Following a news article regarding the closure of White Rock’s KFC – which included an anecdote about a group of people stealing and holding for ransom a cardboard cutout of Colonel Sanders – former mayor Gordie Hogg phoned Peace Arch News with a confession.
Hogg, who spent years as an MLA and MP for the area, admitted on Sunday that he played a part in kidnapping the Colonel on opening day of KFC in 1970. In fact, he was the wheel-man of the operation, driving his mother’s vehicle.
Hogg, Bill McQuiston and Lorne Scott cut letters out of a newspaper to make a ransom note that said if store managers ever wanted to see the Colonel again, they had to leave three chicken dinners outside by 3 p.m.
“We took (the dinners) away and stood the Colonel up and the (KFC employees) were all howling with laughter because we still had the Colonel blindfolded and stuff,” Hogg told PAN Sunday.
Hogg said he heard nothing about it for a number of years, then about 10-15 years ago his friend Ken Sully was at a ribbon cutting ceremony at a mall in Aldergrove and bumped into a representative from General Foods.
After the ceremony, Hogg said, the representative turned to Sully and said “you won’t believe what happened when we opened that Kentucky Fried Chicken in White Rock.”
“It was particularly funny when the guy from General Foods said to Ken, ‘We thought this was going to get us lots of good media and the media wouldn’t believe it. They thought it was just a publicity stunt,” Hogg said.
The story of the kidnapped Colonel first got exposure after Weston Carmody posted to Facebook his account of the Colonel kidnapping.
However, a layer of mystery has been added to the event because Carmody noted the kidnapping happened in 1972, and it involved a different group of people than what Hogg described.
“I tried to find West’s number and give him a call because he must have misunderstood the story or the story, as many stories do, evolved over the years,” Hogg said.
“It was very funny and we had a good laugh out of it for the last couple of days,” Hogg said. “It’s not a big deal… It’s just so funny when we saw it.”
Hogg said it was a big deal for White Rock when the KFC came to town in 1970.
“And we saw the cardboard Colonel and that sounded like a good opportunity,” Hogg said. “It was lots of fun. It was a good story and we were sad to see the Colonel go, but have lots of good memories.”
Hogg said his group of friends did many silly things to pass the time, including on one Saturday they phoned up U.S. President Richard Nixon.
The operator told Hogg and his friends that Nixon was not available because he was at the Summer White House.
“I hung up and probably 15 minutes later (McQuiston) gets a call from the FBI, or the Secret Service or somebody, saying ‘Were you trying to get a hold of President Nixon?’”
The officer asked for the purpose of their call.
“Just wanted to tell him he’s doing a good job, just tell him everything is fine,” Hogg said was the response from the boys.
“Those were the days of being silly and having fun, and hopefully doing it in a fun and an innocuous way.”