Sunday, March 23, 2008

Col. Sanders - Fried chicken, anyone?

In 1978, I wrote to Col. Harland Sanders, the founder of the Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants. Col. Sanders started selling his fried chicken in his own restaurant in the 1930s, and later developed a "secret recipe" fried chicken which he sold to franchisees of his restaurant, making him wealthy. In the mid-1960s, he sold the entire corporation to a group of investors for a couple of million dollars, but remained as the company's spokesman, appearing in print ads, tv commercials, personal appearances at restaurants, etc. He became a very popular and easily-recognized personality, and even made some cameo appearances in several movies.

In my letter, of which I don't have a copy, I told the Colonel how much I enjoyed his fried chicken and thought it the best available (at the time, I didn't know about Popeye's Fried Chicken, which I actually like better). I asked him for an autographed photo, and this is what I received.

While the signature on the photo is "real", I don't know if it's actually his, as he was usually traveling around the U.S. and probably never read any letters sent to him in care of the company. I suspect the KFC Corporation's publicity department may have had a stack of such photos to send to people requesting them. This is the reason I haven't included it in my general collection of signed photos.


Ben said...

I don't think we have a Popeye's around here, but I know we have plenty of KFC!

Excellent blog, Bill!

Gary Olszewski said...

I won't buy nor eat KFC chicken for the following reasons: Colonel Sanders was a real, true humanitarianof a southern gentleman, who gave graciously to many charities during his life. However, his biggest mistake was selling his franchice business to that "group of investors" who changes the name from "Kentucky Fried Chicken" to the anonymous "KFC", and even used his portrait to change him into a cartoon chaacter! Even to the point of him having to pay THEM to use his own name! What an insult to a fine man! The same goes for "Famous Amos" cookies: They did the same thing to Wally Amos, who founded the company! No KFC, no Famous Amos Cookies, for those very reasons!