Ray Rayner, the legendary television personality who hosted children’s shows in Chicago during the 1960s and ’70s, died on Jan. 21 from complications of pneumonia. He was 84.
The New York native served as a 2nd lieutenant in the Army Air Corps during World War II. When his B-17 was shot down, Reyner was captured by the Germans and held as a prisoner of war for two years. After he returned to the states, Rayner attended Holy Cross College for a year, then transferred to Fordham University, where he graduated with a degree in philosophy. He later earned a master’s in humanities from the University of Chicago.
Rayner started his broadcasting career in radio, working as a disc jockey and a news director before taking a job as a staff announcer for the CBS affiliate in Chicago. When he moved to WGN-TV Channel 9 in 1961, Rayner became a popular presence in the lives of Baby Boomers and Generation X’ers who would watch him on “Bozo’s Circus,” “The Dick Tracy Show,” “Breakfast With Bugs Bunny” and his own series, “Ray Rayner and Friends.”
Wearing a jumpsuit covered in “to do” notes, Reyner would entertain kids with music, crafts, games and unique side-kicks, including Cuddly Dudley, the giant orange dog; Dr. Lester Fisher, director of the Lincoln Park Zoo; and Chelveston the Duck, who thrived on nipping at Rayner’s legs and attacking heads of lettuce.
When he wasn’t on television, Reyner acted in numerous stage productions at the Candlelight Dinner Playhouse and the Forum Theatre. He moved to Arizona in the 1980s and delivered weather reports for the CBS affiliate in Albuquerque. In 2000, he was inducted into the Chicago Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences’ Silver Circle.
Ah, it was so fun watching Bozo’s Circus. He made everyone feel loved. Made everyone smile. You will be greatly missed.
Ray Rayner was the only place that one could see the highlights from the previous evening’s Blackhawks games early in the morning. This was especially appreciated during the Stanley Cup Playoffs when Hawks’ games (as usual) were blacked out in Chicago.
Thanks Ray for the memories–another aspect of my childhood has gone away!
Brother Michael S. Segvich, CFC
Saint Laurence High School
Don’t know how I missed this news. Happened upon an issue of the Illinois Entertainer mentioning it on the cover.
Anyway, to me Ray was one of the greatest humans of all time. Of course I watched the show every morning for the Cubs hi-lites, and the traffic report which every grade schooler really needs, huh?
How about the do-it-yourself projects- you know the ones that “Chauncey” made were perfect, then Ray would try to do it and it came out like some little kid was doing it? Well, I always thought he made the original ones too, but purposely looked like a klutz so as not to make the kids feel bad when they goofed it up.
And the jelly bean contest winner would get to come on the show and pick out a project to keep.
Well, Ray, I’ve been missing you since you moved to Albuquerque, and it looks like I’m gonna have to keep on missin’ ya. Thanks for the memories!
I didn’t know he died untill tonight. I grew up in Capentersville Il and in 1969 my dad knew the floor director for Bozo’s circus so we recieved tickets very quickly ( otherwise a loooong wait ) Anyway I got to meet miss Elizabeth from romper room first before the bozo show. During the show my brother and I sat on Mr Neds lap and said “here,s Rocky! After the show we took pictures with ollie (Ray Rayner) Cookie,Bozo and Mr Ned. I tell ya those times in the sixties were the best! I will miss Ray he was a very nice and fun loving guy!
I just found out that my pre-teen hero died. I am devistated.
I remember our normal morning ritual of getting up in the morning for school, getting dressed and while eating breakfast we would watch Ray Rayner and Friends.
We would watch for the weather report and then Ray would inform us of what was for lunch. This was special because on some days I would not like what was being served and would bring a bag lunch. Sometimes mom would bring me a McDonalds lunch if I was good.
Ray was so special to us that if feels like we had lost a family member. My thoughts go with his family and I just know that wherever he is, there is a flock of white ducks nipping at his heals as he tries not to fumble some kind of arts and crafts project.
From now on my home will always have a jar of uncounted Jelly Beans in it.
Another part of my childhood bites the dust.
Wow! Ray along with Bozo, Frazier, and Garfield Goose were part of my childhood. Grew up in Chicago until 1976. Didn’t know Ray moved to Albuquerque. If I knew, would have looked him up since I was there myself from 2002 – 2004. All the WGN lineups throughout the 60s and 70s are nothing less than classic. I have fond memories of Chicago while growing up there. Ray and all the others made it that much better.
i grew up in illinois and watched Ray Rayner every morning. Today i decided to look around on line to see what i could find out about the man who made so many wonderful childhood memories for me and am so sorry to here of his passing. i had a hard childhood and when i think of Ray Rayner and friends all of a sudden that bad stuff melts away and is replaced by only happiness. Ray Rayner made a difference in my life. I remember during the winter waiting on snowy mornings to see if our school was closed, the projects that you just wish you were there to help him with, and that darn duck it was so funny to watch him run and try to feed it at the same time. I read his biography today what an amazing life he lead and how many lives he has touched. I know he will never be forgotten, I know i will never forget.
Ray was one of the real prisoners of world war 2.
He was one of the real prisoners that was in the prison camp they made the movie the great escape about. His down to earth friendliness and common rugged face I remember is what made the show.
