The YouTube Files – The Joy Of Painting.

The Joy Of Painting (PBS, 1983-1994)

A while ago, you might remember when I looked back at what was an exciting time for cartoons in the late-90s, when several new shows launched including Dilbert, Family Guy, and Futurama. I also enjoyed being able to watch all of these shows at the time on Sky One. Something that I noticed about them was that they all contained cultural references and parodies of American TV shows from the 80s and 90s that were lost on me a little.

For example, I remember an episode of Dilbert there was a parody of a show called Painting With Rusty Shanks, which I thought was rather bizarre. Then around the same time the show was also parodied on Family Guy. I became rather curious as to what this was all about, so a while ago I looked on YouTube to try and find the original show that was being parodied, and I thought that it was all interesting enough to feature here. vlcsnap-00774

The Joy Of Painting launched in 1983 and was a show all about art hosted by Bob Ross, who had a rather distinctive look, including a big beard, and in the opening sequence he would get up to some rather strange things with a paintbrush. The idea of the show (which seemed to be coming from an empty void) was very straightforward. In about 25 minutes, Bob would paint a picture, whilst offering advice including what equipment to use, and what colours, so remember to cover your canvas in Magic White. vlcsnap-00786

After a slow start, The Joy Of Painting would become a big success, and it turned Bob into an unlikely TV star. This would be because of Bob’s casual presenting style, where he would always reference the “happy little clouds” and “big almighty mountains” in his pictures. He would also make up stories about the kind of people who might live in the location of the picture. The first series was slightly different, as Bob wore glasses and was accompanied by some background piano music (although I doubt that there was an actual pianist in the studio). vlcsnap-00796

Occasionally, other artists would present the show, including Bob’s son Steve. After a while, lots of people would send in their pictures. There would also be some specials released on VHS and books. As the years progressed, lots of viewers continued to enjoy Bob’s work, even though it got to the point where you almost knew what he would say next (including, after every time he dried his brush, he would say “we beat the devil out of it” and laugh). You could say that was his catchphrase. vlcsnap-00795

There would go on to be over 400 editions of The Joy Of Painting, which only came to an end following Bob’s death in 1995. It was clear that Bob worked hard on his art, he seemed to have an attitude that a day without creating a picture was a day wasted, he painted thousands over the years, and he was insistent that the show could unlock the potential and dreams inside anyone to become a painter, he knew we could do it. It was an enjoyable show to watch, for the simple reason of featuring someone who knew what they were doing, and presenting it in an entertaining way.

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