Kentucky Fried Politics: A Colonel Sanders Timeline

Chapter 9: July 1960 – November 1960
Chapter 9: July 1960 – November 1960

“Keep up your morning exercises, because every politician must be able to keep both feet on the fence with his ear to the ground.”

– Gracie Allen, 1940

“I’ve worked at KFC since I was old enough. I always knew my grandfather the Colonel as a fretting man. “I used to run seven pots at a time when working at one of his restaurants, and I once saw him nearly holler the ears right off a fellow employee – not exactly the new guy, but not a veteran, either – who didn’t make the gravy just right… The old man just wanted to sell the best quality food he could…He was likely to take his cane to anyone he caught not doing everything right.” [1]

– Trigg Adams Jr., Colonel Sander’s grandson, 2009 interview

Richard Nixon reviewed dozens of potential running mates, and I was part of the team that looked into their backgrounds. Senator Prescott Bush of Connecticut was the dirtiest of them all, so he was taken off list very quickly. Nixon thought that picking Senate leader Everett Dirksen or House minority leader Charles Halleck could win over the party establishment; I asked him “do the votes of 300 bigshots outweigh the votes of several thousand workers?” and he soon dropped the idea; neither came from a vital swing state, anyway. Representative Jerry Ford’s name was hovered as he was friends with Nixon. Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona could have won over conservatives, but not in any electorally rich areas except for the south, where it’d be facing off against the regional appeal that LBJ seemingly had down there; some of us also thought that the Dixie Sneaks would put a spin on Goldwater’s Jewish ancestry. Plus, Barry seemed too ambitious; Nixon felt the Arizonan - whose presence on the ticket would have made it geographically lopsided, by the way - would try to undermine a Nixon campaign to promote his own Presidential campaign later on. For these reasons, regardless of whether they came from a place of logic or paranoia, Nixon took Goldwater off the list.

Defense Secretary Neil McElroy and Red Cross head Alfred Gruenther could have won over the military vote, but that would have been more helpful if there was a conflict hotter than the Cold War going on at the time. Senator Lodge of Massachusetts also fit the foreign policy bill, but had lost his last election, and did not stand out above the other candidates; had Senator Kennedy been the nominee, Lodge may have been given more thought. Conservatives on the hill – congressman Walter Judd, Senators Thruston Morton and Hugh Scott – and Secretary Fred Seaton and Governor Stratton were next to be vetted when Nixon had a “eureka” moment.

Nixon came up with the idea of getting Colonel Sanders to serve as running mate. He was seriously thinking at the time of adopting this strategy of sorts to win over the southern states, and at the time the Colonel was one of the very few Republican politicians that was – incredibly, given his known stance on Civil Rights – a fairly popular man both in and out of the South. Tricky Dick also figured his extensive business connections could help out the campaign’s financing, an idea that caused me to immediately seek out The Colonel.

– Bob Halderman’s The Haldeman Diaries: Three Decades of Tough Decisions and Tricky Dick, Barnes & Noble Press, 1994

The Colonel was attending the Republican National Convention but had declined to give a speech, which should have been my first hint at the extent of his political interests at the time. Nevertheless, I invited him up to my suite. Our chat was light at the beginning, with me commending him for his company’s unparalleled success. I added, “You know, my brother had a fast-food restaurant of his own for a few years over in Whittier. It was a drive-in place. He called it ‘Nixon’s.’”

Then we got down to discussing more serious business. “Colonel, if you served as my running mate, and as my Vice President, we Republicans could finally wrestle the South away from the Democrats.” I told him about how he could win over more conservative voters and help me unite the country behind my candidacy. “And with your business acumen, we can assure that any American with a dream and the will to work hard for that dream can make it a reality. You’ve found your success, Colonel. Let’s help others find theirs.”

The message was right, but the timing of things was off. When the Colonel declined, I remember him saying the following to me: “Nixon, I’m currently dealing with a dispute with some of my franchisees that want KFC to go public on account of the stock market and everything. I’ve got this Ray Kroc fella tryin’ to fool customers away from me, and the feds and their labor officials are still houndin’ me to build a better, safer pressure fryer. My company is at the moment in a real mess that I just can’t walk away from. Now if I can’t keep chicken in order, how can I expect to keep congress in order?” He suggested that I talk to Senator Thurston instead. I did, but he declined to serve as my running mate as well, suggesting that he would be of more help to me in the Senate.

After hours of reviewing my remaining options, I caved to my advisor’s ideas of abandoning the South to Lyndon. Without a commanding Southerner to take the number-two spot, I doubted the effectiveness of appealing to the region. As such, I instead focused on winning over the more northern states…

– Richard Nixon’s Six Crises, Doubleday Publishing, 1962

NIXON PICKS JUDD AS RUNNING MATE; Civil Rights Plank Revised by GOP Platform Committee


Chicago, IL – Tonight, in the second night of the Republic National Convention, U.S.. Congressman Walter Judd was confirmed to be Nixon’s running mate by acclamation. Judd, 61, has represented Minnesota’s 5th U.S. Congressional district since 1943, has repeatedly been re-elected to said seat with ease ever since his first election the seat in 1942, and is known for his exceptional foreign policy work. Judd is a strong supporter of Formosa and America’s foreign aid programs to many struggling nations overseas… Judd hails from the same state as Senator Johnson’s own running mate, Hubert H. Humphrey…

– The Times Recorder, 7/27/1960

1960 Republican National Convention

Date(s): July 25-28, 1960
City: Chicago, IL
Venue: International Amphitheatre

Presidential nominee: Richard M. Nixon of California
Vice Presidential nominee: Walter H. Judd of Minnesota

Results (President):
Richard M. Nixon (CA) – 1,321 (99.25%)
Barry M. Goldwater (AZ) – 10 (0.75%)
Results (Vice President):
Walter H. Judd (MN) – acclamation


Nixon ultimately chose Judd, a conservative congressman from Minnesota with foreign policy expertise, to neutralize LBJ’s pick of Humphrey and any possible claims that Nixon was deficient in foreign policy experience, despite his performance in the Kitchen Debate back in ’59. Nixon and Judd got along well enough, but most of the time, they campaigned separately in order to cover more ground. ...Lyndon had influence in a plethora of high places, and did everything short of physically twisting arms to get as many wealthy donors to back his Presidential run over Nixon’s. It wasn’t enough for him that he had an army of surrogate speakers and a superior funding/financing scheme. LBJ made sure Nixon faced a rough, almost uphill, race for Ike’s job.

– John Ehrlichman’s Witness: What Went on Behind Closed Doors, Folkways Books, 1998


The Miami Herald, 8/6/1960

It is important to remember that the first political debate between two major-party nominees did not occur until 1968. Before then, candidates had several weeks to campaign before the election, and would find other ways to reach out to voters. In 1960, Nixon made the bold step of pledging to visit every state in the union, a decision many considered a mistake, both then and now. The trips to politically irreverent states such as Alaska took a toll on Nixon’s health, causing him to look sluggish, disheveled and physically unfit for office, some said. Meanwhile, Johnson went with an old-fashioned surrogate campaign, making official speeches from time to time while his supporters went about organizing support and mobilizing prospective voters. This benefited Johnson greatly as it minimized the number of gaffes he could make – and as history would show, Johnson was many things, including an impatient and temperamental man of many gaffes. Contrarily, the 50-state campaign exhausted Nixon, making him often look tired, unfocused, distant, and unprofessional, whereas Johnson remained collected and calm in the eyes of the attentive voter.

