Monday, July 30, 2007

Man Who Inspired "Best Little Whorehouse" Dies

Category: News
Marvin Zindler dies

The movie and play The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas was inspired to some degree by an actual event. In 1973, KTRK "consumer advocate" reporter Marvin Zindler confronted a sheriff who knew that the Chicken Ranch in LaGrange was operating right under the police's nose with no action being taken. In the confrontation, Sheriff T.J. Flournoy ripped Zindler's toupee off and destroyed the film in the camera. Much like the confrontation between Burt Reynolds' Sheriff Ed Earl Dodd and Dom DeLuise's Melvin P. Thorpe in the film, Flournoy launched into a profanity-filled attack on reporter Zindler (although the sheriff destroyed the video footage of the confrontation, the audio remained intact).

Marvin Zindler died in Houston on Sunday (7/29), less than two weeks short of his 86th birthday. He had been diagnosed earlier in July as having advanced pancreatic cancer.

Zindler's expose of the Chicken Ranch made a national magazine and became the stuff of legends. Rockers ZZ Top sang about it in the song "LaGrange," and the story became the basis for the play The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, followed in 1982 by a film version that starred Burt Reynolds and country legend Dolly Parton.

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