James A. Rumpf II
Picture drawn by Joe Oriolo for James A. Rumpf in 1982.
Born in Queens, New York and raised in North Dallas, Texas, James Rumpf II is a long-time cartoon fan, which is one of the reasons he started publication of a series of adventures featuring Professor Beetoven, a friendly Ambassador of Intelligence who “knows everything”, and various other characters in the cartoon gems.com universe. Professor Beetoven was originally created in the early 1980s by Joe Oriolo, and was later featured in a cable pilot cartoon titled, “Friends Make the World Go Round”.
James has brought back Professor Beetoven and his group of unlikely cartoon friends from the logs of cartoon history and has been very busy reintroducing them all to the world, particularly to the fresh minds of young children.
Some of the cartoons that influenced James early on when he was a kid were Felix the Cat, Casper the Friendly Ghost, Popeye the Sailor Man, Top cat and many others. He likes to capture that same flavor of childhood innocence and curiosity about the world in his own characters and situations. These kinds of cartoons, he says, “are a safe escape. They are the only things that make my mind turn to wonder”. Cartoons, he says, are an entrance “into another world where there are no worries”.
Leading the pack in the cartoongems.com universe is Professor Beetoven, a bee that wears a graduation cap and who is extremely smart. But he isn’t just an intelligent bee, rather, says James, “he is the kind of person in life who knows everything and is just friendly to everyone, and you wonder, ‘how did he know that?’” In the first book published in a series titled, “The Adventures of Professor Beetoven”, James had the idea of teaching young children about the Pacific Ocean while entertaining them at the same time. So, he collected together a creative group online, including illustrator Ron Neal and writer Kristin Johnson, and they painstakingly worked on producing a quality book that was almost a year in the making. The end result is a funny, captivating story with well-drawn comic-style characters, imbued with humor, an engaging style, and lots of facts about the sea.
James is working to make the series continue until one day soon Professor Beetoven is alive and well in the minds of millions of children, the Ambassador of Intelligence, igniting curiosity about the natural world, teaching clear and positive values, and entertaining them with lots of humor and detail. After all, his mission is, he says, “to win people over one laugh at a time.”