Nugget of Knowledge: Cooking with gas

Bob Hope started using the phrase on his radio and TV specials

Nugget of Knowledge

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – We first started to hear the phrase, “Now you’re cooking with gas” in the late 1930s. It was an advertising slogan the natural gas industry came up with to convince people to use natural gas, rather than electricity, on their new stoves.

A lot of people were still cooking on stoves fueled with wood and electric, and natural gas stoves were competing with each other.

The gas industry wanted to point out that cooking with gas was the most effective way to get hot food on the table.

So it was an advertising slogan, but it became part of our culture.

Here’s how:

An executive named Deke Houlgate worked for the American Gas Association in the 1930s and came up with the phrase.

He knew some of Bob Hope’s writers and planted the phrase with them. Hope began to use it in his comedy routines on the radio.

Another comedian, the great Jack Benny began to use it in the early 40s, we also hear it in a 1942 movie, and in a Daffy Duck cartoon in 1943.

Daffy Duck, who is trapped in an oven says, “Say, now you’re cooking with gas.”

In other words, it was product placement before the days of TV.

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