Bob Ross: Happy Accidents, Betrayal & Greed looks at a dispute over the legacy of beloved artist Bob Ross from the perspective of his son Steve Ross, who was shut out of the company Bob Ross, Inc. The trailer is very mysterious:
Ross, who died at age 52 in 1995, had founded Bob Ross, Inc. with his wife and friends Annette and Walt Kowalski. The Kowalskis have since retired and left the company in the hands of their daughter Joan.
A few years back, they released a competing documentary from the company he founded, titled The Bob Ross Documentary
The Netflix doc kind of feels like payback and airing of dirty laundry. Steve lost his case asserting his rights to part of the company, so now he is trying to get a little payback in the court of public opinion. Via the New York Post:
Then, in 2018, a judge finally ruled that Ross had verbally handed all control over to Bob Ross, Inc., before he died. So Steve was left only with a small settlement, and permission to pursue art professionally using the Ross name.
It’s become a very lucrative moniker for Bob Ross, Inc., now run by the Kowalskis’ daughter Joan. Beyond the funny Chia Pets and mugs with his face stamped on them, there are the streaming deals with Twitch, Tubi and YouTube, a Mountain Dew commercial, a parody in “Deadpool,” and much more. Ross is everywhere — a drag queen named Utica even played him on a recent season of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” — and his own flesh and blood won’t see a dime of profit.
Did someone say Utica??
A couple of years ago, the New York Times investigated why it is impossible to buy a Bob Ross painting or even view one in a gallery:
So much mystery beyond the sweet man!
Image: Wikimedia / Bob Ross, Inc.