Saturday Surprise — Kangas & Ice Cream Trucks

Hello friends and welcome to the weekend!  For most of my readers on both sides of the pond, I believe it is a three-day weekend.  Here in the U.S., there is Memorial Day on Monday, which has pretty much turned into just an excuse for picnics, beer, and a day off work.  Across the pond, I understand it is a bank holiday.  So, wherever you are, I hope you get an extra day to spend with family and doing something fun!  This picture has absolutely nothing to do with today’s theme, but I came across it and just couldn’t resist …kittyI have picked up a couple of new readers … very young ones, both 4 -years-old, and they happen to really like animal videos.  So in honour of the two young men who fell in love with the wingless bee last week, I hope you will enjoy these kangaroos!

The sounds of summer began here in da hood this week.

school-out-1Wednesday was the last day of school, so we have heard the sounds of young voices laughing gleefully, the sound of balls hitting our back window, skateboards rolling down the street, and parents screeching.  But one sound in particular is welcomed by all and is nearly an institution:  the ice cream truck!  Even though it is rare that I can eat ice cream, the sound of “Turkey in the Straw” rolling down the street always makes me smile.  And seeing the kids lined up at the window, credit cards in hand.  Guess what, folks … it is no longer a dime like it was when we were kids.  Now it is more like $2.  Inflation, y’know.  Our ice cream truck is driven by a retired couple and they are perfect for the job … always have a smile and unlimited patience with the little ones.  Anyway … the ice cream truck got me to thinking and wondering a couple of things, like when did the first ice cream truck hit the streets and where, and why the heck did they pick “Pop Goes the Weasel” and “Turkey in the Straw” for them all to play?  And so, as you know, when Filosofa wonders, Filosofa goes in search of answers.

ice cream truck-1

The history of ice cream street vendors dates back to the nineteenth century and is shaped by advances in technology, and fortunately, sanitation. While much has changed since peddlers first sold dishes of ice cream from carts cooled with ice blocks. ice cream truck-6In the U.S, the ice cream cart began as an urban phenomenon in which working class laborers bought a small dish of ice cream that he or she licked clean. The dish was then returned to the vendor, wiped down, and loaded with a fresh scoop for a new customer.  Blech. Customers with more money—or a healthy fear of infectious diseases—opted for ice cream cream truck-3Milk was not pasteurized in the U.S. until the 1890s, which meant any dairy product was potentially laced with the bacteria that caused scarlet fever, diphtheria, and bovine tuberculosis. Ice cream poisonings were a common event and were regularly reported in the news. Newspapers described ice cream poisoning epidemics in which dozens of fair-goers, picnic attendees, and party guests were stricken or killed. Public health officials, however, initially overlooked dairy contaminates and blamed ice cream poisoning on artificial flavors, specifically cream truck-5By the turn of the century, ice cream hygiene improved dramatically and fairgoers were no longer afraid to order a cold treat. At the 1904 World Fair in St. Louis, a convenient take-away premiered— the ice cream cone. The thin, crispy waffle had long been a dessert favorite, and rolling the waffle into a cone wasn’t a new idea. The novel idea was to scoop ice cream into the cone, and several men who sold concessions at the famed fair fought for recognition as to who was the true cream truck-4In the early 1920s, advances in refrigeration meant electric coolers replaced ice deliveries. Electric coolers were far more portable, and made it possible for a chilled ice-box to be placed on a motor car. At the same time, the early 1920s also saw the start of Prohibition and the end of easy access to the daily delight of wine, beer, or spirits. For many Americans, the comfort of fast food and sweets replaced the indulgence lost with banned spirits. The popularity of ice cream parlors and trucks soared during this era.

The first ice cream truck was credited to Harry Burt of Youngstown, Ohio, who was the creator of the Good Humor brand. Burt was already delivering ice cream from a motorized vehicle when he had the idea to place chocolate covered ice cream bars on a stick. His new Good Humor ice cream “sucker” was easy and clean to eat, which gave him the idea to sell it directly from his truck to consumers on the street.

Ice cream sold in parlors or stores became a luxury item during the Depression. But ice cream trucks such as Burt’s Good Humor brand where able to survive the Depression due to the product’s low-cost. Many consumers couldn’t afford big ticket items, but they could afford a nickel for an ice cream treat. During this time, vendors began offering economical items such as twin popsicles that parents broke in half and shared with two cream truck-7Post-war ice cream production boomed and so did the competition. Mister Softee was founded in Philadelphia in 1956 by two brothers who created a soft serve ice cream machine built specifically for a truck.

