The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1982) Poster

Robert Mandan: Senator Wingwood



  • Howard K. Smith : [on the Evening News]  Legalized prostitution, pro or con, is in the news today. For a report, here is Jeff Gerald in Gilbert, Texas.

    Jeff Gerald : The Chicken Ranch, the legendary, long-running bawdy house, is showing little activity after the disclosure yesterday of the Thanksgiving night raid.

    Deputy Fred : Get away!

    Jeff Gerald : The deputy at the front gate keeps away onlookers and potential customers, while up at the house, the doors are closed and the principals are not talking. The sheriff of Gilbert, Ed Earl Dodd, refused interviews, while in Houston, the man who launched the campaign, consumer advocate Melvin P. Thorpe, held a press conference this afternoon.

    Melvin P. Thorpe : I have a report here that says that the Chicken Ranch is involved with and under the influence of organized crime. I myself am gonna take this report to Austin in the hopes that the Governor himself will come out of his long silence on this issue and uphold the law. And... Thank you. Thank you very much.


    Jeff Gerald : At the capitol today, the Governor made no statement, but Senator Charles Wingwood, who was a principal figure in the Watchdog news raid, also held a press conference explaining his involvement.

    Senator Wingwood : I have no independent recollection of going to the Chicken Ranch. And I can only say, as the most dedicated anticommunist in the state legislature, that I must have been drugged by communists or communist sympathizers and placed there to harm my reputation and good name.

    Jeff Gerald : Reaction across the state is split 50-50. But here in the town of Gilbert, the Chicken Ranch has many supporters.

    Edsel : I ain't never seen anything bad come out of there yet, and I've lived here all my life. Why, they attract a lot of business to the community. They pay their taxes. Ha! Just like you and me! No one. No one was ever forced to go up there.

    Dora : My Frank, when he was alive, used to go up there every Saturday. I took it as a blessin'. Of course, things were different then. Nowadays women enjoy doin' that sort of thing themselves. At least, so I've been told.

    Henry : The Chicken Ranch? I think it's a good idea. See, you take a lot of young boys and they're gonna be out there lookin' for women. If they can't find 'em, they'll rape 'em. And if they don't do that, they'll run to other women and get diseases! Those girls went to doctors.

    Jeff Gerald : [holding a bumper sticker that says "Pluck The Chicken Ranch"]  Although petitions are being circulated to save the Chicken Ranch, already this bumper sticker is beginning to appear around the state. And so, as feminists line up behind the bill for the decriminalization of prostitution already in the legislature, while traditionalists and fundamentalists lobby for its defeat, the fate of the Chicken Ranch rests with the Governor, who today, again, was unavailable for comment. Jeff Gerald, ABC News, Gilbert, Texas.

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