Off Peak

Fortnightly Magazine - September 15 1998
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For more than a decade, retired teacher Drew Wilson has taken on the persona of Thomas Alva Edison to represent Southern California Edison Co. at school assemblies, public exhibitions and fairs (see photo). Although he bears no relation to the inventor, Wilson is one of the best Edison impersonators, said SCE spokesman Charlie Basham. "He captivates the children's imagination and gets them involved, and he lets kids come up with ideas for inventions."

Wilson, who rode on the utility's float in the Tournament of Roses Parade two years ago in honor of the 150th anniversary of Edison's birth, also portrays Edison for other utility companies and for visitors at the inventor's West Orange, N.J., laboratory. In fact, he says, "I'm beginning to think I am Tom Edison."

Meanwhile, in the city of brotherly love and customer choice, Ben Franklin, (as played by Ralph Archibald, who reportedly is a distant relative of the founding father of electricity), initiated Pennsylvania's Electric Choice two-year phase-in by signing up to receive electricity from the mythical Kite & Key Electric Co.

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