Although Good Humor sold its fleet in the 1970s to focus on grocery store sales, Mister Softee trucks are still on the streets, not to mention a host of competitors who sell original treats as well as pre-packaged favorites to a new generation of kids listening to hear the familiar jingle on a hot summer day.

I still have no idea why they choose ‘Turkey in the Straw’ and ‘Pop Goes the Weasel’ for the songs to play, and I’m too tired tonight to dig any deeper, but I did find a site titled “a brief history of ice cream truck music”, so can do your own digging on that one! But here’s a tidbit for you.  In this, the world of bluetooth, GPS and a host of other apps to allow you to do nearly anything without leaving the ease of your recliner, there’s an app for the ice cream truck also.  You can track the truck by GPS in order to know precisely when he will be on your street, so that your kids don’t have to leave their video games to go outside and listen for him. 🙄  But also … ALSO … you can even place your order ahead so that you don’t have to be troubled with telling the ice cream man what your heart desires.  🙄  If that is not the epitome of laziness, I don’t know what is.  And it seems to me that it takes all the fun out of it.  Might just as well buy your ice cream at the grocery and keep it in the freezer until needed if you’re gonna do that!

ice cream truck-8So, now that I’ve made you crave an ice cream bar … get outside and enjoy the weekend — plant some flowers, lie in the hammock and read a book, wash some windows — and be sure to listen for the sounds of ♫ ♪ ♫ Pop Goes the Weasel ♪ ♫ ♪

Enjoy your weekend!!!ice cream truck-9

23 thoughts on “Saturday Surprise — Kangas & Ice Cream Trucks

  1. Sorry, totally forgot to look at Saturday Surprise… Till now!

    I remember ‘ice cream sandwiches’ – a small oblong block of wrapped Ice cream served up with two wafers to eat it between.

    Unfortunately, I was allergic to ice cream, especially the creamy Cornish variety. I was always given one of those ice lollies (usually orange flavour), with the double sticks…so it could be broken in half. If I ate the ice cream, I broke out in hives and couldn’t breathe very well…and I’d get a headache, even when very young. But I used to feel so left out when everyone got ice cream. I hated the ice lollies. I won’t eat either now! Still can’t do ice cream without major reactions.

    However, when I was 12 years old, I went to stay with a friend who had moved to Largs (near Glasgow). The only thing of note in the small coastal fishing town, was an American style soda parlor called Nardini’s. The owners were Italian and it looked like a beautiful soda bar from the 1930’s. I has a Sasparilla… it was unique in Britain.
    Nardini’s has been resurrected from dereliction, and made over…still serving Italian Ice cream, but it looks like a New York style restaurant now. Sadly it has lost its old world charm in the name of progress.

    Liked by 1 person

    • What a bummer, being allergic to ice cream!!! I sometimes whinge about being diabetic and having to limit my sugar intake, but at least I can have a bit from time to time. You piqued my curiosity, so I Googled Nardini’s and found an interesting article. Also saw pics and menu for the new place … the fish & chips looked awesome! Yes, time marches on and things change in the name of “progress”, which is just another way of saying greed most of the time. Like a product that is ‘new and improved’ and at the same ‘low’ price … only thing is, now you get 12 ounces instead of 16, but still the same price!!! Sigh … I shan’t get started on this topic. I don’t care for the ice lollies (popsicles) either, but I don’t mind the fruit bars made out of real juice on occasion.


