Monday, July 30, 2007

So Long, Marvin

I'll never forget the first time I heard, "Maarvin Zindler, Eye-witness News!"

I was 6 and we'd just moved to Houston from Dallas. I couldn't believe they'd let someone pontificate so indignantly right in the middle of the TV news. It was kind of scary.

Zindler died yesterday of pancreatic cancer at age 85. KTRK-TV has a nice tribute section here.

Although he was best known for setting off the political firestorm that closed down the famed Chicken Ranch bawdy house (subject of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas and ZZ TOP's "La Grange"), Zindler's "Action 13" segments on KTRK typically focused on more mundane matters like setting things right for "little guys" wronged by businesses and bureaucracies. His weekly report on area restaurants that had failed health inspection made "Slime in the ice machine!" a catchphrase.

I can't say Zindler's personality-driven excoriations portended good things for TV news in the sweeps-happy Age of Murdoch, but he helped out a lot of people over the years. Houston TV won't be the same without him.


Karla said...

It was family tradition with us to never miss Marvin's closing line:

MAAAARvin ZINDler, EEEYEwitness news!

We never decided whether we loved him or hated him the whole time.

Anonymous said...

I was working at Three Brothers Bakery one afternoon circa 1986 when Marvin visited with the health inspectors. The three brothers considered Marvin a real traitor to his people for reporting negatively about the cleanliness of certain food establishments belonging to fellow Jews. The brothers of course barred Marvin and his team from entering the property along with the inspectors, and the only shot they ended up putting on the news was of one of the brothers waving a baseball bat at Marvin's cameraman from across the parking lot.