Kentucky Fried Politics: A Colonel Sanders Timeline

BTW, Sanders, it should be noted, was a notorious womanizer IOTL, IIRC...

Wonder if that's still the same ITTL...

According to
...his daughter Margaret wrote. "Mother refused to accept that she alone could not satisfy Father's physical needs, which from the very beginning of their marriage had seemed excessive to her." ..."Neither promiscuous nor a whoremonger, Father nevertheless had a libido which required a healthy, willing partner," she wrote. "He found one in young Claudia."

I also found this interesting bit (found here: about Colonel Sanders' libido during the 1920s, when he was in his 40s: "Sanders' biographer, John Ed Pearce, recalls a woman at the Chamber of Commerce saying that whenever the Colonel came in she had to beat his hands off of her." Will this come back to haunt him...?

However, based on other info I've gathered, his libido waned in his later years. I'm guessing touring the country like crazy doing what you love will distract you from potential promiscuousness. Also, Claudia's love seems to have been enough for him, as there's little evidence that he fooled around with others after marrying her.

How is the Colonel doing so far?

Has he gotten along with John Brown Jr and Happy Chandler in TTL?

There's still bad blood between Chandler and Sanders so soon after the election. And in 1956, J.Y.B.Jr. (b. December 1933) is still earning a bachelor's degree at the University of Kentucky. While he hasn't shown up yet, rest assured, a city slicker's got to slick...
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That's interesting, @gap80, and this is a good TL; helps to distract from the craziness that is RL...

I might have been mistaken to some degree; if so, apologies for the error...
Chapter 5: January 1957 – December 1957
Chapter 5: January 1957 – December 1957

“It was the possibility of darkness that made the day seem so bright.”

– Stephen King (OTL)

KFC IN MEXICO: What to Expect

Mexico City, Mexico – On Thursday, January 3, KFC began the new year with a new milestone. The first Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet in Mexico opened its doors in that nation's capital city today, welcoming in locals to the company’s 408th outlet overall. The franchise's newest outlet means that the company's offerings can now be found at locations spread across three countries: Canada, US, and now Mexico.

Businessweek, weekly newspaper, 1/5/1957

Things seemed to be going well for Kentucky. The Governor was slowly convincing companies to invest in the state, roadwork was chipping away at unemployment, and the winter harvest was great! I guess it was all the calm before the storm – er, flood, uh, you know what I mean.

– 1957 Flood Survivor from Wooton, KY, recorded for NBC anniversary report, 1/28/1958

“The first three weeks of January 1957 were drier than normal across eastern Kentucky. However, …one to two inches of rain fell on the 22nd and 23rd, saturating the ground and bringing streams up to normal levels. [When] a frontal [storm] boundary… moved into the state… a weak area of low pressure tracked along the front producing additional light rain across southeast Kentucky. …The heaviest rain occurred…on January 28th and 29th, when a general two to six inches of rain fell over southeast Kentucky.”

The rain beating down on the Governor’s mansion was not nearly as fierce as it was on the other side of the state. The rainstorm roared against buildings, threatening to uproot anything it could, and halting people’s movement with inches upon inches of water, overwhelming the storm drains. It was rougher than a pulp wood truck in a cotton patch. Several phones covered my desk, and none of them were keepin’ quiet. Local officials were anxious, and local utilities were stretched thin. Luckily, the early warning systems seemed to be working fine. Still, I knew I had to do something. Within hours, I was on the airwaves, calling on everyone to follow the safety guidelines the experts handed to me. I urged folks to stay calm, protect their kin and neighbors, then their property. Emergency workers were assembled for whatever we would face.

– Colonel Sanders’ autobiography, Life As I Have Known It Has Been Finger-Lickin’ Good, Creation House publishing, 1974

Advanced warning systems assembled under the Sanders administration enabled hundreds of families in Paintsville and surrounding towns to successfully evacuate before the river moved in to their homes. Even still, the rivers overflowed so quickly in some places “that many residents had to evacuate without their belongings. Communications were disrupted and food shortages developed as the result of damage to stores. Water supplies were contaminated in some locations and there was no gas for cooking. Reports indicated that 30 state and federal highways were blocked by flood waters or mudslides and most secondary roads were impassable due to heavy rains.”

The towns along the Cumberland River, which meanders around the border of Kentucky and Tennessee, were hit hardest. Even Corbin experienced flooding, as the town is just 15 miles away from the Laurel River, which is attached to the Cumberland. 400 homes, nearly a hundred businesses (new and old), and several churches and schools were flooded. As much as 10 feet of water rose up in some parts of town, which was higher than at any other time in the past 50 years according the older local residents, even greater than the last two times the region suffered a major flood (1939 and 1946).

There were so many places hit: Barbourville in Knox County, Jeremiah in Lecher County, London in Laurel County, Baxter in Harlan County, and Hazard in Perry County. Buckhorn, Hayden, Wooton, Manchester got hit, too. 80 percent of the small town of Oneida, in Manchester County, got covered in up to 9 feet of water – 80%!

But the city that got hit the worst was Pikeville, at the eastern tip of the state. Experts later told me that at the flood’s height, almost the entire city was submerged, engulfed by the river and rain. One of the experts told me it was “the first time [this has] happened since 1862.” Over 250 homes were destroyed and roughly with 2,400 were damaged in the area overall, along with, reportedly, over 400 cars!

The scenes were incredible; nearly apocalyptic. Now, I had experienced flooding before, but not to this extent. It was awesome in the bad sense of the word.

Immediately, I got my folks to get me a truck, a boat on its back, and some boots on my feet. Parts of the federal highway were submerged, making strips of the gravel into giant urban swimming pools. Despite the pleas from my aides, I set out with policemen and firemen to the affected areas.

I personally visiting the sites hit to ensure services were being provided and to built faith and hope among those whom had lost the most. When I visited Prestonburg, where over half the city was city underwater, roughly a thousand men, women and children had been forced to abandon their homes, and now were cold, hungry, and in need of help. Ordered the local officials – police officers, firemen, priests, anyone in a position to lead – to set up supplies uphill. Sleeping bags, canned food, makeshift tents hugged the waterside. I helped hand out blankets and sat down with the people. Many needed a ear to speak into or a shoulder to cry on, and I saw no reason not to oblige. At one point, a crowd of displaced locals, emboldened by my presence, called for me to make them some KFC. After some hesitance, I used the truck’s military-grade radio to order in over 200 buckets of fresh chicken. At a time of disaster, KFC brought people together and raised their spirit. Then the people waited, desperately but patiently, for the next few days, until the waters receded, and they could return to inspect what was left of their homes.

– Colonel Sanders’ autobiography, Life As I Have Known It Has Been Finger-Lickin’ Good, Creation House publishing, 1974


[ ]
– Colonel Sanders meeting with public officials in Pikesville, 2/3/1957

While there were no deaths in the Kentucky Flood of 1957, several people were hospitalized for injuries. Damage “exceeded $15 million in Pike County alone.” Commercial damage was the focus on the post-flood cleanup. An airport was completely wiped out, and hundreds of homes and commercial space was damaged. For instance, “Twenty-five residences and thirty-four commercial properties were inundated in Manchester.” Fortunately, the state government viewed the flood as a blessing in disguise, as it allowed for the creation of more jobs, which lowered unemployment. Electricians repaired the phone and power lines, janitors cleaned the repairable places and demolition and construction companies went in to replace the irreparable.

On February 28, after Sanders called for a special session of the General Assembly, state legislators passed a set of laws concerning the zoning requirements and levee levels for new buildings constructed in Watershed Regions, along with an allocation of funds to the state’s flood relief efforts.

