|Founded||1956 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania|
|Headquarters||Runnemede, New Jersey, United States|
|William Conway, James Conway|
Mister Softee is a United States-based ice cream truck franchisor popular in the Northeast. It was founded by William Conway and James Conway (October 30, 1927 – May 28, 2006) in 1956 in Philadelphia and is one of the largest franchisors of soft ice cream in the United States, with about 350 franchisees operating 600 trucks in 15 states. The company is headquartered in Runnemede, New Jersey and is still run by the Conway family; John Conway, Jr. is now President.
The instrumental jingle played by Mister Softee trucks is based on "The Whistler and His Dog" (1960) by Lester Morton "Les" Waas. A copy of the sheet music and all the words can be found on the Mister Softee website. Waas, who created close to 1,000 jingles in his lifetime, died in April 2016.
The Mr. Softee jingle is written in E-flat major with 6/8 time. However, many of the trucks play a version that sounds almost as if it is transposed up a half step, in E major, though still with the 6/8 time. In New York City, the trucks are permitted to only play the jingle while moving, to reduce noise.
Mister Softee in China
In 2007, Mister Softee established its first ice cream truck and ice cream shop in Suzhou, Jiangsu, Mainland China. Mister Softee China is operated by Alex Conway (grandson of James Conway) and Turner Sparks. In 2008, Mister Softee China planned to begin expanding its core business and franchising throughout China's eastern region.
Mister Softee China has created a menu that combines classic American ice cream products of shakes, floats, and sundaes with new Chinese products such as green tea ice cream, red bean ice cream, kiwi sundaes, and milk tea floats. While its American counterpart operates almost exclusively with trucks, Mister Softee China has kiosks in downtown shopping areas and trucks throughout China's ever expanding suburban neighborhoods and business districts.
- Fox, Margalit (2006-05-31). "James Conway Sr., 78, a Founder of Mister Softee, Dies". The New York Times. Retrieved 2006-05-31.
- "Les Waas". Retrieved 2007-10-11.
- "Mister Softee jingle and chimes". Mistersofteequeens.com. Retrieved 2013-06-18.
- Perry, Richard. "Les Waas, Mister Softee’s Songwriter, Dies at 94". The New York Times. April 27, 2016.
- Yang, Tia S. "Les Waas, legend in advertising, known for jingles". Philadelphia Inquirer. April 23, 2016.
- Hu, Winnie (December 14, 2005). "That Jingle Of Mr. Softee's? It's the Sound Of Compromise". The New York Times.
The Bloomberg administration will allow the ice cream trucks to continue playing the sprightly ditty while trolling for young customers. But under a compromise with the City Council, the jingle must be halted when the trucks are not moving.
- "mistersofteechina.com". mistersofteechina.com. Retrieved 2013-06-18.
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