Original Commercial

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Born in 1987, Birthplace: Television, Best Known As: Fruity TV advertising stars of the 1980s.

Raisins at the Theatre

The California Raisins are a fictional rhythm and blues musical group comprised of anthropomorphized raisins. Vocals were sung by musician Buddy Miles. The concept was originally created for a 1987 commercial on behalf of the California Raisin Advisory Board when one of the writers, while trying to come up with an idea for a new raisin commercial, said, "We have tried everything but dancing raisins singing "'I Heard it Through the Grapevine'" (a 1968 Marvin Gaye song). To their surprise, the commercial became wildly popular, spawning future commercials, two TV specials (Meet the Raisins and Raisins Sold Out), and a Saturday morning cartoon series, aptly titled The California Raisin Show. The Raisins also appeared in holiday specials such as A Claymation Christmas Celebration. The California Raisins are normally Claymation designed by the Emmy-Award winning studio of Will Vinton, but their cartoon series was cel animated. The artist responsible for the original design was Michael Brunsfeld. The California Raisins reportedly grossed more in the year that was their heyday, 1988, than Californian farmers made selling raisins. This included a wide variety of merchandising, from toys to Raisins images on every conceivable medium: lunch boxes, notebooks, clothing, posters, etc. The Hardee's restaurant chain offered several lines of non-poseable California Raisins figurines as part of promotions for their cinnamon raisin biscuits. A California Raisins music album was also released, featuring classic Motown and rock 'n' roll standards.

What have the Raisins been in since their debut?

Although merchandising law can be just as complicated as criminal law, many law students would rather become a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney than a merchandising or entertainment attorney. With all the marketing and merchandising of The California Raisins in their heyday, it is easy to see the importance and value of careers in merchandising and entertainment law.

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