If you’ve watched any amount of television over the past couple months, you’ve probably noticed a tanned version of Kentucky Fried Chicken’s Colonel Sanders called the “Extra Crispy Colonel” enjoying a day at the beach.
Some of us in the older generation may have been able to decipher who it was while others may have just been puzzled as to why yet another actor was portraying the celebrity chicken huckster. Well, the person portraying this new version of the celebrity Colonel is none other than George Stevens Hamilton, the father of Farragut junior boarding cadet George Thomas Hamilton ‘18.
Hamilton, the father, is the fourth actor to play Colonel Sanders since the chain brought back the figure in marketing last year but the first one to portray the “Extra Crispy Colonel.” According to KFC US Chief Marketing Officer Kevin Hochman, “Just like no one person could play the Colonel, no one Colonel can sell both Original Recipe and Extra Crispy fried chicken. And no actor was more qualified to play our Extra Crispy Colonel than a very tan George Hamilton.”
The company decided to incorporate a unique Colonel because more than 50 percent of the population does not know there are two different recipes for KFC’s chicken — Original Recipe and Extra Crispy. Jim Gaffigan, who followed in the footsteps of Norm MacDonald and Darrell Hammond, will continue to serve as Colonel Sanders in marketing for Original Recipe chicken.
For George, the son, it was an opportunity to help his dad get introduced to the younger generation.
“My dad called me one day and asked me if I thought he should participate in the advertising campaign,” said George, who is in his sixth year at Farragut. “I told him that the older generation knows who you are, but the younger generation doesn’t. I brought up the fact that William Shatner doing the Priceline commercials has made him popular to a whole new set of people so this could give him a bit of credibility with the younger generation.”
The son told the father he should have the “Extra Crispy Colonel” loosen his tie, unbutton his shirt at the top, and relax a bit, like he was vacationing on the beach. They also worked on the voice, which is a bit sultry.
“We just figured this Colonel should have a different personality as the regular Colonel,” George Thomas said.
The father won a Golden Globe for his performance in Crime and Punishment U.S.A., a 1959 feature film based on the novel by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, but gained greater notoriety for his role as Count Dracula in Love At First Bite, a 1979 horror comedy in which he received a Golden Globe nomination.