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.

Unwrapped

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.

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College Board Wants to Erase Thousands of Years From AP World History, and Teachers Aren't Happy
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One would be forgiven for thinking that the Ides of March are upon us, because Julius Caesar is being taken out once again—this time from the Advanced Placement World History exam. The College Board in charge of the AP program is planning to remove the Roman leader, and every other historical figure who lived and died prior to 1450, from high school students’ tests, The New York Times reports.

The nonprofit board recently announced that it would revise the test, beginning in 2019, to make it more manageable for teachers and students alike. The current exam covers over 10,000 years of world history, and according to the board, “no other AP course requires such an expanse of content to be covered over a single school year.”

As an alternative, the board suggested that schools offer two separate year-long courses to cover the entirety of world history, including a Pre-AP World History and Geography class focusing on the Ancient Period (before 600 BCE) up through the Postclassical Period (ending around 1450). However, as Politico points out, a pre-course for which the College Board would charge a fee "isn’t likely to be picked up by cash-strapped public schools," and high school students wouldn't be as inclined to take the pre-AP course since there would be no exam or college credit for it.

Many teachers and historians are pushing back against the proposed changes and asking the board to leave the course untouched. Much of the controversy surrounds the 1450 start date and the fact that no pre-colonial history would be tested.

“They couldn’t have picked a more Eurocentric date,” Merry E. Wiesner-Hanks, who previously helped develop AP History exams and courses, told The New York Times. “If you start in 1450, the first thing you’ll talk about in terms of Africa is the slave trade. The first thing you’ll talk about in terms of the Americas is people dying from smallpox and other things. It’s not a start date that encourages looking at the agency and creativity of people outside Europe.”

A group of teachers who attended an AP open forum in Salt Lake City also protested the changes. One Michigan educator, Tyler George, told Politico, “Students need to understand that there was a beautiful, vast, and engaging world before Europeans ‘discovered’ it.”

The board is now reportedly reconsidering its decision and may push the start date of the course back some several hundred years. Their decision will be announced in July.

[h/t The New York Times]

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North America: East or West Coast?
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