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


The New York Times, 8/19/1960

“Mr. President, I was just wondering if you could give us an example of a major idea of his [Nixon] that you have adopted in the role of the decider, and um…?”

“If you give me a week, I might think of one; I don’t remember!” [2]

– Exchange between President Eisenhower and a New York Times reporter, 8/25/1960


...Florida is beginning to experience the storm's destructive force, which flooded and devastated Puerto Rico and other islands in the Caribbean earlier this week...

The Boston Globe, 9/1/1960

“Johnson is courting conservative voters in the south while Humphrey campaigns in the more liberal north. Do you think this is creating a conflicting campaign message?”

“No, Ned, they’re appealing to a broader base – going for a wider range – to show that they will be leaders of all Americans, liberals and conservatives, Republican and Democrats, and not leaders of one specific ideology.”

“At the convention, Senator Kennedy said he would work with the campaign; has he?”

“Well, he’s been making calls for us, rounding up donors and endorsements from the east coast, and he’s even made some speeches for Lyndon. Uh, a few days ago he held a rally in Boston. …I’m confident that if anyone can deliver us the northeast, it’s Senator Kennedy.”

– Host and interviewer Ned Brooks and political strategist for the Lyndon Johnson campaign James Rowe, Face the Nation, 9/2/1960

…After two days of negotiations between management and labor representatives, the Pennsylvania Railroad has resumed operations, concluding a railroad workers strike that had effectively shut down the company’s operations for the first time in said company’s history…

– CBS Evening News, 9/3/1960 broadcast

SUMMER OLYMPICS: Cassius Clay Wins The Gold In Boxing

The Louisville Courier, sports section, 9/5/1960

Lyndon was worried that the bitterness of denying Kennedy, a Catholic, the nomination would lead to Catholic Democrat voters staying at home on Election Day, or even voting for Nixon just to spite him. Lyndon feared that would tip some key states into Nixon’s column. He was also worried that Jack’s loss would dampen the turnout of any younger, first-time Democrat voters. He had to do something, so very soon after the convention, Lyndon sat down with Kennedy to see what he could offer Jack in return for Jack’s support via funding and campaigning for him in the northern states. It was not a proud moment for Lyndon, but it was one that he, and to a greater extent Walter and Jimmy, had to do in order to assure victory in November.

– Mildred Stegall (1908-2014, 105), longtime personal aide to Lyndon Johnson, 1978 interview

SUMMER OLYMPICS: Ethiopia's Abebe Bikila Sets Marathon World Record Barefoot!

...the athlete ran the entire 26 miles and 385 yards in 2 hours and 16.2 seconds while completely barefoot, making him the first person from Sub-Saharan Africa to win an Olympic Gold Medal...

The New York Times, sports section, 9/10/1960

“DONNA’S LATE, BUT MIAMI’S STILL BEING HIT”: Gulf Beaches Evacuated As Donna Slams Florida

…the storm is bringing powerful rain and strong winds onto the mainland United States in a demonstration of Mother Nature’s destructive capabilities…

The Evening Independent, 9/11/1960

“The Hurricane that just ravaged Florida and several other states just goes to show why we need responsible government. When disasters like that happen, you need responsible leadership who will give you the helping hand you need to get up, get brushed off, and recover.”

– Hubert Humphrey, stumping in Sacramento, California (a swing state in this election), 9/22/1960

“I remember going through the cafeteria line and telling every kid that Nixon was in favor of school on Saturdays… It was my first political trick.” [3]

– Roger Stone, 2007 interview


...The Texan says "America needs a strong leader at the helm. The kind of leader brave enough to stand up to any and all individuals and institutions that seek to deprive any people of freedom and liberty"...

– The Houston Chronicle, 9/29/1960


...President Eisenhower today became the oldest President of the United States in history, surpassing the record set by Andrew Jackson on March 4, 1837. Eisenhower will set the new record at 70 years and 98 days upon leaving office on January 20, 1961...

– The Oakland Tribune, 10/3/1960

…On October 9, 1960, Dr. King was arrested at a sit-in in Atlanta. Contrary to popular belief, it was Republican leaders that responded first. KFC President Colonel Sanders took a break from internal company issues to personally travel to Atlanta to protest the incident, and gave free pieces of Kentucky Fried Chicken to the crowd of activists outside the jailhouse [4]. “They serve Sunday dinner everywhere and anywhere – even on the frontlines,” quipped Hosea Williams. Nixon followed next, by asking Eisenhower to pardon Dr. King. President Eisenhower refused, believing it was “an overreach of executive power” onto state and local affairs, a move he feared “would set a dangerous precedent.” Nixon made no further action.

Almost immediately after this, Kennedy approached Johnson with the idea of Johnson using his southern connections and “treatment” to get the Democratic Governor of Georgia, Ernest Vandiver, to release the Dr. King. Kennedy reportedly believed that without the support of Civil Rights supporters, the Democrats were doomed to repeat the election results of 1952 and 1956. Johnson, however, “thought it would cost him the election to defy the whites in charge,” according to Whitney M. Young Jr., “so instead of forcing the governor’s hand or working out some kind of deal with him, Lyndon went on TV and demanded Dr. King to be released.” Johnson’s October 12 speech focused on Dr. King’s “unfair and unequal treatment,” and called for “local improvement” when it came to how laws were carried out and how order was maintained and upheld, before branching off to discuss the strength of what Johnson famously dubbed “the American Community.” The speech was popular, but not without criticism.

“El BJ wanted to make it seem like he was fighting for us without actually doing anything for us. He denounced the doctor’s imprisonment, but at the end of the day, the doctor was still behind bars,” Malcolm X wrote in 1967, “And that’s just how his southern backers liked it then.”

In 1977, Johnson’s political strategist James Rowe defended this perceived inactivity. “It was always Lyndon’s plan to get Dr. King out of jail after winning the election, when Eastland, Thurmond, Russell, and the other Dixiecrat leaders would be in a weaker position to reprimand him for it.”

– Robert Caro’s The Years of Lyndon: Book Four: The Pursuit of Power, A. A. Knopf Inc., 2018


– Colonel Sanders with a group of Civil Rights activists, c. October, 1960

…And in the world of sports, the Pittsburgh Pirates today defeated the New York Yankees in the seventh game of the Major League Baseball World Series…

– ABC News, 10/13/1960 broadcast

“I have to say that in this election, the issues overlap party boundaries. And the candidates are divided on multiple issues that affect the American people, not – or at least not just – the American political parties. Furthermore, you can see the supporters of the campaigns – and I’m not talking about the donors, I’m talking about the voters, the average Americans attending events and listening to the speeches and becoming active in the campaigns – they are forming and taking sides based on the candidates themselves, too. Their different lives, their different personalities. So what we are seeing here is a contest of personalities, not just of politics...

– US Senator Wayne Morse (D-OR), NBC’s Meet the Press, 10/14/1960 broadcast


The Bronx, NY – Adam Clayton Powell Jr., a Negro-American representing New York’s 16th U.S. Congressional District in Washington D.C., told a crowd at the Abyssinian Baptist Church to vote for Senator Johnson in November’s presidential election.

Powell declared, “Any Negro who automatically dismisses Lyndon Johnson because of the accident of birth automatically qualifies himself as an immature captive Negro, and a captive of his own prejudices. …This is a test of your own Christianity and if you rise to the heights you will be putting the reactionary segregationists of the South squarely on the spot so that all Americans, Northerners and southerners, will know that they alone are the immature people. Let us not be captives of our own prejudices.” [5]

The Congressman’s endorsement comes after Senator Johnson came out in support of Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. being released from prison.

