The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1982)

The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1982) I never knew that Burt Reynolds could sing, and I was right. All the sophisticated charms of Carol Hall’s Broadway lyrics were sanitized or deleted in the hopes of creating a movie that could bluff its way past censors. That’s hard, given the title. First of all, it isn’t a whorehouse; it’s a chicken ranch. Girls gotta eat. Larry King and Peter Masterson wrote the original story based on true events even more outrageous than the film. Various directors came and went. As a vehicle for pairing Reynolds with Parton, it was successful at the box office, probably because she added her classic “I Will Always Love You.” Dolly does her best to become the new Mae West, and gives Reynolds a double hernia when he tries to pick her up.

The desert’s hot, and then it’s cold.

Edna Milton, the last madam of the infamous Chicken Ranch.

A yellow sheaf streaks through the sky. 

Marvin Zindler, an investigative reporter from Houston, Courtesy of Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. A legendary consumer advocate in Houston, KTRK-TV reporter Marvin Zindler rose to national fame with his televised crusade to close down the Chicken Ranch in La Grange. Zindler’s later confrontation with Fayette County Sheriff Jim Flournoy, during which Zindler’s silver toupée was ripped off and thrown in the street, is almost as famous.

The quicksand grinds the moon to gold.

Warworn nations come here to die.

 Image result for chicken ranch texas memorabilia

The only warmth is you and me,

The Chicken Ranch, circa 1973. Courtesy of William P. Hobby Sr. Family Papers

As many as we can pull together,

Five topless women purported to be former employees of the brothel. Courtesy of William “Trigger” Rogers

Huddled close like nets at sea

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Known by local citizens as ‘Sheriff Jim,’ Flournoy was a former Texas Ranger who criticized state officials and the ‘outside interference’ that closed the 129-year-old bordello, known locally as Edna’s Boarding House. When then-Gov. Dolph Briscoe ordered the brothel closed, Flournoy said if his constituents wanted it shut down, they would not have kept electing him. ‘If the people didn’t like the way I ran the county, I wouldn’t be around,’ he said in 1973.

Beneath this wild unhinged weather.

The May 1971 issue of Men in Adventure magazine claimed the Chicken Ranch was a place where prospective customers were regularly drugged and robbed. Collection of Jayme Lynn Blaschke

All that we thought was a mirage —

All that we did, all that we said —

Offered comfort outside the laws

And easeful rest in a twin bed.

It’s all a con, who we say we are.

How can we know from day to day

Which face to pick from our boudoir,

Which song will help us get away.

The rooster likes to strut his stuff.

The hens scatter and won’t shut up.

Food for thought, life’s just too tough

Not to have to make things up.

The desert’s hot, and then it’s cold.

A yellow sheaf streaks through the sky.

The quicksand grinds the moon to gold.

Warworn nations come here to die.


[Burt Reynolds’s funeral procession]

[Disposable Poem September 11, 2018]

Dr. Mike

    Bob DiMucci provides this tribute to Burt Reynolds career.



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