Zoom with Gwynne Garfinkle

Mar 9, 2022 · 1h 19m 36s
Zoom with Gwynne Garfinkle

2022 marks the 50th anniversary of a PBS show beloved by kids in the 1970s: Zoom! No, it is not the video conferencing tool… Our guest this time is Gwynne...

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2022 marks the 50th anniversary of a PBS show beloved by kids in the 1970s: Zoom! No, it is not the video conferencing tool… Our guest this time is Gwynne Garfinkle, who wrote a letter to Zoom that was read on the air in 1974! Gwynne grew up to become a writer of novels, stories, poems, and more, and it all started with Zoom.

Check out Gwynne's books, including her novel, Can't Find My Way Home, a political ghost story about a soap opera star in the 1970s who is reunited with the ghost of her best friend who died protesting the Vietnam war. She's also got a poetry collection called People Change.

If you would like to listen to one of her stories, you can find "A Wild Patience" in three parts on Escape Pod. And if you want to read a free story, you can check out "Sinking, Singing" in the May 2021 issue of Mermaids Monthly.

Here's Gwynne's summary of Zoom:

"ZOOM was a 1970s kids show on public television that was produced in Boston. A group of kids sang songs, performed skits, (I think) showed the audience how to make crafts etc., read letters that kids sent in, and (I think) had "rap sessions" about various topics. There were also documentary segments about other kids. (I remember one segment about a girl who broke her arm, had to get a cast, etc.) The cast changed from season to season; I think kids could only stay for a season or two. My favorite cast member was Bernadette, who did a trick with her arms that I can do to this day. The show also featured a language called Ubbi Dubbi, in which you add "ub" before every vowel. If you sent a SASE to the show, they would send you ZOOM cards (each card featured a cast member on one side and some ZOOM-related activity on the other side). I used to own a bunch of these. There was also a ZOOM book and an LP. I'm not sure how many times I wrote to the show before they read my letter on the air. It was definitely a memorable event in my young life, to the point that I remembered which cast member (Shawn) read my letter!

Here is the link to my ZOOM episode (queued to the segment with my letter): https://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-15-60cvf203?term=GARFINKLE&proxy_start_time=644.06"

We had never seen Zoom before, but we thought it was a really interesting show! Did you ever watch this as a kid? Or, perhaps you watched the 1990s reboot? Let us know!

We learned a lot of things from this discussion, including that Gwynne's favorite cast member, Bernadette, is now an energy sound healer! You can read a transcript of this episode here if you like: https://thisiswhywerelikethis.substack.com/p/transcript-for-zoom-with-gwynne-garfinkle?s=w

If you're having fun listening to us, please tell your friends about us! Rate and review us! follow us on Twitter where we're @thisiswhy_pod! And, of course, you can always drop us a note at at thisiswhywerelikethis@gmail.com.
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