Cliffie Stone Family Photos Cliffie Stone Later Years Photos
Left photo: L to R: Cliffie with Molly Bee, Eddie Dean and Roberta Linn (Roberta was the Champagne Lady on the Lawrence Welk TV show for many years). They were about to perform to a sold-out audience on July 1, 1991, at the Fountain Valley Fiesta in CA. Right photo: L to R: Cliffie, Roberta Linn, Molly Bee and Garth Phillips performing one of the closing songs at the Fountain Valley Fiesta. (Garth is an excellent guitar player, singer and performer in his own right, and he’d accompany both Cliffie and Molly at countless gigs in their later years.) Molly Bee, like Tennessee Ernie Ford, has been mentioned countless times throughout both of Cliffie’s books. He discovered them, managed them simultaneously for a period of time and he helped to launch their successful careers. Molly was extended family to Cliffie because she was a little girl with pigtails when she first appeared on his show; he saw her grow into a teenager and then into a young lady who started making her own life and career choices. Molly Bee Bio Outline: On August 18, 1939, Mollie Gene Beachboard (aka Molly Bee) was born in Oklahoma City, OK. In her early years, she was raised in Bell Buckle, TN. Her family moved to Tucson, AZ in the 1940s. Molly’s mother believed in her daughter’s talent and took her to many local Tucson shows in the hopes that someone would discover her; and it was at a Tucson grammar school show production that local deejay/singer, Rex Allen, heard her sing “Lovesick Blues,” and he invited her to sing it on his radio show. (In the early 1950s, Rex Allen became a very popular Western singer as well as a top-ten box office movie star of numerous Western films, which were released by Republic Pictures.) Soon thereafter, the Beachboard family decided to move to the Los Angeles area. Cliffie was always on the lookout for new talent and during his popular “Hometown Jamboree” KTLA-TV variety show, he’d announce the date, time and place for anyone who was interested in auditioning. Molly auditioned and her talent and personality won over Cliffie and his music director, Billy Liebert; and at the age of eleven, she became a regular cast member on his KTLA-TV show for a number of years, which was held at the American Legion Stadium in El Monte (later it moved to Harmony Park Ballroom in Anaheim, CA). When Molly was a little girl in Tennessee, she had learned to yodel, which Cliffie liked to feature on his show. (See “Early Years” Gallery section, Row 2, #2 photo; Molly is also in Row 7, photos #3 and #4 photos; and on the Achievement section page.) Molly became a big hit on Cliffie’s TV show and she had a large following of fans. Cliffie’s show became a launching pad for Molly, Ernie Ford and teenage idol, Tommy Sands. (Their photos with Cliffie are on the covers of “TV-Radio Life” weekly guide in Cliffie’s “Early Years” section, Row 6, # 2 and #3 photos.) In 1952, Cliffie was instrumental in getting Molly signed to a recording contract with Capitol Records and her first 45 RPM single release was “Tennessee Tango.” This was followed by another single, “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus,” which became a major hit. This same song was covered by Jimmy Boyd and during the Christmas season, Molly and Jimmy went on the Ed Sullivan show and sang a duet together. Cliffie was also instrumental in getting a Capitol Records recording contract for Ernie Ford. In 1953, Molly recorded a duet with Ernie, “Don’t Come Courtin’ in a Hotrod.” In 1954, Universal International (UI) filmed a 15 minute kinescope musical featurette, which was titled “Corral Cuties” (produced by Will Cowan) and it starred Tennessee Ernie Ford, Molly Bee and the Cliffie Stone band. UI released it for theatrical use in theaters across the United States. The entertaining song selections were well-paced. (The storyline is a group of musician/singer friends having a BBQ in a backyard. It opens with Cliffie and Ernie barbequing and talking. Performance Sequence: (1) Ernie flirts with Bucky Tibbs and she sings “Going Steady;” (2) Billy Strange sings “Anytime” to his girlfriend; (3) Molly Bee sings “Too Young to Tango;” (4) Ernie sings “Bright Lights and Blonde Haired Women;” (5) Molly talking to Gene O’Quinn who was playing a pinball machine and he starts singing “Pinball Millionaire;” (6) Herman the Hermit playing an array of kettles with a big spoon to the tune of “Oh, Susanna;” (7) Molly and Ernie sing their duet, “Don’t Come Courtin’ in a Hotrod;” (8) The finale, “Hometown Blues” starts with Cliffie playing his bass with his band. Then one by one, 5 other bass players join him for a rousing rocking jam session and you won’t have the blues after you listen to it.) In 1954, Molly also became a cast member of a popular children’s program that was televised in the afternoon, “The Pinky Lee Show.” (Other cast members included Gaylord Carter (organist), Betty Jane Howarth, Jimmy Brown, Jack McCoy and Cindy Sue.) By 1955, Cliffie became Ernie’s full time manager as well as producer of Ernie’s new