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Pee Wee King’s car

July 1, 2011
by

Here’s a funny story for you about Pee Wee King, accordion-playin’ band leader for his Golden West Cowboys in the 30s-50s. From “Grand Ole Opry: The Complete Story of a Great American Institution and its Stars,” by Chet Hagan, Owl Book, Henry Holt and Co. New York, 1989

(quote from Eddy Arnold pg 86-87)
“Working with Pee Wee King was fun,” Arnold said. “He was one of the funniest men I’ve ever known, and in those early days on the road a good belly laugh was about the only bonus you could get out of life. We used to hold our breath driving around in those dilapidated cars we traveled in. Pee Wee’s was the worst of all and we were always afraid the bottom would drop right out of it. One day just before the war it did.
“He had picked me up and was driving me over to the radio station when we stopped for a light and the whole transmission fell right out of the car.
“Pee Wee didn’t say a word. He just opened the door, got out, and looked around. We were at the top of a hill, and all of a sudden Pee Wee squinted at something off in the distance toward the bottom of the hill. Then he poked his head back in the car. ‘I think I spotted something’,’ he said. ‘Better get out and push.’
“The two of us got the car moving downhill and then he jumped in, letting ourselves coast and leaving the deceased transmission on the street behind us. As we rolled downhill we picked up speed, and by the time we got to bottom we looked like any other car on the street – which is just what Pee Wee wanted. He glided along the curb and let the car come to a stop in front of a new-car dealer. Out we got, and in we went, and up came a salesman. I was holding my breath, but Pee Wee was as calm as could be. ‘Just browsin’,’ he told the salesman.
“A few minutes later Pee Wee was letting the salesman talk him into a nice new shiny car.
“‘Well, I don’t know,’ he said, doing a good imitation of a final holdout. ‘I really don’t have the money for a down payment.’
“ ‘No need, no need,’ the salesman said. ‘If that’s your car parked out at the curb, you’ve got your down payment.’ “ ‘Well, I don’t know…’ Pee Wee said, shaking his head.
“ ‘Tell you what,’ said the salesman, ‘suppose I take it for a little spin around the block and we’ll see what she’s worth to you.’
“Pee Wee held up his hand. ‘Absolutely not! I never let anyone drive my car! Never have, never will!’ And with that, he started to walk out, with me following right behind.
“ ‘Just a moment, sir!’ the salesman shouted, and Pee Wee did a beautiful about-face, not too fast, not too slow. It was just right, and we ended up driving out there with a brand-new car.
“The next day I was with Pee Wee when he got a call from the salesman, who had finally tried to take that little spin around the block. I could hear him screaming across the room. Pee Wee listened very patiently until the guy ran out of breath, and then he said, ‘Well, you see what happens when I let somebody drive my car.’”

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