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Good News on This Day in History



On this day 80 years ago, Bob Ross, the famous television painter was born. Ross hosted The Joy of Painting, on PBS television in which he instructed viewers how to paint landscapes using minimal supplies in a short period of time. Ross became famous for many of his colloquial phrases, such as painting “happy little trees,” or “we don’t make mistakes, only happy accidents.” READ more about what made Ross… (1942)

Bob Ross joined the Air Force as a high school drop out. He eventually attained the rank of master sergeant, which often meant screaming at people as “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,” he once said. On base in Alaska, he saw a painting program called The Magic of Oil Painting, in which painter Bill Alexander was teaching the alla prima or “at the first” style of painting, also known as “wet-on-wet” from the 16th century.

Ross took quickly to the technique that allowed him to finish canvasses before any drying happened, and began to earn more money selling paintings than he made as a sergeant. He retired from the military, vowing never to raise his voice again.

Ross reckons he painted 30,000 canvasses over the course of The Joy of Painting as he would create 3 per episode: one as a reference, another on live TV, and a third, more detailed one, for instructional books sold by his company Bob Ross Inc.

When asked about his relaxed and calm approach, he said, “I got a letter from somebody here a while back, and they said, ‘Bob, everything in your world seems to be happy.’ That’s for sure. That’s why I paint. It’s because I can create the kind of world that I want, and I can make this world as happy as I want it. Shoot, if you want bad stuff, watch the news.”

More Good News on this Date:

  • Mozart’s opera Don Giovanni was first performed in Prague (1787)
  • Swiss businessman Henry Dunant organized a group which eventually became the International Red Cross when leaders from 14 countries and 6 nonprofits convened in Geneva seeking to develop possible measures, for the first time, to improve medical services on the battlefield (1863)
  • Turkey became a republic following the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire (1923)
  • The song ‘Islands In The Stream‘, performed by Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers, co-produced by Barry Gibb, and written by The Bee Gees, reached #1 in the US (1983)
  • John Glenn, aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery, became the oldest person to go into space, at 77-years old (1998)
  • European Union leaders signed the EU’s first constitution (2004)
  • Turkey opened a sea tunnel connecting Europe and Asia across the Bosphorus Strait in Istanbul (2013)

56 years ago today the National Organization for Women was founded in the U.S. by 28 women, including Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm, Pauli Murray, and Betty Friedan.

They wanted to mobilize women in response to the failure of the federal government to enforce Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which should have ended sex discrimination in employment.

Today, the group, NOW, has 550 chapters nationwide in all 50 states. (1966)

And, Happy 75th Birthday to Richard Dreyfuss, the actor best known for his roles in Jaws, American Graffiti, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and The Goodbye Girl, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1977. He also earned an Oscar nomination for Mr. Holland’s Opus. (1947)

By Georges Biard, CC license

Also, 133 years ago today, with only a population of 6,000, Vancouver, BC, welcomed Lord Stanley—the British Earl and Governor General of Canada—to dedicate the park named for him. Today, Canada’s most beloved urban park, totaling 1,000-acres (405-hectares), Stanley Park is a green oasis in a city landscape, offering unforgettable moments to more than 8 million visitors annually.

By Soggybread, CC license

Larger than New York’s Central Park, it features a 5-mile-long (10-km) walking and cycling trail that encircles the entire peninsula along a seawall with majestic views of mountains, sailboats, beaches, and forests with every turn.

Surrounding manmade attractions like Canada’s largest aquarium and nine First Nation totem poles, the park contains a natural West Coast rainforest with a 41-acre (17-ha) lake and densely forested hiking trails among a half million trees—some of the red cedars are hundreds of years old. Stanley Park was named the ‘top park in the entire world’ by TripAdvisor, based on traveler’s reviews. WATCH a quick video tour… (1889)


57 years ago, The Who released their iconic single My Generation. The hit was ranked #11 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. Pete Townshend reportedly wrote the song on a train but credits American jazz and bluesman Mose Allison’s Young Man Blues as its inspiration, saying “Without Mose I wouldn’t have written My Generation”. Singer Roger Daltrey’s delivery—an angry and frustrated stutter (‘Why don’t you all fff … fade away’)—was inspired by, among other things, John Lee Hooker’s Stuttering Blues.

Included on The Who’s debut album and capturing the angst and rebellion of being a teenager, it was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame for “historical, artistic and significant” value. WATCH the Smothers Brothers introduce the young mods to the world, before they play the song… (1965)

The BBC initially refused to play the song because it did not want to offend people who stutter, but it reversed its decision after the song became more popular.


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