The Late Movies: California Raisins

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.

A Very Brief History of Chamber Pots

Some of the oldest chamber pots found by archeologists have been discovered in ancient Greece, but portable toilets have come a long way since then. Whether referred to as "the Jordan" (possibly a reference to the river), "Oliver's Skull" (maybe a nod to Oliver Cromwell's perambulating cranium), or "the Looking Glass" (because doctors would examine urine for diagnosis), they were an essential fact of life in houses and on the road for centuries. In this video from the Wellcome Collection, Visitor Experience Assistant Rob Bidder discusses two 19th century chamber pots in the museum while offering a brief survey of the use of chamber pots in Britain (including why they were particularly useful in wartime).

A Tour of the New York Academy of Medicine's Rare Book Room

The Rare Book Room at the New York Academy of Medicine documents the evolution of our medical knowledge. Its books and artifacts are as bizarre as they are fascinating. Read more here.


More from mental floss studios