What makes someone a cultural icon?
“Where Are All the Bob Ross Paintings? We Found Them” is an 11-minute film that touches on themes of creativity and fame, with a touch of mystery. It profiles Bob Ross — famous for his perm, personality, landscapes and soothing voice — as a team of New York Times reporters try to solve one of the internet’s favorite little mysteries: Where are his more than 1,000 paintings from his television show?
1. Watch the short film above. While you watch, you might take notes using our Film Club Double-Entry Journal (PDF) to help you remember specific moments.
2. After watching, think about these questions:
What questions do you still have?
What connections can you make between this film and your own life or experience? Why? Does this film remind you of anything else you’ve read or seen? If so, how and why?
3. An additional challenge | Respond to the essential question at the top of this post: What makes someone a cultural icon?
4. Next, join the conversation by clicking on the comment button and posting in the box that opens on the right. (Students 13 and older are invited to comment, although teachers of younger students are welcome to post what their students have to say.)
5. After you have posted, try reading back to see what others have said, then respond to someone else by posting another comment. Use the “Reply” button or the @ symbol to address that student directly.
6. To learn more, read “Where Are All the Bob Ross Paintings? We Found Them.” Larry Buchanan, Aaron Byrd, Alicia DeSantis and Emily Rhyne answer over a dozen questions about Bob Ross, including: What’s the story with the hair?
According to Annette Kowalski, Mr. Ross originally chose to perm his hair because it was cheaper than getting frequent haircuts.
Later, she said, he disliked the hairstyle but did not feel he could change it because it was depicted in the company logo
• See all the films in this series.
• Read our list of practical teaching ideas, along with responses from students and teachers, for how you can use these documentaries in the classroom.
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