April 23, 2020
While many businesses and industries are struggling to hold on during the pandemic that has shuttered so many doors, there are a few success stories. Certainly the popularity of Zoom has never been higher. The teleconferencing platform has risen to become the method of choice to connect the disconnected.
But I am reminded that people were Zooming long before the coronavirus. In the early 70s, kids in the US were invited to “Come on and zoom, zoom, zoom-a-zoom” as they turned on their televisions to the local PBS station. Zoom was touted as being a show for kids, made by kids. Airing in 1972 and lasting for six seasons, it featured a rotating cast of kid hosts, offered regular and random activities such as comedy sketches, science experiments, interviews of other kids, jokes, songs, and just general silliness.
Part of its success was found in its premise that all content came from its young audience who would be encouraged to mail in their ideas and suggestions. Some 20,000 letters poured in each week and from those a show would be crafted as the young hosts would act them out.
Never an overly polished series, it was nonetheless refreshingly authentic and filled with a youthful energy that attracted a wide and devoted fan base. The series was remade in 1999 and ran for an additional seven seasons.
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