My memories of Ray are foggy, as are all from that early part of my life, but as a child in Griffith, Indiana, in 1969, Ray had an impact. I got my mother to take me to a “personal appearance” which Ray made, somewhere…. it may have been a supermarket somewhere in Indiana…. I remember waiting in line a long, long time to shake Ray’s hand and get an autograph.
As a child of the 60’s i remember alot of historic events and legendary television shows. One of these t.v. shows was Ray Rayner and friends. It was so comforting on cold ,snowy Chicago mornings to know when you got up Ray was there. I grew up a much better person watching Chicago T.V.-especially WGN As long as i live i will never forget Ray Rayner. GOD BLESS HIM.i feel a lot older today.
How can you forget ray and cuddly they were part of the family.
On a side note if anyone is willing to part ($) with their Cuddly Dudley please contact me. Years ago my sister lost her cuddly and her 50th birthday is coming and based on so many factors I know it would be a gift she would treasure.
Ray shall be a memory brought back with a smile.
Today I started thinking about Ray Rayner, and
have been thinking about him all day. Tonight I
typed his name into the search engine and found
out that he had passed away earlier this year. I
am so sad. When I was little I used to watch Ray
Rayner and Friends every weekday morning. I still
have a picture postcard he sent to me (after my
Mom wrote and asked). It is saved in my babybook
along with other early childhood momentos. What
a lovely man he was, so happy go lucky. He made
you feel like you were special, and that it was
great to be alive. May God bless and keep you,
Ray Rayner. You will be missed. FROM YOUR FAN,
JASON QUICK, MISHAWAKA, INDIANA
Wow! I just found out. not a Thanksgiving goes by that I dont think of him and his turkey carving. The original ‘ post-it note ‘ guy. Will be missed
Who in Chicago cannot remember Ray? He was a hero of mine as a kid..God Bless him..I feel so sad about his death..because he gave life to so many of us..
Ray Rayner had a method of communicating that made me feel he was on T.V.for ME! Well,Ray…….BYE,BYE,BYYYYYYYYYYYYYE!!!!!
He wasn’t supposed to die.
We NEED him BACK!
He had the BEST morning show EVER!
Unlike today, the news was the news and the entertainment was the entertainment.
I wish they would bring back his show’s format.
Goodbye to a childhood memory while living in Aurora
Don’t know why, but I typed in his name on google. Like the rest of us, I’m sad to hear of his passing. What a cool dude, he was my morning routine. I know God welcomed him with open arms and said well done. I wish my kids could have someone like him to watch in the morning too. Rest in peace old friend, I love you
Like all the others here I guess Ray Rayner was just the best show to watch before school. I remember waiting patiently to hear that my school was closed for a snow day. I think that feeling was better than winning a million bucks. I grew up in Palos Heights ILL in the 60’s and Ray Rayner and Bozo and creature features and Dark Shadows. I was very lucky kid. I didnt know it then of course but I was. Its kinda sad. Anyone else from Palos, St Alexanders School, drop me a line, email@example.com
Like so many others out there I to grew up with Ray Rayner.. I watched and enjoy my morning breakfast with him for many years. I will miss him but I will have forever those great memories of my childhood.
I just found this site. I was saddened to hear of Ray’s passing. I will always remeber the time I met Ray at the Chicago Auto Show (I have no idea what year) in his orange jumpsuit.
I am crushed. Ray and the gang were my day! We’ll all see you again.What a great man and the joy you brought to me and my family. You and your cast of characters are forever in my heart. God Bless.
What a loss! There will never be another Ray Rayner, he was one of a kind. I don’t think I ever missed a show before school. Only Ray could have taken such a low tech simple production and made it so great. I remember wondering for years when I was a kid who the heck chauncy was? I actually thought there was someone by that name always in the studio. I would have given anything to meet him as a kid, would try to win that jelly bean contest every year, but never came close. I read where someone commented that he made you feel he was on TV just for you, how true, could not have said it better. Loved the chalkboard with the cub/white sox scores, then he would call up the weatherman and write the forcast on the board as it was being given over the phone. You’ve effected so many lives in a positive way, God bless you.
You made my mornings a memorable one. From the old tube tv set and watching farm report.
Then when you came on and took over the air waves, it made the wait all worth-while.
You’ll see green alligators and long-necked geese, some humptey back camels and some chimpanzees, Some cats and rats and elephants, but sure as your born,Your never gonna see no uni-corn….
LOVE YA RAY,
BYE BYE BYEEEEEE——-
JEFF FROM ELGIN
feeling nostalgic, i typed ray rayners name in google. how sad to hear of his passing. i moved away from illinois and wgn years ago and lost all contact with chicago news. ray was the best! i loved the guy and from what i’ve read, so many others do as well. ray was unique and very loveable. can wgn put anything out on ray on dvd? just to see and hear him would be assuaging!
Another part of my childhood gone, like Riverview and Garfield Goose. How can you measure the positive impact Ray had on the youths who were fortunate enought to watch his programs? Sure, the morning show taught more kids more things than Sesame Street, but who can forget the Dick Tracy Crime Stopper Cruiser with Sgt Ray? I think he played an integral part in stoking my desire to become a Chicago Police Officer; Thanks for everything Ray, and God’s rest. You’ve earned it.
