July 29, 2007 9:00 PM   Subscribe

G-d bless Marvin. He did a ton of good for Houston (native Houstonian here) in a lot of ways. It was a tradition for me, coming back to Houston, to make sure and watch the Friday channel 13 news, just to get the roach report, even though I hadn't lived there in years.
posted by missouri_lawyer at 9:11 PM on July 29, 2007

Man, that makes me a little sad. My first job was at a McDonalds on the west side of town. The day after I was hired we got hit up for slime in the ice machine. My friend is a professional foodservice chick and she says all he does is get the reports from the city and narrate over stock photos, but Marvin is my earliest local news memory so I will always have a soft spot for him. I have absolutely no firsthand memory of the brothel thingy.
posted by SkinnerSan at 9:32 PM on July 29, 2007

Marvin was like that crazy uncle that gave you candy when you were a kid, and told interesting stories (about boring subjects) to anyone that would listen.

I would actually root against a restaurant's review just so I could hear him yell "SLIIIME in the ice machine!". It was impossible not to smile when he barked that line. He'll be missed by a lot of Houstonians.
posted by urbandude at 9:34 PM on July 29, 2007

Oh, no! I was trying to make it back before he left...

posted by batmonkey at 9:37 PM on July 29, 2007

posted by mrbill at 9:49 PM on July 29, 2007

Do I read correctly there that larry King wrote The little best whorehouse in Texas?
- What a country!
posted by growabrain at 9:54 PM on July 29, 2007

different guy named Larry King, growabrain.
posted by wendell at 10:25 PM on July 29, 2007

Lived in Houston for a couple of years -- his voice is permanently seared in my memory (in a good way).

posted by treepour at 10:33 PM on July 29, 2007

Though he was seriously charmingly wacko, and practically addicted to plastic surgery, he did some wonderful charity work helping to find funding for people who couldn't afford to have reconstructive surgery following major accidents or illnesses.

Awww. I'll miss him a tiny bit. :(
posted by Brittanie at 10:38 PM on July 29, 2007

I grew up in Houston, but occasionally went back to visit my parents. I was a little weirded out when I saw that the "Slime in the Ice Machine" bit got graphics and a creepy little audio accompaniment. But, hey, whatever worked for ya, Marv.

But I will not forgive him for the Chicken Ranch thing. I'm an Aggie, after all.
posted by kamikazegopher at 10:39 PM on July 29, 2007

God bless 'em. I worked for a Chinese restaurant that was abosolutely terrified of Zindler. They ran a clean joint, but they were convinced he could destroy their business with that one simple catch phrase.

Here's a link to the original 1974 Playboy article (by Larry King).

Mattress Mac, you stay safe too.
posted by foot at 10:48 PM on July 29, 2007 [1 favorite]

I grew up watching this guy.

Now he's cleaning up ice machines in heaven.

posted by papakwanz at 11:06 PM on July 29, 2007

Marvin gave me a slightly pathological fear of ice. I met him a little over a year ago at MD Anderson, and he was a very kind, very old man. He will be missed.
posted by polyhedron at 11:08 PM on July 29, 2007

But I will not forgive him for the Chicken Ranch thing.

Neither will I. But for everything else:

posted by WolfDaddy at 11:32 PM on July 29, 2007

I remember when I found out Bambilino's had "ants in the dough". I don't know why that didn't stop me from eating there, but thanks for trying Marv.

posted by DanielDManiel at 11:55 PM on July 29, 2007

Never heard of him.
posted by Henry C. Mabuse at 12:28 AM on July 30, 2007

KTRK has a GREAT tribute page up.
posted by mrbill at 12:47 AM on July 30, 2007

I loved Marvin. I remember there was this bitchy co-anchor a few years back and you could tell by the way she said "Thanks, Marvin" at the end of his segment that she could hardly stand the man and must have felt it was an insult to have to share airtime with him. I really didn't like her. And, really, who doesn't like Marvin?
posted by 6550 at 1:48 AM on July 30, 2007

posted by Smart Dalek at 2:48 AM on July 30, 2007 [5 favorites]

Definitely gave Houston part of its local character;
posted by TedW at 3:31 AM on July 30, 2007

I did not think you were supposed to post items to Metafilter in caps
posted by robbyrobs at 3:45 AM on July 30, 2007

Back in the 70s and early 80s, my brothers and one of my sisters went to A&M and they told me about watching Marvin on TV. The first time I saw him, I thought he was hokey and I didn't like him.

Years later I came back home to Texas and moved to the Houston area, and I decided that Marvin was wonderful. What a grand, caring, larger-than-life man. Not just a local institution, as one of the earliest TV consumer reporters, he was a broadcasting pioneer.

