Harland Sanders

Harland Sanders


9/9/1890, Henryville, Indiana, USA



Birth Name

Harland David Sanders



Also Known As

Colonel Sanders, Colonel Harland Sanders
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Harland Sanders used to take care of his family while his mother was working for the family's income after his father died. It was during these days of his youth when he developed a fondness of cooking. However, it wasn't until Harland Sanders was 40 years old until…more


Trivia and Quotes

  • Trivia

    • 1952 saw the opening of Harland's first franchise; owned by Pete Harman, of Salt Lake City, Utah.

    • In 1996, Margaret Sanders wrote this biographical book about him, "The Colonel's Secret: 11 Herbs & A Spicy Daughter"

    • Harland's two wives were Claudia Ellen Sanders and Josephine King.

    • Harland's parents were Wilbur David Sanders (1866-1896) and Margaret Ann Dunlevy (1865-1935).

    • Harland Sanders was the oldest child in a family of five.

    • Colonel Sanders' slogan "finger lickin' good" translates to "it eats off your fingers" in the Chinese language.

    • In 1999, one group of Chinese rioters in Belgrade beheaded a statue of the affable Colonel Sanders, having mistaken him for a representation of Uncle Sam.

    • In 1970 Harland Sanders acted in film: "The Phynx". The movie also featured James Brown and Richard Pryor.

    • In 1970, Harland Sanders acted in the film: "Hell's Bloody Devils".

    • Margaret Sanders, the eldest daughter of the late Harland Sanders says he had a mistress, and even persuaded his wife to hire the woman to "help with the housework".

    • Harlan's parents were Wilbur David Sanders and Margaret Ann Dunlevy.

    • The colonel sold the first franchise to Pete Harman, who today owns stores throughout the Western United States.

    • The colonel said in an interview he once almost left the company because the product wasn't finger lickin' good anymore. But he's happy now because the company has realized "the fallacy" of its ways.

    • The Annual World Chicken Festival in London, Kentucky is a tribute to Colonel Sander's heritage.

    • Lee Cummings, co-founder of Lee's Famous Recipe Chicken, also began his career in 1952 with his uncle, Colonel Sanders, in Laurel County.

    • Harland Sanders has an almost-identical impersonator, to the considerable consternation of many in the Sanders family.

    • A second Claudia Sanders' Dinner House location was opened in a historic mansion in Bowling Green, Kentucky, but closed in the 1980s.

    • Harland offered Dave Thomas a chance to turn around a failing Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant, to a young Dave Thomas. Working with Col. Sanders, Dave turned four ailing stores into million-dollar successes. Dave Thomas later sold his KFC franchises

    • Unlike most people who receive this honorary title, Sanders chose to call himself "Colonel" and to dress in a stereotypical "southern gentleman" costume as a way of self-promotion.

    • Colonel Sanders traveled 250,000 miles a year visiting the KFC empire he founded.

    • Harland's restaurant went public on March 17, 1966, and was listed on the New York Stock Exchange on January 16, 1969. More than 3,500 franchised and company-owned restaurants were in worldwide operation when Heublein Inc. acquired KFC Corporation on July 8, 1971, for $285 million.

    • Harland Sanders studied law by correspondence, practiced in justice of the peace courts and sold tires in his twenties.

    • At age 10, he got his first job working on a nearby farm for $2 a month.

    • More than two billion of the Colonel's "finger lickin' good" chicken dinners are served annually. And not just in North America. The Colonel's cooking is available in more than 82 countries around the world.

    • At one time the Claudia Sanders Dinner House was actually owned by Claudia Sanders, wife of the Colonel and a kitchen wizard in her own right. Claudia is gone, but her recipes survive to tempt new generations. The Colonel used to live in Blackwood Hall next door.

    • The Claudia Sanders Dinner House in Shelbyville was KFC headquarters in the early years.

    • When Colonel Sanders died in 1980, his body lay in state in the Kentucky capitol rotunda.

    • The Colonel Harland Sanders museum at the KFC Headquarters, located west of Interstate 264 (exit 15A) in Louisville, Kentucky, traces the history of the Colonel's chicken empire.

    • On the 3/6/91 installment of The Tonight Show, Johnny Carson did a comedy sketch featuring the "last words" uttered by famous people before they died. Reportedly, Colonel Sanders said: "I have a confession to make. There are no secret herbs and spices. That flavor is chicken sweat."

    • Heublein Incorporated who purchased the Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise in 1971, sold the company to Pepsico in October 1986 for approximately $840 million (later spun off as part of Yum! Brands in 2002).

