Fudgie the Whale, Cookie Puss, and Hug-Me the Bear: Tom Carvel’s Ice Cream Menagerie


Left to right: Hug-Me the Bear, Fudgie the Whale, Cookie Puss

Kids who grew up in the ’80s and early ’90s will doubtlessly remember Fudgie the Whale, Cookie Puss, and Hug-Me the Bear. They were characters in the crazy world of Carvel Ice Cream Cakes, relentlessly flogged during the cartoon hours of Saturday morning, and also a staple of late-afternoon TV advertising in the New York area.

This ragtag group of characters was the brainchild of Tom Carvel, the gravel-voiced, Greek-born originator of the Carvel Ice Cream franchise, a soft-serve concern that loomed large in the ice cream firmament in the northeastern United States. Ice cream cakes were clearly an obsession with Carvel, too, who began selling ice cream in Connecticut in the 1930s.

Carvel himself voiced the hilariously crude commercials for the ice cream cakes, and became something of a celebrity in the process.

Indeed, the strange character Cookie Puss — a lightbulb-shaped, disembodied head with an ice cream cone for a nose — inspired an early song by the Beastie Boys. Other pop-culture references came thick and fast. In some commercials, Cookie Puss — whose original name was Celestial Person — could fly.

Following are some commercials starring Tom Carvel, who speaks to us across the span of years as if in a dream.

Fudgie the Whale would make a perfect Father’s Day gift for Fudgie the Dad.

This 1985 commercial, featuring both Hug-Me Bear and Cookie Puss, has a memorable jingle.

Here’s the Beatie Boys’ “Cookie Puss.” NSFW.

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