/what-happened-bob-ross-paintings

Original Mike said...

I used to use the phrase "happy little pixel" when diagramming imaging principles on the blackboard ("let's consider a happy little pixel who lives right here in the image". Went right over their heads...

Original Mike said...

How does one sleep with hair like that?

rhhardin said...

I never heard of Bob Ross but I haven't had a haircut in decades. I just doodle with barber scissors on the computer desk to snip off whatever hair feels longer than it should be.

Brando said...

Probably wasn't in style at the time, but a shaved head is much easier. You can do it yourself, and you save on shampoo (and less shower dry off time).

Guimo said...

Bob used to lie, not "lay," in bed.

Sharc said...

rhhardin channeling the office (I quote from memory): "I never tip for services I can perform myself. I can and do cut my own hair. I did, however, tip my urologist, because I am unable to pulverize my own kidney stones."

Curious George said...

"http://mentalfloss.com/article/31206/what-happened-bob-ross-paintings"

I assumed they were just donated to Ramada Inns....no?

Jane the Actuary said...

Bob Ross's show aired on the local TV "PBS equivalent" station in Munich when we lived there, very late at night, undubbed. It was very soothing, when I was up late or, later, had a newborn. The local Home Depot also sold art supplies, including Bob Ross-branded supplies and instruction books. Good times!

Sean Gleeson said...

I do not understand this part: "Before he could change it back, though, the perm became his company's logo — Ross hated it."

I mean, why the passive voice? The perm "became" the logo, like a weed taking over the lawn? If it was his company, why didn't he have any input regarding its logo?

madAsHell said...

How does one sleep with hair like that?

Quite comfortably I imagine. With that haircut, I can't imagine tossing, and turning while trying to find the cool side of the pillow.

madAsHell said...

I mean, why the passive voice?

It's NPR. He must be a victim of his oppressive success.

MadisonMan said...

I like my naturally curly hair. What's left of it.

It looks best when it hasn't been washed in about 4 days.

Bob Ross' hair looks like it was washed to often.

Bill Peschel said...

Agreed, it's silly to think that Bob was oppressed, except by his desire to run the company.

If he let himself be a prisoner of his brand, well, that was his responsibility.

If he cut his hair, would that really have hurt his company? I doubt it.

As for being a tyrant, well, NPR didn't explain. At best, it simply means that he knew what he wanted and he expected his workers to give it to him. As long as it wasn't hurtful or unreasonable (like Steve Jobs and his 4,000 shades of beige and conspiring with other companies to keep engineers' salaries down), why should he act otherwise?

Paddy O said...

Watching Bob Ross is a soul-cleanser. I started watching him when I was in a time of very deep depression. Why was he soothing? I think it's the combination of a soothing voice, a love for what he is doing, nature-oriented, alongside a bit of the jester with that hair. And all these qualities become even deeper as time passes, especially his style. It becomes more of an inviting jester each year. That's not an insult, it's his particular gift to lift the weight off people's shoulders and help them smile even if just inside.

Most people who try to address depression or other problems, want to try to fix the problem, a paternalistic desire to put things right or try to get a person to talk through them. Sometime problems are deep and severe and traumatic, and the last thing that helps is talking through them because you then never get away from them. Having someone who isn't talking down, who isn't trying to speak from a vantage point of superiority, inviting you into a process of discovery is very freeing. He let us get away into this happy little world with happy little trees for a brief escape during the day and sometimes that was enough to take the edge off and embrace the possibilities. It is possible. Do it the way you want. Be free. Have hair like this and paint and talk about squirrels every so often.

As far as the negative reports about him behind the scenes, who knows who is right. Bob Ross retired as a Master Sergeant after 20+ years in the Air Force, so no doubt developed the habit of being listened to. That's not something a person can just let go. At the same time, the brand was him, and uniquely him, and I could see a manager trying to shape and mold him to fit some market demand, even as Ross was popular because he was the character.

Paddy O said...

Though, I wonder why he didn't buy a wig.

Temujin said...

I'm amazed neither the article or the comments note that Bob Ross is the among the most popular sleep aids, second only to Zolpidem. I stumbled onto Bob on some obscure PBS station (aren't they all) in some obscure town I was living in years ago. I remember he just sort of hypnotized me and then...I fell asleep. I saw him again on TV years later. Then, finally, about 10 years ago paid attention to the name of a show, 'Joy of Painting'...and started recording it.

