The ZBS Radio Hour: The Fourth Tower of Inverness & Ruby 1

in Daily Programme

by Elrik Merlin on Saturday, 27 July, 2013

This week, the ZBS Radio Hour returns, with the start of the  classic radio serial, The Fourth Tower of Inverness, paired with the first Ruby adventure, Ruby 1: Adventures of a Galactic Gumshoe.

The Fourth Tower of Inverness

A unique interwoven and utterly addictive blend of humour, paganism, Western Tradition magic, Hindu mythology, Sufi stories, ESP and other amazing stuff, The Fourth Tower has enchanted listeners ever since it was first broadcast in 1972. It was unlike anything produced in radio drama then – and remains so today.

The entire story takes place within a mysterious Victorian mansion, high on a mountain above the pines and mists that surround the Bay of Inverness. The mansion has three towers, but while visiting, Jack Flanders claims to have seen a fourth. What can it mean? And why is it that Jack hears the distant playing of 50s songs… just before an ‘accident’ is about to happen? Is it being played from a mysterious jukebox, high in the mysterious Fourth Tower? Jack has to find out – and these are the many adventures that ensue. Meet Jack and his aunt, Lady Jowls… and a whole cast of amazing characters, from the Madonna Vampira to Little Frieda, the strange girl with pigtails and no pupils in her eyes, who smokes Havana cigars…

The series features Robert Lorick as Jack Flanders, Valerie Manches as Lady Jowls, Murray Head as Lord Jowls, and M. Fulton as Chief Wampum.

If you were growing up in the US in the 1970s you may have heard this classic serial on Public Radio… but whether you did or not, you are in for a ‘Riel’ treat.

Ruby, the Galactic Gumshoe

Ruby 1We follow our visit to Inverness with the most popular series ZBS has ever produced: Ruby, the Galactic Gumshoe.

Ruby is fast‐paced and funny intergalactic entertainment the Marx Brothers would be proud of, with slick, splashy high‐tech music and effects created by Tim Clark. The music and sound effects are stunning.

On the planet Summa Nulla (the “high point of nothing”) someone is manipulating the media. And Ruby, our hip, tough‐talking detective is hired to track down the malefactors.

The Android Sisters perform their satirical speak‐songs as Ruby, the galactic gumshoe, encounters some pretty weird planetary inhabitants on her quest for truth and the intergalactic way: The Tookah, with four tentacles, three eyes, a blue mustache and red fez, TJ Teru the archaeologist, Chief Molierre of the Mole People, sneaky little Rodant Kapoor, Angel Lips (the femme fatale of androids) and the Slimeys, genetically engineered assassins.

Originally broadcast around the world in 23 countries including the CBC, Canada; BBC, England; and ABC, Australia. It won the Mark Time Award for Best Science Fiction of the Year, and Ruby officially entered Science Fiction’s Audio Hall of Fame for Best Science Fiction of 1982.

ZBS went on to produce many more amazing radio dramas, and the group with its charitable ZBS Foundation (donations tax‐deductible in the US) still exist today, releasing their enormous and expanding range of remarkable tales on CD and for download. If you enjoy The Fourth Tower you can own it — and many other tales in the same vein and beyond. Visit the ZBS website at for more… and why not make a donation to the continuation of classic radio drama?

You can listen to the programme now at, or simply click here to start your player, if your browser is configured to do so. Listeners in the United States are encouraged to tune in using this link:


{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Rita Dibert August 15, 2016 at 23:15

Just heard a bit of Meatballs broadcast on finding out he had the tick! So glad he was advised to check! My sister has been made blind with it! But it was great to hear a clear copy of The Fourth Tower! I was in my first apartment sit fresh out of grad school and was glued to the radio in Ann Arbor!My tapes are now so bad I can't play them so if I sell some art at some point I will try to become a member so I can download the series here! Great to have you available!!!


Elrik Merlin August 16, 2016 at 01:27

Thanks for your comments - to obtain copies or to stream ZBS material, please visit the web sites linked from the reply to your other comment.


Rita Dibert August 15, 2016 at 23:18

Have you thought of putting yourself on IHEART Radio so those of us not in the states (I now live in New Zealand) can listen to the station you mention above? Ta, Rita


Elrik Merlin August 16, 2016 at 01:25

If you're referring to Radio Riel, we're available internationally on the Internet. Details are at the left of any page on the Radio Riel web site.

If you're referring to ZBS, you can buy copies of the programmes from the main ZBS web site or you can stream them from their new site at


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