As a child I knew it was Springtime, not when the crocuses bloomed but when I heard the ringing bells on the Good Humor wagon, which materialized like clockwork every April 1, a block from my apartment house. The white uniformed Good Humor Man was not just some fly-by-night itinerant cream-slinger, but a middle-aged veteran named Harry (I always thought that was his entire name), who each year, for as long as I could remember, stood his post from April to October (in a heavy coat by then) selling Good Humors on stick and in cup – chocolate eclair, toasted almond and chocolate sundae (ahhhhh the fudge still lingers in my memory) – and on the 4th of July a red, white and blue nutty confection too. Apparently, he took a mandatory two-day class every year on how to be a good Good Humor Man.
If I had to pick the most American of all the logos of the 20th century, it would have to be Good Humor – from the comforting name to the mouth-watering chocolate coated vanilla ice cream pop with a healthy bite out of the top.
Where did Good Humor come from? In 1920 candy manufacturer Harry Burt created “a chocolate coating compatible with ice cream,” says the corporate history. “His daughter was the first to try it. Her verdict? It tasted great, but was too messy to eat. Burt’s son suggested freezing the sticks used for their Jolly Boy Suckers (Burt’s earlier invention) into the ice cream to make a handle and things took off from there.”
Burt called his pop Good Humor bar, based on the widely held belief that a person’s “humor,” or temperament was related to the humor of the palate or sense of taste.