Not many commercial ads spawn TV specials, albums, toys and an Emmy Award but the California Raisins did back in the 80s. It all started with a simple commercial: some claymation raisins singing Marvin Gaye’s “I heard it through the grapevine”. Then bam! Within 2 years the California Raisins had 2 Primetime specials (one of which was nominated for an Emmy), an appearance on A Claymation Christmas Celebration (which won an Emmy), toys, a cartoon and 3 studio albums. Not bad for a bunch of food that wasn’t good enough to be made into California wine.
I loved the California Raisins and even had one of their albums “Meet the Raisins!” (on cassette) which turned me on to Motown music. So not only were these cute claymation raisins moving product like crazy, they were turning a new generation of kids on to one of the greatest genres of music of all time that otherwise they may never have experienced.
So to sum up, I owe a lot to the California Raisins. I played with their toys, watched and loved their television specials and began a life-long love affair with Motown music because of them. The only thing I didn’t enjoy? The actual taste of the raisins. How’s that for irony?