Wednesday, April 26, 2006

ICEE vs. Slurpee

The 7-11 store in Mission, KS carried ICEE frozen fountain drinks, not Slurpees. ICEE was the brand we drank in various flavors like Cola and Cherry. When I was about nine years old, I found an old 45 single at a garage sale called Dance The Slurp. The flip side had humorous anecdotes from voice-over actors about the strange things that happened to people who drank ICEEs from 7-11. It was a hoot.

I lost that 45 and didn't think much of it until I got to talking with an avid record collector years later. He traded me a copy for something else I had and much to my surprise, when I played it in the production room at the radio station where I worked at the time, all the voice overs mentioned Slurpee, not ICEE.

Yes, it's true. ICEE and Slurpee are one and the same. The original concoction was invented by Omar Knedlik of Coffeyville, Kansas. That sounds like a name out of Mad Magazine. Omar marketed ICEE and ICEE machines in Kansas and a few other Midwestern states and eventually sold the rights to 7-11 in 1965. They rebranded it the Slurpee and sold it coast to coast. There must have been a wrinkle in the contract that kept the ICEE brand (complete with polar bear mascot) in Omar's legacy outlets here in the Midwest. ICEE may be dead, but I saw the logo on an office building at Johnson Drive and I-35 in Merriam, KS the other day. Perhaps the spirit of Omar Knedlik lives on.

7 comments:

Lori Rose said...

jdThat explains while I still call every frozen drink my kids get today an Icee. There's a Slurpee cup in my kitchen trash from today's visit to the 7-11, and they get slushies at other venues. I remember going to the pool on my bike in O.P. (was it called Stonegate?) and then going to the 7-11 next door afterwards for a ``suicide'' (all flavors combined, something my kids like today even though there are way more flavors) and those cinnamon toothpicks. Remember those? And pop rocks, too.

Anonymous said...

Remember the ICEE Bears softball team? It had Mindy McGinley, Terri Craft, Julie Gaston and other girls from the old Roeland Park Grade School. Mindy went on to pitch in college, Terri's daughter just got a scholorship to play softball in college. Still run across the these girls out on the kid's softball circuit.....

cw

Anonymous said...

I don't think Slurpees and Icees are the same. Icees (with the bear) are still found at Mr. Bulky's and some Walmarts. Icees are way better than Slurpees with the carbonated taste (probably some chemical) in the cola flavor. You could drink a whole Icee quickly and not just end up with a chunk of ice at the bottom like you can with Slurpees. I remember the 7-11 at 89th and Roe and collecting the Icee coupons in the sorghum and soybean fields that used to be there to redeem free Icees.

Anonymous said...

I am drinking an ICEE right now that I got from Maverik (A Gas Station). When I go to the movies, they have ICEE's. I was looking up ICEE vs. SLURPIE because I wanted to know what the difference is. The ICEE seems to be carbonated (All flavors not just cola flavored). As far as the chunk of ice at the bottom... well I seem to get that with both. It seems they are different. Maybe they started out from the same origins, but something changed along the way.

pamela1108 said...

wow--I just saw the comment about the ICEE bears softball team--I played on that team for many years and went to Roeland Park gradeschool. If you-all see any of the old gang around, tell them Pam Luttrell says "hi"!

Fowler Jones said...

Hi Pam Luttrell! It's been over 30 years. Thanks for stopping by!

shawbros said...

ICEE is not dead.

ICEE is sold in Kmart stores, Sams Wholesale club, and BJ's Wholesale club.


I think ICEE is usually a little sweeter than Slurpees.