Debunkers dot Org

A Tradition of Looking Behind the Curtain
It is currently Wed Nov 22, 2017 6:26 pm

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]

Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 2 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: candy barr
PostPosted: Thu Jun 29, 2017 9:51 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Fri Apr 04, 2008 10:48 am
Posts: 4317
Location: Broomfield, Colorado
I’ve read a few books about strippers – Gypsy Rose Lee, Lily St. Cyr, Diablo Cody – and all of them were amusing. Not so with Candy Barr; her life comes across as sordid and depressing. I suspect a large part of that is due to author Ted Schwarz, who seems to specialize in sensationalist biographies – his other subjects are The Hillside Strangler, Peter Lawford, Joseph Kennedy, and Tanya Flynt-Vega (daughter of porn publisher Larry Flynt). It isn’t clear from the book if Schwarz ever met Candy Barr – born Juanita Slusher – in person; he seems to have talked to Slusher on the phone a few times, after her retirement (Slusher died in 2005; this book was published in 2008). His bibliography is entirely secondary sources, mostly general interest books about the history of burlesque.

The sensationalist parts start early. Supposedly Juanita was molested by various relatives even before she reached puberty, and had her virginity sold (by her older sister) to a passing motorist for a dollar (when she was 14). She ran away from home and was picked up by a man who made the usual promises, but instead was forced into prostitution. Schwarz makes a series of dramatic claims here: in 1950s Texas, there was a semiformal organization known as “The Capture”, which abducted or persuaded young girls into prostitution, especially for wealthy business and political clients. If the girls caused trouble, The Capture would have them killed, often with the collusion of local police. Schwarz does not cite any sources – not even Slusher – for the existence of such an organization. During this time Slusher appeared in one of the earliest widely distributed porn movies – Smart Aleck – she told Schwarz she didn’t remember it and had probably been drugged. (Smart Aleck – aka Smart Alec - is available on the web so you can watch it and draw your own conclusions. But not at work). Eventually Slusher becomes a dancer in increasingly upscale clubs – although still engaging in prostitution when forced to by The Capture – and is forced into marriage with one of The Capture men. She becomes a headliner as Candy Barr, meets Jack Ruby, and plays the lead in a production of Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter. She agrees to “hold” some marijuana for another dancer; here Schwarz claims there was a organized effort to “get” her by the Dallas police department, including illegal wiretaps and illegal entry into her apartment by a police officer posing as a telephone employee. Slusher is convicted and sentenced to 15 years in prison. Out on bail, she moves to Las Vegas, parlays her notoriety into a $2000/night salary dancing there, acts as a choreography consultant for a Hollywood movie (teaching Joan Collins to strip), and hooks up with mobster Mickey Cohen. She marries again – this time her hairdresser – and temporarily flees to Mexico. Eventually the appeals run out and she returns to Texas and prison, where she makes money ($0.50/hour) by renting out the space under her bunk to couples and wangles a job in the prison library. Her sentence is first shortened, then commuted by John Connally, and she more or less retires to a small town in Texas, although she dances a few more times and poses for a men’s magazine.

Lots of this just feel wrong. As mentioned, Schwarz has no citations or references for his claims, and seems to depend entirely on phone interviews with Slusher/Barr; even newspapers aren’t referenced, although Schwarz must have used them. He doesn’t attempt to contact any of the other people involved in Slusher/Barr’s life, or anybody about The Capture. The whole bit about The Capture just rings false.

And yet, when I was working in Chicago in the 1980s the John Wayne Gacy case came up. Gacy was a building contractor who abducted and murdered young boys; he was apparently extremely adept at recognizing runaways in bus stations, befriending them, and taking them home, where he then sexually assaulted and strangled them. Reportedly, not a single one of the 30-odd boys Gacy killed was ever reported missing by their families (I heard that at the time and haven’t verified it). I suppose if that sort of thing could happen to boys in Chicago in the ‘80s it just might have happened to girls in Dallas in the ‘60s.

Some illustrations of Barr’s career. No notes and no references to speak of. Schwarz makes Slusher/Barr a sympathetic figure who had a lot of bad luck and made some bad choices; I suppose there but for the grace of God go I.

 Post subject: Re: candy barr
PostPosted: Thu Jun 29, 2017 11:13 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Fri Apr 04, 2008 10:52 am
Posts: 1425
Location: California-prev Texas Montreal Virginia
I saw this play in Dallas during my last visit (hooking up with Boone Pickens' jet and some Amarillo friends). ... atre-three Unlike the reviewer, I thought that it was pretty good. There were very few young people at the play. During the 50's I was a stripper aficionado, mostly in Houston and New Orleans. Lily Christine, aka the Cat Girl, was my favorite. She was originally from Dallas. Texas Monthly has a reputation for accuracy. ... 01612.html

Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 2 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group
Americanized by Xaphos © 2007, 2008