Ray Rayner was one of the greatest Chicago Icons of all-time. I would always wake up before 7:00 so I could catch the begining of the show. You could set your clocks to his sports report…which usually came on at 7:18 in the morning. I was at Knoebels Amusement Park in Pennsylvania, riding the carousel with my daughter, when I heard the music to Cuddly Duddly!! It brought back so many fond memories like Chevelston the Duck, Susie Snowflake, Hardrock, Cocoa, and Joe, Ray’s PBS, his skits, etc.
I think these are the lyrics..p;ease sing along
We’re off to cuddly Duddly’s house, he’s cute as he could be.
With a fur of gold and his nose is cold, he’s cuddly as can be.
He has riddles and jokes, but the fun that he pokes is never aimed at me.
It’s the place that he lives and the name that he gives is CUDDLY.
may god be with you….but please….tell god the cubs need help too.
I used to look forward to all the WGN shows with Ray Raynor. Especially Dick Tracey’s crime-stopper cruiser. His wholesome entertaining qualities will always be remembered.Joe G
So long Ray … growing up in Marseilles, I never missed you or BJ Jackson ans all your friends.
What I remember most about Ray Rayner were his turtle races. I remember thinking how much fun it would be to someday have my own turtle races…only to grow up and find out that turtles cause salmanella poisoning. That put me out of the races, but didn’t erase my memories of such fun many years ago.
I left Chicago 23 years ago and joined the Air force at the age of 18. I am currently stationed in Japan. The only TV network available to miltary personell overseas is AFN. Since all AFN shows are donated there are no commercials shown. AFN fills commercial space up with public service anouncements etc. One type of series that has been running lately is doing little bits on previous war heroes and the stories of their deeds. AFN just started running a segment about Lt. Raymond M. Rahner and how he saved a B-17 mission over Germany under heavy attack and while wounded still managed to save the mission and render life saving assistance to his comrads. He was awarded the army distinquished cross. I never knew that Ray was such a brave hero and a patriot. He never talked about it ever on his show.
Could I buy ray’s shows? I cannot find them.
Words could not express the sadness I felt when
I learned he had passed. Ditto to all the comments.He truly influenced us in positive caring ways.
I would like to say thank you to his family.After moving from Chicago to Northbrook I never realized his children lived there too.Yet we moved again to Roundlake thereafter.
I was born in 1962, so I was influenced at a young age.
I was given a Cuddly Duddly for Christmas.I still
have the picture of my excitement when seeing
cuddly Duddly in real life, WOW!!!Unfortunately
it was stolen out of storage (The dog, not the picture) in Chicago.You never know how much something means until it’s gone.
I would buy all of any recordings of Ray’s shows.
I’m presently looking for the original Cuddly Duddly in its original box.Thank you again to his family.
How saddened I was the day Ray passed. Tonight my family and I were talking about how WGN will be airing his shows around Christmas and googled his name and read this entire page. All these wonderful blogs that were written by the generation that Ray Rayner help raise. How great it was to hear from him that school was closed and you got to watch his show until the end before piling on your snow suit to go outside and play. His projects that looked like yours. lol Loving Cuddly Duddly’s voice and wit. The notes he had pinned all over him. Those jelly beans that you knew if you had that exact same jar and fill it the exact same way… You were loved by all Ray. And you will be missed dearly. God is one lucky guy right now.
I have missed Ray Rayner for years, being that I grew up with him. As a kid I loved him sooooooo much! Cubs and Blackhawk highlights. Constantly reminding me of what time it is. The pin on notes…OH Yes those pin on notes which I just learned were blanks with nothing written on them! So much more I loved about his show, actually evertything! I had so much fun waking up in the morning with him. I feel an emptiness inside now that he is gone. I pray he trusted Christ as his Savior before he passed on so I can continue to meet with him in Heaven.
I am putting two and two together. I had heard that Ray was on a B-17 during the war. My dad was also on a B-17 too. They were both in the same bomb group. The 305th. The base was in of all places CHELVESTON England. My dad was at work by the time Rays show was on the air but if he ever heard the name Chelveston he would light up. Boy do I wonder!!! I wonder if they fed them lettuce in England. Jim
I just saw WGN’s tribute to the Ray Raynor Show
“Bozo, Gar and Ray: WGN TV Classics.” As I sat with my old Cuddley Dudley dog,I laughed and felt just a little sad.
THE WGN SPECIAL WAS EXCELLENT. WE NEED MORE.
To all of WGN from the 1960-2001,
We MISS You.
THANK~YOU WGN FOR AIRING SUCH A DELIGHTFUL PROGRAM!!!! I REMEMBER ALL OF THESE PROGRAMS AND I LOVED THEM AS A CHILD AS WELL!!! RAY YOU MAY BE GONE BUT YOU WILL NEVER BE FORGOTTEN!!! EACH TIME THAT DUCK ATTACKED YOU I WOULD LAUGH TILL I CRIED!! I MISS THAT DUCK TO!!! AND WHO COULD EVER FORGET THE ‘ARK IN THE PARK’!
THANKS AGAIN RAY AND ALL THE OTHERS FOR MAKING MY CHILD HOOD FOND AND ‘NOW’ FILLED WITH GREAT MEMORIES!
AND TO ALL OF US WHO GOT TO WATCH THESE SHOWS TAKE YOUR KIDS,GRANDKIDS, NIECES, AND NEPHEWS TO THE MUSEUM OF BROADCAST SO THAT THEY MAY MEET WHAT MADE US SO HAPPY AS KIDS 🙂
HEY PEOPLE OF CHICAGO THAT REMEMBER THESE PROGRAMS….WE ARE SO LUCKY!!!!!!!
