Ark in the Park with Ray Rayner and Dr. Lester Fisher


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I love this question! The perfect way to celebrate my ChicagoNow 400th post

Like you, I too enjoyed learning about the animals when I used to watch Ray Rayner.  Would you happen to know the lyrics to that catchy little theme song that was played?”  Howard W.

My earliest influences re: the animal world, Dr. Lester Fisher’s appearances on Ray Rayner’s Ark in the Park segments, Marlin Perkins of Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom, and my dad (if I have made a difference, in this world – he deserves the credit – at least I had the chance to tell him) .

Marlin Perkins

My father instilled a love for all things wild and for nature, which I still have to this day…and long before the days of Animal Planet, there weren’t a lot of choices.

My dad at the Shedd Aquarium

I met Marlin Perkins once, and interviewed him once by phone.

Dr. Fisher I actually got to know from when I was at the Lincoln Park Zoo. NICE MAN.

Dr. Fisher’s Life on the Ark

I still see Dr. Fisher at various animal welfare related events; he’s on the Anti Cruelty of Society Board of Directors. When I wrote American Zoo’s (back in 1992), I dedicated the book to my dad, and also Dr. Fisher. When Dr. Fisher authored his book, Dr. Fisher’s Life on the Ark: Green Alligators, Bushman, and Other “Hare-Raising Tales” from America’s Most Popular Zoo and Around the World (in 2005), he asked me to write a blurb for the book jacket. Of course, I was honored.

Now, to the song – performed by the Irish Rovers, called The Unicorn Song

words and music Shel Silverstein

A long time ago, when the Earth was green,


There was more kinds of animals than you’ve ever seen.

And they ran about and played while the Earth was being born,

And the loveliest of all was the unicorn.

There was green alligators and long-necked geese,

Some humpty backed camels and some chimpanzees.

Some cats and rats and elephants, but sure as you’re born,

The loveliest of all was the unicorn.

Ray Rayner & Friends

The Lord seen some sinning and it caused Him pain.

And He said, ‘Stand back, I’m going to make it rain!’

He said, ‘Hey, Brother Noah, I’ll tell you what to do,

Go and build me a floating zoo,’

‘and take some’……. 

Dr. Lester Fisher and Steve Dale at Anti Cruelty’s Bark in the Park summer 2010

‘Green alligators and long-necked geese,

Some humpty backed camels and some chimpanzees.

Some cats and rats and elephants, but sure as you’re born.

Don’t you forget My unicorns.’

Old Noah was there to answer the call,

He finished up the ark just as the rain started to fall.

Then he marched in the animals two by two,

And he called out as they came through,

‘Hey Lord,’       

Ray Rayner with the wild and cuddly, Cuddly Duddly – Chicago Broadcast history

‘I’ve got green alligators and long-necked geese,

Some humpty backed camels and some chimpanzees.

Some cats and rats and elephants, but Lord, I’m so forlorn,

I just can’t find no unicorns!’

And Noah looked out through the driving rain,

Them unicorns were hiding, playing silly games. 

Dr. Lester on the radio with me a few years back


Kicking and splashing while the rain was pourin’,

Oh, them silly unicorns!

There was green alligators and long-necked geese,

Some humpty backed camels and some chimpanzees.

Noah cried, ‘Close the door because it’s starting to storm,

You’re never going to see no unicorn….maybe


And we just can’t wait for those unicorns!’

The ark started moving, it drifted with the tide,

The unicorns looked up from the rocks and they cried.

And the waters came down and sort of floated them away,

That’s why you never see unicorns to this very day.

You’ll see some green alligators and long-necked geese,

Lots of humpty backed camels and some chimpanzees.

Some cats and rats and elephants, but sure as you’re born,

You’re never gonna see a unicorn!