Born Juanita Dale Slusher in 1935 in Edna, Texas, Candy Barr skyrocketed to fame in the 1950s on the Dallas burlesque scene. She suffered through a miserable childhood (her mom died when she was 9 and her dad remarried a cruel hag), left home after the ninth grade and made a beeline for the bright lights of Dallas. Shortly after arriving, Juanita was strong-armed into appearing in Smart Aleck (aka Smart Alec) an early stag film about a motel room romp with a sleazy traveling salesman that did gang-buster business on the bachelor party circuit of the day.
In Dallas, she worked in various bars as a cocktail waitress and a cigarette girl before landing a job as an stripper at Abe Weinstein's Colony Club, where she and Abe cooked up the Candy Barr handle. Candy adopted a tantalizing cowgirl costume consisting of a western hat, cowboy boots, and a pair of six-shooters holstered on her hips and large crowds flocked to the nightspot to witness her riveting bump and grind routine. The Colony Club was situated just two doors down from Jack Ruby's Carousel Club. Candy and Jack struck up a friendship and there are those who believe that she was privy to some inside details about Ruby and his decision to kill Lee Harvey Oswald in November 1963. Incidentally, Abe Weinstein is the "old Uncle Abe" mentioned in the lyrics of The Ballad Of Candy Barr.
In January 1956, she made headlines and inspired the disc above when she shot her ex-husband (number 2 of 4) after he showed up at her apartment in the middle of the night, drunk and belligerent, and threatened to beat her. She was arrested for the shooting, but never indicted. In 1957, Candy again ran afoul of the law when she was busted for possession of a small quantity of marijuana, less than an ounce. Since we're talking about a drug offense involving a notorious stripper in Texas in the 1950s, this was serious business: she was found guilty and sentenced to 15 years in prison, though she was released after only three. In 1968, she was issued a pardon by Texas governor John Connally.
If you'd care to read a lengthy profile of Candy Barr, I recommend this one, written by Gary Cartwright and published by Texas Monthly in December, 1976. Also well worth your time is Josh Alan Friedman's article on Jack Ruby from Lowest Common Denominator, the former house organ of WFMU. Candy passed away in 2005.
After the jump: one more Candy Barr photo. It probably does not fall into the NSFW category, but since there are pasties involved.....