The latest polls show Johnson and Nixon neck-and-neck nationally, but in our state, Johnson is leading the Vice President by roughly 4%, according to an L.A. Times report by pollster George Gallup...

The Charlotte Observer, North Carolina newspaper, 10/17/1960

COL. SANDERS STUMPS FOR NIXON IN THE SOUTH; Touts VP As “Good Ol’ Boy,” “The Man We Need.”

– The Tampa Bay Times, 10/19/1960

“I’ve been in the Senate for twelve years. Nixon only spent two years in there. When Vice President Garner said that the Vice-Presidency is not worth a bucket of warm piss, he meant it! …I am clearly the more experienced candidate in this race. Just ask anybody, even anyone in D.C. - even the President! They'll tell you the truth of the matter and the bare truth of this race...”

– Lyndon B. Johnson, stumping in Springfield, IL, 10/25/1960

…to recap for viewers just tuning in, tonight’s election began with Johnson taking a large lead in states along eastern seaboard. In New England, the states of Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont are leaning toward the Republican column, while the more electorally rich states of Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island are favoring the Democratic ticket. Senator Johnson is also leading in the southern states of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. However, as the traditionally Republican states out west report in, the race is narrowing down, and Johnson’s victory is now no longer being considered a shoo-in. …California is already projecting to go to Nixon, while the states of Illinois and Pennsylvania, both too close to call, may determine who becomes our next President. … This just in: New Jersey, originally favoring Senator Nixon, is now being deemed too close to call as well. This is turning out to be a very close Presidential contest, and it is this reporter’s opinion that the winner will not be determined for quite a while…

– Chet Huntley, NBC News, 11/8/1960


– Richard Nixon and Colonel Sanders watching the 1960 election results on TV in Sacramento, 11/8/1960; Harley Sanders can be seen in the background

[1] The italicized part of this quote are from this article:
[2] OTL exchange, heard in this OTL JFK commercial:
[3] Quote is from OTL. It’s found on his Wikipedia article; this is the source they cite: “Segal, David (25 August 2007). "Mover, Shaker, And Cranky Caller? A GOP Consultant Who Doesn't Mince Words Has Some Explaining to Do". Washington Post. p. C1.”
[4] Thanks for this idea, @TheImperialTheorist !
[5] This quote was pulled from here and from here
Last edited:
Chapter 10: November 1960 – January 1961
Chapter 10: November 1960 – January 1961

“Never let man imagine that he can pursue a good end by evil means without sinning against his own soul. The evil effect on himself is certain.”

– Bob Southey (OTL)


The Valley Independent, 11/8/1960


[ pic: ]

…Richard Nixon conceded to Johnson at 9:00 PM on Thursday the tenth,[56] after developing "great concern" that recount efforts in New Jersey "strongly hinted" that it was "highly unlikely" that counting the remaining un-recounted votes would deliver the state to the Republican column.[57] …Lyndon Johnson retained the New Deal Coalition by keeping the South (relatively) solid once more while also picking up several key northern states. Low voter turnout nationwide also possibly suggested that at least some voters were tiring of the north-south ticket balancing.[citation needed] …The Democratic victory followed the “six-year itch” pattern of two years earlier, in which voters, tired of the incumbent party staying in power for another four years, voted against incumbent Senate and House Republicans nationwide.[61]

…In many ways, Nixon damaged his own campaign.[62][63][64] Sticking to the 50-state campaign pledge he made at the 1960 Republican National Convention allowed Johnson to focus on winning over several crucial swing states instead of solidly Democratic and solidly Republican states, and the extensive campaign schedule took its toll on Nixon’s health and physical appearance at campaign events. Ted White described his appearance at an October 27 event in Seattle, Washington, IL as being “tense…haggard-looking to the point of sickness…his eyes exaggerated hollows of blackness, his jaws, jowls, and face drooping with strain”[65] [1]. An offhand remark from President Eisenhower, which seemed to suggest that Nixon had not played a significant or helpful role in the Eisenhower administration, was another possible factor, as the Johnson campaign extensively broadcasted the moment on TV and radio stations across the country.[66] Johnson calling for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to be released from prison was a third significant factor, as it helped to galvanize liberal/anti-segregation voters in pivotal states such as Pennsylvania.[67] A fourth possible factor, one that was outside of Nixon’s control, was the 1960 Recession, which lasted from April of that year to February 1961. While less impactful and, in the long term, less memorable that the recession that preceded the 1958 midterm elections, Johnson successfully tied the economic troubles to the economic policies of both Eisenhower and Nixon…

…Johnson was declared the winner the day after the election, with 274 votes to Nixon’s 260 votes, and with Hawaii still being too close to call. As December approached, the Electoral College saw several electors in the south threaten to deadlock the college to protest Johnson’s support of the Civil Rights movement.[75] Two weeks before the Electoral College convened, Johnson was declared the winner of Hawaii, swelling his electoral vote total to 277. With this, and national and statewide Democratic Party leaders (such as former President Truman[76]) applying pressure to anti-Johnson southern politicians supporting the rebellious electors (such as Governor James M. Patterson of Alabama[77]), only six electors successfully defected on December 22 – three votes short of deadlocking the College.



[ pic: ]
– Lyndon Johnson, soon after Nixon’s concession speech, 11/10/1960

United States Senate election results, 1960
Date: November 8, 1960
Seats: 35 of 100
Seats needed for majority: 51
Senate majority leader: Lyndon B. Johnson (D-TX)
Senate minority leader: Everett Dirksen (R-IL)
Seats before election: 66 (D), 34 (R)
Seats after election: 64 (D), 36 (R)
Seat change: D v 2, R ^ 2

...despite Republicans losing the Presidential race, they were able to pick up two seats in the US Senate, chipping away at the commanding majority that the Democrats maintained in that chamber. In Delaware, moderate Republican J. Caleb Boggs unseated the Democratic incumbent, J. Allen Frear, by a margin of roughly 2%. The margin of victory was noticeably larger in Wyoming, where Republican Edwin Keith Thomson defeated Democrat Raymond B. Whitaker by a margin of roughly 14% for an open seat being vacated by the retiring long-time incumbent Democratic US Senator Joseph C. O'Mahoney...


United States House of Representatives election results, 1960
Date: November 8, 1960
Seats: All 437
Seats needed for majority: 219
Senate majority leader: Sam Rayburn (D-TX)
Senate minority leader: Charles Halleck (R-IN)
Last election: 283 (D), 153 (R)
Seats won: 256 (D), 181 (R)
Seat change: D v 27, R ^ 28 [2]


United States Governor election results, 1960
Date: November 8, 1960
State governorships: 27
Last election: 35 (D), 15 (R)
Seats before 33 (D), 16 (R)
Seat changes: D ^ 1, R v 1 [3]


“You can forget about U-2 and the missile gap and the economy. Civil Rights was the single most important factor in this election. That’s what brought the Democrats to victory in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Illinois, and almost won them Missouri as well. And the sooner the national Grand Old Party recognizes that, the better.”

– U.S. Senator Thruston Morton (R-KY) to Governor Nelson Rockefeller (R-NY), 11/11/1960

“Johnson didn’t win it – Nixon lost it!”

