OMG! I accidentally caught part of a RUBY episode on some radio station somewhere while traveling and have looked for it ever since. I am SURE I Googled it at some point, so I wonder how I missed ZBS. Anyway, THANKS BoingBoing for bringing Ruby back to me!!
Those interested in this sort of thing might want to check out:
Thanks for giving ZBS a spotlight. I have been a fan since the 80s and literally buy everything they make. Ruby and Jack Flanders stories are amazing tales and more people need to hear them.
Ha, I recognize that artwork from Tour of the Universe. I may even still have it around somewhere.
So awesome. I have never heard all of any of any Ruby series just parts here and there. I do have The Fourth Tower Of Inverness Jack Flanders adventure on CD and now I want to go listen to it again. I had originally heard not quite all of it in college when the campus based NPR station ran it. I wish their stuff was played on more radio stations.
Their stuff is so great! A local station used to do 1/2 hour+/- serials and my sons and I would sit and listen to the radio…a trip in so many ways. I was a radio kid growing up and loved the medium. Our first radio was a big old Art Deco style and young Iquitos would stare in back at all those old tubes lit up, glowing filaments and wafers, a dusty hot smell, each of those tubes were exotic cities communicating their stories and speaking to me about The Shadow or The Cisco Kid or…
And ZBS takes me back in time and off to their own destination. Thanks ZBS and please reissue some of those great Tee shirts you used to have
Wow, it has been ages since I heard any of these.
The Jack Flanders things played on the radio, but I don’t recall the station. Was WNYC ever cool enough to play them? Was it WBAI maybe?
A friend had the Ruby CD as I recall. BOZO BOMBS!
It’s been a long time but my favorite line was “Drink this, It will put color in your cheeks. He neglected to say what color… or which cheeks.”
I had that series on cassette eons ago, and don’t remember a thing about it.
Ooh ooh, does anyone remember Duck’s Breath Mystery Theater? Approximately from the same era and used to play on (iirc) NPR stations. Lotsa good skits. They, also, should be rereleased.
Jeez, I still have all of those shows on cassettes.
I can’t believe nobody has yet mentioned that amazing Summa Nulla singing group, The Android Sisters. “Money means: security. No money means: terror. Oh! Oh!”
The Fourth Tower of Inverness and later Ruby used to run in the '80s on KTUH, the college radio station in Honolulu.
I remember the beginning of one Fourth Tower episode completely blew my mind. The narrator essentially opened by doing a trance induction on the listeners, inviting them to picture rising out of their body and looking down on it, then floating across the sky, travelling faster and faster across the ocean, and eventually floating down into the window of an ancient castle tower and into the room. Whereupon the Indian guru character in the room says, “I feel a presence has just entered the room. It’s… the Listener!” Whoa… (Of course it didn’t hurt that I was stoned at the time.)
If I hadn’t bought this back in the 80’s, I’d be all over it. The only thing I didn’t like was it coming in five minute episodes. There are several sequels that are also worthwhile, none of them infected with as much new age crap as some of ZBS’s other serials.
It didn’t help that they were stoned as well. I remember another one of those long flying sequences, but it was Jack Flanders on a swan. And at the most inappropriate moment, when the swan was to make a lovely call, the foley artist used a duck call. Or a kazoo. Something. But they played through even though they couldn’t stop laughing. Then a door opened and the voice of the producer could be heard, “You’re all fired!”
I have the old cassette version of that scene with the swan. It has the duck call sound effect and laughing. They edit it out of the CD version I believe. I was very disappointed.
Best Jack Flanders story - The Incredible Adventures of Jack Flanders. Much faster pace than Inverness or Morocco.
I remember it from when I was a kid listening on the earphone under the covers, then in 1996 I got the CDs in a fit of nostalgia. That scene was on it but a few of the other tracks were scrambled.
The first thing I heard from ZBS was Moon Over Morocco and Ruby. I was meh about Hitchiker’s Guide, mostly because cynicism (DA’s, not mine) but I understand it now in the context of the collapse of English Labour amd the rise of Thatcherite “populism”.
I wen to the University of Iowa, where Duck’s Breath was born. I saw them perform live once and while I don’t recall anything very specific I do recall laughing a lot.
The best part was when the producer said that the actors giggled even more. I love that Meatball Fulton left that in there.
Heard fourth tower of Inverness when I was a teenager in the mid 80s Saturday mornings on KUOI. Totally magical. In a bout of nostalgia recently tried to find it online, ended up running across Ruby instead on Youtube. Fantastic show, just like I had no idea fourth tower had been made a decade earlier, you’d never know Ruby was made when was made. Great imagination is timeless.