Just found out about Ray Rayner. I loved his humor on all his shows. I checked with WGN, you can’t get anything with him on it on dvd. They will be rebroadcasting the special they played at xmas time again this xmas and i will have my dvd recorder ready. Shame on WGN. Put that stuff and Bozo, etc on dvd. It’s a classic. Other generations need to see real, wholesome, comedy thats not rude or gross but oh so funny. God Bless Ray and his family. How wonderful it must have been to be around this man on a daily basis.
Like so many others mentioned, I just googled “Ray Rayner” — because my wife had pinned a note reminding me to do so to my shirt at breakfast this morning — and found out that Ray is gone. He was absolutely terrific. No matter what else was happening, Ray Rayner made you smile a bunch of times every morning. He did create the feeling that he was doing it all just for you, and I believe he influenced more than anyone what my friends here in Seattle call the “Chicago-style sense of humor” which they say they recognize when they meet people from Chicago.
I enjoyed all the shows he was on in the 60s and 70s, but enjoyed Ray Rayner and Friends the most. My brother, Wayne, and I watched every morning even all through high school. More than a few times, because Ray was doing something funny, we were late getting out to catch the Belmont bus we took to Lane Tech, almost next door to WGN.
During those same years, we spent a lot of time in Lincoln Park near the zoo and, because of Ark in the Park, we saw and recognized Dr. Lester Fisher. He seemed to take a walk or bike ride every day. We’d always say hello to him as if we were old friends (because that’s how we felt) and he alway stopped to talk to us for a minute, acting as if he knew us, too. He’d tell us about anything interesting to see in the zoo that day. That went on for years. He was a wonderful fellow, too, just like Ray.
I still remember an old cartooon that Ray would show once in a while named “Owl Jolson,” about a young owl who wants to be a jazz singer in spite of his stuffy Dad’s insistence that he be a classical musician. I still sing the song to my son, “I want to singa about the moona, and the June-a, and the Spring-a … I love to singa about a sky of blue and tea for two … Ilove to si-i-i-i-ing …” Lots of kids must have that burned into their brains. I was singing that song one time in Yellowstone, trying to entertain my fidgety young son while waiting with the crowd for Old Faithful to erupt. A woman walked over, pointed at me and said “Ray Rayner.” She’d grown up in Chicago, too. She said she hadn’t heard that song in more than 25 years but instantly recognized it. That’s staying power.
Ray, I have missed you for many years, and told many people in the Seattle area about what a great kids’ show host we had in Chicago. (They remember someone — much less funny and warm — named J. P. Patches.) One of my regrets is that my son has heard all about you a million times but never seen your show.
Enjoy your much deserved reward. It must finally be nice to sleep in. God bless you. As somone else noted here, I feel like I grew up to be a better person because of your influence. Lots of grateful, loving memories,
I’m sitting here with heartfelt tears in my eyes–a mix of sadness of finding out about Ray’s passing and reading all of the posts prior to mine. What a wonderful walk down memory lane. Some of the things written here I had completely forgotten about and was really tickled when you reminded me. Ray set the mark for others that would follow with his very own morning show; he entertained us with humor, kept our interest with variety, challenged our brains, encouraged us, made us feel like he was giving us and only us his full attention, kept us up on local sports news, weather and lunch menus, made us laugh and so much more. Thank you for your selfless gifts, Ray. You may be gone, but certainly, you’ll never be forgotten!
P.S. If anyone does hear about the opportunity to be able to get any of Ray’s shows on DVD or other means, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!
Like many I just now read of Ray’s passing. As a child, I used to perform with my dad who did a balloon act on Bozo Circus once or twice each year and I got to see “Oliver O’ Oliver” (Ray Rayner) in action in person. To me, he was even more fun than Bozo or Cookie.
Like the rest of us on the board here, I loved watching Ray Rayner every morning. His sense of humor, easygoing way and genuine humility was always evident and something I asipre to even now.
If you’ve not seen it, get your hands on the Bozo/Ray Rayner special WGN put together… it brought back many memories and gave me a piece of my childhood back.
God Bless You Ray and rest well. Thanks from a generation of kids to whom you gave so much; you live on in our minds, forever.
Like so many others on this site, I did a Google search of Ray Raynor and found out he had died 2 years ago. It saddens me deeply to read of his death. He was one of those people you thought would NEVER die.
I watched him every morning on Channel 9 while growing up in Elmhurst, IL. I would then watch him on Bozo’s Circus when I would come home from school for lunch. Chelveston, the notes, the awful do-it-yourself projects, The Davids, lip-synching to Al Sherman’s Camp Granada (hello Mudder, hello fodder!), the breakups when Cookie would make him screw-up his lines on Bozo’s Circus.
I sometimes think more adults watched him than kids! And now that I’m 44 years old, I’m wishing I could “turn the dial” to Channel 9, adjust the fine-tuning and rabbit ears and watch him again.
Goodbye old friend! You live on in all of our hearts and minds. We love you!
I grew up in the far South suburbs of Chicago and as many others who have posted here, I watched Ray Rainer faithfully every morning before school. I so adored Cuddly Duddly and when Ray would read letters from all of us young viewers. When it snowed, I sat eagerly waiting for Ray to say the magic words that my school was closed!!!!