Bobby Finger (furniture ad: " your Fingers!") died this month, too. Houston is losing too many colorful TV people lately.

posted by Robert Angelo at 5:27 AM on July 30, 2007

I went to college in Houston 20 years ago. When I first saw Marvin on TV as a freshman, I was sure I was watching an SNL rerun. I thought it was a bit odd that SNL was on in the middle of the day, and that I didn't recognize the actor at all; maybe it was some locally-produced Second (Third? Fourth?) City comedy thing.

And then they switched to the weather, and I knew I was in hell.

These days, all I got is some guy who yells "Downer!" and gives away free onions.
posted by erniepan at 5:47 AM on July 30, 2007

Detroit area had two iconic & flamboyant personalities--one died a while ago (Bill Kennedy, B-movie actor & movie host) and the other is still with us: weatherman Sonny Eliot.

Personally, I find these sorts of "talents" grating on the ear and the sensibilities. I'm glad for all of you fans in Houston of this Marvin Zindler (for your appreciation, not at the man's death of course) but I'm also thankful that I was never subjected to his histrionics.

For the record, I think the worst TV newscast regular "character" of all times was Albert the Alley Cat. The meteorologist Tom Skilling was only one of many who had to share time with him on Milwaukee's TV6, and Skilling reportedly lost his AMS seal b/c the channel wouldn't drop the puppet from the weathercast. Oh gawd, it was awful.

So, pax vobiscum to Zindler. May his kind gradually fade from TV.
posted by beelzbubba at 6:55 AM on July 30, 2007

Personally, I find these sorts of "talents" grating on the ear and the sensibilities.

I think they add color to a TV news world of SEX PREDATORS! ARE SPENDING YOUR TAX MONEY! ON ROLLING BACK ODOMETERS! AND IT'S CAUGHT ON TAPE! every single night. I know King Lionel wouldn't work today on a local newscast, but at least loud suits and puppets had personality.
posted by dw at 7:29 AM on July 30, 2007 [1 favorite]

I'm sad. I grew up in Houston and he was my favorite part of the newscast as a little kid. He did a lot for children through his charity work, and he certainly provided something special to Houston in his personality.

So, Marvin: Good golf, good tennis, or whatever makes you happy!
posted by fiercecupcake at 7:41 AM on July 30, 2007

I do have to admit that Marvin and Mattress Mac are two unique Houston personalities that have ultimately given a great deal to their community.
posted by kamikazegopher at 9:12 AM on July 30, 2007

I left Houston in the mid-1980s and hadn't seen, heard, or thought of Marvin Zindler since. But now his joyous bray, his dazzling George-Hamilton-style tan, and his hearty condemnation of filth will resonate in my mind for days and weeks.

His histrionics made a powerful impression on a young girl used to MacNeil & Lehrer.

posted by Elsa at 9:56 AM on July 30, 2007

I first saw this dude when I moved to Houston in 1983, and in one of the few letters I sent my parents at the time (back in the pre-email wasteland), I made it a point to comment on him. We surely didn't have anyone like him on the TV news back home.

Wonder if Dave Ward is still around?
posted by Midnight Creeper at 10:00 AM on July 30, 2007

Yep, Dave Ward is still the main anchor at KTRK.
posted by John Smallberries at 10:08 AM on July 30, 2007

I think they add color to a TV news world of SEX PREDATORS! ARE SPENDING YOUR TAX MONEY! ON ROLLING BACK ODOMETERS! AND IT'S CAUGHT ON TAPE! every single night. I know King Lionel wouldn't work today on a local newscast, but at least loud suits and puppets had personality.

I disagree. I think they are exactly why we have the shrieking which you rightly object to. Instead of the matter-of-fact, grey flannel news reading of Floyd Kalber, John Drury, Carole Simpson, or John Chancellor (these are those I remember from Chicago in my youth) or Mort Krim in Detroit, we get these hysterical, insanely pompador'd screamers with graphics.

Pox! Fie on those who turn the evening news into comedy or melodrama. Just.Give.Me.The.News.
posted by beelzbubba at 11:28 AM on July 30, 2007

Dangerous ground, there, hatin' on Mr. Zindler. That man was like a real-life Santa to poor kids in Houston.

He could solve problems that no one else ever even cared about.

Yes, he was loud, brash, and thoroughly afflicted with do-gooder-itis - I wish there were more like him out there. His variety of high-volume righteous indignation wasn't the same as the sensationalist hee-hawing that has so degraded local news.

He was an original and he genuinely gave a damn. His railing gave a voice to people who otherwise went invisible in a big city.

Bless him and those who loved him. I hope those he left behind have all the caring and support they need as they transition to a world without Marvin Zindler, Eyewitness News.
posted by batmonkey at 12:42 PM on July 30, 2007

It's kinda like a cross between Brass Eye and The Mighty Boosh. Admittedly, I have a British perspective.
posted by snoktruix at 2:36 PM on July 30, 2007

Marvin Zindler was to Houston as Bob Barker was the world. Everyone loved the guy.
posted by asuh at 4:21 PM on July 30, 2007

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