The Frozen Fracas: Pink Thing vs. Lemon Chill

Angus Wynne Jr. is credited for many things in his long life and illustrious career. Besides developing a major portion of Oak Cliff in a post WWII building frenzy, he also played a major role in saving Love Field from the clutches of a monopoly that gripped the airport tightly in the hands of American Airlines.

Among other accomplishments, Wynne was also responsible for Six Flags over Texas, the grand theme park that put Arlington on the entertainment map in 1961.

The entertainment Mecca of the metroplex is no stranger to the City of Ate. Where there are people you will find food, and Six Flags serves plenty of it to the hungry masses. On our most recent venture, we found a park full of food, dotted between amusement rides and rug rats. Long gone are the LaSalle River Ride and the funky Skull Island. These have been replaced with skyscraper-size roller coasters and scurrying furry clad Looney Tunes characters such as Tweety Bird and his nemesis Sylvester the Cat.

An upside to the newfangled incarnation of this age-old park is the addition of beer. Cold bottled beer, if you can call Bud Light and Coors beer, for a costly six bucks a bottle--the very price you might pay for an entire six pack at home. Now you can enjoy a buzz while your nieces and nephews gorge themselves on sugar-laden treats for a buzz of their own kind.

This brings us to our Toque topic of the week. For today's Toque, part of our road trip to Six Flags became a battle between old school Six Flags and the modern day one. This week we seek to answer the question: Which ice cream novelty reigns supreme at the theme park in a challenge lovingly titled The Frozen Fracas: Pink Thing vs. Lemon Chill.

It was the beginning of a long heat-drenched July day at the Texas theme park. Plenty of water was at hand, and the promise of a few turkey legs were around the corner. But nothing can beat the heat in Looney Tunes Land much like a cold creamy treat.

Our first find was almost immediate, as the only location for the Pink Thing is at its cart located in a shady corner to the east of the entrance gate. There is literally no other place on the planet to find this nearly 50-year-old, funnel-shaped, cherry novelty. (Rumor has it that there may be a much larger version in Jerry's World almost a mile away, but that will never be the same as the original.)

Making its debut in 1961, the Pink Thing originally sold for a quarter. The current price is two bucks, and in the grand scheme of economics, that's a pretty good deal. Especially when you consider that a meal consisting of cheeseburgers for a family of four can fast approach 50 bucks at the park.

The Pink Thing still is wrapped in its non-descriptive white conical covering, which lacks any clue to as to its calorie count, serving size or ingredients. What we do know is that the Pink Thing serves our palate memory to perfection. Its cherry goodness is creamy, cold and the perfect size for quick consumption. And when done, you still find odd, misshapen cartoon characters adorned at the very interior tip of its plastic stick. My first bite into the Pink Thing after many years of hiatus was nothing short of thrilling. I was nine again for a moment.

After slurping down the cold, pink mass, I ran to find something newer. The well-known and more abundantly available Lemon Chill.

I have had this concoction at the Ballpark at Arlington and a few other venues, and like the Pink Thing, it is made by Blue Bell. Unlike today's opponent, the Lemon Chill is labeled heavily, and upon examination we see that the 16-ounce tub has a serving size of four people.

Sorry, not sharing today.

The Lemon Chill is cold and almost as creamy as the Pink Thing. It sparks the receptors labeled for quenching thirst. Good stuff, and plenty of it to go around. It would also be perfect as an adult treat if they would add a large spritz of vodka or tequila to the lemon recipe.

My initial reaction was to award the win to the Pink Thing due to its durability. But not sure it would be a fair win based solely on nostalgia, so I polled a few random bipartisan ice cream eaters.

The house was certainly divided, and the fact the Lemon Chill is so abundant didn't help the meager Pink Thing. But even amongst toddlers, the Pink Thing made people smile. Perhaps it was due to its pinkness or the hidden cartoon treasure, but seven out of 10 people preferred the Pink Thing. I am sure if there were more locations for the Pink Thing they might sell more of them.

I think that there is something mysterious about the Pink Thing. Perhaps it is made by confection-loving members of the Illuminati. Regardless, I am hooked as were the people I polled. So the victory definitely goes to our old friend, the Pink Thing. I am certain that Angus Wynne would be pleased.

KEEP THE DALLAS OBSERVER FREE... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Steven Doyle