Henry Horenstein, Minnie Pearl and Pee Wee King

Henry Horenstein

Minnie Pearl and Pee Wee King, Grande Ole Opry, Nashville, Tennessee, 1973

Minnie was the preeminent country comedian of her day—arguably any day. With a $1.98 price tag hanging from her hat, she greeted her audience with an unmistakable "How-dee," and regaled them with corny tales about the citizens of Grinder's Switch, influencing among others Garrison Keillor (and his tales of Lake Wobegon). Born Sarah Ophelia Colley, Minnie was a member of the Grand Ole Opry from 1940 until her death in 1996. She also was a cast member of the popular Hee Haw television show.

Pee Wee King was a pop/country fiddler who fronted a big band that at various times employed (among others) Country Music Hall of Famers Eddy Arnold and Minnie Pearl. Although he had a long career, beginning in the early 1930s, he is best remembered for the songs he is credited as writing or co-writing: "Bonaparte's Retreat," "Slow Poke," and "Tennessee Waltz"— the state song of Tennessee, a no. 1 pop hit for Patti Page in 1950, and one of the most covered songs of all time.

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