Ray Rainer was an integral part of my childhood and his legacy will live on forever in my heart.
I was one of the Children that was in Miss Elizabeth class on Romper Room. I to also loved Ray Rayner. God Bless him! He was the best.
Ray was THE MAN! He was part of my childhood growing up in the 70’s, watching him every morning as I ate my breakfast before school. The Cubs/Sox hat was the best!!
God’s lucky to have him!
Chicago Life in the 60’s…Kid, growing up with no cable. 3 network stations, 2, 5 & 7, WTTW channel 11…boring, and of course WGN, channel 9.
What would we have done without the likes of a BOZO, Garfield, and Andy Star? And what would the mornings have been without Ray Rayner and the sports recap? I remember how exciting 3/4 of the ’69 Cub season was, and watching the hi-lights every morning. (That was also a time when WGN showed almost ALL of the Cub games)
I had the honor of going to 2 BOZO shows, and made it on the “Team Game”. Not to be confused by the “Grand Prize Game”, early shows had kids participate on a 2 team relay race. I was chosen by Ollie and our team had a chance to hang with the great Ray Rayner.
In the 70’s, lunch at college was spent eating and watching BOZO, much like we did in grade school when we walked home for lunch.
My sadness surrounds the lack of innovative thinking, and the lack of video that is available today of these shows from our past. Storage of the old Ampex reel to reel tapes took too much space. How many BOZO shows were recorded. All? Are there any retro tributes available on DVD?
I was having dinner tonight with (3) of my young boys and my wife. We were reminiscing about kids shows and I asked my wife if she remembered Ray Raynor. Of course she did.
I loved watching that show, all the notes pasted to his jump suit, Diver Dan, the duck, the silly crafts. I thought I would type his name into the search engine and walla, a blog about Ray Raynor. What an awesome show. Sorry to hear he passed away.
I was a little girl in Naperville, il in the 60’s and now that I live in San Antonio, Tx and have 4 kids of my own, I still think back to the good ‘ol Days when Ray would make the crafts that looked all messed up and I remember Susie Snowflake. I had no idea he was a war hero. I am very sad he has passed, but I am sure he is in Heaven. If ever a person deserved to go to Heaven it was Ray Raynor!
like others i used the net to look up childhood memories,ray was one of those. he was such a goofy and fun guy. i remember cudley dudley also. it broke my heart hes no longer with us i was going to try to send e mail to thank him. he cheered up my childhood and gives me good memories thank ray good bye
How sad I was to read about Ray’s death. I’m choked up with emotion to know that someone who touched so many lives is no longer with us. Like everyone else who posted here, he was a staple in our home each and every morning. You just couldn’t get enough of Ray and his antics. His songs, his goofy jumpsuit with post-it’s all over it, his animal guests, his art projects, LOL, those poor art projects, his genuine gracious, persona. Wow, they really broke the mold with him. What a beautiful person he was. I wish there were a thousand more like him, but there is only one Ray Raynor. I’ll remember you always. Thanks for everything Ray.
Does anyone have a copy of Ray carvin a turkey and singing or know where I can buy it? Ray was a big part of my child-hood and I enjoy seeing it.
I entered a contest and Ray phoned me when I was 5 and asked a riddle (which I got wrong) But, He did send a post card which I have to this day and highly regard.
So, if you know where I can get a copy of Ray carvin a turkey and singing please let me know..
I grew up in the Chigago area. I was allowed to watch very little television. Of the programs I was permitted to watch one of my very favorites was the Ray Rayner show. I was deeply saddened to learn of Mr. Rayners passing. Mr. Rayner left behind a wonderful legacy. Those who remember him felt like he was a dear friend who talk to them; not talking down to them.
I remember getting up in the morning for school, getting dressed and while eating breakfast we would watch Ray Rayner and Friends. I loved watching that show. I am 52 now and still I miss him, RIP my old friend, you are missed.
Ray was very important to me when I was a child. I grew up in a house full of neatniks, and I was a disorganized slob. Somehow, seeing Ray on the air every morning with his pantsuit covered with pinned-on notes and his messy handwriting on the chalkboard and his hopelessly screwed up art projects … he made me feel like it was okay to be just the way I was. An important message.
Amazing man, was told he was a downed pilot in WWII and one of orignal POWs in story made into move “great escape” with Steve McQueen (I don’t know if he actually tried to escape or not). He wrote a book about entertaining which is hard to find (I found it in the library of congress). I am sure he could get mad like the rest of us, but the thought of it seems about as likely as finding ocean front property in Utah. I like to think that people like him and Rod Serling left us with a lot of the goodness that we have maintained later in life, and I now wish I had written him a personal letter thanking him.
i watched ray rayner when i was a little kid ray has touched alot of children and parents hearts allover the chicago area ray will always be remembered in the chicago childrens television museum at the wgn stidios
I remember Ray singing “More than the greatest love the world has known.” Never knew the title of the song but remembered that organ with the deep bass notes. Lo and behold, I went to Chicago’s Museum of Broadcast Communcations (when it was located on Michigan Ave.) checked out a tape and it was the exact one with Ray singing the song above. I can’t begin to tell of how WGN’s children’s programming had an affect on my growing up in Chicago in the 50s and 60’s. I wish they had taped and kept tapes of the Bob Bell after school show where he dressed up as an old guy who was the caretaker of the Odeon Theater. Andy Star would show 3 Stooges and Andy Clyde shorts. I still remember the happy, memorable tune that played as the show went off (and came on too, I think). I wish I had copies of that and all the other shows.
