Frankie Mullec

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Frankie Mullec And His Orchestra





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According to Billboard Magazine, Frankie Mullec, polka band leader, is one of the acknowledged masters in the polka field. Polka melodies were a natural gift to me. I was born in Cleveland, Ohio Mach 5, 1920 of Slovenian parents. Beginning at age 14, I started to play at parties, then taverns and appearances at Slovenian halls on Waterloo Rd. and Holmes Ave. the great lakes exposition in the thirties featured the nationalities village. Naturally, I played polkas in the Slovenian Village. There was the usual period of struggles for a young musician. Finally, I formed my own band. We played for anyone who would listen, always waiting for a break. At the outbreak of World War II, I went to Pearl Harbor arriving at the Navy Base January 1942. After the island was secure, which took about 6 months. I started to play at the base in shows for entertaining the men t the Navy Base. Someone from the U.S.O. heard me and offers me the opportunity to entertain the armed forces in the South Pacific. Soon I became a member of the forces I had been entertaining. Then began another kind of tour, a tour of duty with the Navy. After the war, I immediately resumed my musical career by forming my own band again. The band appeared before polka lovers in many sections of the country. People loved the Cleveland Style accordion polka music. A number of recording offers followed. With a group of local musicians, we recorded “Tell Me A Story” which was one of several musical scores I wrote. This 78 RPM record became a smash hit, selling well over a quarter of million copies, which was a lot in 1950. This recording was followed by two big hits, “The Cleveland Polka” and “There Was A Time”. My band appeared on local television including “Polka Varieties”. “The Doc Lemon Show” “Old Dutch Review” and the “United und Show” with Steve Allen as featured guest. We were also invited to play on radio WHK with Joe Black, WGAR with Thom Armstrong and Hall Morgan and WSRS with Jim Doney. I also played at our family’s “Frankie Mullec’s Lounge Bar” which we opened in 1952. We had engagements at Euclid Beach Park Dance Hall, Meyers Lake in Canton Ohio, Aragon Ballroom, Bowl Ballroom and many others in Michigan, Illinois and Pennsylvania, too numerous to mention. The people really loved the Cleveland Style polkas. A local music publisher produced an album with all the sheet music of our record hits. So that other musicians and polka bands could copy our Cleveland Style. One of the highlights of my career was while I was in New York planning to sign with Capitol Records. The secretary ushered my wife, Terri, and me into the president’s office ahead of Dean Martin, who was also waiting to see him. That’s how big Cleveland polka music was then. Our Cleveland Style of playing polkas was so popular that you could hear a polka record being played on the radio anytime. In fact, I still get letters from fans who will never forget us and the polka. This is what makes me very happy to have chosen music as a youngster.