Twenty years ago William Kling came across a California Raisin band figurine in an antique store in Manteno, Illinois, and he’s been collecting them ever since. Now numbering more than 30, his band includes a Michael Jackson raisin, one on roller skates, and one holding a boom box. There are doubles of some, but Kling says he has at least 20 different Raisins.
“What I tried to do is develop a fairly sophisticated band,” he says. “I have a whole brass floor, with several trumpets and saxophones, and then some very interesting lead singers, both male and female. I’m pretty proud of this collection.”
Kling likes to set up the band in different configurations depending on his mood—he even has other toys, including Mr. Bill and Bugs Bunny, as groupies. “I have three drummer sets, so when I’m feeling in a Bono mood, I put all the drummers on at once. I like to set up the brass set so it’s a Chicago-style jazz band.”
Usually the collection stays in a box, but Kling sets it up when kids come over (he lets them play with the toys) or if he just happens to feel like it. “Sometimes the mood will just strike me and I’ll put them out. We all have to have a little bit of kid left in us.”