Merry Mel-O-Dee: 1959 Chevrolet Ice Cream Truck

Here’s another that you definitely don’t see every day: A 1959 Chevrolet 3100 pickup chassis under a Good Humor ice cream truck body. Sure, there were hundreds over the years, but how many are really still around anymore? This one is available right now here on eBay in West Virginia but has “Mel-O-Dee Ice Cream, Tulsa, OK” on the cold box. Huh. Wonder what that’s all about…

Photo courtesy of Newsday. Credit to Doris Lentini.

A little research of Good Humor uncovered that they first started in 1920 and had retired their entire vending fleet by 1976.  According to an article on The Truth About Cars from 2014, Good Humor favored Fords, but there were many Chevrolets as well. The freezer bodies were originally made and installed by Hackney Brothers, but other smaller firms would later assist the franchisees with that. At their peak, Good Humor had around 2000 trucks like this, and as they offloaded older units, smaller outlets like Mel-O-Dee snapped them up and kept them going for several years more. According to the Smithsonian Institute, these trucks are the best-known symbols of mobile food vending – so much so that they have one in their collection!

Checking around about Mel-O-Dee found this video from 1984, where Tulsa TV station KOTV ran a piece about them still using the nostalgic trucks in the hot Midwest summertime. The Allen family ran things from the mid-1950s to 1980, then by 1989 the company had changed hands a few times, and now the most I can find is a website under construction for Mel-O-Dee Inc out of Downey, California. Somebody even went so far as to preserve the loudspeaker jingle “And The Band Played On” that played on loop ad-nauseum.

This one will take rather a lot of TLC before it can carry a Blue Ghost© or a King Cone© again, but it’s not necessarily too far gone. The seller is including a transmission and 283 Chevy engine in the deal, and it’s got new rolling stock.

The area where I grew up didn’t have a mobile ice cream vendor, for whatever reason, so we missed out on all the fun. What about you? Who was the local frozen-confection-purveyor in your neighborhood?

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. dave brennan

    My cousin Bill Downes had the Mr Softee truck in our neighborhood on Long Island, but good humor was never far behind! Just looked at e bay, Never got a bid .closed

    Like 2
  2. j liu

    This is so neat..I hope it gets a new lease on life.

    Like 0
  3. Don Badgwell

    I drove a Melody Ice cream truck in Tulsa Oklahoma

    Like 3
    • Clauida

      Maybe I got ice cream from you! Born and raised in Tulsa, I’ll never forget the melodee trucks and the jingle. the most important summertime sound of my youth :-)

      Like 0
  4. Mountainwoodie

    Nothing speaks to me as much of an America long gone than a Good Humor man and his truck. Now you get some creepy guy needing a shave driving a dirty van with enough signage on the side to make you think you live in another country. Things have really………gone down hill.

    That said a Chevy Good Humor truck would stand out from the plethora of Ford trucks…….after you spent a boatload of money it would be pretty cool.

    Like 5
  5. Jay E.

    Hard to believe that in Grants Pass Oregon there is still an ice cream truck that serves the kids of the area. It is amazing how the kids ( and a lot of times a parent) just appear out of nowhere. Maybe it is just age, but it sure seems like the Popsicle and pushups and so on have gotten a lot smaller than I remember, sort of like school desks…

    Like 4
  6. moosie Craig M Bryda

    In my Bronx neighborhood, West Farms, Vyse Ave. 180th st. we had Good Humor , Bungalow Bar & Mr. Softee. Good Humor had the Fords,
    Bungalow Bar had the Chevies & Mr. Softee had both.

    Like 2
  7. Dale Watson

    Our neighbor hood was served by a horse pulling a freezer on a trailer , the horse would stop on command, the owner ( Arthur Lewier ) would ring the bell and kids came running in all directions , Skowhegan Maine

    Like 1
  8. ben Root

    we had one in Bethany ct in the 60s a ford I rember like a 58

    Like 0
  9. TONY T

    Worked with a guy from some New York City area (ethnic feller) and said that for years he thought the “Good Humor Man” was the “Guh Joomah Man.”

    Like 0
  10. Jo Burk

    I married the Mel-O-Dee Ice Cream Man! 1976, still married today! I’d love to have one of these gems to restore!!

    Like 0

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