I got booked in Dallas, Texas at the Theater Lounge to do my Prince and the Showgirl act while the feature, Candy Barr, was in the penitentiary. Barney Weinstein was the owner, and his brother, Abe, owned another famous burlesque nightclub down the block called the Colony Club. Commerce Street had almost half a dozen burlesque houses at this time, and within a year or two, the Carousel opened up on that same block. The Carousel was owned by Jack Ruby, who later gained notoriety for shooting Lee Harry Oswald. Burlesque had its fair share of characters.
Candy Barr was the feature at the Theater Lounge before she got arrested for marijuana possession in 1957. Folks says she was framed, but the jury still found her guilty and gave her 15 years in the penitentiary. She served a little over three, and I heard she passed the time by singing in the choir and performing in inmate rodeos. Candy was one in a million. She had a perfectly angelic face – a little button nose and pouty lips — and this adorable body that she could shake and shimmy like no one I had ever seen. There was something about her – she was sexy yet innocent at the same time, and it made her a huge draw.
My first night at the Theater Lounge, I was in my dressing room when all of a sudden two FBI agents were at the door. They had those little wires behind their ears, and their body language screamed no-nonsense.
“We need to search your wardrobe,” the taller of the two told me. Neither smiled nor explained further. But I knew why they were there. Because Candy Barr had been arrested for marijuana, they wanted to search my things. Little did they realize not all strippers are the same.
“No,” Harry told them, his chest puffed out so his frame filled the doorway. “You can’t go in.”
“Yes, we can.” The agents didn’t seem scared of Harry, but they definitely did not like this unplanned inconvenience.
“I’ll take you on outside,” Harry told them. “One on one.” I didn’t have anything so I didn’t care, but I didn’t like them intruding when I was trying to get ready for my act. Harry stood firm. The agents finally backed away.
I started doing my Prince and the Showgirl act in Miami Beach. I would get into my pink Cadillac convertible and lower the top, put the dummy in the passenger seat and a Place Pigalle banner on the side of the car, and cruise around Miami. My bench I used for all my numbers was transformed into a throne of royal purple. A fellow from the show was a puppeteer and he made me a dummy to be my Prince. I bought the uniform of a real prince, a hemophiliac who had died after a car accident in Miami Beach. His family sold his uniforms at the Roney Plaza, and when I saw it, I knew it was perfect for my act. It was a rich blood red with over a dozen gold frog clasps framing gold piping up the front and these elaborate gold swirls down the arms. The pants were white, with a stripe down the side of the leg in the same fabric of the jacket. I didn’t advertise the uniform had a royal lineage, but it didn’t matter. It looked great from the audience.
In my act, I walked over to the Prince, and bowed towards him. We sat together and drank champagne. Sometimes Harry would crouch behind the dummy and make its limbs move to toast my glass. I reached around the Prince, put my arm under his coat, and we danced around to “Around the World I Search for You.” I removed my bra and placed my tits on a gold-lame pillow with tassels hanging from the corners. “Pomp and Circumstance” started playing and I kneeled down, presenting my tits to the Prince. I then moved to the royal purple throne with the Prince. When I got on that throne, I stripped for him and pretended we were making love. At the end of the act, I wrapped myself up in a bedspread and sayshayed away from the audience. Anyone who had seen Marilyn Monroe’s Prince and the Showgirl would get what I was doing. In the film, Marilyn wraps herself up in a bedspread and walks away from the camera that zooms into the royal coat of arms on her behind. I didn’t know how to make that exact coat of arms, but I did have a padded round fabric that I covered with appliqués—an eagle and other regal looking things – to replicate the crest the best I could. When I watched her films, I paid attention to the details, and I would incorporate those into my act.
I was in Dallas only for a week or two. I didn’t get extended. I knew I wasn’t necessarily the best dancer or the best looking girl in the biz. My act was about impersonating Marilyn – that was my gimmick. I told stories with my acts, and the audience there in Dallas, they weren’t used to that. They were used to Candy. The press was not kind to me at all. Candy Barr was a hard act to follow.