I thought it was only me. A few years later I was talking about sleep issues with some friends and mentioned that there was this artist on PBS who can put you to sleep in 10 minutes. One of them quickly stated, "Bob Ross". She said she knew a number of people who watched him for the same thing. I googled it back then and sure enough...it's a thing.

Apparently there's something else called ASMR, which is an entire sub-culture of soothing sound practitioners, but I am sure that Bob Ross' popularity and continued press (now Netflix?) is because his voice and painting provide a natural, working sleep aid. If you pay attention, there are some people who have a more soothing sound to their voice. Like Hillary. heh, heh.

Tyrone Slothrop said...

One benefit of having been really poor is that I learned how to cut my own hair. I must be pretty good, too. People are always pointing and staring at my haircuts.

Doug said...

Bob Ross had me at "We'll just put a happy little rock in here".

southcentralpa said...

Wahl home hair cut kit. #4 on top, #2 on the sides and the L and R around the left and right ears, respectively. And, as you become more comfortable, if you want to get adventurous, use clipper over comb to cut in a landing strip and create your own flat-top. Or just leave it round on top, depending on the shape of your head. Easy-peezy, lemon-squeezy. (have your wife or trusted friend to check to make sure you don't have stripes in the back when you're first getting started).

Birches said...

I always wondered about Netflix recommendations, because sometimes it seems so random. But I was just visiting my mom's house over the summer and she has the old ladiest of the old lady menu. I didn't even know Murder, she Wrote was on Netflix! It's never, ever come up on any search for me.

Paddy O said...

southcentralpa, I've been doing that (or basically that, if not exactly) since 1996. I got tired of paying for haircuts but more I got tired of the small talk and awkwardness of haircuts.

As my hair gets thinner, I've made it even easier in warm months by making it all a 1/4" buzz.

Smilin' Jack said...

Never heard of this guy. Why is he suddenly in the news? Is he teaching Harambe to paint or something?

Iapetus said...

"How does one sleep with hair like that?"

Easy. Without a pillow. I have a full head of curly red hair edged with a little bit of white, at an age when most men have just a few wisps for a comb over. I like it best when it's grown to be as full as a bush.

heyboom said...

My kids are completely transfixed by Bob Ross. It's on Netflix now.

I just discovered it two days ago on Netflix as well. 26 joyous episodes! One of my all-time favorite shows. I even love the theme song so much that I emailed the company to inquire about it. I received a very nice reply with the information I was asking for.

I can watch any episode over and over and never get tired of it.

heyboom said...

He was admittedly fun to watch in action, but he always added about 75% more crapola to his paintings than was tasteful.

That's because he was trying to teach as many techniques as he could in each painting.

Birches said...

Good comment@11:07 Paddy O.

John said...

For those who like Bob Ross but want something a bit more hardcore, check out Abom79's Youtube Channel

He has a pretty elaborately equipped 1 man machine shop and does videos as he does various machining repairs. He give a very good explanation as he goes along and has a similarly soothing style to Bob Ross.

I'm not much of a machinist, though I am going to the big machine tool show in Chicago next week. But I find watching him soothing and interesting for the same reason I find Bob Ross soothing and relaxing.

Hes done about 150 30 minute r so episodes so it will be a while till you run out.

John Henry

John said...

https://www.youtube.com/user/Abom79

Link to Abom

John Henry

John said...

For those without Netflix, there is a Bob Ross channel on Youtube with looks like 100 or more full videos.

the nice thing about Youtube is that you can download the videos and take them traveling.

John Henry

The Cracker Emcee said...

The 1/4" rake is the nazz. Once I understood that life became simpler. As for soporific PBS shows, it's very hard to beat Teletubbies. The little stomach video thing in the middle of the show can be absolutely hypnotic after a tough day.

SeanF said...

mockturtle: Kowalski should know better. Lie, not lay.

Guimo: Bob used to lie, not "lay," in bed.

I have to wonder what makes you two think you know what Ross (and Kowalski?) were doing in bed.

Bob said...

What blows my mind is that he was a drill sergeant. He swore after that stint that he would never yell again.