When you hear the words, “that frozen concoction that helps me hang on,” a lot of people think of Jimmy Buffett’s ode to alcohol, Margaritaville; but if you ask a kid in the Valley of the Sun what that line means to them, the odds are they’re going to say it’s a Slurpee at the 7-11 that gets them through a hot summer day. And today (7-11-2016) kids of all ages can head to their corner 7-11 to pick up a free “frozen concoction” as the time-constrained mini-mart celebrates the fifth anniversary of the Slurpee.
That’s right, the Slurpee has been providing sugary heat suppression for 50 years now, but for many fans of pop culture the delicious drink has a special place in our hearts for an additional reason. There is a long tradition of the Slurpee cups being printed with iconic pop culture imagery and many of them have become highly sought after collectibles.
Who could forget having your brain frozen when sipping from an X-Men cup with Ice Man on the team; or slurping from a Man-Thing…er…cup of frozen cola? If you were a kid and a comic fan in the seventies, then you probably had a whole collection of these delightful drinking utensils. [Check out the kirbymuseum.org for some great pics!]
Thinking back on five decades of awesome Slurpee cups reminded me of some other pop culture icons that are also celebrating 50th anniversaries this year; and it’s too bad the marketing department at 7-11 didn’t take the opportunity to reprint some of these cool classics.
Marvel’s T’Challa, The Black Panther, was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby and first appeared in Fantastic Four #52 (July 1966.) By now you know that the character played a big part in this summer’s Captain America: Civil War film, where the character made his big screen debut. That’s a big deal, to be sure, but does it match the prestige of appearing on a Slurpee cup in 1975? I think not.
Another Marvel character celebrating the big ‘5’ ‘0’ this year is the Silver Surfer. Again a creation by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, the Surfer first appeared in Fantastic Four #48 (March 1966.) The character was known as the herald of Galactus, but if you drank a Slurpee from his cup back in 1975, he most likely heralded severe pain in your frozen head. This particular cup is even an artifact in The National Museum of American History.
Star Trek also celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, but in 1991 the television show celebrated its 25th anniversary by being featured as a set of 7-11 Slurpee cups. I’ve always wondered what would happen if you drank a Slurpee and had a brain-freeze at the same moment that Spock tried a Vulcan mind meld on you. Coincidentally, legend has it that the Vulcan nerve pinch is the only thing capable of staving off the effects of Slurpee brain-freeze. #themoreyouknow
So happy birthday to the Slurpee, thanks for staying cool for fifty years! You can get your free one today at 7-11 from (you guessed it) 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Enjoy!