New PBS Bob Ross mashup continues network’s digital salutes to past icons

Last weekend, at the Television Critics Association (TCA) press tour PBS panels, network president and CEO Paula Kerger explained the importance of digital in PBS’ future efforts.

“We are looking for ways to connect to our audiences both on air and across Internet, video, and mobile platforms,” she said, “as we are investing in new content and finding new ways to connect with our audiences. … As we saw demonstrated most recently with the viral explosion of the Fred Rogers mix up [sic], ‘Garden of Your Mind,’ which we commissioned for YouTube, it is indeed possible to break new ground across genres and platforms while consistently staying true to our core values.”

The brilliance and fun of that “Garden of Your Mind” video appealed across generations — particularly reminding those who grew up with Fred Rogers of the attributes that made him so special. Even his widow, Joanne Byrd Rogers — who was also at the TCA press tour last weekend to promote a new show from the Fred Rogers Company, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood — had praise for that mashup.

“I don’t know whether those of you here have seen the new YouTube video, the remix,” she asked the reporters who were gathered. “I loved it because it reminded me of the Fred at home. He was he was whimsical and he loved to be silly and so do I.”

PBS has made it clear that they continue to do other mashups based on their iconic personalities of the past, as evidenced by yesterday’s release of a mashup devoted to the late Bob Ross, onetime host of The Joy of Painting, and famed for his calm assurances that painting can solve most of the world’s ills. Ross is famous not only by those who recall watching the original series, but has become a hipster icon of sorts among a generation who may not have even been around during his original series, but who can recite his iconic lines such as “happy little trees,” which turn up in this wonderful, happy little video.

What other PBS icons of the past do you think the network should mashup in videos like these?