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My name is Zoom and I live on the moon...
July 28, 2007 5:10 PM   Subscribe

You're the star today! In 1976, ABC's Record and Tape Division came up with the Captain Zoom Personalized Birthday Record. A two-minute song with 8 instances of the birthday boy or girl's name was recorded and mastered for a paper-thin flexible 7" record. It was sent in an envelope along with the lyrics to the song, a mini-coloring book, and an order form. In 1978, the Record and Tape Division was disbanded. Robert Stiller, a sales consultant who was involved with the project at ABC, bought the rights to the project and began distributing the record with his own company. Captain Zoom left a lasting impact on those who heard his little jingle.
And there's a wedding version too. How sweet.
posted by mkb (22 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
Oh my dear lord, I received this from my parents when I was about ten. Even then, it was hysterically cheesy, and put everyone at the party to the floor. Ahhh...thanks for the memories.
posted by cdadog at 5:43 PM on July 28, 2007


Kapten zoom played at my kindergarten when I was a kid.
posted by uandt at 5:49 PM on July 28, 2007


I had one of these! I used to play it on my little portable record player. My kids need to get these next year.
posted by Biblio at 5:54 PM on July 28, 2007


Good grief. I had one of these, and completely forgot about it until this very moment. Thanks. :)
posted by WCityMike at 5:56 PM on July 28, 2007


ZOMG! I was born in 1977. This was buried deep, deep in my subconscious until right this moment. I definitely had one of these. Thanks for the post!
posted by veggieboy at 5:56 PM on July 28, 2007


I coulda done with a bit more linkage for an FPP, though.
posted by WCityMike at 5:58 PM on July 28, 2007


I had one of these as well. I can still hum the tune and sing a verse or two. Lasting impact indeed. Thanks!
posted by sueinnyc at 6:17 PM on July 28, 2007


I had one of these too, or maybe it was my brother.
posted by jonp72 at 6:29 PM on July 28, 2007


I have hated that song for 30 years. My parents still sing it to me.
posted by Balisong at 6:33 PM on July 28, 2007


Barclay... Barry... Bert... BORT? Aw, c'mon! "Bort?"
posted by kimota at 6:35 PM on July 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


Sorry, WCityMike, the YouTube entries were just too painful or creepy. I wanted to avoid the two unrelated Captain Zoom movies.
posted by mkb at 6:35 PM on July 28, 2007


Wow, I had one as well. Weirdly I, too, can sing most of the words 30 yrs later.
posted by jdl at 6:48 PM on July 28, 2007


OMG OMFFFFFOMG I was trying to find this on the internet earlier this week!!!!
posted by drezdn at 7:31 PM on July 28, 2007


The more I read about Captain Zoom, the happier I am that I found my copy unopened and unlistened! It could have changed my life forever.
posted by mkb at 7:32 PM on July 28, 2007


Nothing is new under the sun, I guess. A friend of mine started a similar business a few years back.
posted by orange swan at 7:32 PM on July 28, 2007


Wow, yeah, put me down for one "haven't thought of that in a while."

I remember something weird about having to put pennies on the "record" to get it to stay down while it was playing.
posted by Kadin2048 at 9:51 PM on July 28, 2007


My parents got this for me; I was born in '71, and so was young enough to find it fascinating. I'm so glad you posted this, because I have kids now and there was no chance of me remembering the title (or any other info sufficient to dig this up.)
posted by davejay at 10:43 PM on July 28, 2007


There was a UK equivalent of this too, though on 7" vinyl, rather than flexidisc - I've picked up ones for 'Deborah', 'Jane' and 'Sue' in charity shops over the years, all with the same, deeply awful, disco-styled birthday song. (I just wish I knew people called Deborah, Jane or Sue so I could give the things away!)

I remember something weird about having to put pennies on the "record" to get it to stay down while it was playing.

Lots of flexidiscs come with a circular mark for putting a coin on - the weight of the stylus 'traps' the disc otherwise, and stops it spinning.

Fun fact: the first flexidiscs were bootlegs of jazz records in the Eastern Bloc, called 'bones' because they were pressed onto discarded X-Ray film.

It's sad that there are no pressing plants left that can make flexis, really - there's something really attractive about such a disposable format.
posted by jack_mo at 4:56 AM on July 29, 2007 [2 favorites]


Hey Joshua, It's your birthday!

I still have that tape, I've even put it to use in a sound collage I made a few years ago. Sadly, the collage no longer exists.
posted by cloeburner at 5:45 AM on July 29, 2007


I had it and remember playing the record at the wrong speed(s), in order to make it sound scarier.
posted by stifford at 9:38 AM on July 29, 2007


Stifford, I wish my brother and I had thought of that. Instead we were more in the camp of making fun of it. Possibly even dancing to it while laughing hysterically.
posted by bassjump at 6:56 PM on July 29, 2007


My friends and I still call each other up on birthdays and leave a full voice mail of the Captain Zoom birthday song, complete with faking the bizarre dubbing of the name. Fond memories... thanks for the links.
posted by pineapple at 4:25 PM on July 30, 2007


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