ZOOM was an American educational television show, created almost entirely by children, which aired on PBS from January of 1972 to March of 1978. A remake of the show, also on PBS, premiered in 1999 and ended production in 2005. Both versions were produced by WGBH-TV in Boston. Christopher Sarson was ZOOM's creator and original producer (1972-1974).

ZOOM encouraged children to "turn off the TV and do it!" On the show, a cast of (usually) seven kids (known as ZOOMers) performed various activities such as games, plays, poems, recipes, jokes, and science experiments, all suggested by viewer contributions. The performers in the original series were known for wearing striped rugby shirts and jeans, and for performing the show barefoot. The mail-in request became a pop culture reference for its music exhortation to "Write ZOOM, Z-Double-O-M, Box 3-5-0, Boston, Mass 0-2-1-3-4: send it to ZOOM!". There was also a language game on the show called Ubbi-Dubbi and another called Fannee Doolee.

ZOOM was a new kind of series when it premiered on January 3, 1972. Unlike other children's fare at the time, it was for the most part unscripted. Far from seeking to capitalize by making stars of the child actors, the contracts prohibited them from making any television appearances or doing commercials for three years after they left the show.

ZOOM was intended to inspire children to be active investigators, creators, and problem-solvers as well as introduce them to the principles of ethnic diversity. The show's ZOOMSci segment, for example, featured on the later incarnation, encouraged viewers to try the activities shown on ZOOM and to send in their results.

When ZOOM made a comeback in 1999, parents who had grown up watching the show could now share it with their own children, and found that it was very much the same as it had been in the 1970s. The theme song was similar, there was still Ubbi-Dubbi, and the ZOOMers continued to play games and perform skits suggested by other children. While the ZOOMers would occasionally appear barefoot for certain games and skits, the entire show was no longer performed barefoot. With the advent of the Internet, the "0-2-1-3-4" jingle was rarely sung, supplanted by one that emphasized "PBSKids, dot org!" Also, when reading aloud the names of contributors, the later version provided only first names and abbreviated surnames (e.g., "Paul T."), presumably as a compromise between crediting the children and meeting modern privacy expectations for child safety.

The show was last taped during the summer of 2004, many episodes taking place off of the ZOOM set. The decision to cancel the show was largely due to failing ratings, with the last season's ratings down almost a fifth from the previous year. Currently, there are no TV stations airing rerun episodes, with the sole exception of Discovery Kids Canada, which is available only by digital cable or satellite subscription within Canada. There is currently talk of putting ZOOM on either PBS Kids Sprout or soon-to-be 24-hour digital PBS Kids Go! channel.

The first ZOOM series lasted six seasons (1972–1978) and featured 49 ZOOMers. The second ZOOM series lasted seven seasons (1999–2005) and featured 32 ZOOMers. At the end of every season of the second series, cast members who had grown too old were replaced by new cast members.

Cast members

First Version (1972-1978)

(Source: IMDB)

First Season (Early 1972): Joe Shrand, Jon Reuning, Nina Thomassen, Tommy White, Kenny Marshal, Nancy Tates, Tracy Schulman

Second Season (1972-1973):

  • Cast 1: Kenny Yates, Nancy Tates, Tracy Schulman, Ann Davis, David Alberico, Jay Schertzer, Maura Mullaney.
  • Cast 2: Ann Davis, David Alberico, Jay Schertzer, Maura Mullaney, Bernadette Yao, Leon Mobley, Luiz Peterton.
  • Cast 3: Bernadette Yao, Leon Mobley, Luiz Peterton, Danny McGrath, Edith Mooers, Lori Boskin, Neal Robinson.

Third Season (1973-1974):

  • Cast 1: Danny McGrath, Edith Mooers, Lori Boskin, Neal Robinson, Donna Moore, Mike Dean, Timmy Rudman.
  • Cast 2: Donna Moore, Mike Dean, Timmy Rudman, Hector Seandon, Rose Clarkow, Shawn Miranda, Danny (II).

Fourth Season (1974-1975): Andrae Neilsan, Carmen Hernandez, Cate Albonda, David (II) Sales, Harvey Reed, Norman Christian, Red Lyman, Tishy Lyman, Tommy (II) Schultz, Tracey Dunlap. (This was the only season of the original show that featured more than seven ZOOMers at one time.)

Fifth Season (Late 1976): Arcadio Gonzales, Chris Blackwell, Jennifer Gold, Karen Wing, Levell Gethers (who did not complete the season), Nell Cox, Ron Richmond.

