SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Elvis Aaron Presley once sang his heart out for a box of donuts.
The year was November 6, 1954, and Elvis was under contract with the Louisiana Hayride.
For those unfamiliar with the Louisiana Hayride, the best way to describe it is to say that the show was the American Idol of its day. Based out of Shreveport, La., and airing initially on KWKW, the show was the brainchild of radio station manager Henry Clay and was eventually broadcast on the radio live across the nation.
The Louisiana Hayride launched the careers of numerous country musicians, not to mention Elvis Presley, throughout the 1940s, 50s, into the 60s.
But this isn’t a story about the Louisiana Hayride and Shreveport’s numerous musical claims to fame. It’s a story about donuts so delicious that all these years later, Southern Maid Donuts are still around even though a very important piece of Elvis’s history pertaining to Southern Maid Donuts is missing.
The story goes that Mr. and Mrs. J.B. Hargroves opened the very first Southern Maid Donuts shop in 1937, just after the Great Depression, and began making the best donuts on the entire planet from a recipe they concocted themselves. The couple licensed their product and helped others open their own shops, and more than 80 years later over 100 stores across the south carry on their delicious namesake and recipes.
As major sponsors of the Louisiana Hayride, Southern Maid Donuts gave Elvis a box of donuts to sing a jingle. But Elvis wasn’t the only one who sang Southern Maid’s praises.
Up-and-coming entertainers like Johnny Cash were more than willing to talk about how incredible Southern Maid Donuts were on the Louisiana Hayride because, well, Southern Maid Donuts were actually incredible.
It wasn’t a gimmick. It wasn’t a sales pitch.
Southern Maid Donuts were, and still are insanely good.
But the hot-light advertising didn’t stop with Elvis and Johnny Cash. Minnie Pearl recorded a commercial for Southern Maid, as did Johnny Horton.
Unfortunately, there is no known copy of the jingle Elvis sang left anywhere on the planet. But we do know the words he sang.
“You can get them piping hot after 4 P.M., you can get them piping hot, Southern Maid Donuts hits the spot, you can get them piping hot after 4 P.M.”
And yes, we do know that Elvis frequented the Shreveport location and loved Southern Maid donuts. Maybe now the rest of us can understand why there are posters of Elvis Presley at many of the locations where the tasty treats are sold.
It isn’t a gimmick. It isn’t a sales pitch.
The only commercial Elvis Presley made in his entire life was for Southern Maid Donuts.
Perhaps he was really singing about donuts when he riddled, “Well, it’s one for the money, two for the show, three to get ready, now go, cat, go.”