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I Was the Next Colonel Sanders. KFC Had Other Plans. | ‘Almost Famous’ by Op-Docs

January 15, 2020

Salt Fish and Chips. Fish, fresh. Lightly battered, deep fried. Potatoes, peeled. Chip, deep fried. Salt and vinegar. Makes my mouth water. Batter, perfect. Peanut oil’s 350 degrees. Texture, crispy. Bite into it and, oh, so good. Anything that’s not
good for you is good. Two pieces of fish and chips. And don’t forget
the malt vinegar. Making me hungry. Oh, fish and chips. The two notes that sound
beautiful together. Harmony. So when you do it like that,
things can be exciting. Who knows? May have an orgasm,
if you do it right.” “This kindly, mild-mannered
Englishman is Haddon Salt.” “I always felt that
I was an American. In England, there was
the bloody weather, bloody government. This is wrong. You’re always so negative. The thing I love
about America is that this is the home of the
power of positive thinking. The American dream
is opportunity for self-employment. Otherwise, you’re fulfilling
somebody else’s dream. Of course, I was in England
during World War II. So I remember that
quite vividly. Towards the end of the war,
my father got into business. And that was when
I learned about how to cook fish and chips.” “He took to frying
like a duck to water. This is my family’s
original fish and chip shop. That’s my father,
a master fryer.” “He worked in the coal mines,
the most lowly background that you can have in England.” “I discovered early that my
father’s business flourished because he worked hard and
paid great attention to —” “Quality.” “That’s all we thought
about was work. That’s all we did. We had this big
navy base near us. And we had a line-up of people
from the day we opened.” “Today is Victory
in Europe Day.” “This was the moment
we’d all be waiting for.” “I remembered the
day that the war ended, May the 8th,
lives just changed. Your dreams started
really opening up. They were closing
the base down. And they said, we’re
gonna miss you, because this is the only
English food that we like. English food did —
had a bad reputation.” “Hey, you know what
you ought to do?” “No. What do you think
I ought to do? And he said —” “You ought to sell these
fish and chips in the States, that’s what you ought to do.” “Name, please.” “Salt. Salt, what kind
of name is that?” “Aren’t you glad
they let him in?” “We found a piece of
property in Sausalito. That was our first
shop, H. Salt Esquire. When you use your name, you’re
putting your name behind it. In other words,
your reputation. We were selling the romance
of England in our shop. Wooden paneling and pictures
of the tube stations in London. People loved it. I had no idea about
franchising in those days. But I knew that I was gonna
do something like that.” “He’s accepted a duel with
the American hamburger. He is luring Americans
away from hamburgers to authentic English
fish and chips, through his family’s
secret recipe.” “When we had the
professional advertising, the line must have been
a quarter of a mile long. It was amazing, opening day. From then on, we just flew. We went down to Los Angeles. It just spread so quickly. It’s contagious. And so we’re opening
stores everywhere. Eventually, wound up with 500. My name was known
everywhere in the country. They’d say, what’s your name? Haddon Salt. Are
you really H. Salt? We were growing so
quickly that I realized how many components it would
take to make this thing work. But only if you do it right. And that’s the hard
part, getting people to do it right.” “This was the first
service station that I had. But I don’t care if I had
truck drivers sitting down there and here come a doctor,
I didn’t know who he was. I thought everybody could
eat at the same table. I didn’t know anything,
only to be friendly. So that was my
first restaurant.” “I admired K.F.C. as the
leading food company. They were ahead of
McDonald’s in those days. When they went public,
every franchisee became multimillionaires. Within a year, the company
was worth $500 million from $2 million. Now, they’ve got
all this money. So H. Salt comes along. I think, ah ha. Now, I’d been coached before
I went in this meeting, because I’m not used
to this kind of stuff. So they said, well,
what do you think you want for your company? I said, well, why don’t we
self for 25 times earnings. All their faces went pale. So one of the guys
just jumped up. He says, give me
$5 million dollars. He said, I’ll blow this guy
off the face of the earth. And I said, and I want to
help you buy my company, if you want to buy it. I said, but you
can’t come in here and scare me into
selling my company, because it ain’t gonna work. End of conversation. They all left, came back two
hours later, made the deal. 25 times earnings. $12.5 million in K.F.C. stock. Then, it proceeded to go up. That was the first time that
I knew how many zeros there was in a million dollars. They saw me as the
next Colonel Sanders. All my life, everything
I touched turned to gold. Then, suddenly, it
went the other way. They weren’t selling chicken. They were selling
Colonel Sanders. They weren’t selling fish. They were selling me. They didn’t really
grasp what the idea was. I was trying to put middle-class people into business, give them the joy
of self-employment. They missed that. They worked on me
big time, but they didn’t work on the company. They started to
lower the standards, the quality of the fish. And so the volumes of the
restaurants went down. And people stopped
buying franchises. So that was the end of it. Didn’t grow anymore. Well, there’s still quite
a few in Los Angeles, but they’re self-managed. They’re not an authentic
English fish and chip shop anymore. K.F.C. just let them go. You’re risking your reputation
when you put your name behind something. You can’t walk away
from your name. So — I don’t know. I don’t feel responsible. I don’t feel — I don’t feel guilty
or responsible. I did sell out. You might say, do
you wish you hadn’t? I don’t know. But you know, life
moves forward. You have to keep
moving forward.” [SINGING] “(SINGING) It’s H.
Salt Fish and Chips.”

