Zoom (1972 TV series)

ZOOM was a half-hour educational television program, created almost entirely by children, which aired on PBS originally from January 9, 1972 to February 10, 1978. It was produced by WGBH-TV in Boston. ZOOM was a new kind of children's series. Unlike other children's fare at the time, it was, for the most part, unscripted. Far from seeking to make stars of the child performers, their contracts prohibited them from making any television appearances or doing commercials for three years after they left the show.


ZOOM encouraged children to "turn off the TV and do it!" On the show, a cast of seven kids (ten in Season 4) known as ZOOMers presented various activities such as games, plays, poems, recipes, jokes, songs, movies, science experiments, and informal chats on subjects such as hospitals, prejudice, etc., all suggested by viewer contributions. These activities were introduced by such titles as ZOOMovie, ZOOM Play of the Week, ZOOMrap (later ZOOMchat), ZOOMgame, ZOOMdo, ZOOMgoody, ZOOMphenomenon, etc.

The mail-in request became a pop culture reference for its musical exhortation to "Write ZOOM, Z-Double-O-M, Box 3-5-0, Boston, Mass 0-2-1-3-4: send it to ZOOM!". The lines was mostly spoken, but the ZIP code was sung.

The program featured its own language, Ubbi-Dubbi, where the syllable "ub" was added before each vowel sound in each syllable of each word ("H-ub-i, fr-ub-iends," etc.). For the first two seasons, a word game called "Fannee Doolee" was featured, in which a series of statements about the titular character were presented to the audience without further explanation (e.g., "Fannee Doolee likes sweets, but hates candy"). It was eventually revealed that Fannee Doolee loved all words with double letters and hated all words without them.

Each show had one or two ZOOMguest sequences, short film documentaries about children with special talents (singing, tap-dancing, instrument-making, etc.) or interesting hobbies or jobs. The premiere episode featured a boy who built a boat by making a ring of brushes and covering them with a tarp.

In the show's first two seasons, Tracy hosted a "Tracy Asks..." sequence in which she asked a question, e.g., "Which came first, the chicken or the egg?" or "What is the world's longest word?", and local children were filmed giving their answers. The first season had "quickie" comedy routines modeled after Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In.

The performers in the original series were known for wearing striped rugby shirts and jeans.

The first ZOOM series lasted six seasons (1972–1978) and featured 49 ZOOMers. During the first three seasons, cast members were transitioned with a catchy production number that introduced the new cast members to the continuing cast members. The same song was used for each transition ("How do ya do do-dee-do, how do ya do-dee-do-dee-do, how's your sister, how's your brother, how are you?"). In the last three seasons, entirely new casts was used.

Several episodes were available with captions for the hearing-impaired.


Season 1 (1972)

  • 1. Joe Shrand
  • 2. Jon Reuning
  • 3. Nina Lillie
  • 4. Tommy White
  • 5. Kenny Pires
  • 6. Nancy Tates Walker
  • 7. Tracy Tannebring

Season 2 (1972–1973)

Cast 1

  • 1. Kenny Pires
  • 2. Nancy Tates Walker
  • 3. Tracy Tannebring
  • 4. Ann Messer
  • 5. David Alberico
  • 6. Jay Schertzer
  • 7. Maura Mullaney

Cast 2

  • 1. Ann Messer
  • 2. David Alberico
  • 3. Jay Schertzer
  • 4. Maura Mullaney
  • 5. Luiz Gonzales
  • 6. Bernadette Yao
  • 7. Leon Mobley

Cast 3

  • 1. Luiz Gonzales
  • 2. Bernadette Yao
  • 3. Leon Mobley
  • 4. Danny McGrath
  • 5. Edith Mooers
  • 6. Lori Boskin
  • 7. Neal Johnson

Season 3 (1973–1974)

Cast 1

  • 1. Danny McGrath
  • 2. Edith Mooers
  • 3. Lori Boskin
  • 4. Neal Johnson
  • 5. Donna Moore
  • 6. Mike Dean
  • 7. Timmy Pruce

Cast 2

  • 1. Donna Moore
  • 2. Mike Dean
  • 3. Timmy Pruce
  • 4. Hector Dorta
  • 5. Rose Clarkow
  • 6. Shawn Reedmore
  • 7. Danny Malloy

Season 4 (1974–1975)

  • 1. Andrae Wyatt
  • 2. Carmen Hernandez
  • 3. Cate Wadsworth
  • 4. David Azzoto
  • 5. Harvey Reed
  • 6. Norman Christian
  • 7. David "Red" O'Brien
  • 8. Tishy Flaherty
  • 9. Tommy Schultz
  • 10. Tracey Dunlap Delaria

Season 5 (1976)

  • 1. Arcadio Gonzales
  • 2. Chris Blackwell
  • 3. Jennifer Gold Hangley
  • 4. Karen Wing
  • 5. Levell Gethers
  • 6. Nell Cox
  • 7. Ron Richmond

Season 6 (1977–1978)

  • 1. Amy Ross
  • 2. Carolyn Malcolm
  • 3. Chee Kim
  • 4. John Lathan
  • 5. Nicholas Butterworth
  • 6. Shona De Nile
  • 7. Susan Wolf

Some PBS stations continued to broadcast reruns of the series until September 12, 1980.


In 1974, A&M Records released an album of songs from the show titled Come on and ZOOM (LP OCLC 3060311; cassette OCLC 18900529), featuring cast members from the second season. The catalogue number of the album was SP-3402 (213 402 under the PolyGram system).

In 1973, the cast members from the first season came out with an album called Playgrounds (LP OCLC 3399239) that was available by mail order.

There were two books published for children that were based on the 1970s ZOOM series:

  • The ZOOM Catalog (ISBN 0394825322), published by Random House in 1972, was a collection of stories, poems, plays, jokes and activities from the show, featuring the second cast.
  • Do a ZOOMdo, published by Little Brown in 1975, featured activities from the show

In 1997, WGBH released the video and book set Best of the 70s and ZOOMers Revisited—Where Are They Now? (ISBN 1578072077).

In 2008, WGBH released a two DVD set ZOOM: Back to the '70s. The first DVD was a reissue of Best of the 70s, with extras consisting of behind the scenes stills set to the theme song and a 10 question quiz asking what a few of the cast members are doing today. The second DVD consisted of four episodes from the 1970s series.

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