Here's Ray Rayner!

On his morning show, Ray donned a jump suit everyday that would be covered by little notes. Ray would pull off a note to see what was next on the show's agenda! The notes were actually blank.  The idea of the jumpsuit covered with notes harks back to when Rayner was still at WBBM-TV. 

His debut show on Chicago television was Rayner Shine, where Ray and Mina Kolb  entertained the morning audience with pantomime, lip synching to popular songs, and light banter.  However, faced with stiff competition from Dave Garroway over at WNBQ on Garroway At Large and later with The Today Show from NBC New York, Rayner Shine never made a dent.   Mina Kolb would move to Hollywood to be featured in the sitcom Pete  and Gladys in 1961.  On Saturday afternoons in 1957, Ray hosted a dance party show a la Dick Clark and Jim Lounsbury called The Ray Rayner Show.

When the owners of the basically new station (The former United Paramount Theaters-owned WBKB-channel 4 had only recently hit the airwaves as the new CBS o&o WBBM-TV decided that Ray was better suited as a children's show host, he reluctantly agreed and The Little Show was born.

So Ray thought about an image. WBBM-TV's other children's show Garfield Goose & Friend (inherited from the old WBKB) had Frazier Thomas as a "prime minister."    Phil Murray, a director at WBBM-TV at the time suggested a jumpsuit because they were only $5 at Sears. On his first show Ray wore a brown jumpsuit. But it needed something, so Murray suggested the use of notes stuck to the jumpsuit and the rest is history. In a sense, Ray predated post-it notes by thirty years. 

 Ray later appeared as Capt. Abernathy on Popeye's Firehouse (also on WBBM-TV-by now settled in on channel 2) before being wooed over to WGN-TV-channel 9 to appear as Sgt. Henry Pettibone in the local live segments of the syndicated limited animation series The Dick Tracy Show.  Three months later, Ray made his first appearance on the successful noon staple Bozo's Circus as Oliver O. Oliver,  He would stay until 1971.



copyright 2000-2003 Steve Jajkowski