Was Willie Wirehand Reddy Kilowatt’s arch-nemesis or just a rival? Was he a compatriot, a co-worker or part of a wicked collaboration against Mr. Kilowatt? Well, it seems he was just the coops’ response to the fact that Reddy’s creator, Ashon. B Collins, thought that electricity cooperatives were socialist entities:
Electric cooperatives initially wanted to use Reddy Kilowatt as their spokescharacter. Reddy—depicted with a body, arms and legs of jagged red lightning bolts and a round head equipped with a light bulb nose and outlets for ears—had been around since 1926 and was being used by 188 of the nation’s private power companies as of 1951. However, Reddy’s creator —Ashton B. Collins, who had licensed his character to the private utilities—believed that electric cooperatives were “socialistic” because they borrowed money from the federal government. Not only did Collins refuse to let Reddy be associated with cooperatives, he instructed his lawyers to warn NRECA that any rival character cooperatives might develop would infringe on his exclusive trademarks.