Ray Rayner

Ray Rayner

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Ray Rayner

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Ray Rayner (born Raymond M. Rahner on July 23, 1919, Queens, New York – died January 21, 2004) was a staple of Chicago children's television in the 1960s and 1970s on WGN-TV.

Early life

Rayner (the name was initially spelled "Rahner" but pronounced "Rayner") grew up in Queens, New York. He attended College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts; his first media job was working for WGBB radio in Freeport on Long Island while he was attending night school at Fordham University. When World War II broke out he enlisted in the Army Air Corps, serving as the navigator of a B-17 during World War II, when he was shot down over France April 3, 1943. During years as a POW in Stalag Luft III, he helped prepare the escape depicted in the film The Great Escape—though he was transferred to another camp before the escape took place. It was during his time as a POW that he would discover his talent for entertaining, namely through his fellow prisoners and his German captors.


After briefly working in radio in Grand Rapids, Michigan on WOOD Radio as well as New York and Dayton, Ohio radio following the war, Rayner joined what was then WBKB but later became WBBM-TV in Chicago as a staff announcer; he also worked on a local morning program called Rayner Shine in...
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