You’d recognize it easily by its sound, maybe even before it’s appearance, or it’s taste. Born by “happy accident,” it was created by Omar Knedlik in the 1960s when one of his soda fountains broke and he had to save his sodas by storing them in a freezer. The result? An icy cool drink people loved!
Simply made from carbonated water, sugar, food acids, flavorings, colorings and sometimes caffeine, Knedlik built a machine to recreate this frozen treat, first called an ICEE. It sold well and in 1966, the convenience store chain, 7-Eleven offered him a licensing deal under two conditions. First, the name would be changed and second, the product would be sold only in their stores. Soon after, advertising whiz Bob Stanford came up with the new name which reflected the sound it made when one sipped it through a straw, and then… the Slurpee was ready for dispensing!
With over 30 main flavors and hundreds of combinations, such as: Sour Apple, Mango, even Lychee, a person would be hard pressed not to find one they liked. If you’re a long-time fan, you may recall your very first “slurp”! Mine happened early one lazy summer afternoon when I was about nine years old. The place: the food mart at the gas station on Linden Street. The size: 8 ounces. The flavor: Blue Raspberry! So citrusy! So sweet! And most memorable of all: my blue tongue and lips after I slurped every bit of it up!
From my journal: July 11, 2004 Newbury Park, California
“Just heard they are giving away free ones today… I always drank them too fast…headaches -ugh!”
Besides my beloved Blue Raspberry, flavors that have stood the test of time are Coca-Cola, Cherry, Lemon-Lime and Strawberry. Over the years, 7-Eleven has smartly linked the Slurpee with pop culture events. While I didn’t remember the promotional “Dance the Slurp” song written by Tom Merriman that was released on 45s, I learned it was so popular in the 1970s, mainstream radio stations actually played it!
Curious, I recently gave it a listen (via YouTube) and it proved to be a hoot! The 2 minutes and 31 second song consists of a mixture of sounds, mainly a bass, drums, and horns as well as slurp sounds, and a man and woman singing, “Slurp! Slurp!” Such a danceable catchy little tune! Also fun, were the “How to Do the Slurp Dance” instructions included with each record.
Since then, comic and movie tie-ins have kept people coming back for more. Plastic cups illustrated with Spider-Man, the Hulk and the one I remember most, Scooby Doo can still be found today on sites such as Ebay. Kyptonite Ice, Wonka Laffy Taffy and Darth Dew were just a few of the many flavors specifically created to appeal to movie fans. So it’s no wonder that 470,000 Slurpees are sold in the U.S. each and every day! Except, on one very special day, which happens to be today.
For the last 20 years, on July 11 you can go to any participating 7-Eleven nationwide between 11am and 7pm and receive an 11 oz. Slurpee of your choice… for FREE! Yipee! There’s just nothing like the taste of a hand dispensed icy cool sweet one. Enjoy…every… single…ounce! Wishing you all a Happy Slurpee Day!