DescriptionKFC: Colonel Harland Sanders Archive. Whether you're thinking "fried chicken" or "Kentucky Colonel", the name that comes to mind is Colonel Harland Sanders, founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken, or KFC. He is an American cultural icon who left an indelible mark on the American landscape and whose reach is worldwide. We offer a variety of items obtained from the Colonel by a youthful neighbor and friend, whose family became close to the Colonel towards the end of his life. The featured item, sure to attract the most interest, is the Colonel's trademark suit and string bow-tie. The jacket has a label from the tailor Merton Chesher of Toronto. The slacks have a label from the tailor Warren K. Cook with the name of the client, Col. H. Sanders. The tie is a clip-on tie. The suit was given to the consignor by Sanders for him to wear one Halloween and raised more than a few eyebrows when the teenager rode around town in the costume. We include a framed 16" x 20" Similart photograph of Sanders in his most recognizable pose, inscribed on the pseudo-canvas "To my dear friend Mike Morris with every good wish for health and happiness. Sincerely, Col. Harland Sanders 9/1/78." Other items in the collection include: a vinyl album containing sixteen 8" x 10" black & white and color photos of Sanders taken for the October 31, 1969, groundbreaking ceremonies for Collins Food International, a City of Hope Medical Center souvenir booklet with many photos of Sanders, a booklet issued in conjunction with Sanders' 80th birthday, a reel of color 16 mm. titled "Save That Life" sent to Sanders from the producer Scott Peters, a videotape of the Col. Sanders & Darrel Gilliam Appreciation Dinner in Kokomo, a large reel of 8 mm. color film labeled "The Colonel's Film" whose first frames seem to show European buildings, a reel of 16 mm. color film depicting the Dick Cavett Show from February 1971, a plastic carousel of color slides (box labeled "Family & friends") that seems to contain pictures taken during a European vacation plus a second such carousel of color slides which, like the first, appears to show Mike Morris and friends during family vacations. We did not notice any slides of Sanders, but only took a small sampling.
Also included with this lot is a 16 page narrative written by Mike Morris, who as a young man received this suit from Colonel Sanders. He tells a fascinating story of how he and his family became involved with the Colonel.
In 1975 the Morris family had built a large, modern home on a tract on land outside Louisville, KY. About six months after they moved in, a white stretch limo pulled up in their driveway, and to young Mike's amazement, out stepped the Colonel. Sanders looked around for a few minutes, then got back in his car and left.
The next day, Mike's father got a call from Sanders, who explained that he was looking for a new home outside the city, and had been driving around Shelby county looking at properties. And he had concluded that he wanted to buy the Morris home! The answer was a polite, but firm no. However, the Colonel was very persistent, and finally wore down their resistance by making an offer they couldn't refuse. The deal included Sanders selling a portion of the 33 acre tract of land back to the Morrises, so that they could build another home on it for themselves (apparently they were paid very handsomely, as the new house they ultimately built was much larger and more lavish than the one they were vacating!).
Construction began on the new house, and Sanders put his old home on the market. To his surprise, it sold very quickly, before the Morrises had a completed new home to move into. The Colonel's solution: he and his wife would move into the lower level of the home they were buying, and the two families would share the house! And so it came to pass that the two families became close friends.
When Halloween rolled around, the Colonel offered teenaged Mike Morris one of his trademark suits and the use of his limo and chauffeur so that he could go to the Halloween bash as Colonel Sanders. It proved a great success, and afterwards Sanders kindly told the boy to keep the suit as a remembrance.
Mike played in the high school band, and on another occasion the Colonel drove his limo out onto the football field, shook hands with everyone, and personally handed out the band trophies. This 16 page account tells many other colorful stories about the family's interaction with Sanders during the four years they lived as neighbors, until the Colonel passed away in 1980 at the age of 90. Added to the web site are one of several original photos of Mike dressed as Sanders and an aerial view of the two adjacent houses, which are included in the lot along with many other casual photos.
The narrative is truly an integral part of this lot which, more than being just one of Colonel Sanders' iconic suits, affords a uniquely personal glimpse into the qualities which made Harlan Sanders a true, bigger-than-life American legend.
Please note: The included black tie was added by the consignor and did not come from Colonel Sanders.
We received a call about an apparent discrepancy with this lot: the tailor's label pictured in our catalog carries the order number 30777, while the certificate of authenticity shown on our web site includes a picture of a label with the number 30776 . Upon examining the suit, we found that the label in the jacket is the one pictured on the certificate, but the one we photographed for the catalog is the one in the trousers, and carries the 30777 number. The labels, both from Warren K. Cook Tailors, are otherwise identical.
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