After two years of hiring comedians playing Colonel Sanders, KFC is returning to its roots with its latest celebrity colonel.
On Tuesday, the fried chicken chain announced it is bringing the original colonel, Harland Sanders, back from the dead in a series of new ads launching this week.
The ads will highlight the chain's Original Recipe chicken, melding grainy footage of Sanders from the '60s and '70s with new footage. In one commercial, for example, Harland Sanders shares the screen with Norm Macdonald, one of the many comedians who have played the colonel in more-recent KFC marketing.
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KFC restaurants around the world
KFC restaurants around the world
This picture taken on March 8, 2015 shows people walk past a KFC fast food restaurant in Lhasa, southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region.
US fast food giant KFC has opened its first restaurant in Tibet, the venue's property manager said on March 9, more than a decade after the chain's first attempt to establish a foothold ended in controversy. / AFP / STR / China OUT / CHINA OUT (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)
TIANJIN, CHINA - 2016/02/09: Portrait of Colonel Sanders hung on the exterior of a KFC restaurant. On the early of February, KFC China triumphs in Lawsuit Over Mutant Chicken Rumors, received a combined fine of $91,191 from three companies who spread the false allegations that KFC had served genetically modified chickens with 'six wings and eight legs.'. (Photo by Zhang Peng/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Picture taken on January 25, 2016, in Laval, northwestern France, shows a Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) restaurant. / AFP / JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER (Photo credit should read JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP/Getty Images)
KUNMING, YUNNAN PROVINCE, CHINA - 2015/12/14: A KFC restaurant in Changshui Airport. Yum,the parent company of KFC, has announced in October of 2015 to create a separate publicly traded China-focused company. The China division is expected to post a 10% operating profit in 2016. (Photo by Zhang Peng/LightRocket via Getty Images)
ACCRA, GHANA - NOVEMBER 13: People walk past a Kentucky Fried Chicken fast food restaurant on Oxford Street in the affluent Osu neighborhood, on November 13, 2015 in Accra, Ghana. The street is filled with shops, businesses and restaurants and is always bustling. (Photo by Melanie Stetson Freeman/The Christian Science Monitor via Getty Images)
A woman walks past the fried chicken shop 'KFC Halal', using the brand name of US fast food giant KFC, after it was closed by Iranian police, on November 3, 2015, in the capital Tehran. 'Police closed the 'KFC' restaurant as it didn't have authorisation and had been operating under a false license,' reported the news site of Iran's Young Journalist Club, which is affiliated with state television. AFP PHOTO / STR (Photo credit should read -/AFP/Getty Images)
An employee handles a tray of food inside a KFC restaurant, operated by Yum! Brands Inc. KFC and Yoma Strategic Holdings, in Yangon, Myanmar, on Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015. Yum has had success over the past two decades by taking its KFC and Pizza Hut chains to more than 125 countries. Photographer: Brent Lewin/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A sign indicates the way to the new 24-hour KFC fast food restaurant, operated by Yum! Brands Inc., in Moscow, Russia, on Monday, May 25, 2015. Yum! rose the most in more than a year after the hedge fund firm disclosed the 'significant stake' in the restaurant operator, saying the growth of the middle class in China will benefit the company. Photographer: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A Yum! Brands Inc. KFC restaurant stands in Shelbyville, Kentucky, U.S., on Saturday, April 18, 2015. Yum! Brands Inc. is scheduled to release earnings figures on April 21. Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A car sits parked at the drive-thru of a Yum! Brands Inc. KFC restaurant in Peoria, Illinois, U.S., on Monday, Feb. 2, 2015. Yum! Brands Inc. is scheduled to report fourth-quarter 2014 earnings on Feb. 5. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
MUMBAI, MAHARASHTRA, INDIA - 2013/11/02: The red facade of a Kentucky Fried Chicken, KFC, restaurant with a motor rikshaw parking in front. (Photo by Frank Bienewald/LightRocket via Getty Images)
A pedestrian walks past a KFC restaurant in Kolkata, India, on Monday, March 14, 2011. India faces pressure to step up its battle against price gains even after the steepest interest-rate increases among Asia's major economies, as oil costs rise and consumer demand strengthens. Photographer: Brent Lewin/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A vehicle leaves the drive-thru area of a combined KFC and Taco Bell restaurant, both units of Yum! Brands Inc., in Houston, Texas, U.S., on Tuesday, July 13, 2010. Yum! Brands Inc. reported a second-quarter adjusted profit of 58 cents a share. Photographer: Aaron M. Sprecher/Bloomberg via Getty Images
CHINA - MAY 02: KFC signs are seen on Nanjing Road in Shanghai, China, on Wednesday, March 2, 2007. Yum! Brands Inc., the owner of the Pizza Hut and KFC restaurant chains, posted a 14 percent first-quarter profit gain that exceeded analysts' estimates on increased sales in China, its fastest growing region. (Photo by Ariana Lindquist/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO - OCTOBER 30: A KFC restaurant is shown October 30, 2006 in San Francisco, California. In New York today, KFC announced that it will phase out use of artificial trans fats at all its American restaurants to healthier linolenic soybean oil by April 2007. New York is weighing a ban on the artery-clogging oils in all city restaurants. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
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"[N]o one can play the Colonel like the Colonel can play the Colonel," George Felix, KFC U.S. director of advertising, said in a statement. "Unfortunately, our original Colonel stopped making ads in the 1970s, so we utilized technology to bring him into the 21st century to sell modern-day offers like our $5 Fill Up and $10 Chicken Share himself."
In his life, Sanders — who died in 1980 — was notoriously licentious in a way that may not be tolerated from most modern spokespeople.
He was known for cheating on his first wife, with his second wife's nephew saying he "found what he needed to find in other places," according to 'Colonel Sanders and the American Dream.' A 1970 'New Yorker' article quotes him observing a crowd of housewives saying: "That gal's let herself go... Look at the size of that one... I don't know when I've seen so many fat ones... Lord, look at 'em waddle."
Despite some initial backlash to bringing back the Colonel in 2015, KFC's Sanders-centric marketing push has been a success. The campaign, along with an effort to improve food quality and customer service, helped spark a turnaround for the chain, which reported in May that same-stores sales increased 2% in the most recent quarter.