Ray

Created by Stephen J. Cannell (1941-2010)

"Someday I'll return, and I'll ask you to perform a favor, and you must do it"

-- Ray's terms-of-service

RAY, as played by Nick Mancuso in television's short-lived Stingray (1985, NBC) was an ex-Intelligence operative and enigmatic loner who helped people with their problems when they contacted him through a newspaper ad:

Stingray.
For Barter Only.

Some dubbed it "The Equalizer on wheels," although Ray was far cooler than McCall could ever be. His fee was simply "a favor", which could be any thing, any time, and would be asked in order to help Ray help someone else (a gimmick, incidentally, that resurfaced years later on Vengeance Unlimited).

Presumably, Ray got his name from his car, a classic black 1965 Corvette Stingray (and naturally, there was a model car kit available for sale, as well. Molded in black plastic, of course). Come to think of it, Ray tended to favor black in his wardrobe as well.

The short-lived series had class and style. One of the nice touches was that whenever anyone attempted to run Ray's fingerprints, the match would come back either as someone he clearly was not, or as "Classified" by the D.O.D. When his plate was run, it would come back as registered to the White House or the Governor of the State.

Ray was a competent investigator, adopting disguises that went far beyond mere make-up -- he could assume a complete personna instantly, complete with dialect, accent and mannerisms ranging from an effete European hair stylist to a poor, illiterate laborer. He was highly skilled in martial arts and weapons use, and was computer savvy at a time when home computers were rare.

Mancuso made for a slick action/adventure hero and several of the episodes were pretty gripping -- if at times far-fetched. The show ran for 25 episodes, and did okay in the ratings, but NBC cancelled it, supposedly to make room for a new series by Michael Mann who was riding high at the time, due to his success with Miami Vice and Crime Story.

TELEVISION

  • STINGRAY ...Buy the complete series on DVD
    (1985, NBC)
    2-hour pilot
    Original airdate: July 14, 1985
    Written by Stephen J. Cannell
    Directed by Richard Colla
    Starring Nick Mancuso as RAY
    Also starring Robyn Douglass, Gregory Sierra, John Aprea, Susan Blakely, Michael Fairman, Joe Penternia, Joey Pento, Lee Richardson, Dick Stewart, Wendell Wright

  • STINGRAY
    (1986-87, NBC)
    Writers: Stephen J. Cannell, Herb Wright, Lawrence Hertzog, Tom Lazerus, Harold Apter, Carol Mendelsohn, Frank Lupo, Stephen L. Sears, Bert Perl, Randall Wallace, Tom Blomquist, Evan Lawrence, Judy Burns
    Directors: Charles Picerni, David Hemmings, Larry Shaw, Kim Manners, Michael Preece, Rob Stanton Bowman, Gary Winter, Don Chaffey, Les Sheldon, Larry Shaw, James Darren, Don Chaffey, Lyndon Chubbuck, Chuck Bowman, Larry Shaw
    Starring Nick Mancuso as RAY
    Guest stars: Rachel Ticotin, James Wainwright, Kathleen Lloyd, Tom Atkins, Robert Vaughn, Scott Paulin, James Handy, Robyn Douglass, John Walsh, Barbara Williams, David Hemmings, Marcia Strassman, Eugene Roche, Samantha Eggar, Bibi Osterwald, Jeff Conaway, Felton Perry, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Blue Mankuma

  • Season One
  • "Ancient Eyes" (March 11, 1986; AKA "Sea Grass")
  • "Ether"(March 25, 1986)
  • "Below the Line" (April 1, 1986)
  • "Sometimes You Gotta Sing the Blues" (April 8, 1986)
  • "Abnormal Psyche" (April 15, 1986)
  • "Orange Blossom" (April 29, 1986)
  • "Less Than the Eye Can See" (May 6, 1986)
  • "That Terrible Swift Sword" (May 13, 1986)

  • Season Two
  • "The Greeter" (January 9, 1987)
  • "Gemini" (January 16, 1987)
  • "Playback" (January 23, 1987)
  • "Bring Me the Hand That Hit Me" (January 30, 1987)
  • "Echoes" (February 6, 1987)
  • "The First Time is Forever" (February 20, 1987)
  • "Autumn" (February 27, 1987)
  • "The Neniwa" (March 6, 1987)
  • "The Second Finest Man Who Ever Lived" (March 20, 1987)
  • "Night Maneuvers" (March 27, 1987)
  • "Cry Wolf" (April 3, 1987)
  • "Blood Money" (April 10, 1987)
  • "Anytime, Anywhere" (April 17, 1987)
  • "Caper" (May 1, 1987)
  • "One Way Ticket to the End of the Line"(May 8, 1987)

RELATED LINKS

Some hot and not-so-hot wheels of some hot eyes.

Respectfully submitted by Mike Harris, with some additional info supplied by Kevin Burton Smith. And thanks to Nick Mancuso's lawyer for not suing my ass off. Now he can go back to peddling food supplements.


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