Retro Scans: 1988 Factory Fresh Box California Raisins

I always loved raisins as a kid.  My mom would always include a little mini box of Sunmaid Raisins (remember those?) in my lunch box, and I would often eat them first.  And of course, who doesn't love Raisinets?  But when I found these little purple claymation cartoon raisins... how could I not be a fan?!

The California Raisins were a fictional rhythm and blues animated musical group used for advertising and merchandising.  Very popular in the late 80s and early 90s, the claymation raisins won an Emmy Award as well as several nominations. 

The California Raisins were initially created for the 1986 Sun-Maid commercial using the "I heard it through the Grapevine" song popularized by Marvin Gaye.  The ad became wildly popular, paving the way for several future commercials and media opportunities, including a CBS primetime special called Meet the Raisins!  It was a musical "mockumentary" created by Vinton Studios and gave the band members individual names and roles.  AC was on vocals, Beebop on drums, Stretch on bass, and Red on the guitar and piano. 

A Saturday morning cartoon series "The California Raisin Show" debuted in 1990 but only lasted 13 episodes.  The same year a followup to the CBS special titled "The Raisins:  Sold Out!"  This special saw the Raisins hiring a new manager at an attempt at a comeback.

Meanwhile, the Raisins were a merchandising powerhouse.  Everything from exclusive fan clubs, lunch boxes, notebooks, clothing, posters, bedsheets, Halloween costumes, and even a Capcom NES Nintendo game featured the purple clay creations.  And of course, the Sticker Trading Card series we are about to open here.

The most memorable pieces of California Raisins merchandise came in the form of small, non-poseable rubbery plastic figures.  The Hardee's fast-food chain offered these as part of a promotion for their Cinnamon and Raisin biscuits. 

Browsing eBay, I came across this box from 1988, still in the original shrink wrap from the factory.  The corners were pristine and looked as if it hadn't been touched since it was made over 30 years ago!

So, what do I do for you people?  I ruin the resale value and open it, that's what.  And then open a pack of cards... for you.

Ok... I really had to see what was inside for myself, but why wouldn't I take photos for you?! 

Let's take a peek together, shall we?

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