Ice cream trucks selling soft serve have existed since the 1930s, but it wasn’t until the 1960s that Mister Softee concocted the idea of luring children to their trucks with their enticing yet creepy music-box jingle.
The classic Mister Softee tune was originally an instrumental number, based on the “The Whistler and His Dog,” recorded in 1960 by Les Waas, one of the world’s greatest (yet most obscure) jingle writers. Mister Softee felt the song could be aided with the addition of some peculiar lyrics:
Here comes Mister Softee
The soft ice cream man
The creamiest dreamiest soft ice cream you get from Mister Softee
For a refreshing delight supreme
Look for Mister Softee
My milkshake and my sundaes and my cones are such a treat
Listen for my store on wheels ding-a-ling down the street
S-O-F-T Dubble- E Mister Softee!
In New York City, ice cream trucks are only allowed to play their jingle while moving. Otherwise, they risk being ticketed for a noise violation. This is because New Yorkers deplore happiness and joy.
NERD OUT: The original song was composed in the inconvenient key of E-flat Major, but most trucks play a version transposed up a half step to E Major.