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California Raisins Toys

The California Raisins are an advertising concept created by the California Raisin Advisory Board in 1986. The ad was a claymation cartoon with personified raisins singing “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” punning on the fact that raisins come from grapes. They became a pop culture sensation, and there are California Raisins toys and items created to celebrate their fame.

What types of California Raisins toys are available?

California Raisins products include action figures and minifigures that replicate the look of the Raisins in a variety of poses. Typically, the Raisins were made of tough plastic or polyvinyl chloride that could be adjusted slightly to change their positions and create different looks. Some had removable accessories, such as sunglasses or microphones.

Stuffed Raisins were another form of California Raisins merchandise. These stuffed items included large-sized Raisins and pillows in the shape of Raisins. Other toy options include miniature Raisin figurines, coin banks that looked like Raisins, dolls, videos, and a board game that featured the Raisins trying to get to a performance.

What California Raisin toys did the Hardee's restaurant release?

The Hardee's fast-food restaurant purchased a license to release many California Raisins toys. They released items with their kids’ meals. You could also get the items for separate purchase. These figures came in different types, including small figurines and promotional plastic cups.

For example, their dolls focused on the various California Raisin characters. Lead singer, Tiny Goodbite, had a microphone in one hand and posed in a dramatic singing position. Appropriately, the saxophone player had a saxophone in his hands. Other singers, such as Justin X. Grape and Ben Idasun, featured different colored shoes and sunglasses.

The promotional California Raisins cups typically featured scenes from the animated commercials and the TV cartoon series. These scenes featured the California Raisins in a variety of different club and musical poses. Other figures in the series included the California Raisins with surfboards, guitars, skateboards, and other items.

What specific varieties of California Raisin toys were produced?

When “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” became a hit, California Raisins toys were produced. Some of these came out of the Vinton, California area. However, other companies tried to cash in on the success of the claymation characters. A cartoon was created to showcase them on multiple adventures. It led to a large number of toys including:

  • Minifigures: These small plastic figures feature each of the group members in poses.
  • Michael Jackson figure: As Michael Jackson inspired the look and style of the group, a large figure of him as a Raisin was produced.
  • Bootleg NES games: While the NES game was never released, it was completed. As a result, bootleg versions are available.
  • Matchbox racer: This toy features the group riding around in various Matchbox cars.
  • Masks: Halloween masks were produced to let children be their favorite California Raisin.
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