Fun Interactive Programming - Professor Von Rumproast’s Workshop:

It worked for kids; why not adults?


The Wonderful World of Business by Jim Penn



For decades, Sesame Street and Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood educated and entertained kids with enjoyable characters and meaningful learning experiences.  If it worked for our children, why not us?


Let’s pay a visit to Studio 6 in TelevisionLand for the first taping of Professor Ferdinand Von Rumproast’s Workshop. 


(The Professor enters his workshop before a live audience.)


“Why can’t I ever find my keys?  Oh well, I’ll use a credit card  to trick the lock.  Ah, there, it’s open.”


(He enters, places his briefcase on the desk, looks over some papers, shrugs his shoulders and walks to his golf equipment corner when he notices the audience.)  “Oh, good morning!  Thank you for coming.  Since this is our first program, we’d like to introduce our many friends and neighbors.  I’ll just sing a few words of our opening song. 


“It’s a wonderful fiscal quarter, a wonderful fiscal quarter, a wonderful fiscal quarter in the businesshood.  Won’t you be my partner?


“Now, let’s meet our cast.  First, there’s Gimmie, The Entrepreneurial Bird.  Yes, he really is a big bird.  Gimmie, please present yourself to our audience.”


(An American Bald Eagle with a John Huston-type booming voice steps into view.)


“Thank you, Professor.  My ancestors took part in this great country’s development.  Big, unfettered business is important to our progress.  Why, I…”


“Thank you, Gimmie.  As you can see, Gimmie is very forceful.  Contrasting Gimmie’s style, we have Little Orphan Contractor, whom we call L’il Cee.’  L’il Cee, please come out and say hello to our audience.”


(A freckled-faced, energetic woman wearing overalls with a heavy tool belt appears.)


“Thank you kindly, Professor.  I am a businesswoman prepared to work hard and do a good job.  If I can’t do it today, I’ll do it first thing tomorrow.”  (She sits down at the conference table.)


The Professor continues, “Now, I’d like to… Hold on.  I think I hear Nellie from the Deli.  Nellie delivers for the restaurant around the corner.  She’s an expert on transportation and customer service.”  (Nellie enters pushing a food cart.)


“Hey, Professor.  Ain’t it a little early for lunch?  And who are all those people out there?  I’m not a sideshow attraction, you know; I have lots of important delivers to make.  So, who ordered the ham on rye with a side of slaw?”


“Thanks, Nellie.  We’ll take it from here.”  (Nellie leaves her cart and exits.)  “Nellie will bring us current on the food service industry in our next show.


“Now, let me introduce our professionals:  Harold, CPA Superhero; Martha Coverage, our insurance expert; and Bernie, the attorney.”


(Harold and Martha enter from opposite directions.  Harold stands behind the conference table, and Martha whispers in the Professor’s ear.)


“Bernie, the attorney, can’t make it today.  He’s meeting with Ethical Annie regarding his client, Lester Looter, the much talked-about CEO who’s prominently covered in today’s headlines.  On our next program, I’m going to ask Bernie what he can tell us about Lester Looter. 


“Martha, tell us what you do.” 


“Thank you, sir.  Martha Coverage is my name, and insurance is my game.  In our business, it’s always something, like Rosanna Rosanna Danna on Saturday Night Live always said.  If it’s not one disaster, its another driving up insurance prices.  I try to give my customers the best coverage for the buck.”  (She turns to Harold.)  “What about you, Harold?  How’s it going in your profession?”


(Harold displays his blue cape with the CPA Superhero emblem to the audience and assumes a Superhero stance.)  “Holy profit and loss!  It’s a financial jungle out there.  Sometimes I think computers have minds of their own, what with overstated revenues and understated expenses.  You’ve got to watch those computers like hawks.  I meant no offense, Gimmie.  Why just the other day…”


“Thank you, Harold,” said the Professor.  (He turns to the audience)  “Each day we’ll introduce you to a new letter and a new number.  Today, the letter was written by Henrietta Hocklebein, chief accountant and whistleblower in the case against excessive billing by telephone companies.  She’ll probably lose her job over her revelations, but if she does, we’ll get her on the show.  We’ll post her letter on our bulletin board, and she’s agreed to let us show it to our viewers, which we’ll do at the end of the show.


“Today’s number is the new postwar estimate for rebuilding and defending Iraq, $600 billion.  If I did the math correctly, that is 60 percent of a trillion dollars.


“That’s our first show.  So long for now, and,” (the Professor gathers the cast together and sings) “Tomorrow, tomorrow, we hope that it’ll be better than today, today…”


(The lights dim on Studio 6 to loud applause from the audience.  Henrietta Hocklebein’s letter is the background for program credits.)