The Queen Of Las Vegas Burlesque & The Severity Of Marijuana's Punishment

8 months ago

She shot her second estranged husband, after he drunkenly barged through the front door of their apartment. Police arrested her in January 1956 and charged her with assault with a deadly weapon. But when she told the jury about her husband’s abusive behavior, the charges against her were dropped, it was a rare victory for a woman who had taken the law into her own hands.

Shortly after her only legitimate theater appearance in Dallas, playing the part of "Rita Marlowe" in a 1957 Dallas Little Theater's production of "Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter", she was sentenced to 15 years in Texas for possession of four-fifths of an ounce of #Marijuana.

Candy wrote a book of poems; "A Gentle Mind" while in prison, and when few years later was pardoned by "Texas Governor John Connally", she appeared to have no clue as to why he did so, when she was asked about the pardon.

The rare victory after killing her husband, the severity of Marijuana's Punishment in Texas, her book of poems, and how she went on to make a name for herself as an exotic dancer, a movie consultant, a government witness against a mobster, and one of Texas’ "Perfect Texans", is one of the most interesting subjects I’ve researched ever!


Candy Barr / Juanita Dale Slusher

Candy, the "Queen of Las Vegas Burlesque", was born "Juanita Dale Slusher" in Edna, Texas. She was 9 years old when her mother was killed falling from a moving car on the highway in nearby Victoria County.

At 13 after a sexual abuse from a neighbor and babysitter, she ran away from home and went to Dallas, where she worked in a motel. She married her first husband, "Billy Debbs", an alleged safecracker, but one year later the marriage ended after Debbs was sent to prison.

She started spending her evenings dancing at nightclubs, where men would woo her, saying they would pay her to have sex. She was what she had to do to survive, she was a poor girl with no education, she thought she could save money to go to college someday.

But one day a man forced her to be filmed while having sex with another, she was a 15 years old girl being molested in front of a camera. The grainy black and white movie titled "Smart Aleck" (1951), was one of the widely circulated of the early underground pornographic films, she has been called the "First Porn Star".


The Pot Bust

She began her stripping career in her native Texas, and her stage name "Candy Barr" was given by a Dallas strip club owner, who tagged her with this name while she was working at his club, because of the still under-aged girl’s love of "Snickers Candy Bars".

In 1957, when she performed on the legitimate stage of the "Dallas Little Theater", there were many people who wanted to get rid of her as there were who wanted to ogle her. Among her enemies were the old-money Dallas women’s clubs, composed of the wives of many of the prominent men who had been willing to pay up to $500 to see her behind bars.

Police officers tapped her phone and kept her apartment under constant surveillance, they raided her apartment on October 1957 and found a small quantity of #Marijuana hidden in her bra. Convicted of #Cannabis possession, she was sentenced under the Lone Star State's draconian drug laws to "15 Years In The Hoosegow".

She was arrested and always claimed she was merely holding the #Weed for someone else who set her up with the cops. The arrest and harsh sentence for the marijuana possession were the result of indignation by Dallas’ society wives after she received publicity when charges were dropped against her for shooting her second husband.

The indignation probably also resulted when some learned of their husbands' familiarity with her in a professional capacity, either as a stripper or a prostitute. In any event, the DA’s found the #Pot. However, the warrant was blank and the #Dope was a planted by a friend of Candy’s, who asked her to hide the marijuana for few days, shortly before the police arrived. The police said they found enough weed to roll 125 joints, but the truth there was less than an ounce, which would be a misdemeanor today!

She was served three years and 91 days, during which time she wrote her book of poems, and in 1969, she was arrested again for marijuana possession, in Central Texas town of Brownwood. But to the dismay of the Brownwood district attorney, who had apparently wanted to rid his town of what he perceived as an undesirable influence, a judge threw out the case.

Juanita Dale Slusher (Jul 6, 1935 – Dec 30, 2005)

Movie Consultant & Perfect Texans

The pot bust increased burlesque dancer's fame and propelled her into the big time. She was hired by "20th Century Fox" studios as a consultant on the movie, "Seven Thieves" (1960), in which "Joan Collins" played a stripper. She taught Collins how to perform for the role.

"Texas Monthly" magazine, in 1984, listed her as one of history’s "Perfect Texans". She died at the age of 70 in Victoria, Texas from pneumonia.

A life filled with many twists and turns, ups and downs, successes and failures. That was "Juanita Slusher’s Story", that when she was interviewed by "Texas Monthly" at the age of 66, she responded to a question about the porno movie with:

I thought I could save my money to go to college someday, but sometimes things just don’t work out like you’d planned.

Candy Barr & Joan Collins

Thanks For Reading !

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It's a sad story. I can't imagine myself in her shoes. Marijuana was her escape to reality.

My goodness....that was too much of a sentence she got, nowadays the police in my city would probably send you to a drug seminar on dangers of drugs. Recreational marijuana may still be illegal in Austria, but everyone above 18 is allowed to grow seeds or clones privately in small numbers and the law says: don´t let your cannabis produce flowers or it becomes illegal!


Another classic. Thanks for the history on this Friday night.