Sixth Season (1977-1978): Amy Clark, Carolyn Malcolm, Chee Bong, John Lathan, Nicholas Butterworth, Shona Wiseman, Susan Hobbie.

Originally funded by the National Science Foundation, The Ford Foundation, The Corporation For Public Broadcasting and Viewers Like You, ZOOM lost its funding in 1975, after the end of the fourth season. It was off the air from the summer of 1975 until January 1976, when it was brought back in reruns. Later in 1976, ZOOM returned to the air with its fifth cast.

Some PBS stations continued to broadcast reruns of the series as late as early 1980.

Cast names and update

During the 1970s version of the series, WGBH never disclosed the ZOOMers' last names, which was likely part of the producers' policy of just using ordinary kids who would be likely to stay ordinary kids, and allowing the viewers to more easily identify with the ZOOMers; this policy also included a contract in which the ZOOMers would not appear on television for three years after leaving the show.

Listed below are some cast members' full names which have come to light in later years.

  • David Alberico (1972-73)
  • Nicholas Butterworth (1977-1978) is Founder, President & CEO of Diversion Media
  • Mike Dean (1973-1974)
  • John Lathan (1977-1978) has had guest parts in The West Wing and was a member of the Engine Crew on Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego?
  • Danny McGrath (1973-1974) is a songwriter.
  • Leon Mobley (1972-1973) is founder of DJIMBE West African Drummers and Dancers (DWADD), and has performed with the Beach Boys, Michael Jackson, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, and Peter Wolf.
  • Edith Mooers (1973-1974) showed genius in mathematics at an early age, won prestigious academic awards in math as a university undergraduate, and went on to earn a Ph.D. in mathematics from MIT. Her father was the late legendary computer pioneer Dr. Calvin Mooers.
  • Maura Mullaney (1972-1973) was last known to be an Amtrak conductor
  • Harvey Reed (1974-1975)
  • Jon Reuning (1972) is a New York City playwright and co-founder of United Stages, a company which produces programs and marketing for small-venue theatrical productions, including publication of current theatrical scripts. He holds a BFA in theatre, having studied at Syracuse University and the Graduate Acting program at NYU.
  • Jay Schertzer (1972-1973)
  • Joe Schrand (1972)
  • Nancy Tates (1972)
  • Tommy White (1973)
  • Bernadette Yao (1972-1973) practices the healing arts.
  • Donna Moore (1972-73) is a professional singer, actor, and monologuist in New York. Website: DonnaMooreDiva

Second Version (1999-2005)

Season 1 (1999): Zoe Costello, Jared Nathan, Keiko Yoshida, Pablo Velez, Alisa Besher, David Toropov, Lynnese Browder

  • David, Jared, Keiko, Pablo and Lynnese left after season one but Alisa and Zoe stayed.

Season 2 (2000): Ray MacMore, Caroline Botelho, Claudio Jimenez, Alisa Besher, Jessica "Jessie" Ogungbadero, Kenneth Yates "Kenny", Zoe Costello

  • Alisa, Claudio, Jessie, Ray and Zoe left after season two but Caroline and Kenny stayed.

Season 3 (2001): Frances Domond, Kenny Yates, Rachel Redd, Eric Rollins, Kaleigh Cronin, Kevin "Buzz" Barrette, Caroline Botelho

  • Buzz, Eric, Frances and Kenny left after season 3 but Caroline, Kaleigh and Rachel stayed.

Season 4 (2002): Aline Ramirez, Garrett DiBona, Estuardo Mazzu, Kaleigh Cronin, Rachel Redd, Matt Runyon, Caroline Botelho

  • Kaleigh, Matt and Rachel left after season 4 but Aline, Caroline, Estuardo and Garrett stayed.

Season 5 (2003): Aline Ramirez, Garrett DiBona, Caroline Botelho, Mike Hansen, Kortney Sumner, Elena "Shing Ying" Shieh, Estuardo Mazzu (this season also featured kids that were not in the official cast to do the "ZOOM into action segments," one of which was Melvin "Chris" Benson)

  • Aline, Caroline, Estuardo and Garret left after season 5 but Kortney, Mike and Shing Ying stayed.

Season 6 (2004): Mike Hansen, Kortney Sumner, Francesco Tena, Cara Harvey, Maya Morales, Kyle Larrow, Elena "Shing Ying" Shieh

  • Cara, Kortney, Maya and Mike left after season 6 but Francesco, Kyle and Shing Ying stayed.