– journalist John Ed Pearce’s Divide and Dissent: Kentucky Politics 1930-1959, A University Press of Kentucky, 1987


[ ]

I had to run around the state all over again to convince businesses to invest in Kentucky. Many companies refused to bite on the idea of founding anything in the southern parts of the state, so for them I convinced them to look at the northern parts of the state. Those areas were, after all, closer to the industry hubs of Chicago, Detroit, and Pittsburgh, anyway! Still, the flood had cost the state a significant amount of funds, and some of my experts feared we’d be unable to return to the pre-flood levels of revenue until 1961. Fortunately, we had the Penny Crow Fund, which was meant exactly for situations like this – to hold us over until the short-term met up with the long-term. There wasn’t much in it because we had only put under a year’s worth of funds into it, but the flood vindicated the idea of keeping the fund around. Later Governors would adopt it to, though its name was changed in 1971 to the Emergency Relief Fund, or the “Rainy-Day” Fund as some call it.

– Colonel Sanders’ autobiography, Life As I Have Known It Has Been Finger-Lickin’ Good, Creation House publishing, 1974

After the Kentucky Derby on May 4, 1957, Harland began travelling the state again to get some more ideas on what to introduce in the next session and, more generally, check on how things were coming along throughout the state. Of course, Harland also took the opportunity to check on the KFC franchisees here and there. He was only human, after all. He was curious as to just how loyal franchisees were remaining in his absence. The lack in quality declination showed that Millie and Harley were faithfully keeping an eye on things, and that filled Harland with pride for his children.

– Claudia Price Sanders, TNB (Trinity National Broacasting) interview, 1979

The more I tried to participate in the operations at KFC, the more male pigheadedness showed its ugly head. Many male workers resented their boss being a woman, and the more influential of them that stayed on quietly opposed my increasing influence in the workings-on in the company. At the time, of course, such feelings were natural to find, but the thing was, I was too proud to admit to Harley or Dad that it did indeed bother me a bit.

One time, I dropped by when Harley was in a meeting with this truckers’ union, and none of them gave me the respect that I deserved. Sure, they courteously stood up when I came and left, but all of them nearly completely ignored me. When I’d ask one of them a question, they would answer to Harley instead of to me. Shucks, even Millie got more respect, it seemed. The treatment was much worse with some of the more elderly and old-fashioned franchisees, men who, ironically, didn’t exactly take kindly to a woman telling them how to run their kitchen. That’s how some men are. They hear you’re only in charge of sales and they figure it’s fine to disregard you, no matter how close you are to the bosses. But instead of telling my father or brother or even my sister about it, I took the matter into my own hands – I looked up and met with their wives, their sisters, and their mothers to see how I could win them over. I held public picnics for their families where the men would arrive expecting to meet the Colonel or Harley, and instead would have to deal with dealing with me.

Unfortunately, the colorful rhetoric in the bathrooms, the elevators, the hallways, behind closed doors and by the water coolers continued on. So finally, in the early summer days of 1957, I talked to Millie. As the number-two at the company, her experience wasn’t as bad as mine. Even still, her handling of the sexist pigs was easy – if a worker, or a candidate for a job or a franchise outlet, turned out to not like working for a woman, she’d simply let them go. And yes, it was tricky, because if you rile up a man too much, they will get violent on you and get other pigheaded men to get violent on you too. So during much of the year 1956 or so, there were confrontations. Franchisees threatening to drop our chicken from their menu despite the revenue they’d lose from it. Employees threatening to strike, or getting their friends to intimidate others into boycotting our food. Finally, Millie contacted the International Federation of Business and Professional Women; their officials really helped clear the air by initiating more open communication between the sexes and other tactics. The company’s collective bargaining agreements were soon updated with stronger wording to protect not just minority workers from workplace harassment, but now female workers as well. Tensions seemed to cool down.

– Margaret Sanders’ The Colonel’s Secret: Eleven Herbs and a Spicy Daughter, StarGroup International, 1997


[pic: ]

– A vintage KFC bucket, circa June 1957

While he was swamped with work in the middle of a scorcher of a July, I surprised my father one day by applying for the job of Assistant to the Governor. The underrated vizier. Like Father and Mags, I was restless at the company, and had decided to split my time.

Father put me through the same interview grilling he gave all the other applicants. After that, we split some pop – or coke, or soda, whichever you prefer [1] – to celebrate my hiring. I started out helping father with appointments on weekends, and overseeing business at KFC on weekdays. Naturally, many didn’t appreciate it at both workplaces, especially in light of Maggie’s confrontation with a trucker’s union causing some trouble, but Frankfort’s political folks were actually the more hostile ones. Many considered me unqualified for the job despite my business degree, and several liberal Democrats even went so far as to accuse my father of nepotism, despite the aforementioned hiring process. In the end, however, the remarks were entirely ineffective, as I continued to divide my time between KFC, my father, and my younger children, for the remainder of Father’s time as Governor.

– Harland David “Harley” Sanders Jr.’s In the Thick of It: The Story of the Colonel and his Son, Sunrise Publishing, 1993


…Kenneth P. Vinsel, executive Vice President of the Louisville Chamber of Commerce, will meet with representatives of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers to discuss the "local workers situation" for the new testing facility that is planned to be built just south of the city…

The Courier-Journal, Kentucky newspaper, 8/8/1957

U.S. PARATROOPS TAKE SCHOOL: Guard Federalized, City Told to Obey the Law

Ike Tells Why Army Sent to Little Rock

– The San Francisco Chronicle, 9/24/1957

Privately, Colonel Sanders disapproved of Eisenhower’s handling of Little Rock incident, believing that the President should have been quicker to respond to the crisis. Comparing the crisis in Arkansas with the Sturgis Standoff, the Colonel was, allegedly, also disappointed by how seemingly disconnected the President was from the issue, as he did not personally visit the school in question. This criticism seems to have been forgiven or ignored, however, as the President invited Colonel Sanders to the White House later in the year for a discussion on highway-side eateries. Both figures considered the talk “pleasant” and "productive," with the President later remarking that The Colonel was "an impressive man."

– David Pietrusza’s The Epic Campaigns of the 1960s, 2008

KENTUCKY GOVERNOR AT ODDS WITH WALL STREET: Publicly States “I’ve Never Trusted The Stock Market.”

…Kentucky economists fear Sanders’ rhetoric yesterday could hurt consumer confidence in the state, at a time when the Governor is still trying to overcome financial hurdles. The state’s finances took a hit in February when heavy rainfall caused the Cumberland River to flood, ultimately costing the state “several dozens of millions” of dollars in damage. Nevertheless, the boisterous governor cited his hesitance to “be dependent on Wall Street” for his success as governor over the past two years, and suggested that people “invest in gold” and raw elements, and focus more on banks and “the kind of money you can actually hold in your hand” than on stocks. However, Sanders did concede that “banks are a lot more trusting nowadays, especially after FDR took care of them. But still, you should never keep all of your eggs in one basket. And that way of thinking works not just when it comes to eggs, but when it comes to banking, too!”

– Wall Street Journal, 8/12/1957

…The state Treasury department today announced that they expect the state budget to make a full recovery from its current shortfall within the next three months. January’s flood bit a sizeable chunk out of the state’s funds, but it did lead to efficient cleanup work that was, uh, actually hailed by the, uh, Governor Clement of Tennessee, for quickly mobilizing across the affected region…

– WKCT 930 AM (Bowling Green, KY) radio broadcast, 9/16/1957

...Midterms are always a means for gauging the people’s approval or disapproval of the incumbent leaders, and Kentucky’s 1957 midterms were no exception. Throughout the fall campaign, Sanders campaigned heavily for GOP candidates, relishing in his bipartisan popularity and the economy's steadily increasing health.

Meanwhile, I was just starting out as the new regional manager for the dozens of KFC franchisee locations set up in the Midwest at this time. While not affecting me directly, I was aware that for the neighboring state of Kentucky, KFC franchisees were explicitly instructed to not have any political banners on the premises in order to avoid arguments between Republican and Democratic customers. The Colonel was a Republican, but under Millie and Harley’s watch, KFC was strictly nonpartisan, and his folks in Kentucky made sure of that. but in the Midwestern states like Ohio and Indiana, franchisees had no reservations about promoting the chain founder through word of mouth...

