From the Land of Band Box Records

From Beachboard to “Bee”

Molly Bee was born Mollie Gene Beachboard in August of 1939 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

I came across her name while looking over the inductees for the Rock-A-Billy Hall of Fame.

Born in Oklahoma, Mollie live for a few years in the small town of Bell Buckle, Tennessee, and then moved on with her family while still very young to Tucson, Arizona.

Now when I think back to “Molly Bee” – it always rings a bell to “Pinky Lee” and for good reason.  Mollie would eventually find her way onto the “Pinky Lee Show” in 1952 when she was only 13 years old.  Molly seemed to live a charmed life throughout her adolescent and teen years – She received lots of promotion and landed on tours and broadcasts with famous country artists – as well as finding her way into four motion pictures.

Image result for molly bee and pinky lee

Bee and Lee

Backing up a bit – back to Arizona – Mollie comes into contact with Rex Allen who is performing duties as a DJ on a local radio station, ‘discovers’ the young girl at a performance somewhere and so invites her onto his radio show to sing Hank Williams’ “Lovesick Blues”.

So next, in the year 1950, we now find the 11-year-old Mollie residing in Los Angeles, where she would join the cast of the “Hometown Jamboree” (hosted by country musician Cliffie Stone).  She spent two years on the Jamboree which ironically enough, would be broadcast from the American Legion Stadium in El Monte, future home of Arthur Laboe’s teen dance venue beginning in the mid 1950’s (SEE THE EL MONTE POST- CLICK HERE).

Cliffie Stone at the Legion Stadium – El Monte

Mollie, (now “Molly Bee”), gained a significant following while on the Jamboree and became the headliner.  Another young singer debuted on the program as well – Tommy Sands who would to onto motion pictures and recording for Capitol Records.  Molly Bee would also land a Capitol contract – while only 13 – and would cut her first recording in October of 1952.

Image result for young tommy sands

The recording failed to chart but her next effort “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” would land on the pop charts during the holiday season in late 1952.

During the next 25 years Molly would cut a lot of recordings – jumping from Capitol to Coral, then Dot, onto Liberty and finally MGM before signing on with Granite Records where she would place two singles onto the Country Charts – one in 1974 and one in 1975.  These would be her final appearances on any charts.

Pincus “Pinky Lee”

Back to 1952, Molly’s singing career apart from her recording success, continued to grow – and it was in 1952 at 13 years of age – that she would join Pincus Leff, better known as “Pinky Lee” on his nationally broadcast children’s television show.  She was with Pinky for about three seasons – during which time she gained fame as an experienced ‘yodeler’.

Then in 1955, she would sign on with Tennessee Ernie Ford and his TV show where she remained for two years.

Bee and Tennessee

Molly departed Capitol Records in early 1955 recording one single for Coral records.  That went nowhere – and so she came on board with Dot Records – releasing two singles which didn’t make a stir.  Then in late 1957 she returned to Capitol as noted in this October article.  It appears to impetus for her return was to record for a couple of upcoming movie films.

Shortly after her resigning, there was a big push to promote Molly, getting her onto the road appearing at state fairs adding her onto tours with other name country stars.

1967 Saw Molly move on to MGM records managed by Cliffie Stone who had worked with Molly back in 1950 at the El Monte – Stone would again work with Molly on her “comeback” attempt in the 70’s.

Bee on the Silver Screen

It was only natural for Molly to turn to motion pictures – and she would make appearances in several including “Going Steady”, “Summer Love”, and “The Young Swingers”.  From the movies it was onto Las Vegas to do stage shows.

Molly appeared in a 1967 movie called “Hillbillys In A Haunted House” a “B” motion picture all the way.  Several other country singers appeared with Molly – all playing themselves as shown on the movie poster below.

Hillbillys in a Haunted House (1967)

Back on TV, she appeared on “The Jimmy Dean Show”.  1966 saw Molly appearing on Dick Clark’s “Swingin’ Country” TV show and as a result she would win a “Best Television Personality” award from the Academy of Country Music Awards.

Dean and Bee

Her career waned as during the later 1960’s and later Molly would attribute her decline to drug use.  She made her return to country music in the 1970’s with the help of her friend Cliffie Stone.  When her singing days were finally finished – she made her way back to California – becoming a restaurant and nightclub owner.

She went through many marriages and some hard times – but in the end was in good spirits and satisfied with her life.

Molly Bee passed away in February of 2009 after suffering a stroke.  She was 69.

Molly Bee Discography

If Molly Bee experienced extremely moderate chart success it wasn’t for lack of trying – Capitol, Liberty and MGM all seemed to believe in her potential – but it just didn’t pan out too well.

45/78 – Capitol – 2258 – October, 1952

45/78 – Capitol 2285 – “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” – Charted Number 19 – November, 1952

45/78 – Capitol 2339 – January, 1953

45 – Capitol – 2396 – March, 1953

45/78 – Capitol – 2473 – May, 1953

45 – Capitol 2494 – May, 1953

78 – Capitol 2567 – August, 1953

78 – Capitol 2741 -(B side “Remember Me”)

78 – Capitol – 2790 – April, 1954

45 – Capitol 32131 – 1954 (Children’s Series)

45 – Coral 9-61357 – February, 1955

45 – Dot 45-15453 – February, 1956

45 – Dot 45-15517 – October, 1956

45 – Capitol 3865 – November, 1957

(“A” side from the Motion Picture “Going Steady”)

45 – Capitol Promotional Issue – PRO 795/796 – 1958

45 – Capitol 3968 – March, 1958

45 – Liberty 55438 – April, 1962 – (“B” side is “Just For the Record”)

45 – Liberty 55543 – February, 1963

45 – Liberty 55569 – April, 1963

45 – Liberty 55631 – October, 1963

45 – Liberty 55691 – April, 1964

45 – MGM K 13356 – May, 1965

45 – MGM K 13411 – October, 1965

45 – MGM K 13491 – April, 1966

45 – MGM K 13537 – June, 1966

45 – MGM K 13615 – October, 1966

45 – MGM K 13694 – March, 1967

45 – MGM K 13770 – July, 1967

45 – MGM K 13864 – December, 1967

45 – Granite 509 – August, 1974

45 – Granite 531 – 1975 “I Can’t Live in the Dark Anymore

45 – Granite 515 – January, 1975

45 – Granite 524 – July, 1975

LP – Capitol 1097 – 1958

LP – MGM 4303 – August, 1965

LP – MGM 4423 – January, 1967

LP – Granite 1003 – March, 1975

LP – Accord 7901 – 1982

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