‘ICEE Bear’ would be fun to find

This 8-inch, vinyl, ICEE Bear bank is a promotional item from 1968. It is almost 50 years old.  (Photography by Mary Jane Lamphier)

Collectible bear logo dates back to the 1960s

The ICEE Bear is the trademark and logo of the ICEE Corporation; “ICEE-Cool, delicious and full of fun!” There are several ICEE flavors, the most popular being Cherry and Blue Raspberry.  There are now franchised ICEE stations in United States, Canada and Mexico and maybe more. They are commonly found in shopping malls and Walmart. The ICEE Corporation has salesmen that install and service the ICEE machines.

During the 1960s and 1970s, ICEE Bear shared prime time on three major networks with some of the most popular children’s programs. The whimsical white bear, in his red sweater and sipping a make believe ICEE drink, was as entertaining as the cartoons.

During that time ICEE Bear also appeared in millions of comic books and sports cards.  The ICEE Corporation offered premiums in the early years as they do today. Collectors like them all. The first plush ICEE Bear was offered in 1968.  It is a 19-inch white bear with the red sweater that looks like the one the bear is wearing in the advertisements.

In 1974 a soft vinyl bear bank was offered as a premium. It was free with redeemable points found on the cups of ICEE frozen drink. The banks were available until 1980. However by that time, the cost had escalated to 600 points or $2.75.  It is a neat collectible for Ad World or bank collectibles. The white ICEE bear is 8-inches tall in a sitting position.  It is made of molded vinyl and has painted features, a black nose, eyes brows and mouth.  The sweater is red and “ICEE” is painted white on a blue and white striped cup.  One unusual detail of ICEE Bear is the bear’s paws. They look like gloved hands with three fingers and a thumb. Kids would have loved this bank. When the bear is squeezed it makes a loud noise. The coin slot is in the back and there is not an opening to remove coins.   

The NBA also used ICEE Bear to advertise in the 1970s on baseball cards. They were sold in sets of 20 cards. For instance Wilt Chamberlain, “The Dipper,” at 7 foot 11-inches is considered the most awesome player to ever play basketball. The back of his card  has the picture of ICEE Bear with a basketball, and Chamberlain’s  birthday, height, weight, and alma mater along with several  ICEE Bear facts.

The NBA cards, ICEE Bear banks and plush ICEE Bears can be found on the secondary market occasionally. On the Internet auctions I found one ICEE Bear bank at this writing. There were eight bids and a few days left to bid. The last bid was $33.52. I suspect it will sell for at least $50 by the time the auction is over.

Collectors may visit, www.ICEE.com to see the new advertising collectibles available.  Some of the advertising premiums today were the cups, duffel bags, towels, and ICEE Bear T-shirts.