The Chicken Ranch

Have you heard of it?

Well, for those who need a refresher...."The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas" was the musical and movie based upon the story. It seems that this lil' ol' bordello in LaGrange, Texas was probably the most famous of cathouses in Texas and beyond. It got the "Chicken Ranch" moniker sometime during the Depression and stuck. Seems that some men were too poor to pay cash for a night with the ladies at the time and paid instead with chickens. Talk about your capitalist free market economics lesson. I guess it was some time in the late 70's when a fifty-something television reporter got a bee in his bonnet and decided to bust the Chicken Ranch wide open. You'll remember that Dom DeLuise played his character in the movie. This reporter worked for the Houston ABC affiliate and later went on to become a very well-known and respected consumer affairs reporter. His name was...


He wore blue glasses, a wig, colorful suits and more plastic in his face than Anna Nicole had in her chest. Played 18 holes of golf everyday, marched in parades as a drum major. He was the drum major for Lamar High School in his day. Helped the immobile get going, brought the dead back to life, and helped the swindled and unfortunate reclaim what they lost. He was the voice of Houston's poor and unnoticed masses. He was a caring and kind man who went out of his way to create a network of "Marvin's Angels" who provided free legal advice and counsel, major surgeries to uninsured, wheelchairs, complete roofs for homes, and myriad other projects and services.

I could go on and on about his life and how he helped everyone, but suffice it to say, he was a true angel. There is so much more I could tell you that you could actually read about at the ABC 13 website instead. If you've ever been to Houston for any length of time, you have heard about or maybe even saw his "Rat and Roach" Report. Aside from his tag line at the end of every broadcast (MMAAAARRRRVIIIINNNN ZIIINNNDDDDLLLLLEEERRR, EEEYYYYEEEWWIITTNNNNEEEESSSS NEEWWWSS!!!!!!), he was famous for shouting out "SLIME IN THE ICE MACHINE!"

He died this past weekend after losing his battle with pancreatic cancer. Even on his deathbed, he was interviewing and reporting. True to his word, Marvin worked until he died. There is no denying that he lived a wonderful and joyous 85 years. We will miss you Marvin.

Good Golf, Good Tennis, or whatever makes you happy up there, Marvin!

1 comment:

none said...

Sounds like a cool guy, I never knew who busted the chicken ranch till now,