    • Harland's final resting place is in Louisville's Cave Hill Cemetery.

    • At the age of eighty-seven, Harland testified against mandatory retirement before a Select Subcommittee on Aging.

    • When not representing KFC, the Colonel contributed money to a number of charities and community organizations.

    • In 1975, Colonel Sanders was sued unsuccessfully for libel by Heublein Incorporated when he publicly referred to Kentucky Fried Chicken gravy as "sludge" and that it had a "wallpaper taste." He was being paid $250,000 a year to promote KFC chicken at the time.

    • A KFC commercial in the 1960s showed an angry housewife who kidnapped the Colonel, interrogated him in an abandoned warehouse and demanded he give up his secret recipe. Of course, he didn't.

    • In 1939, the Colonel's restaurant was listed in the Duncan Hines (a renowned food critic) guidebook "Adventures in Good Eating".

    • By 1937, Sander's Cafe Corbin Kentucky seated 142 customers daily.

    • His trademark formula (which the Colonel claimed could be found on everybody's kitchen shelves at home) became the most guarded one in history of advertising (outside of the Coca-Cola formula).

    • His trademark formula (which the Colonel claimed could be found on everybody's kitchen shelves at home) became the most guarded one in history of advertising (outside of the Coca-Cola formula).

    • Due to Sanders' "Kentucky Colonel" style of dress being associated southern plantations and therefore slavery, an urban legend cropped up that Sanders willed 10% of his company's profits to the Ku Klux Klan. This rumor has been debunked due to the information that he had given over control of the company to investors in 1964 but remained as spokesman.

    • The voice of the animated "Col. Sanders" in the new KFC commercials is provided by Randy Quaid.

    • In 1975, was spoofed by Dave Thomas the actor on "Second City TV", in the skit "Give 'Em Hell, Harland!", which was a sendup of the film Give 'em Hell, Harry!

    • Despite the fact that he has long since died, his image is still being used to sell fried chicken at KFC, albeit as an animated mascot.

    • When Sanders died, Dave Thomas (founder of Wendy's restaurant) ordered that flags in front of all Wendy's restaurants be flown at half-staff.

    • One of Harland's district managers was Dave Thomas, who later left Kentucky Fried Chicken and founded Wendy's.

    • A near-life size statue of Harland greets travelers arriving at the Standiford Field airport in Louisville, Kentucky (technically now called Louisville International Airport).

    • Harland was renowned as a cranky perfectionist in business. Even after the business was sold, he was known for randomly dropping in on franchises to make sure that they were doing things the 'right' way, and was liable to publicly dress down employees, owners, and managers for failing to produce quality chicken.

    • Sanders created the modern fast-food franchise.

    • Harland sponsored a mandolin band for an elementary school children in Shelby County, Kentucky.

    • The Colonel's Lady restaurant (named for Harland's wife) burned to the ground in May 1999. The building was rebuilt, with expanded facilities for hosting private parties and conferences.

    • In Shelbyville Kentucky, Harland's second wife Claudia Shelby was commonly referred to as "The Colonel's Lady" by the locals.

    • 1959, Sanders and his wife moved into Shelbyville, Kentucky, purchasing Blackwood Hall on U.S 60. A large building was constructed behind the house to hold office and warehouse space, which became disused after the business was sold in 1964.

    • Sanders opinion of the original 'extra crispy' chicken was that it tasted like 'a damn doughball stuck on a chicken.'

    • Sanders himself didn't like many of the innovations added to the menu in the years after KFC was sold to investors.

    • Harland wasn't a Civil War veteran.

    • Harland served in the military for six months when he was 16, attaining the rank of private.

    • By 1964, there were more than 600 Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants across the U.S.

    • Pete Harman invented the name 'Kentucky Fried Chicken', hoping that to cold, bored Mormons, the name 'Kentucky' and the visige of the kindly, bespectacled Colonel would inspire thoughts of Southern hospitality and down-home cooking.

    • In 1954, he wrote a book entitled "Twenty favorite recipes of Col. Harland Sanders.

    • In 1964, Harland Sanders sold his business to a group of investors headed by future Kentucky governor John Y. Brown. However, he remained as the company spokesman for the rest of his life.

    • Harland Sanders' first franchise of Kentucky Fried Chicken was set up in Salt Lake City in 1952.

    • In a 1976 survey performed by an independent group, Harland Sanders was listed as the second most recognizable celebrity in the world.

    • When Harland Sanders started franchising Kentucky Fried Chicken, he originally received a nickel for every chicken sold, as payment.

