I’ve just received word that Stuart Crump, Jr. lost his battle with Parkinson’s Disease, and passed away on December 31st. The yoyo industry and community has lost a great friend. Below I’ve reprinted Joe Mitchell’s bio of Stu, created when he was honored at the 2003 World YoYo Contest. On a personal note, when I first started playing Stu’s “YoYo Times” newsletter was literally the only form of communication between yoyo players, and I remember it fondly. Receiving those yellow photocopied pages in the mail were a highlight of my early days as a yoyo player, and it was truly a labor of love for Stu.
If anyone has a complete or nearly complete set of the old newsletters, we’d love to create a digital archive of them for historical purposes. Please get in touch if you can help.
Stuart Crump, Jr. is best known in the yo-yo community as “Professor Yo-Yo” the editor of “Yo-Yo Times” the longest running yo-yo periodical. Like many of us, Stu was introduced to yo-yos by a professional demonstrator. But he didn’t meet the yo-yo man at a contest or school demonstration. On a family vacation to Charleston, SC, the Crumps had the good fortune to be staying four doors down from Joe Radovan, owner of the Royal Yo-Yo company. The year was 1954 and every night found Stu and his brother watching in amazement as Radovan worked the yo-yo. Stu bought his first yo-yo at a corner store that summer: a three jewel Royal that cost 20 cents. Radovan carved an island scene on it and encouraged the boys to learn the basic tricks.
After returning home, Stu was pleased to find that girls noticed his new yo-yo skill, but gradually the toy moved to the back burner until 1960. That year a Duncan professional came to town and inspired a mini-craze. Then Stu put his yo-yo back in the drawer until 1972, when he received a silver Gorham yo-yo as a wedding present from his brother.
In 1980, the Crump brothers started an important newsletter “Cellular Radio News,” serving the fledging cell phone industry. Stu was promoting the highly successful newsletter at an electronics show in Las Vegas in 1985, when he saw the Smothers Brothers perform. Tom Smothers had just incorporated the Yo-Yo Man routine into his act and Stu’s interest was aroused again. In 1987, he was given a newly-released Tom Kuhn Silver Bullet as a gift. A call to Tom Kuhn resulted in a discussion of the need for communication among yo-yo enthusiasts. Thus the idea for the “Yo-Yo Times” newsletter was born.
In 1988 the first issue appeared. Its yellow pages contained new tricks, interviews with yo-yo players and manufacturers, new product announcements, contest news, ads for videos and string. In other words, it was everything a player needed to know and the newsletter rapidly became the glue binding together a newly-active yo-yo community. Yo-Yo times was critical to bringing together the people and publicizing the events that have built yo-yo into the worldwide sport and activity it is today. Now in its 15th year, the newsletter is still going strong, although it has moved from the yellow papers of yesterday to being published electronically on the interenet and Stu now shares the editing with his daughter Jodi.
Beyond his newsletter, Stuart Crump, Jr. has promoted yo-yoing through writing several books including It’s Yo-Yo Time and the Official Yomega Trick Book. He has competed in many contests, even winning the Advanced Senior Division at World’s in 1995. And most personally, he has performed as a yo-yo entertainer to groups across the country. He is particularly keen to introduce the toy to young people, saying, “I didn’t realize the impact the yo-yo had on me as a child until I was an adult.”
Any yoyo players in Sacramento are invited to meet up at 11 AM PST at the Sacramento Memorial Auditorium tomorrow, January 3rd, for a short gathering to commemorate Stu’s life.