NBC/TV daily variety show. Ernie was also starting to have hit records such as his duet with Kay Starr, “I’ll Never Be Free.” Molly left “The Pinky Lee Show” and became a regular on Ernie’s daily TV show. In between young Molly’s fast-paced career, she also attended Rosemead High School and graduated from Hollywood High School. Molly signed a contract with Dot Records and in October 1956, Dot released a 45 RPM single: the A side - “Since I Met You Baby” and the B Side - “I’ll Be Waiting for You.” In 1958, Capitol Records released Molly’s debut album, “Young Romance.” She had a number of hit singles which included “Young Romance,” “Don’t Look Back,” and “Five Points of a Star.” In the late 1950s, Molly decided to try her hand at acting. She was in several musical plays such as: “The Boy Friend,” Finian’s Rainbow,” and “Paint Your Wagon.” She also co-starred in a number of movies: “Going Steady,” which was released by Columbia in 1958 (other cast members included Allan Reed, Jr., Bill Goodwin, Ralph Moody, Susan Easter and Irene Hervey); later in 1958, she co-starred in Universal’s “Summer Love” (cast includes John Saxon, Jill St. John, Troy Donohue, Rod McKuen and Shelley Fabares); “The Chartroose Caboose” was released in 1960 (cast included Molly Bee, Ben Cooper, Edgar Buchanan, Kay Bartels and Slim Pickens); in 1963, “The Young Swingers” (cast members included Molly Bee, Rod Lauren, Gene McDaniels, Karen Gunderson, Jack Larson and John Merritt). Her last movie appearance was “Hillbillys in the Haunted House,” which starred Ferlin Husky, Joi Lansing, Don Bowman; and Molly Bee, Merle Haggard and Sonny James appeared in the movie as themselves. While she was making these movies, she realized that acting wasn’t her cup of tea; so she wisely kept appearing on a number of musical variety TV shows. They included: Ernie Ford’s weekly NBC-TV show, “The Ford Show,” during its five year run (1956 - 1961); “The Tonight Show” with Steve Allen, who was the first host of this future iconic talk show (1954 – 1957); NBC-TV variety show, “The Gisele MacKenzie Show” in 1958; and in the late 1950s, Red Foley’s “Jubilee USA Show.” Later, Molly became a regular cast member on the “Jimmy Dean Show” which was a musical variety show on ABC-TV (1963 – 1966). (The “Archival Television Audio, Inc.” stated to the effect that Molly Bee was one of the regulars on Jimmy’s show as well as Chuck McCann, Karen Morrow, the Casey Singers and Rowlf, the Muppet – the first of the puppet creations of Jim Henson to be featured on national television.) Jimmy’s featured artists were from both the Pop and Country music genres, which include: Roger Miller, Bobby Bare, Eddy Arnold, Vicki Carr, Buck Owens, comedian Red Buttons, Eydie Gorme, Johnny Cash and Arthur Godfrey. In 1966, broadcasting icon, Dick Clark, and his associate, Barbara John, created a new show called “Swingin’ Country” for NBC-TV, which regularly featured Molly Bee, Roy Clark and Rusty Draper. The Academy of Country Music nominated Molly Bee for the “Best Television Personality” category in 1966. During this time period, Molly also created an appealing dynamic night club act; and in the late 1950s and 1960s, she became a regular headliner at major Las Vegas showrooms, which had sold-out audiences. However, Molly still stayed true to her country roots and she also performed at large fairs and rodeos with stars such as Dean Martin and Johnny Cash. (In “Billboard Magazine’s Archives,” they have an article, dated May 5, 1958, about the Ohio State Fair and the stars who would be performing, which included Dean Martin, Molly Bee, Tommy Sands and the Lennon Sisters.) Also, Molly patriotically went on a USO tour with comedian/actor, Bob Hope (between 1942 – 1988, Bob put together USO shows for 57 tours; and he was honored by The United States Congress who declared Bob Hope to be “The First and Only Honorary Veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces). With regards to Molly’s recording career in the 1960s onward: In 1962, Molly signed a contract with Liberty Records and in February 1963, Liberty released a 45 RPM single: A Side - “She’s New to You; and the B Side - “All My Love, All My Life,” which didn’t chart. In 1965, Molly signed a contract with MGM and later that year, MGM released her first album, “It’s Great, It’s Molly Bee,” and one of the songs became a Grammy nominated song, “(I Wish I Were) A Single Girl Again.” (The 8th Grammy Awards was held on March 15, 1966. Jody Miller won the “Best C/W Female Vocal Performance” for “Queen of the House;” and Roger Miller won 2 Grammys for “King of the Road” – “Best C/W Male Vocal Performance” and “Best C/W Single.”) In 1966, MGM also released two 45 RPM singles which had some success: the first one was released in April: A side - “Losing You,” and the B Side - “Miserable Me.” In November, they released the second single: A side - “Everything But Your Name,” and the B side - “A World I Can’t Live In.” On February 1, 1967, MGM released a second album (produced by Paul Tannen) called “Swingin’ Country” (its cover showed Molly in