My sister got The ZOOM Catalog when we were little. I was only two or three at the time, but I remembered the book vividly even before my mom gave it to me recently. My sister was eight or nine when she got the book, and I loved looking through it with her. Even though the show was upbeat and fun, the book perfectly matches my memories of the era: a two-color drab ’70s haze, with a faint smell of old paper.
The thing about ZOOM is that it was a show completely written and performed by kids. Kids in stripped rugby shirts. The theme song (“Who are you? What do you do? How are you? Let’s hear from you!”) still stirs in me all those melancholy PBS feelings of childhood and graduating from Sesame Street to Electric Company to ZOOM.
When I flipped through The ZOOM Catalog (which is remarkably well preserved), I was struck by how familiar it all was. Things like the coveted ZOOM sticker on the cover, the Wally the Watermelon story, the instructions and pictures on how to make a Jacob’s Ladder, the “The Cat Came Back” song, and all the plays and songs and stories submitted by all the other kid viewers echoed over the decades.
The one thing about ZOOM I could never decipher was the Ubbi Dubbi language. I seem to recall my sister and her neighborhood friends speaking it, but for the life of me I could never master it.
I’m pretty sure we had the Come On and ZOOM original album of “songs & stuff” as well, but that might be either lost to time or a faulty memory. Regardless, I think it’s pretty cool that this artifact from my and my sister’s childhood has survived.