– U.S. Senator Barry Goldwater (R-AZ), 11/11/1960

“I don’t care what the history books tell you, LBJ stole that election from Nixon. Of course some people point to the Daley political machine in Illinois, but another important state was New Jersey, which at the time was a usual swing state. Just look at the numbers in New Jersey! Look at the absentee ballots – they didn’t announce that state’s official results until November 17, over a week after the election – that’s plenty of time to commit some good old-fashioned voter fraud to ‘confirm’ the false victory announced by the Kennedy family’s media insiders. And in a place as corrupt as 1960 New Jersey, who’d even be surprised by that? My point is, though, is that Johnson won that state by only 2,800 votes. And Hawaii? The incredibly narrow margin of 71 votes. 71!”

“Yes, it was incredibly narrow. In the end, it ended up being the narrowest election since, uh, 1880. All that separated the two men was 40,763 votes, or a margin of 0.06%. That’s less votes than the number that separated Adams and Jackson in the 1824 Presidential election, and a smaller margin than the 0.09% that separated Garfield and Hancock in the 1880 Presidential election. Here, thanks for those cards.”

“I am 100% certain that some Democrats somewhere made sure Johnson won.”

“Well, if the election was rigged, why didn’t Nixon challenge it?”

“I’ll tell you why, because Richard Nixon is a man of integrity. He knew trying to prove the election was rigged would not only tear the country apart, but also make America look bad abroad. The Russkies would be able to say ‘Oh, and you say we are corrupt and undemocratic?’ No, the Nixon of 1960 couldn’t do that to his country. Nixon is an honest man.”

“Well, for Illinois, like you just mentioned, it has been suggested many times that Senator Kennedy’s father attempted voter fraud in Chicago so LBJ would lose that state and in turn the election, allowing Jack Kennedy to run in 1964. What do you think of that?”

“I think it explains the recount the state needed that November. It was a really close count – just 280-some votes, I believe. On the other hand, it was Illinois, which at the time was considered a swing state, so it makes sense that it would have been narrow even without any ballot tampering. I’ve been to Illinois, and let me tell you, it’s a very diverse place – racists in the south, gangsters in the north, and only-God-knows-who-the-f@#ks living in the middle.”

– Roger Stone and Robert Towne, 1975 interview

The liberal Democrats of the north were ebullient over Hubert’s ascension, with celebrations continuing on into the night. The Land of 10,000 Lakes’ early winter morning was illuminated by party lights and fireworks. At the Kennedy compound, the mood was bittersweet. Bobby was especially at war with himself, wary of Lyndon’s true intentions regarding Civil Rights. In California, Nixon was external gracious but internally beside himself; he would call to congratulate Johnson at 11:00 AM, his time, the next day. In Stonewall [Texas], Lyndon and his backers poured the Champaign and danced the house’s favorite tunes, including his new favorite, “Hail to the Chief.” Across the nation, Lyndon voters were overjoyed. Many took the day off work or school to celebrate the victory, while Nixon voters did same to mourn their loss. While Republicans reverted into suspicion, questioning where they went wrong, the nation’s Democratic politicians were thrilled to be getting a President of their own for the first time in eight years, and many of them were looking forward to proving that going for Johnson/Humphrey was the right choice for America.

– Theodore H. White’s The Making of the President: 1960, Atheneum Publishers, 1961


...the mixed marriage began in a private ceremony...

The Hollywood Reporter, celebrations section, 11/13/1960


The New York Times, 11/14/1960


[pic: ]

– Colonel Sanders handing over the keys of a new KFC outlet to its manager, c. mid-to-late November 1960

…President Eisenhower today authorized the use of over $1million for federal programs that will seek to help with ongoing state-level efforts to house and employ thousands of Cuban refugees in the US, who have been fleeing from that island nation's new government and are arriving via Florida at a rate of roughly one thousand people per week…

– CBS Evening News, 12/2/1960 broadcast

6 December 1960: On this day in history, America’s Secretary of the Interior, Fred A. Seaton, issued Public Land Order 2214, which reserved 9,500,000 acres (38,000 km2) of land in Alaska, creating the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.


SENATOR-ELECT DIES FROM HEART ATTACK, AGE 41 of only two Republicans set to enter the US Senate on January 3rd, 1961, Keith Thomson had been serving in the U.S. Representatives, representing Wyoming's At-Large District. since January 3rd, 1955. ...Thomson's passing is shocking and sad for all of his friends, family members, and supporters across his home state...

The Washington Post, 12/9/1960


...Democratic Governor John J. Hickey has announced his decision to appoint himself to the seat that US Rep. Keith Thomson won, but died before he could be sworn into, and will schedule a special election for 1962 to determine who should complete Thomson's six-year (1961-1967) US Senate term...

– The Rock Springs Daily Rocket-Miner, Wyoming newspaper, 12/14/1960


St. Paul, MN – Governor Freeman today appointed U.S. Congressman Roy William Wier to Vice-President-elect Hubert Humphrey’s vacated US Senate seat. Humphrey resigned yesterday to give congressional seniority to his successor. Wier, age 72, has served in the US House of Representatives since 1949, and lost a bid for re-election earlier this year...

– MN newspaper, 12/25/1960


...In the weeks leading up to his inauguration, President-Elect Johnson is gradually assembling his candidates for his Presidential Cabinet. The rumored post pick receiving the most attention is the supposed nomination of U.S. Senator Jack Kennedy of Massachusetts for U.S. Secretary of State. While there is also speculation that Johnson will pick Stuart Symington, Scoop Jackson, or party favorite Adlai Stevenson for the diplomatic position, the Massachusetts politician has visited Johnson at his home in Texas five times in the past month, more times than any other alleged contender. If true, the selection of Kennedy to lead the federal government’s chief foreign affairs office will likely increase already-existing rumors of a “backroom deal” being made at the convention explaining why Kennedy strongly supported Johnson in the autumn campaign season despite the fairly negative campaign between the two candidates during the Democratic primary season...

– US News and World Report, 12/30/1960

The Five Best and Five Worst Aspects of the Eisenhower Presidency

The Best Aspects

1 The Civil Rights Act of 1957 – Ike sponsored it and signed it into law; initially a major law, it was soon cut up by Congress into being ineffective piece of legislation. However, Eisenhower also appointed many liberal judges to several southern federal courts, such as Frank Minis Johnson and others; Eisenhower also backed the passage of the National Defense Education Act, which, upon him signing it into law, provided school funds at all education levels.

2 The Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956 – a personal passion project of Eisenhower to better connect population centers to one another and encourage domestic trips and commerce, the act and the highway construction projects that came from it left a lasting effect on the nation and its people’s way of life, allowing for easier travel that encouraged long-distance trade nationwide; it also proved to be beneficial to the American fast-food industry, and other industries as well.

3 The Budget Was Balanced Three Times – Ike refused to cut taxes and refused to raise defense spending; his fiscal conservatism and social liberalism has led to some claims that Ike ran a near-libertarian administration

4 The End of the Korean War – Ike negotiated an agreement that brought our boys home from what would not be America’s last stalemate

5 Maintained Peace and Prosperity – America in the 1950’s had an almost two-faced personality, alternating between fauxtopia and fear: despite the almost-yearly close calls – Korea, Vietnam, Formosa, Suez, Hungary, Berlin, U-2 – cooler heads always prevailed and Americans maintained a sense of pride in the face of rising consumerism meant to make buyers happy; additionally, the calls for African-American equality was finally being heard louder and louder each year.

The Worst Aspects

1 Farmers Continued to Suffer – Despite some efforts, Ike overall failed to get Big Government out of agriculture and strengthen the family farmer

2 Left the CIA and FBI Unchecked – Eisenhower feared butting heads with J. Edgar Hoover over his monitoring of Dr. Martin Luther King, and greenlit many CIA endeavors, most notably letting the CIA and MI6 stage false border conflicts in order to invade Syria’s neighbors in 1957

3 Silence on Civil Rights – Ike failed to speak out against racial violence in the south, most noticeably his unenthusiastic response to 1954’s Brown v BOE, though he did do better in his second term via Little Rock and the aforementioned 1957 Civil Rights Act.