an alluring skintight leather cowgirl suit which received a lot of attention and it became her publicity photo for many years). This album got on the country album charts; and a single was released in December: A side - “Sinner’s Wine and the B side - “Fresh Out Of Tryin.’” From the age of eleven onward, Molly’s life and career was constantly in the fast lane of show business. The demands, pressures and the career-making decisions she had to make were constant; and it can become difficult to balance a personal life and a show biz career. Somewhere in this time period, she began to take drugs to help her to alleviate these career pressures. In the late 1960s, all aspects of her career were in a downward spiral and she blamed her substance abuse for this decline. Molly decided to leave show business for several years and she courageously confronted and conquered her problem, which is to be admired because it’s not an easy thing to do. In 1972, Molly attended the ACM’s Award Show to support her lifelong friend/music mentor, Cliffie Stone, who was presented with the Pioneer Award. (Their photo is in the “Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award” section). Around 1974, Molly and Cliffie joined forces once again. She followed his advice and started performing in small country bars and venues. When she was interviewed by “Country Song Roundup” magazine in 1975, she said to the effect that through her children, she had found the equilibrium that she needed in her life. Cliffie produced an album with her, “Good Golly Ms. Molly,” that was a labor of love for everyone involved, which includes: two of Cliffie’s sons - Curtis Stone played electric bass/guitar; Steve Stone and Bob Duncan co-wrote one of the songs, “Big Daddy’s Gonna Bring It on Home to Ma-Ma;” Billy Liebert was the arranger/conductor/piano; Al Vescovo on guitar; and Jaydee Maness on steel guitar. In 1975, Molly’s album was released on Cliffie Stone’s “Granite Records,” which spawned two charting singles - “She Kept on Talking” and “Right or Left at Oak Street.” Her last album on the Accord label, “Sounds Fine to Me,” was released in 1982. Molly always had a large fan base and she continued to perform at various local venues during the ensuing years. I met Molly when Cliffie and I had our wedding reception in the fall of 1989 and she sang a few songs with Billy Liebert accompanying her on the piano. She was married to Bob Muncy and in 1986, she had moved her family to Oceanside, CA where Bob managed “Jerry’s Club.” In the 1990s, they opened a restaurant/night club in Oceanside called “The Molly Bee.” Cliffie and I met them for dinner at their club and afterwards, Molly performed with talented musician/singer Garth Phillips (who also performed on many of Cliffie’s concerts). Eventually, Molly and Bob got a divorce. From this time onward, Molly was always a featured cast member of Cliffie’s concerts such as Leisure World. Both Cliffie and Molly still had the drawing power of an appreciative audience who remembered them from the Hometown Jamboree years, etc. Her daughters, Lia Genn, Bobbie Carey and her son, Michael Allen, attended many of these concerts, and it was obvious that they were a supportive loving family. However, I never met her brother, Robert Beachboard. Cliffie passed on in January 1998 and six months later, I met Molly for lunch and she told me about performing at a benefit for the Ivey Ranch Park for the mentally retarded and physically handicapped people in April. We also talked about her memories of Cliffie as well as her life and career after she left Hometown Jamboree. In September 1998, I organized and hosted a “Tribute to Cliffie” at his annual William S. Hart Park concert, which was sponsored by the Musicians Union Trust Fund. Molly was a featured guest along with Garth Phillips, the Riders of the Purple Sage, the Al Vescovo band and other wonderful artists/musicians. That was the last time I saw or talked to Molly. Cliffie’s oldest son, Steve, notified me when Molly passed away from stroke complications on February 7, 2009. I was unable to attend, but I sent my blessings and sympathies to her children. Steve Stone represented the Stone family at her Memorial Service. Molly’s Albums: 1958, “Young Romance” with Capitol Records; 1965, “It’s Great, It’s Molly Bee” with MGM; 1967, “Swingin’ Country” with MGM; 1975, “Good Golly, Ms. Molly” with Granite Records; 1982, “Sounds Fine to Me” with Accord Label. Molly was part of Cliffie’s extended family and the liner notes that he wrote for her 1975 album reflects that sentiment: “To Produce an album with Molly Bee is to experience every human emotion: Love her, hate her, laugh at her, suffer with her, threaten her, cajole and console her – and most of all – respect her! She’s a hard-working girl who knows mediocre from good and will only settle for perfect. We, at Granite Records, feel that this album is perfect – the way Molly wanted it. As I look back on the three months that it took to produce this album, all I can say is…“Good Golly, Ms. Molly.”   

Previous     Next