1914 - 2000
Born in Wisconsin as Frank Anthony Kuczynski , "Pee Wee" got his start playing accordion and fiddle with his father's polka band. As a young adult, he moved on to work with the likes of Gene Autry (the pre-Hollywood years), and the Log Cabin Boys.
By 1937, "Pee Wee" had formed his own band, The Golden West Cowboys who appeared regularly on the Grand Ol' Opry, and had a daily radio show in Knoxville. It was this band that became the launching pad for future country stars such as Ernest Tubb, Eddie Arnold, and Cowboy Copas.
"I learned a lot about showmanship
Considered by some to be highly innovative, Pee Wee was among the first to grace the Opry stage with polkas, waltzes, and Cowboy songs using trumpets, drums and electric guitars.
In 1947 he began a TV show in Louisville, Kentucky which lasted 10 years (the last two being networked by NBC-TV), while trying his hand at movie acting in films with his old buddy Gene Autry, Charles Starrett, The Durango Kid, and Johnny Mack Brown.
Although he had some chart success, he'll be best remembered for his songwriting. "Slow Poke", "Napoleon's Retreat", "Tennessee Waltz" (co-written in 1948 with Redd Stewart),and "Walk Me By The River"(Margery Rothgeb co-wrote that song with Pee Wee. It was hers and he helped her get it published and recorded by Bing Crosby. Her daughter Wilhelmina still has the original 78 demo and sheet music).
In 1974, he was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Frank "Pee Wee" King was hospitalized February 28, 2000 after having suffered a heart attack. He passed away 8 days later. He was 86.
© 2000 Eddie Bear Productions