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  • Reply Toby Cowles January 14, 2020 at 12:00 am

    Compulsory first comment

  • Reply haowen ao January 14, 2020 at 12:01 am

    First , what about KFC

  • Reply cc cc January 14, 2020 at 12:01 am


  • Reply TARAJOSU January 14, 2020 at 12:04 am

    I LOVE THESE DOCS AND THE TEAM that put them together! You all don't get enough credit! He says, "otherwise, you are fulfilling someones else's dream!" But what if your dream is fulfilling other people's ideas? Win-win. Cookies for everyone, I mean fish and chips. ONE THING I HATE, or maybe it's genius on the part of whoever's job it is to upload this videos…is when they place the next video to click on where the credits are on the RIGHT SIDE I can't see the credits lol, so it forces me to go to the New York Time's site. I really am interested in those that made this well-told story happen. I mean…it's a click away, so it's not a big deal lol.

  • Reply Jordan Mann January 14, 2020 at 12:05 am

    This is a really great story and a beautifully-produced film. I look forward to more "Almost Famous" videos!

  • Reply Snoopy Schulz January 14, 2020 at 12:07 am

    *WAS the home of positive thinking. Look at any comment section on any social media platform and you will see this.

  • Reply Faladoru January 14, 2020 at 12:10 am

    These make me feel sad

  • Reply Christina Butler January 14, 2020 at 12:11 am

    One of my earliest memories was eating at H salt as a kid in the 70s and 80s, there's only one in my city now. Great story, make it into a movie…

  • Reply Captain America America January 14, 2020 at 12:13 am


  • Reply Edmund Dobry January 14, 2020 at 12:14 am

    Well that's what you get for moving to california.

  • Reply Lorenzo Duldulao January 14, 2020 at 12:16 am

    this series is always eye-opening and interesting

  • Reply Floor Encer January 14, 2020 at 12:21 am

    Was this a California thing? I am in Boston, Massachusetts.
    Who let the air out of KFCs tires?
    I was getting take out for my father, they don't serve coffee!
    A lot of locations have closed. I don't see ad promotions. They ain't doing chicken right anymore.

  • Reply Karabo ManneZA January 14, 2020 at 12:22 am

    Arthritis is a b*tch hey😭

  • Reply Charles Thoreson January 14, 2020 at 12:22 am

    This was wholesome and entertaining to watch. Meanwhile, WaPo puts out a video today about some irrelevant Twitch fuckboy. This video was infinitely better, by far.

  • Reply George Husek January 14, 2020 at 12:22 am

    This reminds me of a really good indie movies plus i love the fish and chips

  • Reply Chris Hayes January 14, 2020 at 12:53 am

    idk how I feel about this ending.
    But, I do want Fish n Chips now lol

  • Reply Chris Hayes January 14, 2020 at 12:54 am

    This series reminds me of the Netflix series, "Losers". (Which btw is absolutely amazing)

  • Reply Iyana January 14, 2020 at 12:57 am

    I love the way you guys title your videos

  • Reply frankie4you2013 January 14, 2020 at 1:42 am

    This old, self pitty dude is a living joke. He sold his company, what a big story? LOL He didn´t have a restaurant, it was cheap quality food for the consumer, nothing more, nothing less.

