National Cleveland Style Polka Hall of Fame and Museum
605 East 222nd Street Euclid, OH 44123
Toll Free: 1-800-66POLKA
According to Billboard Magazine in the late 1940s, Frankie Mullec was one of the
acknowledged masters in the polka field. Frankie had one of the most popular polka
bands from 1947 to 1952, and a recording contract with Continental Records.
Frankie was born in Cleveland and lived in the Collinwood neighborhood. His Slovenian
immigrant parents owned a grocery store on Waterloo Road, which later became the
site of Mullec’s Lounge Bar. As a teenager, Frankie played the accordion in taverns
and halls, and later in the U.S. Navy in World War II.
Frankie formed his own band in 1947, and immediately had a nationwide hit with his
song, “Tell Me a Story.” The record sold more than a quarter million copies. His
next hit, “The Cleveland Polka,” had the whole country singing “the best location
in the nation.” Frankie’s appearances throughout the midwest at the Aragon Ballroom
and Canton’s Meyers Lake were in cooperation with Music Corporation of America, which
asked Frankie to hire a female vocalist. He auditioned the singers, and hired Terri,
who became his wife, 58 years ago.
Frankie gave up the road jobs to play the organ
with a trio at his Lounge Bar, starting in 1952, for 15 years. Frankie resumed his
music career in 1975 as an entertainer at Yankovic’s Steakhouse. He played the organ
six nights a week, for seven years. In the 1990s, Frankie played for benefit events
in the Youngstown area for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. He played weekly at
the Slovene Home for the Aged in Cleveland, until 2004.