Film: C.B. Hustlers (1976)
Director: Stu Segall
Tagline: “These girls keep the shiny side up and the dirty side down!”
Choice IMDB keywords: Truck stop, citizens band radio, beer drinking, reporter, chase, hooker
Also known as: Secrets Of Lady Truckers
Plot: Put together by a team of writers, directors, and actors who split time in the ’70s between softcore and hardcore (and then, oddly, moved into syndicated TV action shows in the ’80s and ’90s), C.B. Hustlers stars John Alderman as the reluctant owner-operator of a mobile prostitution business, leading a convoy of “C.B. Annies” from truck stop to truck stop. Alderman and his old lady Jacqueline Giroux keep the smokeys off their tail by using codes, letting their customers knows they have “watermelons” for sale, and “prunes” for those who need a woman to clean them out. Every 15 minutes or so, one of the Annies—including beloved ’70s naked person Uschi Digard—doffs her jeans and T-shirt and rolls around with some remarkably handsome-looking trucker, to a loping country-rock song by nudie-pic stalwart “Lon-John Productions.”
When the sheriff (Bruce Kimball) does sniff around, Alderman and Giroux warn their people, “Better put a sock on your hammer and highball it. Smokey’s comin’.” But Kimball isn’t much of a threat, really. He wears ridiculous-looking fake-hippie gear when he wants to go “undercover,” and talks about criminals “smokin’ that funny-bush stuff.” And when he pulls over one of the Annies’ custom sex-vans, he’s struck dumb by Digard’s prodigious breasts, stammering, “So where they, uh, where ya from?”
The main subplot of C.B. Hustlers involves two local reporters, played by Richard Kennedy and John Goff (the latter also co-wrote the movie, with Alderman). The two spend all day listening to the chatter on their office CB, trying to figure out what it could possibly mean when a trucker says, “I got a load I wanna drop” to these strange women, who in turn are talking about their “tunnels.” Sensing these newshounds could be trouble, Alderman’s ladies arrange a blackmail operation, getting Goff to fool around with an Annie and then convincing him she’s a minor, as a way of getting him to dissuade Kennedy from pursuing this story. (“Ever stop to think you might be borin’ to some folks?” Goff says to Kennedy when the latter starts giving yet another speech about Watergate.)
Ultimately, Alderman and Giroux are able to escape the law by going out of business, offering to turn over their inventory to Kennedy and Goff. It’s a lucrative field, Alderman promises Kennedy, telling the wannabe Woodward he could make upward of $2,500 a week. And that’s ’70s money. Today that’d be… well, probably still about $2,500. Damn economy.
Key scenes: C.B. Hustlers features not one but two musical montages. The first is a sexy compilation of the Annies at work, set to a choogling, entendre-laden country-rock number (which bears some melodic resemblance to The Beatles’ “Ballad Of John And Yoko”); the second is a plaintive ballad that accompanies shots of Alderman ambling about the countryside, just a-thinkin’.
Meanwhile, the film’s two intrepid journalists take separate approaches to their investigation. While the dim Goff is allowing one of the Annies to seduce him—a light dawning on him as he stares up his seductress’ skirt and says, “Hot damn, I think I just seen me a tunnel”—Kennedy is angrily pontificating, convinced that if he can figure out what these people on the CB are jabbering about, he can win a Pulitzer.
But the go-to filler sequences for C.B. Hustlers—outside of that ’70s exploitation staple, people slowly parking cars—are scenes of Alderman bitching to Giroux about how much he hates this life, and how he’s making plans to get them both out. Early on, he snaps at Giroux for the way she does crossword puzzles all the time; later, just before he tells Giroux he’s stashed enough cash to make an escape, he grumbles to the gathered girls that the world would be different “if a woman didn’t have a pussy.”
Can easily be distinguished by: The near-constant CB slang, some of which is fairly benign (“Big 10-4 to you too, honeybuns; catch you on the flip-flop”) and some of which is more, um, suggestive (“Hotbox 2, clean up that track, ’cause he’s gonna lay right through that tunnel”).
Sign that it was made in 1976: Back then, Glidden Paint apparently didn’t mind having its logo prominently displayed in a movie about hookers.
Timeless message: To quote Alderman, “It ain’t no kinda life, dodgin’ the law, pissin’ on the run, and eatin’ outta cans.”
Memorable quotes: After hearing that the gals’ $25 fee might just be a “tax,” Kennedy snarls, “Tax? Tax on what? Listen, as far as I know, beaver isn’t an endangered species.”
Available on DVD from Westlake.