    • The last restaurant Harland Sanders himself worked in was Claudia Sanders' Dinner House, which was named as such because his own name was in use by Kentucky Fried Chicken.

    • In 1939, Harland Sanders and his small restaurant were mentioned in the Duncan Hines' book entitled Adventures in Good Eating, which was a famous guide that covered American restaurants.

    • Harland Sanders divorced his first wife in 1948; he then married Claudia Price, a waitress at one of his restaurants, later that year.

    • From the 1950s to the 1970s, Harland Sanders appeared in a majority of the commercials for Kentucky Fried Chicken.

    • Harland Sanders vigorously tested every new Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant before it opened, he always tested the gravy first, as he believed that was the most important thing to have correct.

    • Harland Sanders wrote an autobiography and it was published in 1974; it was entitled Life As I Have Known It Has Been Finger Lickin' Good.

    • Harland Sanders convinced many of the individuals to franchise his restaurant through inviting them to dinner. He would often toil in the kitchen for hours to ensure everything was perfect, though his hard work typically resulted in a business agreement being made.

    • Before Harland Sanders started his first chicken restaurant, his only income was a $105 Social Security check.

    • Harland Sanders is the only individual connected to the food industry that has a statue in the state capital of Kentucky.

    • When Harland Sanders died, he was buried in the white suit and black bow tie that he was always seen wearing on television.

    • Harland Sanders is the founder of the restaurant Kentucky Fried Chicken, the restaurant continues to use his eleven secret herbs and spices that he had used when he made chicken for himself.

    • When the United States government was building Interstate 75, Harland Sanders was forced to sell his property because the new road removed a lot of the traffic that went through town, which hurt his business.

    • In 1935, Kentucky Governor Ruby Laffoon bestowed the title of Kentucky Colonel onto Harland Sanders. Unlike most recipients of the title, he decided to use the title as a way to distinguish himself, which is why he is most well known as Colonel Sanders.

    • Harland Sanders once owned a service station in Corbin, Kentucky. In his spare time, he made chicken for individuals who just happened to drop by.

    • When Harland Sanders was a young man, he worked as a firefighter, a steamboat driver and an insurance salesman at various times, in order to support his mother.

  • Quotes

    • Harland: Don't quit at age 65. Maybe your ship hasn't come in yet. Mine didn't until I was 66.

    • Harland: Here in Japan, they do an excellent job. It's one of the best. They've never changed one bit from what we taught them when they first started out. The fact that they've kept it uniform has paid off for them. They'll have more than 200 stores by the end of the year, they say.

    • (Harland said as far as he's concerned, no competitor has come close to his perfection in the chicken business)
      Harland: To make a success of anything, it has to be genuine, no question about it. Ya can't bluff through it.

    • (talking about the way KFC processed their chicken in the restaurant)
      Harlan: Commencin' the first of January, they went to mixin' the spices and flour in the kitchen like we did. Heretofore, they mixed 'em down in Texas and shipped It. By the time it reached its destination, why, it had lost a lot of its potency. When it lost that, the chicken lost its taste, don't ya see?

    • Harland: The key to Kentucky Fried Chicken's success has been "the uniformity of the product. It was designed so no matter where you ate it, it would taste the same. It's just had phenomenal growth because of the quality of the product.

    • Harland: I went to franchisin' in earnest in 1956. I was 68 years old and I had $105 Social Security comin' in and I started travelin' on that. I had no capital back of me. So I just worked and worked and worked.

    • Harland: Of course, I always tried to have the best food of any restaurant. And my chicken was one of my developments that was particularly fine and popular.

    • Harland: I believe a feller rusts when he quits working.

    • (On an airplane flight to a gig, drummer Greg Dewey, of Country Joe and the Fish, found himself seated next to "Colonel" Harland Sanders. He asked Sanders how he felt about the hippies. The Colonel reflected for a moment and replied) Harland: They eat fried chicken, don't they?

    • Harland: Hard work beats all the tonics and vitamins in the world.

    • Harland: There's no reason to be the richest man in the cemetery. You can't do any business from there.

    • Harland: You got to like your work. You have got to like what you are doing, you have got to be doing something worthwhile so you can like it -- because it is worthwhile, that it makes a difference, don't you see?

    • Harland: I made a resolve then that I was going to amount to something if I could. And no hours, nor amount of labor, nor amount of money would deter me from giving the best that there was in me. And I have done that ever since, and I win by it. I know.

    • Harland: Don't be against things so much as for things.

    • (About his Kentucky Fried Chicken)
      Harland: It's finger lickin' good.