Due to becoming quite disheartened and disgusted with TV News and most TV in general, I never heard about Mr. Rayner’s passing. I remember his shows and his routines like it was yesterday. Most clearly, I remember getting my first VCR and deciding I was going to start collecting Bugs Bunny cartoons, which I still love to this day. Fortunately, Ray still had a morning show at that time, and I managed to get quite a few of the cartoons. Sometimes I let the tape run and get a bit of Ray doing weather or something. So long, bud; you were a big part of my youth. I’m sorry you died, but I’m really glad you lived!
ray family and friends,
we currently live in one of ray raynor’s homes. i feel such good karma here. i wish there were more shows like his on tv now
debbie and bob patterson
Thank you James Ascareggi for the Cuddly Dudley song lyrics:
WE’RE OFF TO CUDDLY DUDLEY’S HOUSE
HE’S CUTE AS HE CAN BE
WITH HIS FUR OF GOLD AND HIS NOSE SO COLD
HE’S CUDDLY AS CAN BE.
HE HAS RIDDLES AND JOKES
BUT THE FUN THAT HE POKES IS NEVER AIMED AT ME
HERE’S THE PLACE THAT HE LIVES
AND THE NAME THAT HE GIVES IS CUDDLY.
Ray read some of the letters that were sent to the show out loud on the show.
I remember watching the day that Ray was reading letters and someone had sent these lyrics that they wrote for the tune that was used when Ray would walk over to Cuddly Dudley’s house.
I love Ray Rayner and I love the Ray Rayner show and I love WGN for bringing such great programs to us. God bless Ray Rayner and his legacy.
I did a search on Ray Raynor and found this. It’s very strange how I forgot how the man looked until I saw his picture again. Suddenly all of those feelings come back and I remember his great face. I feel like I’m a kid again in Chicago. Wishing I could stay home from School to watch Ray. Man, that’s part of my wonderful childhood.
I know it is late but I will miss you Ray for everything Cub highlites The Turtle races making anything out of a number ( I still do ) Truly Chicago I am 50 loved growing up on channel 9! Loveya Ray! Folks outside channel 9 would’nt understand…. Donald Ray Brewster Muskegon Michigan.
For some reason, I happened to be thinking back to 1969 when, as a ten year old, I became enamored with two things that were very much Chicago; the Cubbies and the Ray Raynor Show. As an “Army brat”, my family moved around alot and my Dad had bought a house in Wheeling, Illinois, where we lived from October of ’67 until December of ’69. 1969, for me, was the year of Ron Santo, Billy Williams, Ernie Banks, Fergie Jenkins…and the Cubs. I learned to love baseball and Ray kept us kids afloat while that great team did a nose dive and broke all of our hearts. I learned a lot about loss that year as my Dad was killed in a car accident midway through September. Ray helped me to get through so many things and I’ll always be thankful that he was such a pal. You’re in all of our hearts, Ray. And you always will be.
I remember Ray Rainer and his morning shows, I grew up watching it and even into my teens I still loved it. To this day Rocky and his friends is my favorite cartoon. And I spent every lunch time watching Bozo. I see that so many loved Ray and he was a part of so many lifes growing up. Every other show like Lucy and Andy Griffth show reruns, why can’t we see reruns of that morning show? My grandkids would love it I know!
I cannot believe its been 3 years since Ray’s passing.Watching bozo gar @ ray really brought back memories of good times.The thing that stands out about Ray is his war record,saving a crippled
B-17 and then helping to dig tunnels in the most notorious pow camp stalag luft 3.God bless u Ray
you will never be forgotten by the legion of kids who watched you all those years ago.
Does anyone know the lyrics to the song “ark in the park” that appeared on show. That brought back so many memoris when I watch the bozo gar@ ray show on Thanksgiving day. Now I can’t get the lyrics out of my head!!
“I got green alligators and long-necked geese/Some humpty backed camels and some chimpanzees/I got cats, rats and elephants but Lord, I’m so forlorn/I just can’t see no unicorn.”
Ahhhh, there was never so much fun in the morning & Dark Shadows in the afternoon.
I GOOGLED RAY RAYNER I FOUND THAT HE PASSED AWAY I REMEMBER THOSE GREAT MEMORIES LIVING IN CHICAGO ,WATCHING CUDDLEY DUDDLEY THOSE OLD RERUNS OF BUGS BUNNY.I AM 45 YEARS OLD KNOW BOY TO BE A KID AGAIN.FAKEING TO BE SICK TO WATCH RAY RAYNER SHOW.I DONT MISS THE COLD WINTERS OF CHICAGO WATING FOR THE C.T.A BUS I WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER RAY RAYER SHOW THANKS FROM SEATTLE.MAY YOU HAVE YOUR OWN SHOW IN HEAVEN.
Here it is Dec 07 and for some strange reason, Ray Rayner came to my mind. I’m 52 now and have such warm, wonderful memories of Ray, of course when my 3 siblings and I were preparing for school in Robbins IL. Ray, there will never be another one like you. Rest in peace, my thoughts and prayers are with your family. Roberta Cruz, Sacramento California.