  2. Oh, what a banshee I must be, dear Jill. Most of North America (area-wise) is not celebrating a long weekend this weekend. As I notified someone on WordPress, our version of Memorial Day, which we call Remembrance Day (though it used to be called Armistice Day) is celebrated on November 11th (you know, the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month). We do, though, celebrate a spring holiday in honour of Queen Victoria’s birthday, may she rest in peace. It’s the little unintentional slips you don’t notice…
    I don’t know about other cities, but as a child in Winnipeg we always had ice-cream bicycles for the most part (like the one in the Fresh Raspberry picture), not trucks. Young boys would take summer jobs at Dickie Dee driving a fleet of bikes through all the various neighbourhoods and suburbs selling their wares to us littler children. They rang bells attached to their handlebars, but we didn’t get any tunes. Just tinkle, tinkle, tinkle.
    As for Australian veterinarians, I cannot believe their advice was to kill the baby kangaroo. I don’t care if kangaroos are considered pests and varmints, they are still living beings. To take away life for no other reason is the same as murder. My applause to these kangaroo peaceniks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • How cool … I think I love the idea of the ice cream bicycles, but I don’t imagine they could hold very much? Still, sounds fun, especially since the teens could earn a few bucks that way, rather like my paper route when I was 10 or so.

      I know … I was so happy they rescued the kangaroo! Kangaroo Peaceniks … good name!!!


      • It started with kangaroo warriors, but that didn’t seem right, these people are not about violence. And that was when the word peaceniks came to mind, a derogatory term spat at hippies to make them sound connected to communists, a la bolsheviks and beatniks.
        We of course loved the term, and co-opted it for ourselves. So now I am passing it on to other people, those who value life over volence.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Benjamin will be positively delighted on Tuesday when he sees the Kangaroo video. We love The Dodo, it is a great learning tool as well as fun for him. The Ice Cream Trucks hold many great memories for my grown children. Hearing the music of the approaching truck, they would be curbside with money in their hands. I admit to being there too…needed to protect the littles and soft serve has always held a place in my heart. Then again, growing up in the country, I never had this experience and had to make up for lost time. We do not have those magical ice cream trucks these days. There is a marvelous ice cream store just down the hill and across the street from my house. It is a favorite destination for Benjamin and his “Gem”! Enjoy your holiday weekend. Thank-you!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Actually, Benjamin was one of the two little guys I had in mind when I went searching for something fun and animal-y! I hope he enjoys it! I had a really neat tiger one, but I wasn’t sure but what it might frighten him, so I opted for the roos. Yes, the Dodo is awesome, and sometimes Bored Panda has some fun animal things, too. I suggest you edit first, though, for they sometimes get a bit raunchy. I hope you have a wonderful holiday weekend and you and Benjamin get to share an ice cream! Hugs to you and Benjamin!!!


    • I’ll see what I can do about getting a pair shipped to you … or do you want more? Yes, I recall you told me that you don’t care for ice cream, and also why, I believe. Still … did you have an ice cream truck in your neighborhood when you were a kid? I read that they are as popular in the UK as here.

      Liked by 1 person

        • A war footing??? Oh my … who knew? Well, I suppose it is a business, but I wouldn’t have guessed it was taken that seriously. Rawgod, who is Canadian, said they had ice cream bikes that gave older kids jobs … I thought that sounded kind of nice, too.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. I would like to add that at first Mom and Grandma had a difficult time getting volunteers to sit and crank those ice cream makers, then they come up with the idea of putting some beer on ice in a cooler and said any volunteer could have some beer… Mom and Grandma never had any problems after that… 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Jill, living in a cul-de-sac street about three football fields long, when we heard or saw the ice cream truck go by, we would run inside screaming for Mom to provide money to purchase. “Ice cream truck” we would yell. I love the pink truck. Keith

    Liked by 3 people

  6. God, Jill, do I have the grandest Summer memrories surrounding the ice cream truck. The faint sound of that familiar tune. My brother and I perking our ears up, looking at each other excitedly and screaming for Mama to get her coin purse quickly enough so we didn’t miss our chance. Then running out barefoot and dancing on the screaming hot asphalt while we waited for our turn. Watching them hand out treats to everyone through the window only made it worse. Fudgesicles, Bananasicles, Orange Dreamsicles, Eskimo bars, popsicles and the much coveted rainbow bubble gum cone! 😱 I usually ended up with a fudgesicle but when money (and Mama) allowed, I got that bubble gum extravaganza. The gum was oh-too-sweet, but digging for it was priceless. Franks for the memories on this holiday weekend. Be safe!

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Fascinating! I only heard the delightful sound of the Ice Cream truck a few times as a very young boy. We later moved to the country and the truck never was heard again. We now live in a town of 1212 souls so there is no musical truck here either. Sigh! But thanks for the trip down memory lane — and the interesting info! Have a Happy Memorial Day weekend!

    Liked by 2 people

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