Friday, July 30, 2021

Friday Night Videos

Friday Night Videos

ZZ Top's Dusty Hill has died. He'd been sidelined from the band's recent shows with a reported "hip issue" but obviously his health problems were far worse than let on. Despite the "Little Ole Band From Texas" being a staple of live shows around here, and their close association with the Chicken Ranch, I never saw them live. That always seems like something I'd get around to in the future. That's looking iffy at this point. ZZ Top fans know that guitarist Billy Gibbons was the lead vocalist on most of the band's songs, but Hill occasionally got behind the mic as well. Probably their best-known song with Hill on lead vocals is "Tush." Here's a live version dating back to 1975, when the band was growing in popularity, but was nowhere near the stratospheric fame that awaited in the 80s. Oh, to have taken in some of these classic shows!

Previously on Friday Night Videos... Laura Brannigan.

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Thursday, July 29, 2021

Chicken Ranch anniversary: Marvin Zindler (1921-2007)

On this date in 2007, KTRK consumer affairs reporter Marvin Zindler died of pancreatic cancer.

Zindler, of course, is forever linked with the Chicken Ranch, as his series of exposés on the brothel directly led to its closure. And for that reason, many people (mostly men) who are old enough to remember curse his name. Despite being a self-admitted egomaniac, he was a powerful champion of the downtrodden in his lifetime, and did a tremendous amount of good. Where the Chicken Ranch was concerned, he let his lust for fame and the spotlight get the better of him, and this allowed people with a vendetta against the Chicken Ranch to manipulate him from a distance. Zindler was a person who firmly believed in his own righteous infallibility, and once it became clear the vast organized crime conspiracy behind the Chicken Ranch's operation did not exist, well, Zindler doubled down on the conspiracy angle rather than admitting he'd been duped. He went to his grave insisting on criminal conspiracy and corruption, although he was never able to prove any of his claims.

Despite this, nobody could argue Zindler wasn't committed to his job. He accomplished a tremendous amount of good throughout his career, championing the downtrodden and exposing slum lords, unscrupulous car salesmen and all manner of predators exploiting people who had neither the money nor power to fight back. But they had Zindler on their side. Despite constant pain from the cancer destroying him, Zindler insisted on delivering his famed restaurant report from his hospital bed on July 20. It proved to be his final report. Just over a week later, he was dead. His passing in 2007 directly inspired me to seek out information on the "true" story of what happened with the Chicken Ranch, and when I learned that no such history book existed, I researched and wrote Inside the Texas Chicken Ranch: The Definitive Account of the Best Little Whorehouse. So in truth, Marvin Zindler is responsible for my book.

Inside the Texas Chicken Ranch: The Definitive Account of the Best Little Whorehouse is available from both and It's also available as an ebook in the following formats: Kindle, Nook, Google Play, iBooks and Kobo.

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Friday, July 02, 2021

Friday Night Videos

Friday Night Videos

Bear with me here for a bit. I remember back in the early 80s watching the Darrin McGavin film "Zero to Sixty" on Showtime. In my memory, I recall the soundtrack blaring Laura Branigan's hit "Gloria" every time McGavin and his teenage sidekick chase after the elusive Joan Collins in her Trans-Am. But a quick check online tells me the movie came out in 1978, whereas Branigan's hit didn't come out until 1982. Even Umberto Tozzi's original Italian version wasn't recorded until 1979, so my memory has got to be subjecting me to the Mandela Effect, right?

Except that as I'm wasting time looking all this stuff up for a film I haven't seen or even thought about in more than 35 years, I discover the name of Joan Collins' character is... Gloria. What!? That can't just be coincidence, can it? Was there a version of this film re-scored for pay cable channels that inserted Branigan's hit? Because really, the song--talking about people chasing Gloria, finding her number, figuring out her alias, that all ties in crazy tight with the Collins character, almost so that the song could've been written specifically for the film. Weird.

So, here's Branigan's no-frills original video for the song. And for good measure, the YouTube link to "Zero to Sixty" is right below. If you watch, you can easily tell where my memory inserts "Gloria" during the chase scenes. I gotta say, it's odd watching the film without that song playing in those spots, because it completely clashes with my memory.

Previously on Friday Night Videos... Cynthia Erivo.

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