Tuesday, July 6, 2010

July 6

I didn't expect to return to the world of burlesque, but it's the birthday of Candy Barr, who has been called "the first porn star".
She was born Juanita Slusher, from a small town in Texas. She ran away at 13, to the bright lights of Dallas. She got work as a cigarette girl and cocktail waitress; she even got married (at 14!) but that didn't last... At 16, she got a dancing job at a Dallas gentleman's club, went blonde, and became Candy Barr, the girl that wore cowboy boots and a gun holster - and little else... She became a top draw...
But just before she became Candy Barr, she participated in a 'blue' film, the kind of short film that got shared at bachelor parties and fraternity houses. Today, "Smart Alec" is considered a classic of the artform; a critic for Film Threat called the short "the 'Citizen Kane' of stag films."

No, I'm not showing it here.

Here's a clip from "My Tale is Hot", where the devil tries to tempt someone with a Candy Barr clip. No, I'm not being ironic...

Anyway, her dancing got her seeing the country and making new friends... like gangster Mickey Cohen (who helped her skip to Mexico to escape a drug possession charge) and nightclub owner Jack Ruby (who gave her the puppies that started her dog breeding business... months before he shot the guy that shot Kennedy.) She was Joan Collins' choreographer in the 1960 film, "Seven Thieves," the closest Candy would come to a Hollywood career. (Her life story almost became a Farrah Fawcett movie, but that never got past the development stage...)

Eventually, she made right with the state, served her time, and took care of her family and dogs for a while. She returned to the burlesque stage around '68, made another stir when she posed for Oui magazine in her 40's, and even published a book of poetry. She passed away in 2005. In one of her later interviews, she said she was never interested in arousing men, she just wanted to dance.

Here's another look at a lovely lady, Miss Candy Barr...

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