By Stan Bargmeyer, news intern
Long before the current crop of well mannered and cultured celebrities, like Kanye and Miley Cyrus, a celebrity visit to Coma usually meant trouble.
That was the case during the 1979 Coma visit by Colonel Sanders, who punched three chickens in the face when they failed to win their poultry races at the county fair.
A white suit, white goatee, and dark glasses couldn’t class up that dark day when the founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken unleashed his own brand of dark justice.
The pattern continued with the 1983 visit by Duncan Hines, who famously developed and sold the rights to cake mixes.
“I have a warm spot in my heart for Coma and particularly the dedicated lunch ladies,” Hines told a Coma Rotary Club luncheon, shortly before attacking a waiter with his bare hands.
The attack and two subsequent kerfluffles in town were accompanied by Hines’ rantings that people were trying to steal his delicious cakes and muffins.
“You people in this town are blessed with a lot of good eating places,” Hines said as he was carted off to a state sanitarium.
The chain of celebrity violence took a break during pleasant and song-fill 1985 visit of the Marlboro Man, actor David McLean.
“The Marlboro Man was the best thing to happen to Coma in my lifetime,” former Mayor Ezekiel Huntsman said in a 2006 interview.
By far the worst violence was felt during the 1991 visit by actor Val Gould, better known as the Quaker Oats Man.
Wearing a white wig, large hat, red coat, satin pantaloons, white socks with black shoes, Mr. Quaker traveled the nation to give talks, including 20 speeches in Coma schools in one week.
Instead of touting products, Mr. Quaker unleashed diatribes against the American military and “the 3 percent”
“Capitalism is a monstrous lie and only a whole grain breakfast can defeat it,” Gould told pupils, shortly before burning down much of downtown Coma.
The town still bears the scars of that breakfast icon’s visit.