4 McCarthyism – Eisenhower turned a blind eye to McCarthyism, fearing that to oppose the controversial US Senator from Wisconsin would lead to the attention-wanting Joe McCarthy gaining more publicity.

5 The Cold War Continued – Ike kept the US safe, for sure, but he also did not make any significant strides to end hostilities between the US and USSR. Eisenhower took no action in light of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 and failed to make significant communication with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev. While Ike did deploy troops to Lebanon in 1958, it was the January 1960 U-2 incident that ended the President’s plans for a US-USSR peace conference to be held in the spring of that year.

Overall: Eisenhower is considered by scholars to be a slightly average president, though the public often ranks him higher, often placing him in the top tier of US Presidents, most likely due to public nostalgia for a decade and era often characterized as one that was stable and prosperous for many American citizens.

– The Eisenhower National Historic Site website [4]


[ pic: ]
– Colonel Sanders (left) declining Ray Kroc (right)'s offer of a burger from McDonald’s during a sales promotion event, c. December 1960

We had no franchise fee because we weren’t concerned about the marketable asset of selling the franchises [5]. We didn’t want to burden interested restaurateurs with such a demand. It wasn’t about the money to Dad; to him, Kentucky Fried Chicken was about the Kentucky-fried chicken. That is the main reason why my father and Ray Kroc never saw eye-to-eye.

The 70-year-old Colonel Sanders and the 58-year-old Ray Kroc possibly could have gotten along well. Maybe, they could have even been friends. The two businessmen shared plenty of things – both distrusted banks (the Krocs lost everything in the Stock Market Crash of ’29), both lied about their ages to try and serve their country but never saw any fighting (Dad tended to work mules for the Navy; Kroc was trained alongside Walt Disney how to drive an ambulance during WWI), both found fame after turning 50, and both spent their pre-fame lives working a wide variety of jobs across the country (Kroc spent some time as a pianist, a real estate agent, a paper cup salesman, and a milkshake machine salesman). Both also donated to various charities and humanitarian causes that they truly believed in.

But as it turned out, the comparisons ended there. Kroc, who entered the fast-food business due to opportunism, not passion, saw nothing wrong in taking over a company like what he was doing with McDonald’s. Dad and Kroc, or “the Kroc,” as Harley called him, had met each other before at a National Restaurateurs Association meeting, and had even run into each other outside a McDonald's a few days earlier, but at the association’s December 1960 convention, the two giants of the industry finally got to sit down and talk to each other face-to-face. I was standing nearby, and heard much of their conversation.

“Colonel Sanders, I presume?” was what the Kroc said as he sat down. He then offered Dad some wine; the Colonel told him he was a teetotaler. Already, the meeting was awkward, so Kroc sought to compliment Dad. “I just want you to know that I think you did a wonderful job stumping for Nixon.” He then talked about how, as a lifelong Republican, Kroc believed firmly in self-reliance. “I’ve always been staunchly opposed to government welfare, even back when the New Deal came out. America was founded on good work, and it will only collapse if we let everyone become lazy government-moochers.” [6]

“I take it then that you pay your workers well enough for them to not have to tip?”

“Well, the tips indicate which customers work harder. The better you wait, the better you get paid.”

“But the customers ain’t their bosses, you’re the boss. They work to fill the customers’ stomachs, yeah, but that work also fills your wallet. That makes you more obliged to cut out the middle man and all the complicated tax issues and just pay them what they’re due.”

“Then where’s the motivation for them to be the best at their jobs, Colonel?”

“Try the fact that you can still fire them if they get lazy on you.”

“With all due respect, Colonel, businesses aren’t charities.”

“But governments shouldn’t be charities, either. Their already responsible for defense, trade, commerce and national emergencies. You really think nobody should be lookin’ out for the kind of men we used to be?”

“What are you talking about? We got by just fine! If someone can’t make it in this world, then they didn’t have what it takes to begin with! Why should I spend my energy doing something that I never let anyone do for me? Let people pull themselves up by their own bootstraps.”

“And what if they can’t?”

“You mean ‘what if they don’t,’ Colonel.”

“Ray, I’m getting’ the notion that if you came across a foundling on your doorstep one morning, you’d walk right over it while tellin’ it to get a job.”

I was called away from the area at around this time. By the time I returned, the two were tensely gritting their teeth like two alley dogs ready to tumble over whose alley it was. Dad, tightly gripping the handle on his cane, said “Krocer, I appreciate, hehe, the sweet-talkin’, but I’ve got to tell you, sir, that not everything I’ve heard about you has been nice. And now I know why; I’ve wrestled with raccoons with more empathy to people than you have!”

At that moment, one of Kroc’s associates pulled him away from the table to talk shop with some other burger executives.

Father ranted on the train ride back to Florence. “Can you believe that Kroc man actually charges franchisees to sell his burgers?! What a stupid system! How the f@#k is he still in business. McDonald’s must be hemorrhaging money worse than a fine china store without insurance gettin’ struck by an earthquake. What a slimy low-life son of a b!#ch! And you know what he said, Mildred? He said, ‘everyone has the right to how they do business; to each his own.’ But he’s not alone. I’ve inspected his restaurants. He’s got, what, hundreds if not thousands of employees clear across this country? Millions of customers? His business ethics affect all of them!”

“Then, Dad, you must be very happy that your chicken is one hundred time better than the stuff he dishes out.”

Dad, after a brief pause, chuckled, “You’re certainly right about that, Millie!”

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


Washington, DC – Today in the nation’s capital, President Eisenhower announced the suspension of all diplomatic relations wit the government of Cuba. The announcement comes less than a day after Cuba’s Fidel Castro demanded that the U.S. Embassy in Havana “immediately” reduce its staff from 87 workers to no more than 11 workers on the grounds of “maintaining security measures” in the island nation’s capital…

The Miami Herald, 1/1/1961


The Milwaukee Sentinel, 1/2/1961


…an explosion at the U.S. National Reactor Testing Station near Idaho Falls, ID, has experienced a malfunction of some sorts, according to a military technician at the facility, who also confirmed reports of a fatal incident at the location’s “atomic reactor SL-1” earlier today…

– The Spokane Daily Chronicle, 1/3/1961 extra


The Washington Post, 1/6/1961


…the referendum, which was supported by French President Charles de Gaulle, served as a mandate on de Gaulle’s policies on independence for Algeria, as a clear majority of votes cast (roughly 75%, at roughly 17 million to 5 million) in favor of self-rule for the African region…

The Milwaukee Sentinel, 1/8/1961


…Five days after a federal judge order, the University of Georgia has reluctantly ended its racial segregation policy and has admitted African-American students for the first time in the university’s history…

The Washington Post, 1/11/1961


[pic: ]

– Colonel Sanders with a trophy and a live chicken, c. January 1961


…the United States federal government banned travel by its citizens to Cuba earlier today, except in cases where some kind of “special endorsement” is included on the passport. The move comes as US-Cuban relations continue to disintegrate…

The Milwaukee Sentinel, 1/16/1961

“We must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex...We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes.”

