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Televison Flashback: ZOOM on YouTube

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Last night, I was really bored and decided to spend some time on Youtube. Since I’m into vintage television, I decided to do a search for a show I grew up with called ZOOM. It was the very first interactive kid’s television show that debuted in the 1970s, featuring a bunch of kids singing, speaking ubbi dubbi (zaboom’s lubanguabage), telling personal stories, building crafts, telling jokes, and performing skits that other children had written. Even though the show was obviously produced by adults, most of the input was from other kids. It became a Saturday morning culture event for many kids in the United States during the 1970s.

Once I started watching the Youtube episode, ZOOM memories flashed before me: Tommy’s story about talking to his brother after getting into a car accident; Bernadette’s twisty arm thing; the adorable “Edith” whom everybody thought was too young to be on the show (she’s now a professor at UCLA); the cast of the second season singing “I Believe In Music;” Nina (from the first season) singing “It Ended In May;” Nancy’s demonstration on how to make cat whiskers; Fannee Doolees (Fannee Doolee loves to read, but hates books); and the Boston Zip Code theme song (Boston Massss ooooh two one three four). If you weren’t born between the years 1963-1973, you probably became too bored to read up to this point.

While The Electric Company (ah, another good idea for an article) was for kids who were too old to watch Sesame Street, ZOOM was for kids who were too “cool” to watch The Electric Company. The show was especially unique because it promoted diversity long before it became politically correct to do so. Each season not only featured your everyday Caucasian kids, but those of African American, Asian, and Latino descent as well. I’ll never forget the episode where Bernadette Yao talked about how she was sometimes misjudged for being Chinese. That was my earliest memory of another child discussing discrimination. African American kids, such as Nancy Tate and Leon Mobley, were very much loved by the viewers of the show and the producers didn’t have to push the fact that they were African American like so many kids shows do today.  

It’s unfortunate that kid’s television has sunken to the level of bible thumping vegetables, liberal chickens, feminist hippos and diversity lovin’ doggies. The actual kids that are on television these days are the type that you just know will end up becoming child molesters, serial killers, or massage therapists. Thanks to Youtube, however, parents can easily find vintage kid’s television shows, like ZOOM, that their children can enjoy.

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About Daryl D

  • Great story, but you got one part backwards I think.

    “ZOOM was for kids who were too “cool” to watch The Electric Company.”

    The Electric Company was way way way cooler than Zoom. If for no other reason- Spiderman cartoons. I am still obsessed with that hole in the bottom of the ocean.

  • daryl d

    perhaps you are right, but by the time I was eight, I didn’t want to hear Morgan Freeman sing “easy reader” to me.

  • Doc

    Yes, I watched Zoom a lot as a kid. Nancy was my first crush in life, even though she was a few years older than me. lol BUT it still couldn’t touch the Electric Company. Zoom was a better show than Mr. Rogers but the Electric Company? No way.

  • times

    is micheal j fox married to the first tracy from zoom?and whats a url?

  • tee marie

    I just tred to look for an up-to-date picture of Nancy Tates,it does not show up on (where are the now)video.I googled her,still nothing.If she’s past on you’d think someone would mention it like they did for the other cast member that lost his life in a car crash.Well,anyway,loved the cat came back,still looking for witchs brew.

  • Brenda Martin

    Is Nancy tates from the cast of zoom still living and did she have any children?

  • I still own the original album of the first cast of Zoom. I knew Most of the kids, though I was a few years younger than they. Nancy and Nina were my favorites. God, we have got to gt TV back to where it used to be, created, vibrant and innovated enough to inspire a child’s imagination. The Big Blue Marble did that as well.

  • Connie

    Did a search for Tracy Tannebring from 1st and 2nd season of Zoom, and Tracy Tannebring Tomson popped up, including on Facebook. (It’s her, she looks the same.) Looked at her friends list for Nancy, and Nancy Walker from Boston, who majored in Performing Arts, came up. Guess Nancy is still alive.