And to me this December, Ray came to mind. What a great man. Love and cereal. Glenview out!
I remember watching Ray Rayner from the time I was 4 or 5 years old. I attended afternoon kindergarten at Central Park Elementary and would still wake up at 7:00 every morning to watch Ray. I did this all the way up until we moved to Atlanta in 1979. I hadn’t known that Ray had passed away until I did a search on Google for him. To the memory of Ray Rayner, thanks for making childhood fun.
I grew up in Michigan city, all our local stations were Chicago. my favorite memories of my childhood included Ray my dad would watch his show for local weather report.
I am so glad to find a lot of people feel as I do that Ray Rayner proves that when you merge talent and decency together you get not good but GREAT entertainment. It’s something the current crop of tube titans could well learn. I loved his morning show. It was often the only reason to turn on the set. Wish they were on DVD’s. OH … Well
On behalf of all us kids who made Ray a part of our morning getting ready for school ritual in the late 60’s and 70’s….thanks Ray, you will never know what you mean to us….you are part of our childhood….thanks
Nobody did it better. God speed Ray! We miss you!
I just ordered 1 authentic Cub and 1 authentic Sox hat from Amazon.com. I’ll cut them both in half, and sew them together, and hang he 2-sided hat in my study, 2000 miles from Chicago, as an homage to Ray Rayner, and the summer memories of him scrolling through the highlights of my beloved Cubs and Sox in the late ’70’s. Niether team was even close to great in those days, but Ray always made you believe, and the highlights meant everything to thousands of little leaguers in Chicago.
when i was growing up in michigan, it was always a special treat when we got to grandpas and grandmas house in gurnee and watch rays show.the world needs more shows like his. gone are the tales of green alligators and long-necked sheep. thank you ray for giving that to me in my childhood
I am a cardia nurse and I took care of Ray’s war buddy at a local hospital. Ray’s friend asked me where I was from and I told him Chicago. When he asked me if I ever heard of Ray Rayner, I laughed and started singing…”green alligators and some long neck geese some hump-back camels and some chimpanzees, some rats and cats and elephants your sure to find but you’re never gonna see any unicorn” …..sure the words probably aren’t exact but that’s the fun of it. This man then told me he was with Ray in a German prison camp after they were both shot down in World War Tw. He told me some more amazing stories about Ray and I praise him as a hero for all he went through and did! This kind gentleman proceeded to called Ray on the phone (he lived in Fort Myers-20 minutes away from me!!) and asked him to say
hello ….. I nearly fell over with excitement!! My hand shook as I took the phone ……then….I heard his sweet, kind voice….and believe me, a stream of tears welled up inside of me and my childhood memories burst forth and flooded me with such an innocent joy of long ago! I remember asking him if Cuddly Duddly was still alive….as if he ever was!!….but the thing that struck me the most was how this man in a very humble way thanked me for still loving him after all these years, and stated, “yes, my dear, Cuddly lives at the museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago”.
Don’t know why but Ray popped into my mind today. I am the daughter of a single mother that worked in a factory, which ment my brother and I had to get up at 5:00am everyday to get to the daycare center we went to. I can not remember a time when Ray was not on the air durring one of those early mornings getting us off to school after a dose of laughter for the day…Thank you.
Miss you Ray. We used to talk about Regis High School where you and my Dad went to school. You WERE Chicago television! Your love lingers.
I LOVED WATCHING RAY FOR ALMOST MY ENTIRE CHILDHOOD, I DID NOT KNOW HE HAD PASSED UNTIL TODAY BUT THEN AT 47 YEARS OF AGE I AM FINDING THAT ALOT OF MY HEROS ARE GOING AWAY FAST. HE WAS MY INSPIRATION DURING MY YOUNGER AND OLDER YEARS. IT IS GREAT TO HAVE SPENT SO MANY MORNINGS WITH YOU, THANK YOU AND I HOPE YOU FINALLY LEARNED HOW TO USE THOSE SCISSORS.
I can remember watching Ray Rayner every day. Seems just like yesterday that he was on tv. My my kids missed out.
I was watching a Slippery Rock Football game this past weekend and I remembered Ray would put the score of the game in the corner of his chalk board. Was hopping he was still alive and well sorry to read this info, RIP Ray
Thanks for the memories. Ray
Wow. Thanksgiving 2008. It was so long ago, but is so well remembered.
Thanks Ray! and Buh-buh-buh-byyyyeee!
I had been watching the Bozo,Gar & Ray Show going down memory lane this past Thanksgiving show. Each and every morning during the winter my brother, sister and me would be getting dressed for school & crossing our fingers hoping that our school would be closed that day. As bad as he was with crafts, he did them on a kid level if you think about it. What kid does crafts so perfectly. That’s what the joy was, how many of your Mom’s hung on to school projects you made that looked like Ray’s? Thanks Ray for encouraging to do my best no matter what the outcome! You will be missed!!!
Born in 1960 and growing up in Joliet, Ill, my sister and I would watch Ray Rayner nearly every chance we had. I can’t say any more than what’s been said, but I will always remember that show. Diver Dan was my personal favorite. I hated that Barracuda!
Ray Rayner will always have a special place in my heart and for countless others. As a kid, you made getting up and going to school, just a little bit easier.
