Before Bob Ross had a career television show, he shot his own home videos from his basement. This was even before he was in the Air Force.
His brother, Jim Ross, recovered most of the tapes from Bob's ex-wife's home in 1995 before the fire that burned it down. There was one particular home video that disturbed him greatly, which he describes in the following text. Most of Bob's tapes were almost generally the same as The Joy of Painting. They were fun to watch as this was an earlier version of his work and he had more of a cartoonish style back then.
I remember the last program I watched. The program was labeled 'Joy of Painting' so I assumed that's where the title for his show came from. The tape started the same, typical way you'd see on the real show. He was standing alone in front of a black wall with a blank canvas and a cart of paints as he runs all the colors across the screen.
I noticed most of the paints on his palette were of dark reds and blacks; there were no blues, yellows, or any 'happy' colors. Bob started every episode with him standing alone beside a blank canvas underneath a black wall.
You could see his mouth moving and he would pause to point out certain techniques he was doing, but you couldn't hear what he was saying. He continued to paint this huge mass of red and black, and it looked like nothing at all. By now, the whole canvas was covered with this spew of garbage and I never recall my brother painting anything this way, ever. Twelve more minutes into the video, I noticed he seemed very trance-like.
He kept painting and painting and it never really went anywhere. Then his brush strokes would get faster and his movements and smiling were becoming more crazed.
This went on for 30 minutes until Bob died at the age of 52. The paint and brushes crashed to the floor and Bob furiously punched a hole in his canvas. Bob was smiling.
I don't want to tell you what happened in the next nine minutes, but I suppose I have to anyway. I pulled up to the house about seven or eight and I yelled to the cabbie, "Yo homes, smell ya later!" I looked to my kingdom, I was finally there, to sit on my throne as the prince of Bel Air!