Marvin Zindler, Consumer Reporter, Dies at 85

Join the Consumerist in remembering Marvin Zindler, consumer reporter from Houston, TX. Zindler delivered the weekly “rat and roach” reports and famous catch phrase “all together now, SLIIIME in the ice machine,” on Houston’s channel 13 for nearly 35 years.

His crusade to shut down the “Chicken Ranch”, the state’s most well known “bawdy house” (Zindler’s words) inspired the broadway musical and film The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.

Zindler maintained that he didn’t care that the “Chicken Ranch” was a whorehouse—he was concerned that the ranch’s operators were bribing government officials and were involved in organized crime. “I didn’t care that they had a whorehouse,” he’d say in later years. “We had plenty here in Houston.”

Zindler kept a poster of the 1982 movie in his office. From the Houston Chronicle:

“Marvin was one of the most valued and beloved people in Houston,” Henry Florsheim, KTRK-TV president and general manager, said. “For nearly 35 years he was welcomed into the hearts and homes of millions of local viewers. This is a deep loss for me, both personally and professionally; my prayers are with his family, friends and co-workers.”

Zindler signed a lifetime contract with the station in 1988. He honored it to the letter. Even after being diagnosed in early July with the disease that would kill him, he went on the air in a bathrobe, pajamas and slippers to report the news.

It was the lead story on Channel 13’s 6 p.m. news, and — to make it clear he was still on the job and not using his illness as an excuse to slack off — Zindler ended the report braying his famous sign-off.

Channel 13’s Marvin Zindler dies at 85 [Houston Chronicle]

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  1. Cratin24 says:

    I grew up watching him. One of the greatest consumer reporters ever! We will miss you Marvin!

  2. letoofdune says:

    One last SLIME IN THE ICE MACHINE for Mr. Zindler.

  3. harrypsk says:

    Marvin was an odd man in appearance, but there is no doubt he had a heart of gold. He was not a reporter who sought out sensationalistic stories, rather, he reported issues that were useful to the everyday lives of his viewers. He is best known for pointing out the cleanliness shortcomings of Houston restaurants, but he was also a champion of the common man. He would to bring to light issues where normal people were being shafted by the man. His media spotlight on these issues helped to bring a little justice for families who needed a champion. Houston will miss Marvin. Let’s hope for God’s sake that heaven has clean ice machines!

  4. BelBivDevolkswagen says:

    Dude was awesome. Thanks, Mr. Zindler, for shining a light on so many dirty Chinese restaurants out on Bellaire…

  5. Art Vandelay says:

    Thanks for looking out for my stomach while growing up in Houston, Marvin. It’s probably my second favorite body part.

  6. gtr225 says:

    Living in NYC my whole life I’ve never watched him, but reading the story and the comments here, it looks like this is a big loss to Houston. We could definitely use more honest, caring people like him in the media today.

  7. kingoman says:

    Very odd, indeed. But equally charismatic and addicting. I remember watching him when I was a kid when we visited my grandparents. He clearly loved what he was doing. I’m glad to know he was able to continue doing it all these years.

  8. dvdchris says:

    I remember watching him growing up.
    Marvin Zindler, Eye-witness News!

  9. Don Roberto says:

    I grew up watching him. I remember running to the tv just to hear him say “SLIME IN THE ICE MACHINE.” and to BELBIVDEVOLKSWAGEN: unfortunately there’s not enough time to cover the shortcomings of the Chinese restaurants on Bellaire. Just drive behind the strip centers where they’re located and take a gander into the kitchens.

  10. Ausoleil says:

    I only learned of Mr. Zindler recently, and that was because of Consumerist. The report that was linked here (about a woman getting trapped in a 24 Hour Health Club and reported on by Zindler) interested me enough to hit Wikipedia, Google and other spots to learn more about this remarkable guy. It’s too bad that there isn’t a Marvin Zindler in every major city in the country, as consumers would have been better off for it.

  11. cooper says:

    Kudos to The Consumerist and Meg for running something on Marvin Zindler. He was beloved.

    Slime in the Ice Machine!

  12. threlkelded says:

    I adored him. He’s going to be so missed.

    When I was learning to talk, I used to sit in front of the TV while my parents watched the news and parrot back “Marvin Zindler, Eyeeeeeee-witness news!” over and over. Strangely enough, it didn’t annoy them.

  13. allthatsevil says:

    I too grew up with Zindler on TV. He always seemed immortal and he was already pretty old when I was born. And even when I was a kid, I used to think to myself that someday, when some business or doctor tried to screw me over, all I’d need to do is write a letter to Marvin Zindler and all would be well.

    I’ve heard personal accounts from people who’ve met him, and they all say that he was a very kind and caring person. He was also quite vain, but his vanity was a trademark. He always wore white to match his wig, and even drove a car that was completely white, inside and out.

    And I’m surprised no one has posted his full sign-off, “Good golf, good tennis, or whatever makes ya happy. Marvin Zindler, Eye Witness News!” For those of you who’ve never heard it, or those who want to reminisce, check out this link:

  14. agentj138 says:

    Mr.Zindler you are a great man. I remember when I was little, I was in Downtown with my family and I saw you going up the elevator. But I missed my chance to say,”Hello” to you. Rest in peace Mr.Zindler. And bless your family. We will miss you always.

  15. agentj138 says:

    Mr.Zindler you are a great man. I remember when I was little, I was in Downtown with my family and I saw you going into the elevator. I missed my chance to say,”Hello” to you. Rest In Peace Mr.Zindler. And God Bless your family. You will be missed always

  16. pburke says:

    I grew up listening to Mr. Zindler and loved him as if he was a family member. I enjoyed listening to him and strived for Friday’s to hear him say: Have a great weekend, good golf, good tennis, or whatever makes you happy! He will be missed and it will take a great person to fulfill his shoes. Marvin, I salute you in what you accomplished and did for all races. You will be truly missed!