  • Reply Rory on a Bike January 14, 2020 at 2:12 am

    The NY Times story on this short:

  • Reply LampuHijau January 14, 2020 at 2:26 am

    Another mising history come revealed.

  • Reply P05TPWN3D January 14, 2020 at 2:29 am

    I was expecting this to be a snoozefest but it was actually a very heartwarming story and that man is really charming

  • Reply Shelby January 14, 2020 at 2:31 am

    I love how he says life moves towards and it goes to a scene of him in his beautiful back yard enjoying his pool ❤️

  • Reply fouroverseven January 14, 2020 at 2:36 am

    I don't feel sorry for him. He cashed in his business along with his principles.

  • Reply ytube777 January 14, 2020 at 2:38 am

    bittersweet. such is life.

  • Reply Mireille Pinquiere January 14, 2020 at 2:53 am

    How can find them how many mille

  • Reply Debbie Marquis January 14, 2020 at 2:53 am

    DOCS really know how to pull heart strings..

  • Reply Jason Jackson January 14, 2020 at 3:03 am

    I mean he kinda did make it……you see that crib? He ain't struggling lol

  • Reply FA-18E Super Hornet January 14, 2020 at 3:11 am

    Never heard of this before

  • Reply WestNileSnipes January 14, 2020 at 3:48 am

    At least he made a good chunk of change from this whole thing.

  • Reply BtimeC January 14, 2020 at 3:55 am

    Great little doc! Sad story though

  • Reply cr3617 January 14, 2020 at 4:27 am

    6:28 Didn't know David Tennant used to work there

  • Reply Kathy Erickson January 14, 2020 at 6:03 am

    Here in MN, we had Arthur Treacher's Fish & Chips and I LOVED it! You could even go in and buy the fried batter "bits" for 25 cents. Good…and good for you! Yikes!

  • Reply Buttercookie Cinnamini January 14, 2020 at 6:05 am

    Not fair….I'm hungry. I want fish and chips.

  • Reply UDONTCME111 January 14, 2020 at 7:22 am

    I have a H. Salt Fish & Chips 2 miles from me. Never went because of bad reviews. 😬

  • Reply Tyler Whitney January 14, 2020 at 7:31 am

    Parkingson's with those shakes…? 🙁

  • Reply Robert McGarry January 14, 2020 at 7:38 am

    (sarcasm) Good bless America! … This story is why we are in decline, no matter what the stock market says.

  • Reply MrOuchiez January 14, 2020 at 8:17 am

    I came into this thinking it was going to be about Arthur Treacher's and got my heart broken in an entirely different way…

  • Reply John Doe January 14, 2020 at 8:25 am

    This series is so interesting please keep doing it

  • Reply I am Alucard January 14, 2020 at 8:44 am

    I mean, in the end he has a house with a pool. So whatever, nothing to complain about.

  • Reply Tan Rui Qin January 14, 2020 at 9:03 am

    Moral of the story, don't make a deal with The Devil Colonel Sanders

  • Reply Lala Love January 14, 2020 at 9:46 am

    This made me hungry 😋

  • Reply Watermelondrea Symone January 14, 2020 at 10:01 am

    Although the NYT contributes to the current crisis in democracy with their both siderism and giving op ed columns to out of touch anti Semites and climate change denialists in the name of "diversity" , these video essays are quite impressive and well directed even though vox or the Atlantic could do it better 🙃

  • Reply Richard January 14, 2020 at 10:22 am

    They still exist?

  • Reply Richard January 14, 2020 at 10:23 am

    Here's lived very comfortably off that money I'm sure. But he'd probably be much richer if he hadn't sold out.

  • Reply Nygie Pls January 14, 2020 at 10:50 am

    These are so good.. Thank you.

  • Reply D DADA January 14, 2020 at 11:27 am


  • Reply Серж Шуляченко January 14, 2020 at 12:27 pm

    Discord in the camp of the "democrats": Warren accused Sanders of sexism.
    Biden realizes that he is losing to Sanders.