– Dwight Eisenhower, nationally televised speech, 1/17/1961 [7]

[1] Taken from the forward of this text:
[2] Because Lyndon B. Johnson as a campaigner is not as popular or effective as JFK was IOTL, less voter turnout affects some politicians down ballot. While there are no changes in the Senate (yet), there are some minor House changes. Congressman Harris B. McDowell Jr. (D-DE) lost re-election to James T. McKinstry (R-DE), 50.5% to 49.5% (an exact reverse of the OTL figures). Incumbent Hamer H. Budge (R-ID) narrowly won re-election. Incumbent J. Edward Roush (D-IN) lost re-election to George O. Chambers (the election was 50.0%-to-50.0%, according to Wikipedia). In Kentucky, Frank Chelf (D) lost to former Lt. Gov. Ed Denney (R), while Frank Burke (D) loses re-election to Henry Heyburn (R). However, Humphrey being on the November ballot allowed the pro-farmers Coya Knuston (D-MN) to get elected back to the House over Odin Langen (R); Humphrey on the ticket also helped Governor Orville Freeman win re-election as well, albeit by a margin even smaller than the one he lost to IOTL. Incumbent Morgan Moulder (D-MO) lost re-election to Robert Bartel (R) (OTL result: 50.%-to-49.9%), Hugh L. Carey still won, albeit by 50.1%-to-49.9% instead of OTL’s 50.4%-to49.6%. Finally, in Utah, A. Walter Stevenson (R) won a recount over M. Blaine Peterson (D). That’s six more seats for the Republican column than in OTL.
[3] Besides Minnesota’s Freeman, as mentioned above, the only other change in the gubernatorial elections was Indiana’s Matthew Welsh (D), whom lost to Lt. Gov. Crawford F. Parker (R), who won (albeit by a narrow margin) thanks to endorsements from Governor Harold Handley and Colonel Harland Sanders.
[4] This list is more or less based on the ones found here:
[5] The bit here that is in italics was actually said by Maggie IOTL, according to this source:
[6] This italicized bit and Kroc’s opinions taken directly from here:
[7] This is a famous quote from OTL

Thanks for reading, everyone! Expect the next update soon (like, November 29 or so)!
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Has anyone watched Adam Sandler's move The Waterboy? That movie has a character clearly inspired by the Colonel (BTW, I like KFC as a place to eat myself) that has bad things happen to him (tackled by Adam Sandler, hit with a errantly thrown baseball, etc.)...
Interesting update.

Did McDonald's sell chicken at this point cos I could see a slimeball like Korc starting to sell chicken to 'get one over on Sanders'...

LBJ in the White House suggests we are going to see some civil rights problems soon. Lets hope KFC's generosity and pay helps them get through the problems.

Perhaps KFC will pick up thick milkshakes - its the only reason to goto McD's...


Did McDonald's sell chicken at this point cos I could see a slimeball like Korc starting to sell chicken to 'get one over on Sanders'...
OTL the McChicken was a response to Burger King Chicken Sandwich of 1979, that was on a long Roll, rather than a hamburger bun..

Micky D couldn't switch out products as easily as BK could at the time. Their workflow was set to mass produce burgers, and nothing else

So it was a sub-par product, and got nowhere close to the BK Chicken in popularity.

So they chopped up the processed patty in a different shape, and called them 'Nuggets' and now that bland chicken sold very well.
If Ray Kroc does worse TTL I wonder if the Colonel winds up buying the Padres in 1973. That would be an even better reas on for the San Diego Chicken to emerge. :)
Chapter 11: January 1961 – April 1961
Chapter 11: January 1961 – April 1961

“When dissent turns to violence, it invites tragedy”

– Richard Nixon, 1970 (OTL)


Vice President: US Senator Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota
Secretary of State: US Senator Jack Kennedy of Massachusetts
Secretary of the Treasury: former Director of the Office of Defense Mobilization Henry H. Fowler of Virginia
Secretary of Defense: Lieutenant General Homer Litzenburg of Pennsylvania
Attorney General: former Deputy Attorney General Rosser Lynn Malone Jr . of New Mexico
Deputy Attorney General: lawyer Ramsey Clark of Texas
Postmaster General: businessman J. Edward Day of Illinois
Secretary of the Interior: US Representative Stewart Lee Udall of Arizona
Deputy Secretary of the Interior: Lieutenant Governor Rex Bell of Nevada
Secretary of Agriculture: former Governor Jim Folsom of Alabama
Secretary of Commerce: Governor Luther H. Hodges of North Carolina
Secretary of Labor: former US Undersecretary of Labor Keen Johnson of Kentucky
Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare: Chairman of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund Panel on Education John William Gardner of California

Cabinet-Level Positions:
Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA): incumbent Director Allen W. Dulles of New York
Director of the Federal Bureau of Information (FBI): incumbent Director J. Edgar Hoover of Washington, D.C.
US Trade Representative: former US Secretary of Defense Robert A. Lovett of Texas

The President’s Executive Office:
White House Chief of Staff: Walter Jenkins of Texas
Deputy White House Chief of Staff: Bobby Baker of South Carolina
White House Counsel: US Representative Homer Thornberry of Texas
National Security Advisor: former White House Counsel Clark Clifford of Missouri
Director of the Office of Management and Budget: Paul C. Fisher of Illinois
Other Counselors and Advisors to the President: personal secretary Mildred Stegall, strategist James Rowe, spin doctor Fred Dutton, others
White House Communications Director: MPAA President Jack Valenti of Texas
White House Appointments Secretary: W. Marvin Watson of Texas
White House Press Secretary: George Reedy of Indiana
Administrator of the Small Business Administration: businessman Malcolm Forbes of New Jersey

Other Notable Members:
Solicitor General: former Montana Supreme Court Justice Leif Erickson of Montana

Notable US Ambassadors (in alphabetical order):
To Argentina: incumbent diplomat Roy Richard “Dick” Rubottom Jr. of Texas
To Brazil: former Governor Colgate Whitehead Darden of Virginia
To Cambodia: former Ambassador Donald R. Heath of Kansas
To Canada: Governor G. Mennen “Soapy” Williams of Michigan
To Chile: United Press correspondent Edward Malcolm Korry of New York
To France: US Secretary of State Christian Archibald Herter of Massachusetts
To India: US Congressman Dalip Singh Saund of California
To Japan: Professor S. I. Hayakawa of California
To Laos: incumbent diplomat Winthrop Gilman Brown of New York
To Mexico: New Orleans Mayor deLesseps Story “Chep” Morrison Sr. of Louisiana
To Saudi Arabia: former US Representative Wingate Hezekiah Lucas of Texas
To South Africa: Ambassador to Pakistan William M. Rountree Jr. of Georgia
To South Vietnam: diplomat William Healy Sullivan of Rhode Island
To Taiwan: diplomat Everett F. Drumright of OK
To the U.K.: former Governor Adlai Stevenson of Illinois
To the U.N.: Senator Stuart Symington of Missouri
To the U.S.S.R.: incumbent diplomat Llewellyn E. “Tommy” Thompson Jr. of Colorado
To West Germany: Governor Herschel Cellel Loveless of Iowa
To Yugoslavia: former Ambassador to the U.S.S.R. George Frost Kennan of


The selection of John F. Kennedy came as a surprise to only some, as Johnson and Kennedy seemed to have buried the hatchet going into the general election... At least from the public’s perspective, Johnson was enthusiastic about working with congress to get several social programs funded, as part of the Grand Society envisioned in his inaugural speech. Kennedy would enjoy a voice in foreign policy as Johnson initially focused almost entirely on domestic issues...