– Dave Thomas’ Under the Colonel’s Wing, Mosaic Publishing, 1982

HOST 1: So, uh, last night was election night for the elections for the state General Assembly, and today we finally have the full picture. The GOP gained two seats in the state senate and they gained seven seats in the state House of Representations.

HOST 2: Yeah, these results are an, um, an indication that the voters really approve of the Colonel Governor, and I think having more Republicans to work with should make it easier for him to get legislation through over the next two years of his term.

– WHIR 1230 AM (Danville, KY) radio broadcast, 11/6/1957 [2]


White Sulphur Springs, WV – A three-hour caucus of Republican state governors attended this resort haven for a three-days-long National Governors Association conference, beginning on Friday. Gov. Harland “Colonel” Sanders (R-KY), Vice-Chairman of the caucus, oversaw the proceedings as Acting Chairman. Multiple state governors convened to discuss multi-state matters, in particular President Eisenhower’s Federal Highway Act, public desegregation, and business regulation. In a prepared speech, Sanders called for better coordination among the state governments to better businesses and trade across state lines. The speech reportedly received a standing ovation…

The Los Angeles Times, 12/16/1957

By the half-way point in my term, I had learned to fully capitalize on whatever opportunity I got to meet and converse with my fellow governors. For example, it was at a meeting of the N.G.A. that I got to talk to several fellow governors. I got along very well with the Civil Rights supporter Teddy McKeldin, the moderate governor of Maryland, who praised me for my handling of the Sturgis Standoff. I chatted with the young but dry-behind-the-ears Cecil Underwood, who did a remarkable job implementing desegregation in West Virginia – not a single riotous incident happened there! I had met with Harold Handley of Kentucky’s neighbor to the north several times before, but this time we chatted at length about his unpopular gas tax (which we disagreed on, but stopped ourselves short of arguing about it again), workers’ unions, and highway development in both our states; I would later endorse him during his US Senate bid. However, the Governor that I had the longest talk with was George Clyde. A Utahan, like Pete [Harman], Clyde was closer to my age, was more understanding of my aversion to alcohol, was mightily concerned about education, and was doing an impressive job overseeing highway construction in his state. I enjoyed working closely with him on domestic issues in the years that came later. But it wasn’t just the Republicans that I spoke to. Soapy Williams of Michigan was a young Democrat there who seemed to be more cantankerous towards the Dixiecrats than the GOP. …I learned, albeit a little too late in some areas, that the best way to understand someone is to actually meet with them. Through the NGA, I better understand the political positions that were dividing communities and legislators across the American landscape. And by golly, would that knowledge come in handy soon enough!

– Colonel Sanders’ autobiography, Life As I Have Known It Has Been Finger-Lickin’ Good, Creation House publishing, 1974


[ ]
– A Kentucky Fried Chicken poster, c. December 1957

[1] Corbin is located around the border between the “pop” and “coke” regions of the US, according to the map found here:
[2] General elections in Kentucky occur on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November

BTW: The next chapter will very likely be posted next week; thanks for reading!

EDIT: fixed desegregation typo. Good eye @nbcman ! Thanks!
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Chapter 5: January 1957 – December 1957
By the half-way point in my term, I had learned to fully capitalize on whatever opportunity I got to meet and converse with my fellow governors. For example, it was at a meeting of the N.G.A. that I got to talk to several fellow governors. I got along very well with the Civil Rights supporter Teddy McKeldin, the moderate governor of Maryland, who praised me for my handling of the Sturgis Standoff. I chatted with the young but dry-behind-the-ears Cecil Underwood, who did a remarkable job implementing segregation in West Virginia – not a single riotous incident happened there! I had met with Harold Handley of Kentucky’s neighbor to the north several times before, but this time we chatted at length about his unpopular gas tax (which we disagreed on, but stopped ourselves short of arguing about it again), workers’ unions, and highway development in both our states; I would later endorse him during his US Senate bid. However, the Governor that I had the longest talk with was George Clyde. A Utahan, like Pete [Harman], Clyde was closer to my age, was more understanding of my aversion to alcohol, was mightily concerned about education, and was doing an impressive job overseeing highway construction in his state. I enjoyed working closely with him on domestic issues in the years that came later. But it wasn’t just the Republicans that I spoke to. Soapy Williams of Michigan was a young Democrat there who seemed to be more cantankerous towards the Dixiecrats than the GOP. …I learned, albeit a little too late in some areas, that the best way to understand someone is to actually meet with them. Through the NGA, I better understand the political positions that were dividing communities and legislators across the American landscape. And by golly, would that knowledge come in handy soon enough!

– Colonel Sanders’ autobiography, Life As I Have Known It Has Been Finger-Lickin’ Good, Creation House publishing, 1974
Another good update but I think that there is a typo in this section. I assume you meant desegregation.
Nice update. More interesting snippets from the Governor's Mansion.

Why do I feel there is a big civil rights confrontation to come though?
Chapter 6: January 1958 – December 1958
Chapter 6: January 1958 – December 1958

“If you’re going to do anything new or innovative, you have to be willing to be misunderstood”

– Jeffrey Preston Bezos (OTL)

List of Foghorn Leghorn Episodes:
Ep. 21: “May Your Man Be Mayor” (1958)
Premise: Leghorn runs for mayor of the chicken coop to impress his new beau!
Running time: 11 minutes, 5 seconds
Fun Facts:
Fun Fact No. 1: This episode makes several subtle references to Colonel Sanders, whom in 1958 was famous for going from selling chicken to becoming Governor of Kentucky in 1955!
Fun Fact No. 2: Contrary to popular belief, Foghorn Leghorn was actually not based on Colonel Sanders, as the cartoon character was created and first appeared in Looney Tunes shorts in 1946, before Colonel Sanders was even famous!


Since the Colonel’s departure, the company had seen little innovation apart from expanding the range and number of franchisees. In early 1958, fearing local competitors would siphon away customers with more exciting options, Pete Harman and Millie Sanders began to micromanage their roles in the company, becoming bolder in offering new ideas without neglecting the company’s roots. While eating KFC one evening with Harley Sanders’ family, Harman commented on how the younger children would loudly lick “all ten fingers after diving into a plate of the birds,” leading to one of the children replying with “they’re finger-lickin’ good,” a reply that in turn lead to Harman trademarking “Finger-lickin’ Good” and eventually making it the company’s most famous tagline [1]. Additionally, Harman created a business model that allowed management teams to own significant interests in the restaurants where they worked in, in order to better share in the profits [2]. A second major change was to better utilize the idea of packaging complete meals for families on the go; Millie would privately work with Claudia Sanders on selecting the specific meal dish options. Millie Sanders also took her mother’s experience with the delivery aspect of the fast-food world to streamline the pick-up process, and increased the number of takeout (or “take home”)-only locations found in the United States (starting in 1958) and Canada (starting in 1960, after Harley’s 1959 review of international law greenlit the move).

– Bob Darden’s Secret Recipe: Why KFC Is Still Cookin’ After 50 Years, Tapestry Publishers, 2002


[ ]
– A KFC Take-Home Only locale, Tallahassee, FL, c. Summer 1958

…and if you’re driving on U.S. Route 23, please note the reduced speeds there are still in effect, as construction work in the area is still going on. The Riverside Resort on the Levisa Fork, uh, which is set to open in April...

– Ernest Sparkman, WSGS radio broadcast, 2/28/1958 [3]

“[Toronto-based] Scott’s Restaurants had offered Sanders’s chicken in its four downtown diners since the late 1950s. When it opened a Scott’s Chicken Villa at Lawrence and Victoria Park, it was strictly takeout. This model offered convenience for suburban families wanting to eat at home without turning the stove on, and higher profits, thanks to its lower overhead. Within five years, Scott’s opened 20 stores and their giant roadside buckets plastered with the Colonel’s face across Metro Toronto, while franchisees elsewhere converted to the takeout format.”

