I Scream for Ice Cream

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Thu Sep 2 17:49:48 UTC 1999

>I notice that David Crystal, in one of his encyclopedias of language,
>cites I scream / ice cream as an illustration of juncture.  I believe
>that there was a popular song in the 1930s or 1940s called I Scream
>for Ice Cream, though I have never heard it.  In any event, the
>whimsy of playing with the juncture between these words is still
>current, and has been with us since early last century.  To wit, and
>have at you:
>1825:   Met a strong-lunged fellow with a large tin bucket, shouting
>with hideous gesticulations, "I scream!"  Found he had ice-cream for
>        Bayrd Still, "New York City in 1825: A Newly Discovered
>Description," New-York Historical Society Quarterly, 46:2 (April,
>1962):151, quoting a newspaper of 1825.
>1872;   [It would] cause the warm blood to freeze in thy veins even
>like unto that of skimmed milk in an I scream freezer.
>        Isaac S. Lyon, Recollections of an Old Cartman  [Old New York Street
>Life]  Graham Hodges, ed., N. Y.: New York Bound, 1984, p. 6
>[misnumbered as p. 9]
>1997:   In "I Scream for Ice Cream," a nine and a half foot tall [statue].
>. . .
>        New York Times, June 2, 1997, Section B, p. 9, in a story headed
>"In Texas, a
> Celebration of the Ephemeral Spirit."  [I didn't note this at the
>time, but I believe that the statue in question was made of ice; not,
>I don't believe, of ice cream.]
By the late 40's, the classic jingle was

I scream, you scream,
We all scream for ice cream.


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