– Theodore H. White’s The Making of the President: 1964, Atheneum Publishers, 1965

Wanting to placate Kennedy, Johnson picked Luther Terry for U.S. Surgeon General to replace the retiring Leroy Edgar Burney, over his own choice, a pediatrician/epidemiologist named William H. Stewart. Johnson also allowed Joseph Kennedy Sr. to ensure his son didn’t go to the State Department alone…

– Robert Caro’s The Years of Lyndon: Book Four: The Pursuit of Power, A. A. Knopf Inc. New York, 2012

I was initially reluctant to accept by brother’s offer to serve as the next Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs. My background was in law, and I was aiming at the time to enter private practice in order to spend more time with Ethel and the kids. But Jack convinced me that I could do more for my country and our families if I took the job. The leap from law to defense politics was awkward, but with all challenges I persevered and benefitted from the experience.

– Robert F. Kennedy’s The Definitive Decades, Tangent Writer’s House, 1999

“My fellow Americans, the beginning of this administration marks the beginning of a new and better era for America and the world.”

“As President, I promise to defend all friends and oppose all foes to these United States. I want every nation, group and individual who opposes the basic foundation of our very way of life to know that this nation and its people will defy any despot or dictator that wishes to destroy the spirit of freedom and democracy anywhere in the world.”

“With your courage and with your compassion and your desire, we will build a Great Society, a society where no child will go unfed, and no youngster will go unschooled. [1] And liberty will shine as bright as the sun does shine right here and now. Thank you.”

– Quotes from President Lyndon Johnson’s inaugural address, 1/20/1961


Lyndon Johnson, US President #35


Washington, DC – In today’s State of the Union speech, President Johnson detailed his domestic agenda for the year, starting with calls for an expansion in spending on education and medical care programs…

New York Daily News, 1/30/1961

“We must not allow America to dictator our future. We believe that they want war. And we need to take whatever measures are necessary to end any plans for aggression against the free people of Cuba.” Camilo, or “Cam” as he let me call him, was fiery and passionate. ...Fidel criticized the Soviet Union for keeping the poor out of government-level decisions. I pressed him to demonstrate a solution to this, and he offered the notion of national referendums, saying he would implement such votes into Cuba “eventually.” …Fidel had a noticeably higher-pitched voice [2], and while he showed determination, the slight quiver in his speech was more noticeable when beside Cam. Regardless of pitch, their words were undoubtedly inspiring, and more importantly, were effective in raising morale and trust in the young Communist government.

– Journalist Lisa Howard recollecting her “private” February 1961 interviews with Fidel Castro and Camilo Cienfuegos, 1982 publication

The Colonel thought carefully about what to others was not a dilemma at all. He contemplated the composition of his company – In a franchise, ideas flow from the parent company down, but they also come from the bottom up or laterally: People who own franchises often have great ideas – for new menu items, for ways of doing business more efficiently, & for branding – that are taken up by the parent company [3].

Turning to me, the Colonel noted “The business I developed [here is] a personal one. I [know] most all of the franchisees by their first names, and many of them [have] slept in my beds and [eaten] breakfast at my table. …We was just one big family.” [4]

“And you have to keep your family together,” I replied.


After several months of deliberations, The Colonel finally managed to gather all the franchisees who wanted to take KFC public together to sit down with them in Florence, KY, in early February. Before going in, he vented his frustration: “These are mom-and-pop operations. Strugglers that I’ve treated kindly and done plenty right by them. Hell, my product has made millionaires out of some of them” [5]. Swinging his cane, he muttered on. “The original plan was to allow the franchisees to do whatever they wanted as long as it did not violate their original handshake agreement, but this thing here is much too different from all that.”

An idea of creating a sort of subsidiary of KFC called Kentucky Fried Chicken of the South was floated. But the idea was quickly cut down, as too many of us feared it would lead to a balkanizing affect, decentralizing corporate responsibility and in the long run dooming the entire company. No, we had to stick together like a family, and when it comes to family, sacrifices and compromises always have to be made.

As such, after much reluctance, Sanders finally agreed to the move. “On two conditions: every move made concerning the stock, all the manipulatin’ and hullabalooin’ that goes on in the stock market, all of it goes through me. And we are going to find some mighty fine experts we can trust for all this, too!” We shook the hands of every man and woman in the room, making the agreement a personal vow for each individual. It would mean much change for the company, and Sanders was finally ready to let it happen, but he was wise to know to not go in guns a-blazing without some sort of plan.

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


– Wall Street Journal, side article, 2/5/1961

Johnson knew exactly where each Senator new and old stood on the issues. Whenever it became necessary, he’d send a Senator or congressman off on some trip to NATO or wherever to keep them from voting. The man realized, from years of working with the bunch, that if he pushed for anything meaningful concerning Civil Rights, the Dixiecrats would make all of his other proposals come to a standstill. But if he had already passed the small potatoes first – medicine, education reform, tax cuts – there’d be far less items for the Dixiecrats to hold hostage in the Rules Committee…

– Bobby Baker, RNN interview, 1979

As we took to the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, I could see the Colonel was uneasy. “You’re doing the right thing,” I reassured him.

“It’s not that,” the Colonel shouted over the cacophonous room full of mechanical clicking bells and whistles and suited cronies shouting and running, “it’s too chaotic and noisy here; it’s like being stuck in a twister made out of youngins playing rock-and-roll!”

Quickly we moved to the celebration area, where the first ticker of our stock clicked out. After a few cheers, the area around us finally died down just enough for us to pose for photos after making a brief announcement: that the Company of Kentucky Fried Chicken was finally being made public, put on the market for anyone to invest in.

“From this day of February 10, 1961 onward, anyone can financially benefit from the company’s success. This is a wonderful opportunity to connect with the consumers and prospective investors in a way that will grow the company and help it reach unprecedented levels,” Harman prophesized in a dramatic bit of showmanship that he had been practicing before we had arrived.

“Yes,” the Colonel added, “now if only it could take this place down to a quieter level!”

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


[ ]
– 28-year-old Dave Thomas, 70-year-old Colonel Sanders, and several other KFC managers, 2/10/1961


– The Chicago Tribune, 2/17/1961


– New York Times, 2/18/1961

...Yesterday’s incident in which a Cuban patrol boat fired a barrage of bullets upon an American civilian boat in the Straits of Florida has raised tensions between the two nations. The American boat, called the Gold Marlin, is a high-class vessel that hailed from the Florida Keys and was, according to sources, being taken for a joy ride. A representative from Cuba announced that the patrol boat mistook the vessel for an armed military vessel. The announcement came short of being an apology over their actions in the incident, which left two of the six Americans onboard the vessel severely injured and still recovering in hospital. In the states, American Defense Secretary Homer Litzenberg had this to say… “We will not tolerate a foreign attack on any American no matter how major or minor. Reparations will be demanded soon enough.” …Meanwhile, the Soviet is staying silent on the matter…

– BBC broadcast, 19/2/1961

“I hate the bastard, but I love democracy more. And if he’s going to be the one protecting it, than he better know what the hell it is he has gotten himself into.”

Richard Nixon allegedly said this to one of his aides, concerning his decision to inform President-Elect Lyndon Johnson of the CIA’s plans concerning Cuba. Johnson began dealing with the plans immediately, before even being sworn into office of the Presidency. After this information was publicly disclosed in the late 1980s, questions were brought up by many concerning how much of the back-and-forth between the President-Elect and the many persons involved was a violation of national security measures. However, a 1996 ruling determined that the President-Elect, even if a civilian before their inauguration, was and is entitled to the “limited” access of “certain government elements.”

