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Tom Carvel, Outsider Video Artist

Tom Carvel’s life is a novel waiting to happen. He invented soft-serve ice cream. He invented the ice-cream cake. (I have my doubts about both of those claims, but let’s roll with it.) He died under mysterious circumstances, possibly poisoned by employees who’d been embezzling from him.

And, most importantly, he was one of the great outsider video artists of the 190s. (I thought everyone knew about these commercials, but after some comments I got on my last post, I guess I was wrong.)

Well, here are all the Carvel spots that I could find.

“Fresh… Less air…” (date unknown):

…there are many (and I do mean many) more, after the jump…

a more intimate take, with dry ice (1986?):

2 Carvel holiday spots (Cookie Puss and Santa Claus / Tom the Turkey) (date unknown):

“Your participating Carvel Ice Cream store has Tom the Turkey for Thanksgiving. And he’s ready and beautiful.”

1982: Cookie Chick:

1982: A Santa Claus cake and a Chanukah cake:

“They’ve got some beautiful items, and you’ll love ’em.”

1983: Cupie, the Chocolate Nut (“Yeah, he’s back!”):

1984: Tom Carvel narration over close-ups:

“There it is, you’re looking at it. Chocolate fudge! That means handmade in the Carvel store. Yes, they put the fruits and fillers in by hand. … Get a look at that strawberry! That’s how it’s handmade in the Carvel store!”

1985: Cookie Puss and Hug Me the Bear (“the friendliest bear”):

Father’s Day ad (date unknown):

“Fudgie the Whale for Father’s Day—yeah, that’s a great gift!”

another Father’s Day/Fudgie the Whale spot (1989):

Cookie Puss (C.P.) introduces his friend Cookie O’Puss (“the fresh Carvel ice cream cake”) (date unknown):

more Cookie Puss and Cookie O’Puss (date unknown):

Valentine’s Day’s a special day…but not special enough to write a new commercial jingle (date unknown):

Dumpy the Pumpkin (yes) and Witchy the Witch (date unknown):

1988: Tom the Turkey:

“Nowhere else can you buy that kind of ice cream, folks!”

…’Tis sadly true, and pity ’tis.

  • A. D. Jameson is the author of five books, most recently I FIND YOUR LACK OF FAITH DISTURBING: STAR WARS AND THE TRIUMPH OF GEEK CULTURE and CINEMAPS: AN ATLAS OF 35 GREAT MOVIES (with artist Andrew DeGraff). Last May, he received his Ph.D. in Creative Writing from the Program for Writers at UIC.

4 thoughts on “Tom Carvel, Outsider Video Artist

  1. These are really terrific. I was not previously familiar. I think it’s the halting tone that really makes you believe he was only allowed to improvise one take.

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