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

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

It was lunchtime and H. Salt was empty. “How is this place still in business?” I remember thinking. The fish must be amazing, a cult favorite. I ordered a two-piece. It wasn’t. I needed to know more.

An initial Google search revealed that this shop was the last gasp of a once-sprawling fish-and-chips empire with hundreds of locations that started with an immigrant’s secret family recipe, flourished into an eight-figure deal with Colonel Sanders and ended in collapse.

It took several years and the research help of friends to track down Mr. Salt. We found him in a remote retirement community in Southern California’s desert. The rest you can see in the film before you.

“Almost Famous” is a special Op-Docs series of short films directed by Ben Proudfoot featuring people who nearly made history — only to fall short. These are tales of overcoming disappointment at its most epic, from an astronaut who never flew to a superstar who never was.

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Op-Docs is the New York Times’ award-winning series of short documentaries by independent filmmakers. Learn more about Op-Docs and how to submit to the series. Follow The New York Times Opinion section on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (@NYTopinion).


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  1. I never heard of H. Salt until now, but I did like the idea of someone else keeping the oil mess and lingering smells in their house while serving a cost effective, okay ready made on the spot meal that is hot. And so everyone working in the household was able to get on with their daily routine. You will never see a piece of fish, hamburger or chicken like the one here for that matter today without taking out a small loan at one of these joints… ha, low cost ingredients and low cost under the heating lamp fast service is the method they use today. Arthur Treacher and Long Johns… was there a difference?

  2. Wow, my whole life I thought Americans just never had the taste for fish and chips (because there weren't any mildly popular fish & chip franchises) but it looks like it could have turned out a bit different.

  3. Peace be to you. I have a story to tell. It will divide all of mankind. Solve this date 20th Adar 5777. That day I became Malachi Chpt 3. Are you ready to do Father's will on earth (Adoil) as it is in Heaven? Are you oh one named after the Holy Benjamin? I will help you to become richer and wiser than Solomon. A fisher of man.

  4. same thing happen to A&W here in Malaysia…. it's so sad seeing one of their franchises here which had been opening since 70's will close down this week.. it's heartbreaking. a lot of people made childhood memories there, but sadly it didn't grab people's attention as it did before anymore 🙁

  5. At the end of the day I just wish he had a lot of happy moments in his life up to now, success is subjective~ its not how others perceive it, its how the beholder makes sense of it.

  6. bout 2:07 was the max and that was with some fast forwarding. sadly thats not based on limited attention span but actually the standard of patience for foolishness that the york times is often responsible for. if we take a break from deluded democrat demands however we retain the knowledge that corrupt democrat intentions still navigate the times hopes and dreams. what more would they really need to see then deny about a national and international consensus they cant control and a process they have habitually interfered with to their ideological detriment. the nyt had plans to be politically persuasive, and some kind of influential paper, but democracy was and is not impressed.

  7. I was in Ireland and ordered fish and chips. I didn't get many fish or chips, but the plate was loaded with delicious things to go with it. It's one of my favorite memories of Ireland.

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