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Candy Barr: The Small-Town Texas Runaway Who Became a Darling of the Mob and the Queen of Las Vegas Burlesque [Kindle Edition]

Ted Schwarz
2.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Kindle Edition $9.59  
Kindle Edition, July 25, 2008 $9.59  
Hardcover $18.71  
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Book Description

Born Juanita Slusher in Edna, Texas, in 1935, the entertainer who became Candy Barr was perhaps the last great dancer in burlesque, a stripper who insisted on live, improvisational music and who at one time commanded $2,000 a week in 1950s Las Vegas. But as Juanita she had started life as a prematurely well-developed thirteen-year-old runaway victimized by a Dallas ritual known as "the capture" that enslaved her into prostitution, for a time turning over 4,000 tricks a year before she was able to escape. A lover of Mickey Cohen's and friend to Jack Ruby, Barr's tumultuous life included a period of imprisonment on trumped-up drug charges, an appearance in a crude, 20-minute stag film, and unlikely role in the investigation into the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Based on over 100 hours of exclusive interviews with Barr, this book is not just the story of Juanita and Candy, but also paints an unflattering picture of all those who sought to exploit her.

Editorial Reviews


Schwarz tells her story in honest detail. ... and he does an excellent job of portraying her painful and complex life and times. (Library Journal )

[A] compelling, brutal tragedy set against a country’s loss of innocence. (Publishers Weekly )


"[A] compelling, brutal tragedy set against a country's loss of innocence."

Product Details

  • File Size: 2895 KB
  • Print Length: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Taylor Trade Publishing (May 21, 2008)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004C04F8C
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,177,543 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

2.2 out of 5 stars
2.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Candy Barr September 24, 2008
Candy Barr (nee Juanita Slusher)'s life was tragically full of rape, forced-prostitution and exploitation. Even her alleged relationship with gangster Mickey Cohen was, by her account, not of her own will.
At times I was confused about the whereabouts of her child. The birth of her daughter is briefly mentioned, leaving me wondering about Candy working as a dancer during her pregnancy. During later events, the presence of her daughter wouldn't seem to fit in with the events.
Most of the events in the book were told to the author by Candy Barr, which accounts for some of the confusion.
Her life in prison is the most fascinating era. During this time she wrote a (later self-published) book of poetry, leveraged the prison's desire for her to perform in the annual rodeo in exchange for a job in the prison library, and grew as a person.
The best part of the book, on the part of the author, is compellingly describing Candy/Juanita's heartfelt passion for dancing, and how her natural talent at it helped her to overcome the obstacles to join the ranks of the most famous exotic dancers of all time.
If, like me, you like reading everything you can get your hands on about the lives of exotic dancers, or you're interested eventful life stories, this is a worthwhile book. It is not a romanticized tale of stripping or "burlesque." Very little glitz, glamour and rhinestones.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I can't remember... July 18, 2012
I recall a documentary on the 1970's New York disco Studio 54 (The Last Party: Studio 54, Disco, and the Culture of the Night), and the most common response from survivors was "I can't remember." Drugs, alcohol and age had erased the madness, but what a time it must have been. I encountered similar recollections when reading Ted Schwarz and Mardi Rustam's 2008 biography "Candy Barr," detailing the famous stripper of the 1950s who was pals with Jack Ruby (Jack Ruby: The Man Who Killed the Man Who Killed Kennedy). It appears much has been forgotten, and Candy Barr (actual name Juanita Slusher) had only a partial memory of the inglorious events of her life.

A quiet recluse during her final years, Juanita passed on in 2003 at the age of 70 near her hometown of Edna, Texas. She was a true survivor of a sordid life, as so many of her contemporaries long ago disappeared. What authors had to work with were based on a series of awkward telephone interviews, with Juanita providing similar responses of "I can't remember." It's not an excuse for such lazy investigation. Schwarz and Rustam appear to have rushed this biography, lacking the slightest detail of locations and names. Readers will stumble through pages of irresponsible insinuation involving conspiracy and underworld crime, but very little in the way of facts or corroboration. "Candy Barr" is a below-average mess, hammered out without a hint of interpretation.

By comparison, Texas Monthly magazine (
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Baaaddd book about a bad girl November 17, 2014
This is one of the worst written and edited books I have ever had the misfortune to read. The writer's style is pure sludge. It is repetitive and then some. It takes a special talent to make a tale of rape, prostitution, strippers, the Mob, the JFK assassination and women's prison boring. But, Schwarz and Rustam have that talent in spades. I also find many of the events depicted here incredible. However, I did not feel the writer's were sadistic as one reviewer claims.If anything, they tried too hard to convince me that Candy Barr is a suitable candidate for sainthood. Avoid!
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