When I was 5 my older brother, David, was on Zoom. I'm not sure how popular Zoom was to the rest of the world, but in our family, no show was more important (except maybe Star Trek).
To this day, the elevating electronic noise/music of the WGBH-TV title sequence still excites me because it signaled the beginning of Zoom. (I like the WGBH sound so much I made it my cell phone ringer. WGBH also produced Cosmos, another favorite growing up.)
My brother's role on Zoom was certainly a defining period for him, but it was for me as well. Sitting around the TV with my friends and little brother waiting for my own older brother to appear was rather magical. When I see how children today stare raptly at the TV, watching strangers or anonymous cartoon characters dance across the screen, it's not hard to understand the impact my brother's appearance on Zoom held for me. I was quite young, but not too young to be proud of him as he performed magic tricks under the pseudnym "Red."
In 1974, My Dad accepted a job in Seattle the same year my brother was on Zoom. While we settled into the forest that was Bothell in the early 70s, David attended Fessenden, a private boarding school outside of Boston. I was so young at the time, my earliest memories of my brother are of him being on the television set. The combination of being separated from him by such a great distance--3500 miles was literally unimaginable for this 5 year old, the fact that for 30 minutes each week his image was transported to my living room in living sound and color, and the fact that he was my big brother (he's 8 years older) made him something of a mythic hero in my eyes.
Since the days I looked up to him as the TV star who I loved to brag about, David and I have grown apart in some ways--politics for one thing. Ironically, given my brother's views towards public funding of arts and education programing, I doubt he'd support TV programming such as Zoom today. ;-) Yet, as far as this little boy was concerned, David "Red" O'Brien was bigger than the Fonz from Happy Days, who appeared on TV for the first time the same year my brother did.