– From prize-winning historian Jeff Greenfield’s How Everything Changed, published in 2011

Lyndon wasn’t made fully aware of the government’s plans concerning Cuba until two weeks before the inauguration. Nixon kept him in the dark until then, through all of November and December, just to spite him, I guess, the damn bastard. When they sprung it on him, he listened, but he ultimately their plans down, calling them “ridiculous” and “a suicide mission.” The plans were insufficient, too risky, and in serious need of some kind of overhauled. The incident regarding The Gold Marlin sped up the process of changing plans, though. Heh, funny. Um, in the odd sense. It was like the Maine and the Panay and Pearl Harbor, you see. You would think that America’s enemies would come up with something more original than boat-sinking the third time around, but...nope…

– Bobby Baker in TV interview, CBS, 11/11/1977


– The New York Times, special issue, 3/3/1961

The incidents with Cuba were really beginning to frighten people. Especially in Florida, were I was at the time. The clashes – preemptive attacks, they seemed to be to many – were occurring around Spring Break. I went to Florida to celebrate finally getting ready to graduate from Penn State, and I was looking to party. What I found was a furor of suspicion and paranoia. The highways were full of families travelling north. I saw people hastily packing their stuff into their cars. At one gun shop, I saw the line go right out the door and around the corner. People were told to stay calm, but when a bunch of Commies start shooting up American boats and planes, and you live close by, you are going to fear the worst. Needless to say, it wasn’t the best Spring Break.

– producer/screenwriter Donald P. Bellisario, Archive of American Television, 1991 interview

March 15, 1961

To: Director Dulles

From: The President

I hereby approve the plan involving Trinidad, Cuba. May God have mercy on their Red souls, because we certainly won’t!


– Private telegram response from President Lyndon Johnson to CIA Director Allen Dulles; discovered, declassified and disclosed in 2001; the “burn after reading” instruction was erroneously stamped on the bottom instead of the top, likely leading to its misfiling due to human error


...Kentucky Fried Chicken is at the head of the pack when it comes to utilizing the advertising techniques of other industries since the late 1950s and early 1960s. For example, since early 1961, their outlets were were the first to implement lighting that allowed them to promote their outlets at all hours, day and night...


[pic: ]
Above: An example of a KFC outlet, circa 1961

Nation's Restaurant News, late 1969 issue

On March 23, over 1,800 paramilitaries set out from Guatemala for Cuba by boat. Two days later, early in the morning, six CIA-supplied B-26 bombers flown by the anti-communists attacked Cuban airfields and returned to Guatemala. That night, the rebels landed. The Cubans were caught completely off-guard by this due to their belief that enemy soldiers would land at a position closer to the capital. Several hours later, at the UN, Cuba’s Foreign Minister Raul Roa accused the US of aggressively attacking the nation in an attempt to overthrow Castro’s regime. Via telephone Johnson instructed the US’s UN Ambassador, Stuart Symington, how to specifically word his response. Symington, as ordered, stated that “this administration has been consistent with this issue; the United States will only support anti-Castro forces if, and only if, it is more than apparent that such action follows the will of the Cuban people.” Symington refused to clarify.

– prize-winning historian Jeff Greenfield’s How Everything Changed, Putnam Publishing, 2011


Today, just after midnight, an invasion force of Cuban exiles against Castro landed on Cuba’s coast. Heavy fighting was seen in the streets of the coastal city of Trinidad as the invading forces marched through and spread out into the surrounding areas. The invaders are counter-revolutionary forces aiming to overthrow Fidel Castro, the island nation’s Communist leader. Broadcasts from Cuba’s government-run radio station, appealing for medical help from foreign nations, indicate that the raiders have already successfully penetrated 50 kilometers inland...

– Tad Szulc, A New York Times Special Report, 3/29/1961

It did seem like it had once been a good place to live. Trinidad was much like my own hometown of Mariel. The stone streets, the lush trees, the colorfully-painted homes, the old churches, it all reminded we of what I had lost. We had been content there; we had been content back then. It saddened me to think of how my life had been stolen from me by Fidel. So I turned my grief into anger. And I used that anger to cut down those who stood in our way. And I with my fellow soldiers, my brothers-in-arms, I entered that city and I helped bring it to its knees. We were the first soldiers in the long, long fight to take back our homeland…

– Ricardo Perez’s chapter in Ron Keeva Unz’s anthology They Were There: First-Hand Accounts of the War on Cuba, 2001

“The glorious citizens of Cuba and the brave soldiers of the army and militia are battling the enemy with all of their strength. But it is not enough. Every single abled man, woman and child must do their part to protect their fellow citizens to rise up against those that threaten our prosperity. They will not destroy us because we will never allow it; they will not break our spirits because we will never give them the chance. For we are greater than they are. We are stronger than they are. We are more united than they are. And no matter what it takes, we will be the victors of this war!”

– From Fidel Castro’s 3/30/1961 radio broadcast

At around 7:00 AM – late by LBJ’s standard [6] – on April 2, Dulles came over to us – I was discussing the military proceedings with Jack – with the latest U-2 reconnaissance photos. Lyndon was outraged that the B-26 pilots had exaggerated their claims; they had clearly not been as effective as we had wanted them to be.

“Well, we’re in it too deep to fall back on it all now,” Jack lamented.

I was about to suggest that we cancel the upcoming strikes to retain plausible deniability, just in case the invasion was eventually a failure, when Lyndon immediately responded: “To change the plans now would only cause confusion for our men there, and to fall back now would mean a victory for Communism in the eyes of Castro and the Kremlin.”

“The Castro brothers are already on uneasy terms with Khrushchev. Falling back would lead Cuba right into the arms of Russia and it would leave us embarrassed on the world stage,” Dulles added as they quickly exited the room.

The continuation of the airfield strikes went ahead as scheduled.


As the body count rose, Jack discussed the idea of sending troops of our own into Cuba. “A proxy war,” he explained.

“That would keep us from having to get congress to allow us to openly declare war on Cuba, wouldn’t it?” Lyndon mulled. Indeed, while Cuba has agitated us with the Gold Marlin and Intrepid plane incidents, these would still not justify a declaration of war…

– Robert F. Kennedy’s The Definitive Decades, Tangent Writer’s House, 1999

US TROOPS LAND IN CUBA TO ASSIST ANTI-CASTRO CUBANS: Defense Secretary Litzenberg calls for “the preservation of the freedom and independence of the Cuban people.”

– The New York Times, 4/3/1961

“To arms, Cubans! We must conquer or we shall die choked by slavery. In the name of God we assure you all that after the victory we will have peace, human solidarity, general well-being and absolute respect for the dignity of all Cubans without exception.”

– Cuba's DRF leader Jose Miro Cardona, 4/9/1961 (as recorded by the New York Times) [7]

US Citizen Approval of US Involvement in Cuba
Approve: 69%
Disapprove: 27%
Uncertain: 4%

– From a Gallop Poll article, published 4/10/1961


[pic: ]
– Colonel Sanders, attended a meeting of fellow Shriners, c. April 1961

[1] OTL Quote found on the Note 5 of Wikipedia’s Great Society page:
[2] Listen to Fidel talk in the Lisa Howard interviews of OTL available on YouTube.
[3] Line italicized taken directly from here:
[4] Quote found here:
[5] Quote taken from here:
[6] It is mention in an anecdote found here: that LBJ would wake up very early, and would call people at unreasonably early hours.
[7] OTL Quote! (according to his wiki article)

Notes: I'm a bit unsure of the quality of this post. Any constructive criticism is welcomed!
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