Bob Ross was a painter who had his own TV show in the US. The show aired from 1983 to 1994. Bob Ross broadcast his show on PBS, which he called “The Joy of Painting” which taught people how to paint landscapes. Bob would thoughtfully explain the techniques and then talk viewers through step-by-step instructions on how to paint beautiful scenery in oil paints. The show became a worldwide phenomenon and made Bob and his hairdo famous.
This anticipated documentary film delves into the life and career of America's favourite artist with unprecedented access to his personal archives.
In the documentary, Bob Ross' son Steve tells his side of the story. According to Steve, Ross’s family has been screwed out of their family legacy thanks to Annette and Walt Kowalski, Bob's long term business partners. While this film is somewhat one-sided, it provides fascinating (and devastating) insight into the drama that plagued Ross' final years.
The documentary alleges Bob's business partners took advantage of him and made millions off his name. It also reveals some shocking revelations about what really happened behind the scenes during the filming of “The Joy Of Painting” and why it came to an end so suddenly.
Steve also claims that even as his father was dying (Ross died in 1995), the Kowalskis were seizing control of the rights to use the family name and Bob's image. Following Bob's passing, the Kowalskis launched Bob Ross Inc, which sells merchandise associated with the artist. The artist's continuing popularity has allowed the company to become a multi-million dollar corporation.
Bob Ross Inc representatives released a statement attacking the film shortly after the documentary aired. The company responded by claiming that the film was inaccurate and highly slanted.
A former Bob Ross Inc employee in Europe says, “The Kowalskis had no desire whatsoever to spread happiness and feel good. They only were interested in the money.”
We're left to wonder what Ross' legacy should look like, and who should profit. Steve, on the other hand, appears to be grappling with his father's shadow, which looms over him like a gloomy little cloud.
Overall, Bob Ross: Happy Accidents, Betrayal, and Greed is a fascinating documentary that provides an incredible insight into the life of one of America's most beloved artists. This film should be required viewing for any fan who wants to know more about this talented painter's legacy.