Up until the 1950s, many American women felt as if life was nothing more than a never-ending series of chores. KFC, and its iconic take-home Dinner Buckets, introduced nationwide in 1958 after just three months of regional success, eliminated the chore of dinner-making, freeing up enough time for women to realize that they were people with their own ambitions. Women here in the UK went through the same realization when KFC came over here a few years later. In a way, or at least in a small way, the Kentucky Fried Chicken company helped in the propulsion of the world’s feminist movements of the Twentieth Century.

– Conservative feminist writer and politician Louise Burfitt-Dons, while speaking at a rally, 2004


[ ]
– Two KFC advertisements, using “stock” photographs of the Colonel that were originally shot in late 1955, c. Summer 1958

During the new legislative session [of Spring 1958], John B. Breckinridge locked horns with me once again. This time, though, he was weakened by the midterms replacing many of the Chandler Democrats with Republicans willing and ready to continue my agenda – primarily, expansion of healthcare options, allowing people to have a say in who was their doctors, and allowing doctors to have a say in who were their patients. This would cover folks who needed the help their bosses wouldn’t give ’em, as forcing employers to follow government orders is far too Red for both Kentuckians and me.

However, once out of the House, there was much opposition to the bill in the Senate. To get it passed, I agreed to back the Term Specifics Revision bill, a piece of legislation that would allowing incumbent governors to run for a second consecutive term. See, both Democrats and Republicans had been wantin’ to pass such a bill since the 1850s, but no incumbent was willing to exempt themselves from the bill to placate the opposing party [4].

But I was the exception – I was elected understanding I’d only get one term, and I had planned out my time as governor accordingly; “Fine, I was planning on a one-term stint anyway!” I told the state senate leader when he sprung the proviso on me.

With the passage of these two laws, Kentucky, a state of nearly three million people at the time, got better healthcare and the choice of longer-serving governors.

– Colonel Sanders’ Life As I Have Known It Has Been Finger-Lickin’ Good, Creation House publishing, 1974

By March 1958, the end of the state’s active legislation period was approaching, and Colonel Sanders was pecking at a massive omnibus spending package proposed by the state Democrats meant to expand education funding. The Governor negotiated to only add more funds to colleges if the package also included a vocational programs and apprenticeship programs offered by state businesses. Two sides came to an agreement, and Sanders supported and passed the bill into law in April.

– Anne Meagher Northup’s Chicken and Politickin’: the Rise of Colonel Sanders and Rational Conservatism in the Republican Party, 2015

While the Recession of 1958 officially began in August 1957 and officially ended in April 1958, its effects were still felt across the economy as 1958 continued, although they were helped by the June 1958 legislation pushed through in Washington, D.C. …of the states less affected, Kentucky receive much attention. Due to their Governor at the time not trusting the stock market (KFC was still not on the market at this time), [5] then-Governor Harland D. Sanders managed to lead his state through the fiscal year without much damage... April was the height of the recession, as unemployment peaked at 20% in the city of Detroit, Michigan. Sanders responded to this economic crisis by encouraging laid off workers to move to Kentucky, as it was one of the few places better off. This was possible thanks to Sanders’ distrust of the stock market’s “unpredictable nature” leading to him investing in Earth minerals at the beginning of his term. …The long-term effects were a mixed bag. On one hand, long-term, with Sanders adding at least roughly 2,000 new families to the state of Kentucky while also troubling some financial sectors. …The industries hit the hardest by the recession, apart from Ford due to the humiliating flop that was the Edsel car coming out that same year, were the lumber, mining and textile industries; the drop in orders due to drop in demand cost over five millions workers their jobs. Many of these workers, especially those from Michigan, Ohio and West Virginia, found greener pastures in Kentucky’s uninterrupted infrastructure development projects, including irrigation and rural electrification projects begun in the aftermath of flooding in southern Kentucky in early 1957…

– Anne Meagher Northup’s Chicken and Politickin’: the Rise of Colonel Sanders and Rational Conservatism in the Republican Party, 2015

On April 21, Governor Sanders called the General Assembly into session to address healthcare and wages.

– journalist John Ed Pearce’s Divide and Dissent: Kentucky Politics 1930-1959, A University Press of Kentucky, 1987

When I started Kentucky Fried Chicken, I paid my employees good salaries. I paid my office staff $7,000 a year ($58,000 in 2016 dollars). Country-bred stenographers and bookkeepers who had been working for $45 ($370 in 2016 dollars) a week in their neighborhood went to work for me at $7,000 a year. I didn’t do that just because I felt like it. I’ve always believed that everybody likes to have a good wage. I got credit for paying them good wages and at the time if Uncle Sam came along and took it away from them in taxes, it wasn’t my fault. [6] I couldn’t do anything about it. But then I became governor. And I figured that I might as well take the opportunity to try to get feds out of the pockets of the states. I’d use the old phrase “states’ rights” but, again, not in any racial way. States have the right to lessen their reliance on the federal government. When you break a limb, you use a cast, but when its healed, you don’t keep the cast! The Penny Crow fund was doing well, but I refused to accept the feds imposing new taxes that were higher than my state’s taxes. The rebellion, albeit unsuccessful, was popular among fiscal conservatives nationwide. By gum, I must have received well over 1000 letters applauding me for standing up for the rights of states. Again, not in any racial way, though.

– Colonel Sanders’ Life As I Have Known It Has Been Finger-Lickin’ Good, Creation House publishing, 1974

After days of negotiations, Sanders got the state congress to raise the state minimum wage by 25 cents, which was a lot back then, about two dollars in today’s money.
With the biannual budget finally set, state congress left for summer break, allowing Harland to take a break from politics. He and I decided to travel, visiting relatives around the state and over in Indiana. I felt like catching up on my siblings after our mother passed away [7]. Harland’s brother and sister, Clarence and Violet, were mighty proud of their older brother [8]. But even during such times of leisure, Harland felt compelled to work, jotting down ideas for executive orders and how to better utilize the committees at his disposal, or taking a break from eating a family dinner to make a call to his advisors to see if an idea of his was feasible or whatnot. One time, during one supper with my relatives in Alabama, Harland left to use the phone three times in half as many hours. After the fourth call, I had a few words with him.
“You’re going to kill yourself if you don’t take a break now and again!” I once screamed at him.
“What do you think sleep is?” was his response.

Was restlessness ever not an issue?

Well, it was manageable. I found as the years wore on that one thing he would slow down his pace for was his grandchildren, and, soon enough, great-grandchildren. He loved them so, and enjoyed his time with them. So we’d visit them many times over the summer breaks during this time. It helped take his mind off the more frustrating parts of politics that he would return to in the fall.

– Claudia Price Sanders, TNB (Trinity National Broadcasting) interview, 1979


New Reports Show The Flow Of People Moving From Kentucky To Michigan Is Reversing: What Exactly Is Causing Kentucky’s Reversal Of Fortune?