Season 7 (2005): Nick Henry, Taylor Garron, Francesco Tena, Noreen Raja, Emily Marshall, Kyle Larrow, Elena "Shing Ying" Shieh

  • Caroline was in the most seasons (4), Seasons 2, 3, 4 and 5.
  • Caroline and Kenny guest-starred on Arthur in a "And Now a Word from Us Kids" (in the case ZOOMers and gave a sneak peak behind the show ZOOM.

Cast names and updates

  • Kevin "Buzz" Barrette is a 2007 graduate of Auburn High School. He is a freshman at Boston University as of fall 2007.
  • Lynese Browder is a senior (class of 2008) at Pine Manor College.
  • Zoe Costello is attending and studying at Experimental Theatre Wing at Tisch School of the Arts at New York University.
  • Kaleigh Cronin has performed in numerous professional theatrical productions.
  • Garrett DiBona is a freshman at University of Tampa
  • Ray MacMore is currently living in Brooklyn NY, attending Brooklyn College. He works at a hotel in midtown Manhattan and is one of three members of The Prospects, a hip-hop group.
  • Estuardo Mazzu has worked with Sociedad Latina and is currently in Guatemala.
  • Jared Nathan was a third-year acting student at the Juilliard School; he was killed in an automobile accident in Hollis, New Hampshire on December 28, 2006. The driver of the automobile Nathan was riding in was alleged to be drunk.
  • Jessica-Kate "Jessie" Ogungbadero is a junior (class of 2009) at Harvard University
  • Rachel Redd is a sophomore at Spelman College.
  • David Toropov is a 2007 graduate of Phillips Academy Andover. He is attending Bard College as of fall 2007.
  • Pablo Velez graduated from Emerson College in May, 2007.
  • Kenny Yates, whose full name is Kenneth Yates Jr., is an assistant to film directors Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, as of 2006.
  • Keiko Yoshida graduated from Muhlenberg College in 2006.
  • Noreen Raja is a junior at Grafton High School in Massachusetts and is a member of the Central Massachusetts Regional Student Advisory Council to the Board of Education.
  • Aline Ramirez is currently living in Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • Cara Harvey is a current junior at WRHS and is a member of the National Honors Society.
  • Maya Morales is a current sophomore at Worcester Academy.
  • Taylor Garron was a contestant on season 1 of ZOOM's successor show FETCH! with Ruff Ruffman.
  • Caroline Botelho is graduating from Notre Dame Academy in the spring of 2008 and will be entering the nursing program at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst as of fall 2008.

Theme Song

1970s Version

"(spoken) Cha cha cha, ZOOM!"
"Come on and zoom, zoom, zoom-a zoom!"
"We're gonna zoom, zoom, zoom-a zoom!"
"Everybody's doin' it, everybody's movin' it,"
"Everybody's having a ball, yeah!"
"So would you zoom, zoom, zoom-a zoom?"
"Come on and zoom-a zoom-a zoom-a zoom!"
"I'm (name of ZOOMer)!", etc.

Each introduction in the roll call is followed by a few quick slides of that particular ZOOMer in various poses (often in a silly fashion).

"Who are you?"
"What do you do?"
"How are you?"
"Let's hear from you..."
"We need you!"
"We're gonna zoom, zoom zoom-a zoom!"
"Come on and zoom-a zoom-a zoom-a zoom!"
"Come on, give it a try."
"We're gonna show you just why,"
"We're gonna teach you to fly high!"

"Come on and zoom!"
"Come on and zoom, zoom!"
These last two lines were repeated until fading out. In the early seasons, after the kids left the stage in the closing credits, it was often replaced after a few times with an instrumental version.

Second Generation Version

Come on and Zoom, Come on and Zoom,
Come on and Zoom, Come on and Zoom,
Come on and Zoom, Zoom, Zoom-a, ZOOM!
Come on and Zoom, You call the tune,
Come on and Zoom, We're starting soon,
Come on and Zoom-a, Zoom-a, Zoom-a, ZOOM!

I'm (Insert Zoomer's Name Here, x7)

We're all plugged into one world now!
So let's talk!
We wanna hear from you
Come on give it a try!
And if you like what you see, turn off your TV and do it!
ZOOM (x5)

Come on and Zoom, Come on and Zoom,
Come on and Zoom, Zoom, Zoom-a, Zoom
Come on and Zoom, Come on and Zoom
Come on and Zoom-a, Zoom-a, Zoom-a, Zoom!


