The Late Movies: California Raisins

Erica Palan

Sure, we were all psyched about the commercials before last weekend's Super Bowl, but will any of them spawn Emmy Award-winning TV specials? The California Raisins, which began as a 1986 commercial on behalf of the California Raisin Advisory Board, did just that in the late 1980s. Here's a look back at their most memorable moments.

"I Heard it Through the Grapevine"

Done in the styling of Mr. Michael Jackson. This version of the song even made it onto Billboard's Hot 100 list, peaking at #84 in 1988.

Meet the Raisins!

On November 4, 1988, the Raisins made their primetime debut in this spoof on standard musical documentaries. The show follows the group's humble beginnings, rise to success, fall from stardom, and eventual comeback.

A Claymation Christmas Celebration

The Raisins appeared in this Emmy Award-winning special singing "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer."

Show Opener

In 1989, the Raisins got their own animated television show. It only lasted 13 episodes.


In 2002, the Food Network show Unwrapped featured a segment on the California Raisins. Watch this for a look back at how the advertising phenomenon grew to have a worldwide fan base.

Famous Fans

Even Ray Charles wanted a piece of the California Raisins in this memorable commercial.