To place her properly in time you had to go back to Sugar Ray Robinson, James Dean, Marilyn Monroe, Bridey Murphy, Joe McCarthy, John Foster Dulles, the Kefauver Committee, RAF Group Captain Peter Townsend, Mort Sahl, and Sputnik. Texas was still the largest state in the union, and Elvis Presley's "Don't Be Cruel" was the number one song. Playboy magazine was an under-the-counter novelty, less than three years old and tame as a pet goose. Brigitte Bardot was being banned in Philadelphia, Fort Worth, and Abilene. The Dodgers were in Brooklyn, Russian tanks in the streets of Budapest, Fidel Castro in the jungles of Cuba. It was a time when the National Organization for Decent Literature was putting pressure on bookstores and enlisting local police to threaten booksellers who were too slow to "cooperate" in removing from their shelves such filth-spreaders as Hemingway, Faulkner, Dos Passos, Zola, and Orwell. Thirteen million Americans spent Tuesday nights watching a TV charade called The $64,000 Question. Someone with a dark sense of humor labeled it "The Age of Innocence."
Candy Barr was a household word then, an authentic Texas folk hero. To the absolute surprise of hardly anyone, Candy Barr would still be a name twenty years later. What precipitated a revival in her long-dormant career was a photo layout and interview in the June 1976 issue of Oui: how many 41-year-old grandmothers ever posed for split beaver shots? Now Candy was talking of college fan clubs, of posters and T-shirts. "If I don't get into it, somebody else will," she said. "I'm tired of being ripped off. I'm not even aware of how to be a star, I just am one." It was time to move ahead with her autobiography. "All the lies and tackiness that have been written about me … now I'm going to set the record straight." She calls her as yet unwritten memoirs Bits and Pieces, and speaks of "leaving my legacy for my daughter and granddaughter."
While you're at it, check out Skip Hollandsworth's 2001 story on Barr, also for Texas Monthly:
Now Candy Barr is 66, and her face is lined with wrinkles. Her famous blond hair is closely cropped, and she walks slowly as a result of respiratory problems and a bad back (she broke it a few years ago while helping a disabled friend get out of bed). She lives with two dogs, two cats, and a crippled parakeet in a small frame house in rural South Texas. Although she is not happy that I am going to mention it, her only source of income is a monthly Social Security disability check. She cooks her meals on a hot plate. She has a television set that gets only a couple of channels. Because her car doesn't go far without breaking down, she rarely ventures out of her house except for trips to the grocery store, Wal-Mart, and the veterinarian's office. (She agreed to drive into her hometown of Edna to meet me because she doesn't want anyone knowing the exact location of her house.) Yet she has lost none of the feistiness that used to captivate legions of men.
"So, baby, what are you waiting for?" she says, pursing her lips as she gives me the once-over. "I know what you want." She pauses. "You want to know what the hell's happened to me."