Thursday, October 26, 2006
– Tillman B. Franks, who performed on the original Louisiana Hayride and also managed Johnny Horton and David Houston, died Thursday after a lengthy illness at 86.
Franks was born in Arkansas, but grew up in Shreveport at 2. By 14, he learned how to play guitar. During World War II, while on the island of Saipan, he was part of a band called the Rainbow Boys, which also included Pete Seeger.
Franks played standup bass for the Bailes Brothers on the hayride's first broadcast on April 3, 1948.
Franks performed as a bassist after the war with Webb Pierce. He later managed Pierce, Horton, Slim Whitman, Jimmy and Johnny, Billy Walker and others.
Franks also wrote or co-wrote are "Honky Tonk Man," "North to Alaska," "Springtime in Alaska" and "How Far is Heaven."
Franks was a passenger in the 1960 crash that killed Horton. Franks was badly injured in that accident and had a scar on his forehead from the accident.