Video: When Huell Howser Investigated The History Of 'National Doughnut Day'
Today is National Doughnut Day, and you wouldn't be alone in assuming that it's just another recently made-up piece of promotional mumbo-jumbo, along the lines of International Bacon Day (est. 2009), National Corndog Day (est. 1992) or National Beer Day (c. 2009). That said, you'd still be wrong. But fear not, because, like all great questions of our time, the origins of National Doughnut Day can be uncovered through a single Huell Howser segment.
The late, great Huell Howser, who passed away in 2013, was a legendary California booster, known for highlighting the history, culture and people of the state on his beloved television shows California's Gold and Visiting with Huell Howser.As he readily admits, even dear Huell originally underestimated the origins of National Doughnut Day, but after "a little research" he uncovered the surprisingly rich history behind why we Americans celebrate doughnuts every year on the first Friday in June.
In the segment, which appeared on Visiting, Howser visits the Salvation Army offices on the V.A. campus in West L.A. to dig into the history behind the doughnut day tradition, which was first initiated by the Salvation Army way back in 1938. As Captain Dianne Madsen tells him,"the Salvation Army and doughnuts go way, way back."
As Howser discovers, it all started during World War I, when the Salvation Army sent 250 young women to France to make doughnuts for the troops in a bid to offer comfort and raise morale. During the episode, Howser learns more about the women, who became known as "Doughnut Girls," and the post-WWI growth of doughnuts in America, before ultimately making a trip to his old friend Stan Berman's iconic, eponymous doughnut shop in Westwood. Needless to say, the whole episode is "amaaazing."
We miss you, Huell. Watch the episode here: