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Marvin Zindler Papers

Identifier: 2020-018

The Marvin Zindler Papers contains photos, correspondence, newsclippings, newspapers, publicity and press release materials, personal notes, sketches, and drawings, awards, complaint letters and files, story files and scripts, reporter notebooks, research files, A/V materials, artifacts and ephemera from Channel 13, and a 2 self published autobiographies-The Many Faces of Marvin Zindler and White Knight in Blue Shades.

This collection is not yet fully processed. For questions about materials in this collection or to request access, contact curator Vince Lee at


  • 1976-2008


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19 linear feet

Biographical Information

From Wikipedia (

Marvin Harold Zindler (August 10, 1921 – July 29, 2007) was a news reporter for television station KTRK-TV in Houston, Texas, United States. His investigative journalism, through which he mostly represented the city's elderly and working class, made him one of the city's most influential and well-known media personalities.

Zindler made local and national headlines when he and fellow journalist Larry Conners reported on a long-lived brothel known as the Chicken Ranch in Fayette County, Texas, near La Grange, which led to its closure in 1973. The Chicken Ranch story was featured in a 1973 edition of Texas Monthly magazine, two 1974 issues of Playboy magazine, was the basis for the Broadway and film musical The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, in which the character of Melvin P. Thorpe was based on Zindler. It also served as the basis of the song "La Grange" by ZZ Top.

Zindler was also famed in Houston for his self-described Rat and Roach Report, where he read details from his controversial City of Houston Food Inspection Program restaurant reports on the air. These reports soon became famous for Zindler's enthusiastic reports of "slime in the ice machine!", which quickly became a catchphrase.

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Repository Details

Part of the University of Houston Libraries Special Collections Repository

University of Houston Libraries Special Collections
MD Anderson Library
4333 University Drive
Houston TX 77204-2000 USA