Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Candy Barr: America's First Porn Princess

Down on the Farm

Map with Edna, TX locator
Map with Edna, TX locator

Juanita came from Edna, in the south Texas cotton, cattle and oil country, halfway between Corpus Christi and Houston, each 100 miles away. Hot and dry, Edna was a county-seat city of 3,000 when she was growing up.

It was not an idyllic small-town childhood.

Juanita was a Depression-era baby, born in 1935, about the time a boll weevil infestation was ruining the region's cotton crop and driving people off their farms.

She was molested by the older boy next door. When she was nine, her mother was killed when she fell out of a moving car. Her father, a bricklayer known by the nickname "Doc," brought home a new wife whose pastimes included whipping the stepchildren.

Boll Weevil
Boll Weevil

Juanita had a knack as a singer and dancer — the sort of talents that might draw a schoolgirl toward cheerleading for the Edna High School Cowboys.

But she quit ninth grade and ran away to Dallas, where the brief marriage to Billy Joe Debbs preceded her Commerce Street career and the featured role in the silent, black-and-white smoker film.