Frankfort, KY – Governor Sanders puts on a show for potential investors, treating them to personally-made meals at the Governor’s mansion and a comprehensive sales pitch. The product? His state. …The new construction of highways throughout Kentucky’s varied realms are presenting stateside businesses with access to the rest of the country, and solid virgin real estate comes alongside these new gravel vessels. …The state was already on the decades-long trend of shifting from becoming more urban than rural, but the Colonel is careful not to neglect agricultural and rural-based businesses. Staying true to his mountain roots, farmers are also seeing relief, as more people stay to work in the fields on new equipment, which is becoming more available to the average farmhand thanks to the revenue coming in from new businesses. Russell Kirk made positive comments on these developments in a New Yorker op-ed last month… Some Michigan politicians worry, though, that this could spell trouble for the people of this Midwestern state…

National Review, conservative editorial, 8/23/1958

“No, there was no rivalry between Colonel Sanders and I. The ’50s were beneficial to both of our states. …the ’60s? Well those were complicated times…”

– Democratic politician Soapy Williams (Governor of Michigan 1949-1961), NBC interview, 1975

The late 1950s saw the golden years of small-family chicken farming come to a close, as the decade saw a steady drop in egg prices nationwide, allowing for larger chicken operators to enter the markets. At this time, Kentucky Fried Chicken got its meat and other products from local farmers in order to ensure freshness. It’s no surprise that KFC franchises easily sprouted up in the south, most notably in Georgia, Arkansas, Alabama, North Carolina and Mississippi – the nation’s highest chicken-producing states, both then and now. In August 1958, Millie and Harley Sanders, the effective co-presidents of KFC during this time, signed an agreement with several chicken small farming organizations in North Carolina in opposition of a local mega-farm attempting to buy out local farmers. [9] “When the small business owner flourishes, the town flourishes. When the town flourishes, the people flourish,” Millie wrote to her father. Millie also understood that larger corporations were much more difficult with whom to do business; “Smalltime farmers won’t try to take us over, and we depend on them too much to ever deny them their needs. Respect and cooperation makes the relationships work. Coordination with the many local organizations (shipping, handling, workers, et cetera), though, still has to be streamlined.”

– Bob Darden’s Secret Recipe: Why KFC Is Still Cookin’ After 50 Years, Tapestry Publishers, 2002


– The Kentucky Kernel (newspaper for the University of Lexington, KY), 9/10/1958


…today announced that the iconic sports stadium on the south side of campus will be renamed the Colonel Sanders Lexington University Stadium, in order to honor the late political and fast-food icon… “for his contributions to higher education” and social achievements during his time in office as… Already, students have dubbed it “Colonel’s Stadium,” though “KFC Stadium” is also being used by many…

–, 2/27/2006 update-note

Overview Of Latest Sales Report: KFC Quality Rates Steady – Sales Still Gradually Rising At Steady Pace.
Additional: New Franchisees In Tucson, AZ And Walla Walla, WA Opening Doors This Upcoming Wednesday And Friday, Respectively.

– KFC internal memo, 9/21/1958

On September 22, 1958, a U.S. Army veteran was working at a KFC franchise in Georgia when a pressure fryer exploded. The veteran received second-degree burns to his chest and right arm, and less severe burns to his face and hands. As the veteran was covered by the G.I. Bill, the U.S. Veterans Administration investigated the incident to determine the incident.

– Eric Schlosser’s Fast-Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal, Houghton Mifflin Company, 2001


– The Paintsville Herald, 10/2/1958

At first we thought it was some exaggeration, but then Millie and I flew down to the hospital Atlanta, and we saw the man looked mangled. I felt terrible about it. Millie was the one to phone her father about it, so I’m not certain what his initial reaction was to it. This was the worst accident concerning the fryers we had ever had. It was a real wake-up call. We apparently could have been doing a much better job preparing the workers for their wild-bull-like behavior.

Was The Georgia Employee wearing any protective clothing?

The phrase if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen comes from the fact that restaurants kitchens are often boiling environments, especially in this franchisee in question. Most of the workers there wore short-sleeve shirts to stand the heat. But that all changed after this incident. A few weeks afterwards, we ordered all locations to maintain reasonable workplace temperatures. Open windows, fans working – or, in cold places, heaters – we wanted the kind of kitchen were the workers would be able to tolerate wearing long sleeves and long gloves nears the fryer.

Was anything else done concerning the incident?

Yes, one big thing. I later called the Colonel, and I also talked to Harley about this, and despite the Colonel opposing it, Harley agreed with me, that the design of the Colonel’s pressure fryers had to be revisited. We had several professionals on our payroll to look over the machinery, and they slowly began tinkering with the Colonel’s design, being very careful to not affect the way the chicken ended up tasting.

And that was difficult?

Oh, yes, we spent many weeks if not months testing and tasting, but, like anything you do with perseverance, it got done.

– Pete Harman and interviewer, 60 Minutes, early 1992


[pic: ]

– Governor Colonel Harland David Sanders (R-KY) giving a speech before a crowd to endorse and rally support for a Republican candidate for the U.S. Congress (standing on his right), 10/26/1958


…the Republican party suffered several losses in senatorial, congressional, and gubernatorial elections in the western, midwestern, and northeastern states. Psephologists, also known as people who study elections and their historic trends for a living, observe that the losses can be contributed to both “incumbency fatigue” and the economy. “The swelling of northern Democrats notably to the left of their party’s southern counterparts could prove to be a highly significant development,” reports Howard K. Smith of ABC.

Losses for the Republican Party were greater than expected due to the effects of this year’s recession, though Smith claims the victories of Democrats in the Midwest and Northeast is due to President Eisenhower’s position on right-to-work issues galvanizing labor unions, a majority of which support the Democratic Party.

In last night’s Senate races, Democrats gained 15 seats, which may be a new record for the number of Senate seats changing party hands in a midterm election. Alaska, which will be admitted as a state on January 3rd, elected two Democrats, while members of the party of Jackson gained seats in the typically Republican-leaning states of New Jersey, Connecticut and Maine.

In the House, Democrats gained 49 seats across the country, from California to Maine, in the races for governor, Democrats gained a net total of 6. Due to local and state politics playing a prominent role in how voters chose their leaders at the gubernatorial level, Republicans managed to gain the governorships in four states (Oregon, Arizona, New York and Rhode Island) but lost control of 10 other governor’s seats.

“Republicans should look back on tonight,” says Smith, “And learn from these results to determine how to better address the wants and needs of the American people going forward into the 1959 and 1960 elections.”

– The New York Times, 11/5/1958

VETERANS AFFAIRS ENDS KFC INVESTIGATION: Georgia Franchisee Fined For Negligence, KFC For Ignorance

Washington, D.C. – …The U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that KFC can operate its current pressure fryers as long as workers are properly trained to handle them …Additionally, KFC has agreed to raise safety procedures such as protective gloves and goggles, and to implement safety training courses for new employees and franchisees. A spokesman for the multinational corporation also stated that “if a superior, safer pressure fryer design or method is discovered, Kentucky Fried Chicken will look into the possibility to using them, and working with authorities to ensure safe work environments are maintained in KFC franchise locations in the years to come.”

– The Kentucky Post, 12/23/1958


[ ]
– An early model of the Colonel’s KFC pressure fryer

[1] The sentence “Harman also contributed…the motto ‘It’s finger-lickin’ good.’ Harman went on to operate more than 200 KFC locations in four states.” Is found here: . The slogan “Finger lickin’ good” was actually created in 1956:
[2] The article reads “[Harman’s] idea to package complete meals for families on the go to a business model that allowed management teams to own significant interests in the restaurants where they worked in order to share in the profits.”
[3] Without Colonel Sanders being in the governor's seat to instigate business development, this is what happened on this date in OTL:,_Kentucky,_bus_disaster.
[4] This information was found here:
[5] I swear to both my God and yours that I thought I saw the Colonel’s aversion to the stock market due to his experience living through the Great Depression mentioned in either his autobiography or in one of the sources in Chapter 1 (maybe the damninteresting article, or the buzzfeed article?). A thousand apologies for being unable to be more specific at this current point in time.
[6] These italicized sections were pulled from Sanders’ 1966 autobiography "Col. Harland Sanders: The Autobiography Original Celebrity Chef," and are also quoted here:
[7] More information can be found here:
[8] Information pulled from here:
[9] This information can be found here:

The E.T.A. of the next Chapter - November 1; thanks for reading!
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Hmmm.... that football update had me thinking. Did Sanders kick the athletic department in the ass and tell the to start showing. Bear Bryant the same respect as Rupp? Because if so he might not have left for Texas A&M and the butterflies would drastically change the sports landscape in the south.
This is all fascinating.

