When KFC Was Kentucky Fried Chicken & The Colonel Was Sanders

By | October 10, 2018

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Left: A 1968 Kentucky Fried Chicken advertisement proclaims 'Colonel Sanders is a woman's best friend.' Right: George Hamilton portrays the Colonel touting 'extra crispy' chicken. Sources: Tumblr; YouTube

You might have grown up on Kentucky Fried Chicken -- but you can't get it now. In fact, the name "Kentucky Fried Chicken" died in 1991, when the chain changed its name to KFC to try to avoid the negative connotations of "fried." Colonel Harland Sanders is no longer with us either, although the company has cleverly used celebrity wannabe Colonels in recent years, including Darrell Hammond, Norm MacDonald, and Reba McEntire.

Names change, and nobody lives forever -- not even Colonel Sanders. Whether you continue to call it Kentucky Fried Chicken or get on board with KFC, it's still damn good eating, and a 20th-century American success story that stretches back even further.

The Colonel Was A Jack Of All Trades

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Colonel Harland Sanders, the founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken, is shown here as he celebrates his 88th birthday. (Getty Images)

The late Colonel, Harland David Sanders, who remains the face of the brand, was born in 1890 and, strangely, died in 1980. At the age of 90 years old, he was still very active up until a month before his death. He was not really a colonel – that was just a title given to him as an honorarium. Before getting into the chicken business, he had held several other jobs such as insurance salesman, filling station attendant, and a steam engine stoker. As a young child of ten years old, he started working as a farmhand, and by age thirteen, he dropped out of school while he was still in the seventh grade. As a school dropout, he did pretty well for himself.