  • Reply Ernie Llerena January 14, 2020 at 12:54 pm

    Everything dies in San Bernardino yet fast food franchising started here. Many popular restaurants along with some local ones are going out of business or completely gone. It's funny that one of the oldest ones still stands and that is H Salt. I still don't understand how they make money because I hardly see anybody go in there.

  • Reply Evette Jourdain January 14, 2020 at 12:55 pm

    Im glad he's not struggling though.

  • Reply Fitriana A. January 14, 2020 at 12:56 pm

    Tangan sidin menggatar astaghfirullah 😩

  • Reply Mean Machine January 14, 2020 at 1:20 pm

    Im going to sue you also! Long long over due! Pay me for your lies!!

  • Reply Kolato January 14, 2020 at 2:40 pm

    Dunno having everyone know your name at some point during your life seems like being pretty famous even considering it ultimately didn't last.

  • Reply Chian Yee Lee January 14, 2020 at 2:54 pm

    i thought colonel sanders is a myth

  • Reply GravityLee January 14, 2020 at 4:16 pm

    Why do some old peoples hands shake like that

  • Reply M Leonardo January 14, 2020 at 4:52 pm

    Beautiful story.

  • Reply DudeWat January 14, 2020 at 5:10 pm

    He was the next Colonel Sanders. KFC had other plans: Turning him into Bojack Horseman.

  • Reply yass123 January 14, 2020 at 5:37 pm

    You're probably better off this way

  • Reply Nadine Stacey January 14, 2020 at 6:01 pm

    I love fish and chips wish I could have tried this restaurant back when it was in it's prime

  • Reply mahchymk93 January 14, 2020 at 7:35 pm

    Thanks for shooting in 4:3

  • Reply Official Filmilen January 14, 2020 at 9:36 pm

    Make H. Salt movie about his life story

  • Reply David Stone January 14, 2020 at 11:23 pm

    Wow ! 🤩 even the liberal bias
    New York Times admits President Trump’s maximum pressure on Iran 🇮🇷 is working. Image that.

  • Reply Aron G.Meskel January 14, 2020 at 11:32 pm


  • Reply CockSprocket January 14, 2020 at 11:51 pm

    If I ever meet this guy…..I want fish and chips with him for lunch.

  • Reply Nick Supapol January 15, 2020 at 12:11 am

    Amazing production!

  • Reply Electric Cervix January 15, 2020 at 1:28 am

    Going 4:3 in 2020 is an odd, yet bold, choice!

  • Reply Thirteenth Tribe January 15, 2020 at 3:18 am

    Godless men are often rich. Ask your Mother for Heavenly things for this world is a carcass.

  • Reply Mitchell Bast January 15, 2020 at 3:34 am

    Loved it in the 70's, absolutely Delicious.

  • Reply Chris Bruggers January 15, 2020 at 4:18 am

    I can't for the life of me understand how anyone finds this man's story sad??? These comments are what is sad… He built an amazing business, sold it to KFC for millions, lives a great retirement, and now just had his story retold to the younger generation by the NYT and documented on YouTube for all eternity! He has a Wikipedia page for gods sake! He made it as far as I'm concerned… we should all be so lucky! Anyone who finds this sad must still be very young and naive. You just don't know yet what it means to succeed in the big bad world.

  • Reply Tim Qiu January 15, 2020 at 4:54 am

    i love it that he looks so much like his father

  • Reply Jack Benton January 15, 2020 at 4:57 am

    $12.5 million in KFC stock in 1969?!?! Hopefully that man hung onto that stock and spent/invested wisely over the years (he certainly seems like the type of person who would). He could've (and maybe did) retired on the spot when that deal closed in 1969 and lived off the dividends for the rest of his life.

  • Reply Edward Billa January 15, 2020 at 7:42 am

    Thank you for these shorts. Beautiful stories and beautifully shot. Enjoy yourselves.

  • Reply Superlative CG January 15, 2020 at 8:02 am

    If KFC sold Chinese food, you could buy General Tso's from Colonel Sanders.

  • Reply itloads January 15, 2020 at 12:18 pm

    Has Mr Salt retained any of the KFC holdings over the years as it transitioned into Yum Brands?

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