I take it the Mega Farms brought out all the little guys in OTL?
Hows KFC doing internationally? I saw the UK mention there - would it be popular in US army bases around the world - spreading to more US friendly places around them even in the Mid East or SE Asia?
Bryant accepted the head coaching job at Texas A&M back in 1954, before the Colonel entered office. But since Sanders was not the kind of guy who tolerated people being lazy or under-performing, my guess is he'd whip them right into shape!
Damn forgot Bryant left in 53. Was thinking 55 was when he left. Well eventually someone is gonna make that TL.
I'm calling it: Sanders runs for the Senate from Kentucky in 1960...

On a side note, his being president butterflies away his appearance in Hells Bloody Devils...
Chapter 7: January 1959 – December 1959
Chapter 7: January 1959 – December 1959

“Don’t let your dreams be dreams”

– Jack Johnson (OTL)

I first met John Y. Brown Jr. in 1963; I never trusted him. Granted, the man started out innocently enough. The son of an unsuccessful politician, Brown was just a young entrepreneur fresh out of college in 1959, working at his father’s law firm while concurrently serving in the US Army Reserve and starting a family of his own. But his ambitions for wealth and fame were his top priorities. In 1959, I was paying close attention to KFC’s rising competitors, the biggest of them being McDonald’s and the man behind its meteoric rise, Ray Kroc. A man who took someone else’s idea and made it their own, pushing the founders to the background and minimizing their influence. As the decade came to a close, I kept my eyes on the effects of this treachery, and so, apparently, did John Y. Brown Jr.

– Dave Thomas’ Under the Colonel’s Wing, Mosaic Publishing, 1982

The late ’50s saw a boom in fast-food mega-chains as businessmen across the country tried to replicate the Colonel’s success. Pizza Hut, IHOP, and Delhelen Meats were born in 1958, with Little Caesar’s and Double-H coming into creation in 1959. And more would come in the 1960s – Domino’s Pizza, Hardee’s, Arby’s, Fridaytime, Dr. Sub’s – all beloved landmarks of Americana now, but at the time just struggling upstart companies working to defeat their competitors. I knew KFC, The Colonel’s brainchild, was going to face competition sooner or later, and within a few years I tried to help protect his franchise as best as I could.

– John Y. Brown Jr.’s autobiography John Y. Brown Jr.: A Lifetime of (Intermittent) Success, Brownhouse Publishing, 2003


…Fulgencio Batista has resigned from the Presidency of the rebel-torn island nation of Cuba, and has fled to exile in the Dominican Republic, as Cuban rebel forces led by Fidel Castro moved swiftly to seize power throughout the island at the start the new year early today. …The rebel leader's militant forces entered the nation’s capital of Havana only a few hours after seizing the city of Santiago de Cuba late yesterday and taking over the Moncado army post without firing a shot; roughly 5,000 soldiers there surrendered during the capturing of the area. At the same time of night, truckloads of revel soldiers moved toward Havana, in conjunction with Castro's “26th of July” militia movement, who proceeded to begin "patrolling" streets while armed with machine guns and rifles...

…The rebel forces are forging ahead across the island, spreading out from Santa Clara, capital of Las Villas Province, which they had seized Wednesday, to other regions beyond Havana, such as Camaguey...

…The fleeing of General Batista has sparked an exodus from Cuba of at least 400 persons, who are fleeing by ship and plane to the United States and the Dominican Republic. Among these persons are some of Cuba’s most key political and military leaders and their respective families…

– The Daily News, 1/2/1959

On February 3, 1959, the United Daughters of the Confederacy awarded the Cross of Military Service to Margaret Sanders. The move was reportedly controversial, as, while Margaret, or “Maggie” to friends and “Mags” to her siblings, had often donated to numerous donations, including the UDC and the US armed forces, she had never served in the US military. However, according to the UDC, Margaret, along with her brother and sister, are eligible for the Cross due to their mother, Josephine King, having Alabaman roots dating back to before the American Civil War. Furthermore, Margaret was an active member of their social circles, and was deemed worthy by the organization’s voting committee for the award. Ironically, Colonel Sanders’ parents were born and raised in Indiana, and their ancestors hailed from the “union” states as well [1].

– Lowell Harrison and James Klotter’s A History of Kentucky, University Press of Kentucky, 1997

Unsure how to spend his lack-duck time, the Colonel would often meet with former governors for advice, but often disagreed with most of them, whom told him to "just take it easy," as one of them put it. “You’re supposed take it easy when out of office, not in it!” Sanders reportedly remarked. Rejecting the "laziness" of his fellow governors, The Colonel decided to travel around the state and meet with people, essentially launching an unofficial “tour” of the commonwealth.

– journalist John Ed Pearce’s The Colonel: The Captivating Biography of the Dynamic Founder of a Fast-Food Empire, Pageturner Publishers, 2017


[ ]
– The Colonel eating a Jelly Donut while meeting with locals, near Munfordville, KY, c. 1959

Update: Sales Recovering From Georgia Incident

– KFC internal memo, 3/21/1959

With the party’s gubernatorial primary only two months away, Kentucky’s Democratic state leaders began backing away from allying with Chandler, believing he would try to influence the outcome through the same negative tactics that cost them the governorship just four years prior. As a result, the race between county judge Bert T. Combs (who ran for the nomination in 1955) and Chandler ally Henry Waterfield (who ran for Lieutenant Governor in 1955) became more even-sided. Meanwhile, Republicans were hopeful that Sanders’ popularity could possibly lead to a second straight win. When Lieutenant Governor Edwin Denney announced his bid, he proceeded to the May primary virtually unopposed.

– Lowell H. Harrison and James C. Klotter’s A New History of Kentucky, University Press of Kentucky, 1997


Harland David Sanders III and “Candy” Sanders announce the birth of their second child, a healthy baby boy and the couple's first son. Harland David Sanders IV arrived on April 2 at the Louisville City Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky. Weighing in at 8 pounds 11 ounces, the newborn is the first great-grandchild of Kentucky Governor Colonel Harland David Sanders, …

– The Courier-Journal, Celebrations section, 4/2/1959

One day in April of that year [1959], I was dictating to my head secretary, Deborah, when Margaret dropped by with some news.

“My daughter finally got into college.”

“Oh, um…”


"Oh, uh…"

“The troubled one.”

“Oh! Good for her!”

“Yeah, she likes Florida, so it looks like she’s staying there for the next four years. So, with the nest empty, I’m heading off to search for Atlantis off the coast of Morocco.”


“So if you can collect my mail –”

“Whoa, hold up there, Maggie, starting an eye bank is one thing, but travelling across the globe?”

“Well I couldn’t find the Lost City in the Bahamas.”

“Margaret, it could be dangerous, like that time you worked at that gun factory.”

“I never shot anything…that couldn’t be covered up until after I had quit.”

“Oh, Margaret, that’s my point! You’re always picking up and moving away like a tumbleweed, going from one crazy thing to the next.”

“You say crazy, I say bold. And what can I say? I get antsy when I’m stuck in one place.”

“So true,” I replied; by this time, Margaret had already held several various jobs in Utah, Florida, Bimini, Lexington, Louisville, and New York City. “Just…just be careful, ya hear?”

“Ain’t I always? And besides, I understand the Theory of Relativity, Millie. Ya really think I can’t figure out how to use diving equipment?”

My sister truly had one of those “far-out minds,” as her daughter Josephine would often put it. She viewed things not as established fact but as unrecognized challenges. Mysteries were just queries left blank on a test – their answers were out there somewhere, but only few cared enough to find them once the test was over.

