Quick, what is the zip code for Boston?
If you answered by singing “0-2-1-3-4” you probably grew up watching ZOOM.
ZOOM was the PBS kid’s show that aired throughout the 70’s.
It began in 1972 from WGBH Boston. Made up of a cast of 7 kids that all wore striped shirts, commonly known as rugby shirts, but I will always know them as Zoom shirts. The cast changed each season. (They would all be candidates for my “What Ever Happened To” series, but for just about everyone, it was their only acting gig).
Each episode would have them singing, doing skits, and even discussing different topics. There was a sort of intelligence to the show that isn’t there today. It was about creativity, and not a mindless commercial for products (even though I did have the Zoom book and soundtrack album).
There was the ubbi-dubbi language, which I won’t even try to explain or speak in. I was never very good at that.
In researching this, I was a bit surprised to see that the final season of the series was the 1977/1978 season was one of my favorite seasons.
They would air episodes from all the season for a few years after, and I kept hoping for the season with Carolyn and Nicholas.
The thing I liked most about it was the music. Each episode ended usually with the cast singing some Broadway song. When they sang “Everybody Rejoice (Can You Feel A Brand New Day)” from THE WIZ, it became a favorite song. I think I first heard their rendition of “Octopus’s Garden” before the Beatles.
One song they sang has stayed with me.
“I am a city child / I live on the tip top floor / of an old apartment building / with a very creaky door”
I STILL can’t get this song out of my head. Living in the city, I'll often see an "old apartment building" and start singing.
ZOOM disappeared in the early 80’s. In the mid 90’s, they tried to revive it. A new version (which I never saw) aired from 1999-2005.
Back in the 90’s, PBS released a VHS tape (ZOOM: BEST OF THE 70's) of some of the best moments from the show, along with complete opening credits for all seasons. Because of music rights, it doesn’t have most of their musical numbers, but is a fun reminder of what the show was like. As I write this, the tape is STILL in print and available on Amazon!! Kind of surprised by that. But where is the DVD?
EDIT: I wrote the above on Wednesday 8-20. On 8-21, TV Shows On DVD announced that in October, WGBH will be releasing ZOOM BACK TO THE 70's on DVD!!! It runs two hours, so it will have more material than what is on the BEST OF THE 70's VHS.
I wish things like this would happen with more of these FORGOTTEN TV entries.