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Bob Ross Documentary Explores The Organization Powering The Celebrity Painter : NPR

Bob Ross hosted The Joy of Portray for 31 seasons in the 1980s and ’90s. He died in 1995. The painter is now the subject matter of a new documentary, Bob Ross: Content Incidents, Betrayal & Greed.


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Bob Ross hosted The Joy of Portray for 31 seasons in the 1980s and ’90s. He died in 1995. The painter is now the subject of a new documentary, Bob Ross: Joyful Mishaps, Betrayal & Greed.


Bob Ross — the artist recognised for his tranquil voice, poofy hair and unflappable demeanor — used 31 seasons gently encouraging at-property artists to decide up their palettes to paint serene landscapes and “content minor trees.”

Actor Melissa McCarthy and her spouse, filmmaker Ben Falcone, were being massive fans of Ross and determined to generate a documentary about his existence. But as they commenced performing on the venture with filmmakers Joshua Rofé and Steven Berger, they promptly realized their subject — and the legacy he still left driving — was extra complex than they realized.

From the outset, the filmmakers identified that extremely number of individuals were being willing to communicate with them about Ross, for dread of litigation by the homeowners of his estate. McCarthy states Rofé and Berger instructed her they experienced hardly ever encountered these kinds of hesitancy and refusal.

“That was when we kind of figured out, oh, boy, this could possibly be a minor various than what we assumed it was going to be,” Falcone suggests.

“When an individual is an artist, no make a difference what their medium is … you can find a business enterprise powering it,” McCarthy states. “And I would venture to guess that business enterprise is normally significantly extra challenging than the personality that they guide with.”

Regardless of the authorized roadblocks, McCarthy and Falcone moved ahead with the movie — Bob Ross: Pleased Incidents, Betrayal & Greed will be produced on Netflix on August 25.

Interview Highlights

On the good results of the Bob Ross brand, earlier and existing

Falcone: It was quite massive and in fact it continues to be so amidst the confines of a pandemic.

McCarthy: Way prior to we commenced the documentary, Ben’s mother gave us a toaster that pretty much burns the perception of Bob Ross into our toast because we liked him so a lot.

Falcone: Bob grew to become variety of a rock star of his time … this guy who just experienced kind of a easy starting, he really attained the major of a area that nobody even seriously understood was that a lot of a industry. …

McCarthy: His selection was really abnormal. I can’t think of an individual else that was enjoyed by people throughout these kinds of a broad spectrum.

On what they acquired about Ross as a person

Falcone: If you do a quick Google lookup, what you may know is that he was in the army. …

McCarthy: He mentioned when he remaining the army, that was the past time he desired to raise his voice.

Falcone: It is tougher to know exactly what went on in this man’s lifetime. But I was pleased to obtain out that he was very levelheaded. He appeared like he was kind to everybody. But he also understood specifically what he required as an artist and what he preferred his show to be.

On Ross’ enterprise companions, Annette and Walter Kowalski, who ended up instrumental in building up the present and the artist, and who now guide Bob Ross Inc., inspite of litigation with Ross’ household

Falcone: Who owns it is in essence the disagreement. …

McCarthy: Bob unquestionably needed it to go to — most of the business — to his son. He remaining it to his son and his brother. And quite immediately, that was kind of taken through litigation. And for the reason that at the time [Bob’s son] Steve was so younger, Bob believed, you know, let’s have an adult however guiding him with the place he is heading to choose this company. … But he failed to get to take hold of it at all.

On the challenge of generating a film whilst getting apprehensive about a lawsuit

Falcone: That was why so several people today failed to want to discuss to the filmmakers. Everyone’s afraid of finding sued. So, it truly is unquestionably tough. … Even as we are owning this discussion with you now, we’ve been sort of warned to keep to the basic principles, consider not to get too into it simply because we will get sued.

On how Bob Ross comes throughout in the film

Falcone: We’ve under no circumstances meant to established out and generate a strike piece. We like Bob Ross and we however do. We ended up stunned to uncover some of the issues we uncovered. And I believe the filmmakers, Josh and Steven, truly did a pleasant work of creating type of a difficult, well balanced movie out of a character that is challenging. We discovered out factors about him that we did not anticipate. Nobody’s ideal.

Jonaki Mehta and Sarah Handel made and edited this interview for broadcast. Beth Novey tailored it for the Internet.