Bob Ross Was a Military Sargent, Hated His Puffy Hair

In case you haven't noticed, TVs most beloved painter is back again, this time with over two dozen episodes on Netflix. And after more than 30 years, Bob Ross is just as relevant as ever.

If you're like us, used to watch Bob Ross on PBS when you were little. It doesn't matter whether or not you actually painted, but his calming voice and his happy demeanor always made you smile.

But it's been a long time since Bob Ross's TV program, The Joy of Painting, has been on air for watching.

Sure, it was available on some of those obscure channels, like PBS Create (who in the world gets that?), but for the vast majority of us, there's been a giant hole in our lives since the show went off the air.

None of us knew much more about Bob Ross beyond what was on the show because he rarely did interviews.

But, according to NPR, there was more to Bob Ross than what we saw on TV. On today's Morning edition, Bob Ross's business partner Annette Kowalski spoke about the legend and revealed some secrets that very few people knew.

One of Bob Ross's most notable characteristics was his giant puffy hair. According to Kowalski, that hair wasn't real.

"He got this bright idea that he could save money on haircuts.

So he let his hair grow, he got a perm, and decided he would never need a haircut again," she said.

In fact, his real hair was very straight, and he actually didn't really like the puffy hair, but he had to keep it because it was part of the brand.

Another thing few people know about Bob Ross, that Kowalski revealed on NPR, was that Ross rehearsed every line of his show before recording.

All those "happy accidents" weren't as much "accidents" as they were carefully planned brushstrokes - and carefully planned phrases.

Something else about Bob Ross: he started off not being such a calm and quiet guy. Ross actually joined the military at 18, and eventually became a master sergeant.

He was based out of Alaska, which is where he got inspiration for a lot of his later paintings. It was during his time off that he learned to paint and developed his technique.

In one interview, Bob Ross told the Orlando Sentinel, "I developed ways of painting extremely fast.

I used to go home at lunch and do a couple while I had my sandwich. I'd take them back that afternoon and sell them."

But Ross didn't like being a master sergeant. He told the Sentinel, "I was the guy who makes you scrub the latrine, the guy who makes you make your bed, the guy who screams at you for being late to work. The job requires you to be a mean, tough person.

And I was fed up with it.

I promised myself that if I ever got away from it, it wasn't going to be that way any more." So when Ross left the military, he decided never to scream again.

And that's when he first started practicing his signature calm and relaxed style.

Ross never made any money off of his show; to earn a living he sold supplies and his books. And, of course his famous paint colors like titanium white, and pthalo blue.

Bob Ross died of cancer at 52. But his memory lives on in the joy of painting, which you can now watch and enjoy again on Netflix.

As Ross said to the Sentinel, "the majority of our audience does not paint, has no desire to paint, will never paint.

They watch it strictly for entertainment value or for relaxation...We've gotten letters from people who say they sleep better when the show is on."

We sleep much better looking up at those happy clouds.

Image courtesy of Bob Ross, Inc.