09/17/2010 12:39 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The Real Colonel Sanders: More Than A Fast-Food Icon

When I read last week that a majority of Americans ages 18 to 25 didn't know who Colonel Sanders was, I was shocked. According to USA Today, 61% of respondents didn't know who the guy with the beard in the KFC logo was. What? They don't know who the most famous chicken icon in the world is? A face that says "fried chicken" to hungry people from China to Peru?

For anyone who grew up in America in the second half of the 20th century, the Colonel was a true icon. You didn't need to be able to read to know who he was; you didn't even need to watch TV. Anyone who drove a mile in any direction would see his beaming, grandfatherly visage and white suit and know that Kentucky Fried Chicken could be found there. Maybe not everybody knew that he was the chain's founder or remembered his TV commercials from the '60s and '70s, when he talked about how each piece was dipped in an "egg warsh" before frying. But, at least, they knew he was real. Half of the young adults in the survey, which was ordered up by the chain, assumed that he was the creation of KFC, rather than the other way around.

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