Top of page

Color photograph of exterior of store.
John Margolies, ”Gary's Ice Cream, Jacksonville, Florida.” 1979. Prints and Photographs Division.

Tasty Summer Treats from the Stacks

Share this post:

The following is a guest post from Music Division Archivist Anita M. Weber.

Summer conjures so many sensory memories: ice cream melting from a cone, a cold drink in a sweating glass, food eaten with your fingers while soaking up the sun. And songs help imbed those memories in our minds.

So let’s once again stroll through the Music Division’s vast copyright deposit collection to see what summer food we can find.

Ice cream!!!! It has long been a favorite summer treat.

And back in 1927 Howard Johnson (not that Howard Johnson), Billy Moll, and Richard King dreamed up the perennial favorite “Ice Cream” with its raucous refrain “I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream! Rah! Rah! Rah!”

Handwritten music and lyrics to famous refrain.
Howard Johnson, Billy Moll, and Richard King, “Ice Cream,” 1927. Music Division Copyright E678667.

I always wondered why there was a cheer involved – until I realized the song is a play on the college songs popular at the time. The refrain is the holler of the collegiate denizens of an imaginary Arctic land. The verses are rarely sung today, but as a jazz number performed by the likes of Sweet Emma and the Preservation Hall Band and Wynton Marsalis, the song and its refrain are irresistible.

So where shall we go to get our ice cream, and what shall we have? A cone, a sundae, or something that mixes ice cream and a cold beverage? How about a stop at the drive-in? Call it a float, a black cow (made with root beer—and chocolate syrup in some parts), or a creamsicle (made with orange pop), there’s nothing like carbonated sweetness poured over vanilla ice cream. The cold in your hand, the cold in your mouth, and then the cold in your tummy!

Advertisement. “Try a Dutch float Pennsylvania Dutch birch beer with vanilla ice cream,” 1954. [United States: Publisher not identified]Prints and Photographs Division.
First lines of printed sheet music.
Bill Walker, “The A and W March,” 1967. Music Division. M1978.S5 W.

Purveyors of these treats used jingles such as “The A and W March” to entice customers to their doors where “food’s more fun” and you can “come as you are.”

Color photograph of family of six having a picnic on a grassy hillside
Bob Dierks or Arthur Rothstein, photographer, [Image from LOOK – Job 55-3950 titled Picnic], 1950 May 3.
But what if you want something a little different? How about a picnic with a basket full of food and something cold to wash it down?

“Just fill your basket full of sandwiches and weenies; then lock the house up; now you’re set.”  These lyrics from “Those Lazy-Hazy-Crazy Days of Summer,” popularized By Nat “King” Cole in 1963, might fit the bill.

Sheet music cover featuring photographic portait of Nat King Cole
Charles Tobias and Hans Carste, “Those Lazy-Hazy-Crazy Days of Summer,” 1963. Music Division. Copyright # EP175569

Opening with “Roll out those lazy-hazy-crazy days of summer; those days of soda and pretzels and beer. . . Dust off the sun and moon and sing a song of cheer,” this song is an invitation to all the fun that summer has to offer, from a picnic to the beach to a drive-in movie.

I always wondered about a part of this song, too. “Roll out”? It seemed like an odd phrasing. Then I learned that the song began life with the German lyric “Du spielst ‘ne tolle Rolle….” The German version, too was a hit for its crooner, one Willy Hagara.

Black and white photograph of Willi Hagara holding a cigarette.
Hans Bradtke and Hans Carste, “Du spielst ‘ne tolle Rolle,” 1962. Music Division, M1735.2 .C

Ah, now maybe we are getting somewhere. Limited by my extremely rudimentary German, I wondered whether “tolle Rolle” could refer to something that was rolled out. Alas no!! It turns out that “Du spielst…” is about a guy’s lasting memory of a girl in a bikini compared to whom “Brigitte Bardot is a small fish.” (“Dagegen ist Brigitte Bardot ein kleiner Fisch.”)  But I digress; I think that would be another blog for another time!

So back to where we started: do you have a favorite song about summer treats? Drop us a line in the comments and let us know!



Check out other posts on summertime activities from Anita:

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *