Fad-Tastic! The California Raisins

    January 19, 2011 at 11:00 am

    There is a reason they are called fads. It’s because they disappeared just as quickly as they blew up in popularity.

    Today’s Fad:The California Raisins

    The California Raisins were a fictional rhythm and blues musical group as well as advertising and merchandising characters composed of raisins. Lead vocals were sung by musician Buddy Miles. The concept was originally created for a 1986 commercial on behalf of the California Raisin Advisory Board. A writer with the advertising firm Foote, Cone & Beldingcame up with an idea for the new raisin commercial, saying “We have tried everything but dancing raisins singing the Marvin Gaye song ‘I Heard It Through the Grapevine.'” The rest is pop culture history.

    Here are some things you didn’t know about The California Raisins:

    “To everyone’s surprise, the commercial became wildly popular, spawning future commercials, two TV specials (Meet the Raisins in 1988 and Raisins: Sold Out! in 1990), four studio albums and a Saturday morning cartoon series, The California Raisin Show.” Thank God all I remember are the commercials.

    “The Raisins also appeared in A Claymation Christmas Celebration in 1987, singing the classic Christmas carol, “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” Pretty sure that’s available on YouTube, and if not, what the hell is taking so long!

    “The Raisins ultimately gained individual names: A.C., Beebop (drums), Stretch (bass), and Red (guitar/piano).” You know, because once you get famous, everyone is out for themselves. Which one married Yoko?

    “This commercial was the first time in history that merchandising products were developed from a commercial advertisement. Many of the items created for the campaign have become part of the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Institution.” More reason not to visit museums.

    “Merchandise sales included toys and Raisins images on every conceivable medium: lunch boxes, notebooks, clothing, posters, etc.” I had California Raisin underwear.

    “Perhaps the most memorable pieces of California Raisins merchandise came in the form of small, non-poseable California Raisins figures.” Had them too. Hid them in my underwear.

    “In the early 1990s, Capcom produced a video game for the Nintendo Entertainment System titled California Raisins: The Grape Escape in which the player controlled a California Raisin through five side-scrolling levels battling various evil fruit and vegetable characters that had stolen the Raisins’ music.” That. sounds. awful.

    1. Rex says:

      They look like fat lumps smashed together … I wanted to be one though

    2. The Man says:

      I wonder if any of them hooked up with the Sunmaid Raisin girl?

    3. The Eggman says:

      As a kid, I once got the poops from California Raisins. Not the food, one of their albums.

    4. That Dude says:

      Is this real life?

    5. Billyb says:

      I do miss these little bastards.

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