– Mildred Sanders Ruggles’ My Father, The Colonel: A Life of Love, Politics, and KFC, StarGroup International, 2000


[ ]
– Governor Sanders reviewing a draft of a speech proposing a Farming Deregulation Bill, c. April 1959

…Another big story today comes from Frankfort, the state capital, where Governor Sanders has called for a special session for one last issue, um, since he’s leaving office this December. The issue that will be discussed, *clears throat*, is the deregulating of the state government’s demands on agriculture. The Colonel today announced, quote, “let farmers be farmers,” unquote, and that he will, uh, quote, “seek to curb the increasing bureaucratic hindrance on the family farms in favor of major farm companies, supporting the sacrificing of local family farms in the name of monopolistic government control and oppression. Let businesses run honest operations and run clean competition without the government taking the side of oppression,” unquote. Some strong words, for sure, but in politics, the pen can often beat the tongue…

– WKYT-TV, Kentucky radio station, 4/10/1959 broadcast

Soon after, J. B. Breckinridge met with several of his fellow legislators whom believed that Sanders’ proposal for a farm reform bill would be detrimental or even dangerous to state agriculture if it passed. “These government demands are a necessary evil, as small farms would fail without them,” Breckinridge allegedly told an undecided state congressman during his campaign to win over enough votes to block the passing of such a bill.

– James C. Klotter’s Our Kentucky: A Study of the Bluegrass State, University Press of Kentucky, 1997

On the day of the vote, Breckinridge managed to defeat the proposed bill, 56-44. Father threw a fit over the results, but after a short accepted it, saying "What's done is done." He decided to keep moving forward with the rest of his agenda for the remainder of the year, beginning with redirecting his focus to executive orders and travelling around. “I did the very best I could do with what I had working for me and working against me,” he later told me. Personally, I think towards the end of his term, he was relieved that he only had a few months left of his time in office. At one point, he even said to me, "If all goes well, Breckinridge will soon enough become Denney’s problem. Maybe he'll do a better job dealing with him."

– Harland David “Harley” Sanders Jr., In the Thick of It: The Story of The Colonel and His Son, Sunrise Publishing, 1991

“Turning now to politics, Bert Combs has won the Democratic nomination for Governor in a tight race against Henry Waterfield. ...Bert Combs, born Bertram Thomas Combs in 1911, rose from poverty to earn a law degree from Kentucky University before serving as a private in the US Army during World War II. In 1951, Governor Wetherby appointed him to a seat on the Kentucky Court of Appeals, and Mr. Combs held that seat until resigning earlier this year to run for governor …Across the aisle, Lieutenant Governor Edwin Denney tonight won the Republican nomination for Governor with roughly 89% of the vote, with the remaining share of the votes being split among several minor candidates...”

– Nicholas J. "Nick" Clooney, news anchor for WKYT-TV in Lexington KY (1959-1964), 5/25/1959 broadcast

“Something can happen to open the door of opportunity for you, but it’s your own job to keep that door open and to step through it!”

– Governor Sanders at Murray State University, 5/30/1959


– The College Heights Herald (newspaper for Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green), 6/3/1959

NEW BUILDINGS ON HARLAND QUAD DEDICATED TO THE COLONEL: Staff, Alumni Celebrates 50 Year Anniversary Of U’s Business Programs

– The College Heights Herald (newspaper for Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green), 6/3/2009

…And now we turn to the continuing nationwide steelworker strike… After negotiations with management the steelworkers’ union broke down, their contract expired on July 15, causing 500,000 labors to vacate their jobs, affecting almost every steel mill in the nation... The Department of Defense has grown concerned that the halt in steel production could cost the nation dearly if a crisis were to occur… as of this moment, both sides appear to be at an impasse…

– Face the Nation, 8/29/1959 broadcast

All of Kentucky’s steel plants were shut down by the strike, cutting into Father’s goal of leaving office with low employment under his belt. Father met with the governors and business leaders of other states to try to coordinate any way to end the standoff, even offering to sit down with the union leaders and management to find some common ground. Richard Nixon, whom was Vice President at the time, warned that the workers’ refusal to return to work could trigger a recession, and that would make them lose support in both political parties heading into 1960. Both Father and I disagreed with the notion that several businesspersons had of looking to steel production overseas, with father angrily telling them to “stay in America; don’t scurry away like cowards, and betray your kin the moment they cause some trouble.” Despite my father’s opposition, businesses did turn to foreign production during the strike. The venture lead to them discovering that it was actually cheaper to import steel from places such as Japan and South Korea, a revelation that forever changed the US steel industry.

A few years later, father would address this domestic employment crisis from a much more powerful vantage point. But that’s for another chapter.

– Harland David “Harley” Sanders Jr., In the Thick of It: The Story of The Colonel and His Son, Sunrise Publishing, 1991

In early September, Governor Sanders criticized several members of the Southern Governors Association at one of their meetings. At said meeting, the members in question had openly voiced opposing integration and supporting the steel industry’s anti-worker actions during that year’s nationwide steelworkers strike. The Colonel argued that he knew firsthand that management had a responsibility to their workers: “the work they put in, even when not on the clock, stuffs the pockets of me and my fellow businessmen, and because of that, we owe them the kind of wages that they can make a livin’ on.” The Colonel was not invited to the Association’s next meeting, in December, the official explanation being that it was scheduled to be held merely one week before the Colonel left office.

– Anne Meagher Northup’s Chicken and Politickin’: the Rise of Colonel Sanders and Rational Conservatism in the Republican Party, 2015


[pic: ]

– Colonel Sanders, Claudia Sanders, and Harley Sanders greeting guests at the Governor’s mansion, c. mid-September 1959

“Denney vows to uphold Sanders’ legacy while having none of his own to stand on. The worst county fair in the state has better platforms than Ed Denney.”

– Bert T. Combs, 9/30/1959

Col. Sanders Says “Try Out Denney’s Ideas!”

...The Colonel is trying to improve his Lieutenant's standing in the polls amid claims the Edwin Denney is "weaker duplicate" of Governor Sanders...

The Lexington Herald-Leader, 10/2/1959

In 1959, when I was 20 years old, my first politics gig was passing out pamphlets for the Eddie Denney campaign. That fall, Colonel Sanders campaigned for his first mate with earnest, presenting a Denney term as a second Sanders term, as the lieutenant governor was also a businessman by trade, albeit one much friendlier to big donors than Sanders ever was. The biggest problem was with the candidate himself – Denney himself was just a bad campaigner, often needing to rely on cue cards during speeches, a crutch that his opponent, Bert Combs, had cured himself of since his first bid for the governorship four years earlier. And the thing was, the bigger the crowd, the more embarrassing it was for him, and the more embarrassing it was for his campaign. It seemed that not even the Colonel himself - a man who built up a major fast-food chain by being a salesman - could help Eddie improve his "sales pitch." Both men simply could not make people overlook Denney’s inferior public speaking qualities. I couldn’t either. After the election, I finished school, and moved to Washington, D.C., where the professional politicians worked.

– Ronald Louis Ziegler, 1989 interview

Today marks the two-year anniversary of Cam’s narrow escape from death’s clutches. Tonight he recounted the harrowing event, when his small plane malfunctioned over the waters of the Florida Straits. By a miracle from God, Cam succeeded in bringing the plane down for a non-fatal crash into the dark waters below.

The plane shattered into pieces. All hope seemed lost until Cam caught sight of a capitalist bucket of KFC chicken sticking out of some of the wreckage. KFC chicken, which Cam often would pick up when clandestinely staying in Miami, was a guilty pleasure of Cam’s that he always omitted when telling this story to the public, switching it out for just a regular logo-less white bucket.

But regardless, the fact remains that in the darkness of those freezing night waters, a white bucket, bobbing like a beacon of salvage, waded in the waters on a piece of buoyant wreckage. Cam swam to the bucket, and managed to hold on tight to some of the plane’s more floatable remains as he became adrift upon the waves. Cam swore there was a plane following him, but if there was, its occupants must have thought he’d perished. But actually, brave Cam battled the stomach-churning waters for hours.

