Wednesday, May 07, 2008

The Sad Story of Baskin and Robbins

As we all know, yesterday was supposed to be a celebration of the 10th anniversary of Kerry Wood striking out 20 Houston Astros to tie Roger Clemens' Major League record for strikeouts in a game. But that celebration was darkened by the death of Baskin Robbins co-founder, Robbins, who may or may not have had a first name (which may or may not have been Irv). It was the virtuous and well-regarded Robbins, after all, who so convincingly defended Baskin's Ice Cream Manifesto (not pictured) to the general public during the war-torn 1940s, persuading a divided America to spend their hard-earned greenbacks on treats made from frozen cow's milk and sugar, and eventually, raw chocolate chip cookie dough, and sold at franchises that sprouted up across the land like mushrooms - poisonous mushrooms.

Baskin was always the more notoriously headstrong of the duo, often launching into arias of idealistic fancy that usually had very little to do with ice cream. It was Robbins who kept Baskin's anti-Semitism in check, and Robbins too who did most of the scooping in the early days - a memory now lost to history and erased from the Great Baskin Robbins Corporate Record (ohmmmmmm). But Robbins' greatest contribution was tempering the genius that lay beneath Baskin's manic personality, usually through the use of heavy narcotics and a Ford Model T, strategically placed on Baskin's left temple. These later became known as the "Model T Sessions." It was during one of Robbins' Model T sessions that Baskin shouted, nearly incoherently, "Bananas!...Foster!...Britney Spears!" And thus was born the idea for the modern ice cream cake.

It was probably the last time Baskin and Robbins agreed on anything.

Robbins ultimately killed Baskin, first by arranging for the sale of Baskin Robbins to United Fruit, and later by actually killing him in 1967.* United Fruit went on to become a hateful and loathsome corporate empire, eventually changing its name to Chiquita and exerting a megalomaniacal grip on American banana imports. Baskin, whose first name was Burt, remained dead.

Gone, But Not Forgotten...And Then Later, Forgotten Too

But Baskin wasn't finished yet. He was gone, but not forgotten. And then later, he was forgotten too. Rumors abounded throughout the 1970s of the heated exchange between Baskin and Robbins as Baskin lay on his deathbed, with Robbins's ice pick poised inches from the left temple where the thin-waled tire marks from the Model T were still visible.** "You can't win, Darth," Baskin is reported to have said, adding "if you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you could possibly imagine."*** The alleged exchange is said to have inspired the screenwriting attempts of a young George Lucas, but that has never been proven.****

What has been proven is that Baskin was reincarnated in the Pine Barrens region of southern New Jersey in the late 1970s, in the form of an anthropomorphic teddy bear named Lollipop. He rides a Vespa Scooter (Not Your Everyday Ride!) emblazoned with a skull-and-crossbones, and carries a Soviet-made AK-47 assault rifle in a back-mounted holster. He currently works in New York City as a delivery guy for a Korean restaurant on 32nd Street. And he has patiently waited for old age to wreak the vengeance on Robbins that he never could, even as a bear, even with an AK-47, even with one of the most lucrative delivery jobs in the city.

But What About The Kerry Wood Thing?

Baseball games everywhere were halted yesterday***** in observance of the death of Robbins, and tributes to Kerry Wood's masterful, flash-in-the-pan performance were reconsidered and ultimately shelved for another decade - primarily for thematic reasons, but also because, unlike Baskin and Robbins, Kerry Wood basically never lived up to his potential. Chiquita, meanwhile, announced plans to debut a line of commemorative poisonous mushrooms in honor of Baskin and Robbins, to be packaged in the familiar and friendly pink and brown colors of the ice cream chain.

Anything Else, or Can I Please Get Back to Work Now?

Yes. This post is dedicated to anonymous, who complained that I had never dedicated anything to him/her, apparently unaware that I am contractually obligated to dedicate everything on this site to Dole Fruit. Thank you, Laci and anonymous, for causing me to breach my contract. That's just grate.

* This is patently false. Please don't sue me.

** Also false. See * for suggestions about suing me.

*** This is entirely true. Those were, in fact, the last words of Baskin.

**** Also true. In fact, George Lucas co-opted most of the dialogue for Star Wars from the last words of American ice cream pioneers. It was reported that he was pushing pretty hard for the deaths of Ben & Jerry before he wrote the prequel trilogy, and that their failure to die might have been responsible for why the dialogue in those three movies sucked so fucking bad.

***** Also entirely true. Check (not pictured) for details.


Anonymous said...

Just for the record, I wasn't complaining, only making a statement of fact. But I appreciate the shout-out, especially in a blog piece overflowing with such fire and music.

The gracious reader, to whom 835 words have been dedicated

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