Special Video Games Episode

Come on and Zoom, Come on and Zoom,
Come on and Zoom, Come on and Zoom,
Come on and Zoom, Zoom, Zoom-a, ZOOM!
Come on and Zoom, You call the tune,
Come on and Zoom, We're starting soon,
Come on and Zoom-a, Zoom-a, Zoom-a, ZOOM!

Welcome to the Games Industry!
This is what we do, la da da da dii!
C++ and Photoshop too,
We'll make a whole new world for you!
ZOOM (x5)

Come on and Zoom, Come on and Zoom,
Come on and Zoom, Zoom, Zoom-a, Zoom
Come on and Zoom, Come on and Zoom,
Come on and Zoom-a, Zoom-a, Zoom-a, Zoom!


The seventh season had a completely different format for the song and opening credits.


First Version

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

In 1975, the cast members from the first version came out with an album called Playgrounds 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, featured the best stories and activities from the show
  • 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 1970s and ZOOMers Revisited—Where Are They Now? (ISBN 1578072077).

Second Version

Three videos were released based on the show: Party with ZOOM (1999, ISBN 157807200X), The ZOOMers Video Special: The Making of ZOOM! (1999), and ZOOM: America's Kids Remember (2002).

Four books compiled by Amy E. Sklansky were published by Little, Brown and Company:

  • ZOOM Zingers (1999, ISBN 0316952613)
  • ZOOM Fun With Friends (1999, ISBN 0316952753)
  • ZOOMdos You Can Do! (2000, ISBN 0316952761)
  • ZOOMfun Outside (2000, ISBN 0316952788)

As always, all material in these books were submitted by the viewers.

References to ZOOM in popular culture

  • In the Hard 'n Phirm music video for its song "π," the band parodies ZOOM in a program called ZAP. The kids are named Javier, Jessica, Steve, Susan, and twins Hector and Diego. The show is produced by WHNP (the logo of which is a clear take-off on WGBH's famous outline logo) and is "funded by a grant from the Windsor Pneumatics Foundation." In the video, two unidentified wizards watch the kids do increasingly bizarre activities, including spinning around on a mop and pretending to kill each other. A phony-looking robot appears, which leaves them enraptured. Near the end of the video, the kids and the robot confront the wizards, who vaporize Steve, Hector, and Diego with laser beams. Jessica reflects one of their lasers back with a mirror, and the robot destroys the other wizard. The three remaining kids are shrunk, and they jump into a portal in the wizard's book.
  • In a rare (for the time) cross-PBS parody, The Electric Company, had a sketch called "BOOM", featuring the Electric Company cast in striped turtlenecks on a mockup of the ZOOM set. "BOOM" was intentionally less polished than most Electric Company sketches, to poke fun at ZOOM's unscripted format.
  • Similarly SCTV had a regular segment called "Pre-Teen World" that featured the SCTV cast pretending to be preteens who were improvising a television program that they wrote and produced themselves. Often, the "unscripted" segments would turn into disasters as real life turned out to be less cheerful than the kids implied. This was largely a parody of ZOOM (including a parody of the 0-2-1-3-4 jingle) and similar local programs.
  • An episode of the series You Can't Do That on Television began with the cast members running up to camera singing "Come on and boom, boom, booma, boom," before an explosion erupts, causing them to choke on the ensuing smoke.
  • In one episode of the popular TV series Friends, Joey admits to having lied on his résumé and also adds, "I wasn't one of the ZOOM kids, either."
  • A segment of Jonathan Caouette's film Tarnation describes an idea that a young Caouette had for a rock musical based on his life. His hypothetical cast included the cast of ZOOM as a chorus of children in foster care. During this segment, a montage of clips from movies and TV are shown, including a few from ZOOM.
  • In the sixth episode of the American version of Queer as Folk, Brian sees 17-year-olds Justin and Daphne at Club Babylon and exclaims, "Well, if it isn't the cast of ZOOM!"
  • On Saturday Night Live in 1998 during the Weekend Update segment, Colin Quinn reported that ZOOM would be coming back to TV "just when we couldn't get that theme song out of our heads."
  • In an episode of The King of Queens, Spencer's friend spoke Ubbi-Dubbi.
  • In the This American Life episode 108, radio producer and singer Dan Gediman tells the story of how he lied about being in the "ZOOM" cast for years, though he was never actually cast in the show. In the episode, Gediman tracks down and interviews original "ZOOM" cast members, including Tommy and Danny, and the show's original creator, Christopher Sarson.

DVD Release

A 2 DVD set with four full length episodes plus various footage from all 6 seasons will be released on October 28, 2008.

See also


External links



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