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 Please post condolences for Ray Neilson here. 
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Post Please post condolences for Ray Neilson here.
Raymond Paul Neilson succumbed to a brain tumor on Sunday July 31, 2005 after spending over a month in the hospital. :cry: Ray was a long time transit fan and created many tapes documenting the history of transit systems throughout North America. Ray was the president of the TTC Transit Club for some years. During his life he played many roles including taxi driver, real estate agent, DJ (at U of T's Erindale Campus}, security guard, and videographer. He also played as Count Ray on Star Ray TV and was a long time supporter of this station.

Ray's funeral was held on August 6, 2005 where his friends and family gathered to remember Ray and share their memories of his interesting life.

Please share your memories of Ray, or post your condolences.

Fri Sep 28, 2007 12:28 pm
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Joined: Thu Sep 27, 2007 11:36 pm
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Location: Toronto
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Post Count Ray
It is hard to come up with fitting words to describe Count Ray, he was such a great talent. He was throughly professional too, if the Count said he was going to do something he did it. Most hosts needed to prepare to come up with questions for guests on Public Forum, the Count needed about five minutes with a guest before a show and off he'd go live to air!

He really enjoyed doing the Creature Feature with Shadow. He didn't even mind the hour of makeup. Most of his jokes were improv, he would bounce things off Shadow and see what worked. We tried for a campy "Ed Wood" feel with the show. We wanted to do some more Count Ray shorts after Ray had brain surgery but unfortunately Count Ray's condition deteriorated rapidly.

Count Ray's documentaries about public transportion were in a class of their own. Ray had the ability to aquire historical film from amateur film makers, edit this footage together with interesting commentary. One viewer called up and said he'd seen his father's car from the 50's in one of the Count's documentaries. He recognised it by it's distinctive paint job.
I'm not aware of any other documentaries of Toronto similiar to what Ray was doing.

We are a small community here at Star Ray TV and we tried to assist the The Count the best we could in his dying days. Station members visited the Count regularly in hospital. Shadow also visited the Count. We arranged for Ray's 95 year old disabled mother to visit Ray. Henry from the Ave Maria Center had Father Dino from St. Patrick's help the Count with his spiritual matters. Henry also lead the Rosary for Count Ray with the last prayers at his bedside 12 hours before he died.

Count Ray will be missed but not forgotten. His videotape legacy will live on. Here at Star Ray TV we wonder if there is somebody that can fill Count Ray's shoes. He was on of a kind.

"Be the change you want to see in the world."
- Mahatma Gandhi

Fri Sep 28, 2007 12:30 pm
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Post Count Ray, RIP
Mr. Neilson [Count Ray}, brought his off beat brand of humour, and video skills to the station, and we never seemed to know what would happen next. He will be sadly missed.

Fri Sep 28, 2007 12:32 pm
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Post Re: Please post condolences for Ray Neilson here.
Ray will be missed for sure. His work to bring the TTC to life in these great GPS videos, his writings, and more will be remembered for a very long time. We have truly lost a great man.

Fri Sep 28, 2007 12:33 pm
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Post Re: V.J. Ray
I would like to submit the side to Ray that I knew, as a music videographer. I first met Ray (aka V.J. Ray or Video Jockey Ray) when he hosted the music show at the Etobicoke McLean /Hunter cable TV station. I had watched his program dozens of times and any band, mostly punk and post punk bands would submit their concert footage and he would air it, often talking about the band afterward. He was so keen on everybody and took what they were doing very sincerely. When I met Ray it was through my long time friend Andy Tough, who was a Director at the station. Ray had acquired 3 David Bowie videos and knowing that, at the time I was a huge fan, he asked me to produce a documentary on him. Ray and I worked closely on this hour long doc. and we were both very pleased with the result.

A couple of years later The Beverly Tavern on Queen St. became my second home and I was happy to see Ray become a regular there, too. Not as a drinker, no he came to work. Ray would show up with one of those big, heavy portable video cameras they had back in the '80's, to film all sorts of bands like Rheostatics, Vital Sines and The Dave Howard Singers. By this time he started calling himself Ray dio Reality. He was such a fan of The Stranglers that he would dress head to foot in black with one of their Black Raven badges pinned to his lapel and thought of himself as one of the men in black, which The Stranglers were known as. He really would've liked to have been the 5th Strangler. He would also show up on Monday nights and play episodes of Lesley Neilson's "Police Squad." He was annoyed that it wasn't aired in Canada and had to show it just because it was so funny. How he managed to get a hold of high end U-Matic copies I'll never know, but I wasn't surprised. He had a talent for that.

I moved away for the better part of the next decade but in the early 90's after I returned we saw each other one last time when he came to video a show I was playing at. He and I really had a good long talk especially because in my absence I had the chance to work with J.J. Burnel, the bass player for The Stranglers. Ray wanted to hear everything, asked lots of questions and told me a thing or two as well.

As life took us both in different directions we lost touch. In late 2004 I had a thought about his collection of Toronto bands and wondered what he was planing on doing with them. I wish I had acted on that idea sooner. Foolishly I procrastinated and didn't act until July 30th 2005. His friend Michael (I think) told me that he was at Toronto Grace Hospital. One month earlier my mother had passed away at Toronto Grace. I was very upset with this news, but afterwards comforted to know that he was in the best possible hands. I quickly drove over to see him but it really was too late. He wasn't "awake" by that time. The nurses who were puzzled to see me there again until I told them I was there for Ray said they could try to wake him, but I said no. Let the man rest.

I would like to think that he somehow knew I was there and again a week later. I think of Ray often and he was a friend of mine.

Dave Howard

Mon Mar 02, 2009 2:03 pm
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Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2015 8:56 pm
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Post Re: Please post condolences for Ray Neilson here.
I only discovered Star Ray TV in the last year or so, and was quickly delighted to find the variety of high-quality documentary productions on the TTC (as well as other transit systems). Seeing the credits, I noticed what an important figure Ray Neilson was, not only in producing these, but in capturing an important part of local history and making it available & interesting to a large portion of the public.

I never met or knew Ray, but I have become a fan through his legacy - the videos that continue to live on. My condolences to all who knew and loved him, and my thanks to Star Ray for continuing to broadcast these valuable & enjoyable shows, through which I continue to learn a great deal about the history of my city!


Sun Sep 20, 2015 10:59 am
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