It was the subject line of her email that intrigued me: I know the mascot name!
And indeed she did – solving a longtime mystery for me. She wrote, "I am in the process of cataloging a collection of recipes that includes lots of promotional blurbs from the Ohio Fuel Gas Company promoting the use of gas. Your little mascot appears in them and many lead off with the phrase “Speedy says…” So there you have it. The little flame mascot is named Speedy. Specifically the Ohio Fuel Gas Company, Home Service Adviser offers “Betty Newton’s recipes” that fit 5 to a page that can be filed into recipes boxes in the convenient 3x5 format. On the back of each of these sheets is Speedy demonstrating the convenience of gas."
Kate went on to point out that Speedy appears in different guises and poses in the illustrations. She described them to me in her email. Sometimes Speedy wears a tuxedo, sometimes he's dressed like a magician, etc.
Meanwhile, the very recipe book she described – Betty Newton's Recipes – happened to be on Ebay that very day. I quickly bought it (it was only a few bucks) and I eagerly awaited its arrival. To my surprise, when I opened my much anticipated package, I discovered that the spiral bound cookbook consisted of only the cover and one or two pages of general kitchen advice – all of the recipes had been removed!
It was one of the few times I was actually ripped off on Ebay.
Fortunately, Kate was happy to send me photocopies of the missing pages in the mail so I could see Speedy in all of his various poses. Here's a few of them.
There were even a few Christmas versions to rival that of Reddy Kilowatt's holiday appearances.
Anyway, that's the story of Speedy, the long-forgotten Ohio Fuel Gas Company advertising mascot.
Special thanks to Kate Ojibway of Michigan State University Libraries for taking the time to contact me about Speedy and solve my mystery.