Hamilton in role of Colonel Sanders

Q. The KFC commercials are so campy. Is George Hamilton now the spokesman?

A. That is indeed Hamilton as the “Extra Crispy Colonel” in KFC ads, the first “product-specific Colonel” according to Ad Age. Previous actors playing Colonel Sanders have included Darrell Hammond, Norm Macdonald and Jim Gaffigan, with Gaffigan continuing as the “more general” Colonel in the ads.

By the way, I kind of love the idea of a colonel who’s more general.

And why Hamilton? Well, there’s an inside joke of sorts there, since the famously tan Hamilton is, as Ad Age put it, “a little bit fried by the sun.” And a KFC executive praised Hamilton’s panache, since “the Extra Crispy lifestyle is about living life with a little more panache.”

Q. During the chariot race in the 1959 version of “Ben-Hur” with Charlton Heston, when a stuntman was thrown from his chariot and run over by other chariots and horses, was he killed? Besides Vic Morrow’s death while filming “The Twilight Zone,” have there been other deaths while making a movie? This new “Ben-Hur” will be the fourth version: two silents and two talkies. Has any other movie had so many versions?

A. Carnage on the set of the Heston movie has long been overstated. Snopes.com, the site devoted to debunking legends, says Joe Canutt, the son of stunt great Yakima Canutt, received the only injury when he was flipped out of a chariot while doubling for Heston, “catching himself on the center hitching rail before pulling himself back in place. His only injury was a gash on his chin requiring four stitches. The scene was used in the final print.” Snopes.com does note that one performer died during the chariot race in the 1920s version.

Other movie deaths have included Brandon Lee (the son of Bruce) during the making of “The Crow” when a shooting stunt went awry. And a camera assistant died and six crew members were injured in 2014 during a train crash while making “Midnight Rider,” a biography of musician Gregg Allman; the director wound up pleading guilty to charges of involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespassing.

As for movie adaptations, four is a low number in comparison to the many renditions of some other classics. Think of the abundance of “A Christmas Carol,” “Dracula” and “The Hound of the Baskervilles.”

2016 Akron Beacon Journal

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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