The recent release of Golden Gaytime’s famed ice cream in tub form has highlighted Australians’ love of the original treat, reminding us all of the joy that can be gained by freezing juice from a cow boob and putting a stick in it. Here is a look back at some of the best ice creams from the 80s and 90s.
A staple of the Australian ice cream scene, Paddle Pops have been a favourite since their release in 1953. Originally only available in chocolate, Streets have experimented with several flavours over the years including Choc-Toff, Double Bubblegum and whatever Jubilee flavour is, but many fans prefer to stick to the classics, with chocolate, banana and rainbow being common favourites.
Despite ongoing popularity and endorsement from the Paddle Pop Lion, fans’ dedication was tested in 2010 when Streets reduced the size of the treat by 15% in a move said to have been for nutritional reasons but resulting in public backlash turning the issue into a nationwide news story.
Public goodwill was then further stretched in 2013 when Streets altered the recipe of its popular banana flavour, the marketing department explaining that the change was to provide consumers with a healthier option. Fans responded, explaining that a healthier and better life is not a good enough reason to mess with their ice creams, issuing threats of boycott and quotes including “Horrible”, “Outrageous” and “NOOOOOOOOOOOO” amid the Twitter hashtag #bananagate (which has now been taken over by various other banana-related problems, proving how controversial the fruit is.)
Paddle Pops were also famous for the ‘Lick-A-Prize’ competition in which competitors ate ice creams, then matched the images on the sticks to win whatever was pictured. You could also instantly win a free Paddle Pop in what was a surprisingly effective campaign that resulted in many of us buying an ice cream we didn't necessarily want in the off chance we might win another one.
The competition continues to run intermittently and if readers have won something other than a free Paddle Pop, or the far more common prize of nothing, please leave a comment to reassure fans that winning is possible and to help placate authorities who are growing increasingly suspicious of a potentially tax-dodging lion.
Despite a seemingly crooked contest, constant competition from ice cream rival Barney Banana, as well as ongoing conjecture about whether rainbow Paddle Pops are just caramel ones with different colouring, Paddle Pops remain Streets’ highest selling ice cream.
With its colourful combination of flavours and made in the shape of a cowboy’s head, the Bubble O’Bill is a classic ice cream known for its bubblegum nose and for the hole in the cowboy’s hat representing a bullet hole and also an annoying loss of ice cream.
With the fun of randomly coloured bubblegum noses and the excitement of how impressively fast they would lose their flavour, the Bubble O’Bill is a delicious and accurate tribute to the cowboy Buffalo Bill who famously had bubblegum for a nose and a head made of ice cream.
With premium quality ice cream and Belgian chocolate, Magnums were launched in 1989, quickly making the humble and classic Choc Wedge look like a humble and classic piece of crap in comparison.
With an effective marketing campaign aimed at adults and focusing on the high class nature of the treat, Magnums were a revolution to the stick-based ice cream world, as was charging people $2, which was significantly more expensive than other ice creams at the time.
Now available in a wide variety of options including Almond, Dark, White, Gold and Ego, and with price tags often in excess of $5, who knows what’s next!? Experts are baffled but suggest different flavours and charging more money are strong possibilities.
Cornetto and Drumstick
One of the fiercest rivalries in the cone-based ice cream world, growing up you were eithera Cornetto person or a Drumstick person with nothing in between! (Apart from people who liked both because they were pretty much the same thing.)
With crispy wafer cones and a variety of flavours, both ice creams are still available today with Peters recently releasing a new range of Aussie Legend Drumsticks endorsed by Dame Edna and Jimmy Barnes.
It remains to be seen whether this new range attracts a new breed of Drumstick fans but if being endorsed by ageing celebrities they have never heard of doesn't encourage kids to buy ice creams, nothing will.
Boomy and Mudbucket
Perhaps less well-remembered and only around for a short time, Boomy and Mudbucket were launched in the 90s, advertised as futuristic ice creams as seen in this ad:
With 3 individual flavours shaped like fruits on one stick, Boomy was a particularly tasty treat, with the marketing campaign providing an interesting prediction that people in the future not only have agencies devoted to monitoring ice creams in the past but also refer to their present day as “the future”, giving us all something to look forward to.
With its biscuit coating surrounding toffee and vanilla ice cream, the Golden Gaytime has been a classic treat since 1959.
Growing up in the 80s and 90s, it was common for people to make fun of the Gaytime and its fans for what Wikipedia notes as “homosexual connotations”, which were somewhat encouraged by slogans such as “It’s hard to have a Gaytime on your own.”
The Gaytime took it all in stride, proud of what it was and refusing to change for anyone, the good news being that unwarranted repression of gay people no longer exists, with fear and ill-treatment being replaced by justice and equality for all, sort of.
Such is its popularity, release of the Golden Gaytime ice cream tub made nationwide news, shipments quickly selling out around the country with the public showing their love for the treat one advertising campaign described as “More like a party than an ice cream.”
Rising above the antics of petty name-callers and narrow-minded ice cream bigots, the Golden Gaytime is a classic and while in real life it is arguably significantly more like an ice cream than a party regardless of what the ad said, it remains a firm public favourite.
Still available today, Calippo is a classic treat most well known for its lemon version and conical tube that enabled eaters to effortlessly push the ice block up towards their mouth or out onto the ground if you were overly excited or lacking in basic motor skills.
Though it sounds like a medically concerning bowel-related problem, the slushy mess in the bottom was always a treat in itself.
Popular since the early 60s, the Splice is an ice cream most famous for its classic pine-lime flavour, while also having other flavours that weren’t pine-lime that can go to hell.
Whether you are brave and patient enough to accept the demanding challenge of biting all the ice layer off without disturbing the vanilla ice cream beneath, or if you just eat it normally like a dumb sane person, the Splice is still a favourite.
Created in the 70s, Sunnyboys were known for their pyramid style packaging and for being needlessly difficult to eat, also like a real pyramid.
A rare breed of treat that can also used as an effective method of stabbing someone through the eyeball, the availability of Sunnyboys has dropped from the glory days of tetrahedron based ice blocks but they are still available, popping up intermittently in show bags, some supermarkets, and shops that haven’t cleaned out their ice cream freezers in 10 – 15 years.
There was also the underappreciated Zipp, Cool Shark Ice Blocks, Eskimo Pies, Dixie Cups, the pencil-shaped Scribbler, Splits (known as the poor man’s Splice even though it cost about the same), and Icy Poles for people who had been good enough to deserve a treat but not good enough to deserve anything fancy.
Zooper Doopers and Funny Face ice blocks also deserve mention for being a memorable and cheap way to cool down on a hot day, while teaching kids the value and skill of cutting plastic so you didn't slice up your gums on the packaging.
Whether you can’t get enough, or are some kind of weirdo who doesn't like them but still read this article anyway, ice creams are a universal delight bringing joy to everyone who they don't make violently ill due to lactose intolerance. So if you’ve had a bad day, need a treat, or are struggling with a frustrating lack of diabetes, maybe an ice cream is the answer to your troubles.
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