Monday, July 30, 2007

"Mmarrvin Zindlerrrr, Eyewitness News", 1921 - 2007

There will still be slime in the ice machines, but there won't be any more Friday rat and roach reports from the King.

Though he was proudest of his work championing "the little guy" and helping secure medical care for needy children, he was best known for stories he did a mere seven months after starting the job in 1973 that led to the closing of the state's best-known "bawdy house," as Zindler called it — a notorious La Grange brothel known as the Chicken Ranch.

The reports not only won him national notoriety but also a public thrashing by Fayette County Sheriff T.J. Flournoy, a Chicken House partisan, who broke two of Zindler's ribs and snatched his toupee, reportedly waving it in the air as if it were a prized enemy scalp.

Texas author Larry L. King wrote an article about it for Playboy magazine in 1974, which was turned into a long-running Broadway musical four years later and became a kitschy 1982 movie starring Dolly Parton, Burt Reynolds and Dom DeLuise.

And this (a lesson perhaps for the rest of Houston's Republicans):

Zindler became involved in Democratic Party politics, serving as a delegate one year at the state Democratic convention where a conservative delegate slugged him after Zindler had made disparaging comments about the conservative wing of the party in a speech.

Zindler went on to work in the senatorial campaign of Lyndon Johnson and in other Democratic campaigns before switching to the Republican Party, where he continued to espouse liberal notions such as national health insurance.

A wealthy man -- a Republican -- born into a wealthy family, who cared deeply about the little guy. Who supported health care reform.

Where are any more of those left?

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