it’s that time again, folks…
p.s. did you know there are lyrics? some kind soul has… well, i’ll let the article speak for itself.
(From the New York Times, May 31, 2006)
James Conway Sr., 78, a Founder of Mister Softee, Dies
James Conway Sr., an entrepreneur whose company has been delighting the taste buds, if not always the ears, at this season for the past half-century, died on Sunday at his home in Ocean City, N.J. Mr. Conway, a founder of the Mister Softee ice cream company, was 78.
The cause was cancer, said his son, James Jr., vice president of the company, now based in Runnemede, N.J.
With his brother William, Mr. Conway began the business in Philadelphia in 1956, developing it into a multimillion-dollar concern. Mister Softee is currently among the largest franchisers of ice cream trucks in the country, with more than 600 trucks in 15 states.
Even more memorable than the company’s soft ice cream is its jingle, played on a music box and broadcast through a loudspeaker atop each truck.Once heard, the song is not soon forgotten. For some listeners, it heralds summer. For others, it recalls childhood. For still others, it constitutes a form of torture.
Written in E-flat major in jaunty 6/8 time, the jingle was created by an advertising agency in 1960 for the company’s early radio campaigns. Though the trucks play only an instrumental version, the tune does have words:
The CREAM-i-est DREAM-i-est SOFT ice CREAM
you GET from MIS-ter SOF-tee.
FOR a re-FRESH-ing de-LIGHT su-PREME
LOOK for MIS-ter SOF-tee….
James Francis Conway was born in Philadelphia on Oct. 30, 1927. In 1949, he earned an undergraduate degree in business from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and afterward served in the Navy during the Korean War.
With his brother William, Mr. Conway later went to work for the Sweden Freezer company, which manufactured ice cream machines. On St. Patrick’s Day 1956, the brothers put one of the machines into a truck and drove it through Philadelphia, giving away green ice cream. And so they went into business, at first as the Dairy Van. Mr. Conway, the company’s vice president, retired in 1998. William Conway, the president, died in 2004. The company is now run by the two men’s sons.
In 2004, as part of a proposal to strengthen New York City’s noise code, city officials tried to still the voices of ice cream trucks throughout the five boroughs. Outcry ensued.
Last year, the city and Mister Softee reached an agreement, which covers all ice cream vendors, under which the trucks may play music only when they are in motion.