While at soccer practice today, one of the coaches commented that the game conflicts with the Chicago Blackhawks playoff game. I joked that my memories of serious Blackhawk teams also include Ray Rayner. He instantly knew what I was talking about and simply said, “wasn’t that great.”
If you grew up in the Chicagoland area throughout the 70’s-80’s, Ray Rayner was a part of your morning ritual. How do I describe him. Ok, picture a grown man, wearing a jumpsuit. On the jumpsuit, he had patches of paper.
On each piece of paper was a reminder of an upcoming moment. For example, it might tell him to play a cartoon, such as “Clutch Cargo.” You do know who Clutch, paddlefoot and the gang are-right? They were cartoon figures who had human lips that moved when they spoke. Of course, he also had “Journey to the Beginning of Time, Diver Dan, and holiday classics like Hardrock, Coco and Joe.
On any given day, he could be lipsynching a song; pretending he was a band leader; making things with popscicle sticks; talking to Cuddly Duddly the dog or Chulveston the duck. It was so spontaneous and free. Something no station would allow today. But what I look forward to the most were the sports scores.
Before ESPN, and the other million sports outlets, there was Ray Raynor. He would simply pick up a piece of chalk and divide and distribute the scores for the Chicago Cubs, Sox, Bulls, Bears, and Blackhawks on a blackboard.And then he would follow it up with some sports highlight film. It just didn’t seem right to leave for school without watching the highlights.
It was a perfect way for a kid to start the day-Carnation instant breakfast, poptarts, and Ray Rayner.