The strait carried him to Florida, where upon he landing on one of America's beaches undetected. He then stole a boat without detection or hesitance, and immediately returned to Cuba. It was, without a doubt, a very brave and courageous feat, KFC or no KFC.

Finishing the story, Cam toasted to the glory of the revolution. We cheered, and Cam ordered me to pour some more rounds, and I happily obliged, for the opportunity to fight under the command of Cam is a high honor. Tomorrow, when we return to battle, I promise that I will not let him or my country down!

– 28 October 1961 entry of The Diary of the Unknown Fighter, published 1996

…Well, more reports are coming in, and I’ve got to say, it sure don’t look good for the Republican Party right about now. With the Democrats showing a more united front this time around, Judge Combs is still maintaining a slight lead over Lieutenant Governor Edwin Denney. This may be because, with the national steel strike still going strong, Governor Colonel Sanders’ popularity is dropping, and it looks like Denney’s polling numbers are being dragged down with it…

– WPSD-TV, Paducah, KY, 11/1/1959 radio broadcast


Frankfort, KY – The people of Kentucky elected Bert T. Combs to be their next governor… Combs is a decorated WWII veteran who served on the State Court of Appeals from 1951 to 1959… Despite Governor Sanders endorsing and actively campaigning for Lt. Governor Denney, Combs ran a more active campaign, narrowly defeating his Democratic primary opponents on a campaign focused on “open honesty” in the capitol.

…Possible contributions to Denney’s defeat are the national sense of voter fatigue, and this year’s Steel Strike upsetting statewide business and employment. ...Other election analysts, however, are pointing to Combs running a platform calling for a 3-percent sales tax to pay a bonus to military veterans, and provide greater funding for education and parks, while Denney ran on the less-inspiring platform of fiscal restraint. Interestingly, racial segregation was not a topic of debate during this race, as both candidates support racial integration... Upon being sworn into office next month, Combs will become the first veteran of World War II to hold said office...

– The Kentucky Post, 11/3/1959


[ ]

Kentucky Gubernatorial General Election Results, 11/3/1959:
Bert T. Combs (Democratic) – 443,310 (51.97%)
Edwin R. Denney (Republican) – 409,702 (48.03%)
Total votes cast: 853,014
Turnout: 28.97% Total Population

– [2]

Oh, yes, it was sad saying goodbye to the mansion and even sadder saying goodbye to the staff. By the end, I knew them all on a first-name basis. But at least I stayed in contact with some of them, and even hired some of them a few years later… After some last executive orders and pardons, Harland took what was apparently an unusual step, of packing up early instead of staying involved in political circles in the final few days of the Governorship. I wasn’t surprised. He was very anxious to get out. Hmm. My Harland never did like being a lame-duck… Um, on November 18, I believe, Ben-Hur premiered. Harland had heard good things about it, and eventually we both went and saw it. Harland was very impressed by it, and when he later got to meet Charlton Heston in person - in, I want to say, 1964 or 1965 - Harland was star-struck, absolutely flabbergasted, despite the serious context of the meeting. And, you know, I think that that viewing was the first time that Harland really got interested in the Middle East…

– Claudia Price Sanders, TNB (Trinity National Broadcasting) interview, 1979


…he continued many Wetherby/Clements policies, particularly in transportation, focusing on road construction and development to improve trade and communication venues. These policies made him popular among Democratic donors and voters, and that helped him to work with some Democrats in the state legislature… The Colonel held true to his principles and fulfilled his campaign promises as best he could give the parameters and circumstances of his time in office… His dual presence on the national stage as a political figure and as a fast-food media icon posed the challenge of separating business from government, yet the Colonel suffered no relating scandals as one may have expected from such a bizarre combination of colorful and overlapping careers… …However, his conservative ideology and fiscal responsibility must be called into question for contradictory actions. For example, The Colonel decreased government involvement in some areas but increased it in others, and even though he opposed taxation in principle, he did champion and impose a "sin tax"… Despite GOP allegiance, he was known on the commonwealth’s Capitol Hill for being a somewhat independent-minded leader, picking and choosing administrative focus based on personal preference and how well he got along with state lawmakers and other state officeholders... However, in the end he was actually a very responsible leader, a “master of disaster” as one Frankfort colleague proclaimed. Indeed, Governor Sanders sailed his ship through major maelstroms in each year of his governorship – a Civil Rights confrontation, a flood that consumed half the state, an economic recession, and the still-occurring steel strike. Through each one, he persevered, and in the end, The Colonel leaves office with the state that despite the disasters has a budget surplus and an economy much healthier than many other states - and certainly much healthier than the one it had four years ago... Ultimately, we give Colonel Sanders an “A” rating for both his pragmatic results and his quixotic governing ideology that, while somewhat broad in definition, was consistent, honest, and reliable.

Harvard Business Review, Dec. 1959 issue

“Don’t thank me, folks, no, don’t applaud me. It was y’all, the people of Kentucky, who made these past four years so wonderful. It all happened by y’all believing in me, and trusting me to not become another politician and break the promises I made. When I say something, I always mean it, and the past four years prove that! …Before I leave, though, let me address the younger viewers. The young boys and gals of the commonwealth should know something – you can’t deny that there’s a connection between effort and success. You can’t have one without the other. If there’s one thing to take away from my time as Governor’s it’s that anything is possible if you just add effort to it. …So, in conclusion, what I’m trying to get at here, folks, is that you should never just wait for destiny to fall into your lap. If you have a vision, a dream, a calling, go for it! And make it happen! Why put it off or only care slightly for it? A light switch has only two settings – on and off. Turn your lights on. Put all your effort into your dream; that’s how you get it!”

– Sanders’ farewell address, WFPK-TV (Louisville, KT National Education Television affiliate) radio broadcast, 12/7/1959

“Actually, I just had time to spare that day. It was just how things turned out, is all. See, it was an early radio broadcast, and, well, see, a lot of radio stations and the media and whatnot were focusing on his speech because the Colonel has essentially become a national celebrity despite not living over in California. The media can’t get enough of him. So, on that day, I decided to listen to the Colonel’s speech while in the bathroom, um, shaving and stuff. I thought the Colonel was a funny character – harmless, really – but still, his meteoric rise from Nowheresville is very admirable. Colonel Sanders’ words, his pragmatic, almost pushy kind of speech, I don’t know. It – it inspired me, I have to say, to make me make a run for the Presidency that was a lot more active than the run I was doing at the time. Right after the speech, in the heat of the moment, I called my friend James Rowe, and I told him, ‘Jim, I’m going for it. Full swing, all the way.’”

– Lyndon B. Johnson to Homer Thornberry, 1961 recording, released 1981

For New Year’s Eve, 1959, we gathered around the TV set at the old Corbin homestead.

“By gum, what a decade. So much happened in it!” Dad remarked.

I lamented, “The death of Einstein.”

Harley observed, “AFL merged with CIO.”

Millie said, “That Elvis fella.”

Dad cleared his throat intentionally loudly.

“Oh yeah,” I jovially exclaimed, “And Dad landed that government job.”

“But it was only for four years,” Millie added to the gag.

“Yeah, high turnover rate over there,” Harley noted with a serious tone but a smirk growing on the left side of his face.

“Alright, alright,” Dad continued, “My point is, I went from being local eatery runner to a national celebrity in this decade. So just imagine where I’ll be at the end of the next decade!”

Dad had a consuming drive to conquer all the adversities that occurred in his life [3]. But his life and its collection of adversities were still far from being over.

– Margaret Sanders’ The Colonel’s Secret: Eleven Herbs and a Spicy Daughter, StarGroup International, 1997

[1] According to this:
[2] The election turnout and total votes cast (almost the same from OTL), and the base-map (that’s what it’s called, right?), are from here:
[3] Italicized passage is from Margaret’s book, The Colonel’s Secret, and found here:
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