I Scream, You Scream...
By Gregory Jacobs-Roseman
We may be closing in on the final days of summer now that August is halfway through (unless, as I’ve discussed before, you consider that summer doesn’t actually end until the Autumnal equinox on September 22nd), but I’d like to pay tribute this week to a certain iconic song you've been hearing around the city and elsewhere all summer long.
I am talking of course of the Mr. Softee jingle. You know, the one that goes like this:
Yes, that jingly-jangly tune the ice cream car plays to let the children know their next sugar fix is right around the corner and it’s time for the mom-can-I-please-have-some-money-to-buy-ice-cream-but-mom-you-promised-I-could-NO-FAAAAIIIR-I-WANT-DAAAADDYYYY!!!
Anyway, I mentioned to a friend recently the fact that the song, which in my opinion sounds like circus clowns are coming to eat you in your sleep, actually has lyrics. I didn’t know them off hand, I just knew they existed. So we went to look them up, and after a quick Google search we discovered you can download a PDF lead sheet of the Mr. Softee theme from the official website.
Further searching revealed a YouTube video of original ads including the song, which I can only assume are from the late 50’s/early 60’s.
I’m particularly creeped out by the fact that the lead sheet is written in parts for “KIDS” and a “BASS” solo, which makes Mr. Softee seem a little bit child molest-y. Still, there you have it.
Actor-singers: BONUS! Minus the bars of rest at the beginning, this song is 32-bars long! (that is, if you take into account the fact that in bar 12 the quarter note on “-preme” should actually be a dotted-quarter followed by a new bar line, and then in what should be bar 28 there is a note missing on “light” and also “-preme” should be on a dotted-quarter there as well (perhaps the version of Finale at the time didn't support dotted notes. JK.)) 32-bars! Perfect for your next audition for the stage musical adaptation of the cult movie: Ice Cream Man (honestly, at this point I'm so jaded I'd barely be surprised if you told me someone out there was actually working on writing that).
Anyway, you're welcome.
GREGORY JACOBS-ROSEMAN is a composer/lyricist and theatrical sound designer currently developing Save The Date: A New Musical Comedy. www.gregjr.com
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