Irvine Robbins, the founder of Baskin-Robbins and the source of endless childhood pleasures for three generations of Americans, has died in California. Robbins was the last of the old-time ice-cream barons, remnants of a pre–Haagen Daaz period. But though he never came up with a foreign-sounding name or broke any butterfat barriers, Irvine was a brilliant marketer, coining the “31 Flavors” slogan while actually creating hundreds, including any number of topical ones. There was “Lunar Cheesecake for the moon landings and Valley Forge Fudge for the 1976 bicentennial,” as his obituary reminds us. (We remember eating Valley Forge Fudge and thinking it was the best flavor ever.) Baskin-Robbins is owned by Dunkin’ Donuts today, but that’s no reason not to honor Robbins by raising a cone in his memory; let a drop fall on the ground, like gang members do with their beers, as a sign of love to the departed.
Irvine Robbins, co-founder of ice cream chain, dies at 90 [AP/San Francisco Chronicle]