I’m looking forward to the day when Ray and all of the great WGN children shows will be available on DVD. Let’s show the coming generations what great shows they missed.
I have looked so many times to find any information on Ray Rayner and his early morning show. How sad I was to hear of his passing. I’m sure he is smiling wherever he is, as how could he not be with all the joy he brought to myself and so many others. His show was so much fun. I remember begging my mom for a stuffed Cuddly Dudley and watching before I left for school. I grew up in St. Joseph, Michigan and due to our proximity to Lake Michigan and the clear field of view to Chicago that is where all our TV stations came from. On the west side of the lower part of the state we are mostly Chicago sports fans as well. Just to see a photo of his face flooded my mind with so many pleasant memories of my childhood. God blessed our youth with such a fun and special man.
The world is a less happier place with good old Ray gone. Thank you Ray !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
How can I watch old episodes? Would it be possible to buy complete seasons? How else am I supposed to get my son to become a fan?
It is a shame that such talent has been locked away in a vault.
I just read about Ray’s passing today (3/09) Geesh, where did yesterday go? At least, we have the sweet memories of yesteryear with Ray Rayner. Thats a part of our childhood that cannot be taken away. Thank you, Ray Rayner, for making us laugh, and feel like we were your best friends.
Ray never dies. A boyfriend of a lady I know looks just like Cuddly Duddley. I’ve been searching for a photo to show them.
My name is Jesse cross from the south side of Chicago, and I loved my old buddy Ray Rayner. I was born in 1961 and ever since I can remember, I woke up in the morning before school and watched Ray, with his sticky posted notes stuck to his jumpsuit. I remember trying to figure out which one was Suzy Snowflake, and Hardrock coco and Joe. I just found out about his death in 2009 June; can you believe that. When I think about how good he made me feel when I was a kid, I feel like I lost an old friend!! Rest in peace Ray– Bye Bye Byyyyyyyye!!
In the 1970s when I lived in Burbank Ill. I heard that Ray Rayner was to make an appearance at the Toys R Us in Ford city and I convinced my dad to take me there to see him. Well we got there to late and they told us that he had already left but I didn’t want to believe that I had missed him so I walked all the way in the back of the store and looked in the back where the employees can only go and there he was! He seen me and quickly walked up to me to shake my hand and gave us free stuff and we talked for awhile. He was a good guy and he had a great show. Thank you Ray for the memories. Peter
Watched the WGN Tribute show that seems to air every Thanksgiving. Boy, did it bring back memories, and a lot of smiles. I was able to see the Bozo show with Bob Bell when I was little. Ahh, black and white TV, and being in that small studio, that looked so huge on TV! Ray Rayner was my favorite show to watch getting ready in the morning for school, hoping to see my school – District 200, was closed for the day due to snow! Hardrock, Coco, and Joe were my holiday favorites (along with Suzy Snowflake), and good ole Chelveston (we had a white duck, his name was Henry!) chasing Ray all over. TV just isn’t the same these days, the honesty is gone, and the simpleness as well. Clutch Cargo (and the mouths that moved!) and Diver Dan…..those were shows of my era! I know Ray is in heaven, smiling down on those of us that remember those days with joy, and he is sorely missed. Just a genuinely GOOD person. God Bless his family.
Ray made it a little easier for me to get going in the morning, especially during 6th grade which was an exceptionally low point in my life at the time. God bless!
fondest memory was on april 1 fools day when , as a child i heard from ray ( chicago sinking into the lake) i ran to my folks to tell them the news only to find out it was a very detailed joke.
so thanks to ray to make each day wonderfull.
oh by the way years latter some person during a lake constuction job hit a underground tunnel in a way sinking chicago into the lake. not to worry chicago remained.
Wow. I remember growing up Ray was the man. I knew he passed, but I’m just now finding this tribute page. The memories this brings back are just too numerous. I remember seeing Ray on a WGN reunion show. He was still wearing his jumpsuit and with his to do’s. His arts and crafts still looked like a 4 year old did it LOL.
I had the pleasure of meeting Ray and Bob Bell (Bozo) without makeup just before my taping began for Romper Room. As so many have said before me, another part of my childhood has transitioned into eternity. R.I.P. to all my childhood heros; Ray Rainer, Bob Bell, Miss Elizabeth, Ray Brown (Cookie), and Fraizer Thomas. All gone, but never, ever forgotten.
As with so many other folks that have posted, out of the clear blue I googled Ray’s name. My husband had dropped a pen straight down into a glass and I had a flashback of the Grand Prize Game on Bozo’s Circus. I was so sad to hear of Ray’s passing and reading everyone’s posts has brought back such warm memories of growing up in Chi-town in the 60’s. The turtle races, Romper Room, the do-it-yourself projects, Diver Dan, Clutch Cargo, Hardrock, Coco & Joe!! I am truly overwhelmed. Thank you Ray, for such exquisite memories of a simpler time.
Ray Raynor & Frazier Thomas gave me so many happy memories!! Thinking of them, during a trip to memory lane… They were awesome.
I just finished reading the tributes to Ray and have had tears streaming as I read all the wonderful things he did for a lot of people. He didn’t know these people personally, but he was such a huge part of all of our lives.
If you grew up in the 60’s & 70’s in the Chicago veiwing area, you knew & loved Ray Rayner. He is and always will be a huge part of my childhood. Thanks for the memories, my friend!