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JDR blog logoSeacoast History Blog #136 
June 1, 2012

Publicity is publicity, right? So I agreed to appear as the local history dude on Boston Fox25 TV. Each Friday in season they run a live Good Morning America-style show called a “Zip Trip.” The crew zips into town early, does a lot of advance work, shoots some B-roll of a scenic town. Then they broadcast live from a popular location for a few hours in the morning, cutting back to the bad news in the studio while offering an uplifting peek at a weekend tourist haven. I got the request via email to show up at 6am. I haven’t been up at that time in the morning since high school. I’m a night writer. But hey, I’ll take a bullet for Portsmouth anytime. (Continued below)


I get my news from Google and PBS, but Boston Fox 25 is an impressive set-up. In an era when broadcast and newspaper journalism are waning, these guys have all the toys. There was one big truck with lots of wires protruding and another truck with a massive corkscrew antenna. They had set up a series of tents on the quiet campus of Strawbery Banke across from an even quieter Prescott Park on the PIscataqua River. The museum isn’t open until 10am, so it was mostly people walking their dogs and joggers. Someone brought a big white goat. I never figured out why.

J Dennis Robinson and VB Goudie of Fox News

A last minute email said I could show up at 6:55am and the show would last until 10am. I got greeted and introduced to a very busy producer, who told me I was on at 7:15 and would be off 15 minutes later. I would be subjected to a trivia quiz and ,no, they would not give me the questions in advance. The questions were supposed to be softballs, just funny stuff, but there was always the possibility that, punchdrunk from lack of sleep, I might get the chance to humiliate myself before tens of thousands of New Englanders heading to work.

Fox News Zip Trip Greeters in portsmouth, NH

Fox News broadcast truck

Fox News Live BRoadcast truck antenna

I wandered over to a Dunkin’ Donuts tent where some guy or girl dressed as a cup of iced coffee was doing a happy dance. I don’t drink coffee, but I like watching giant coffee cups dance. Another guy or girl was dressed in a costume reminiscent of  Jar Jar Binks from Star Wars. His name, I was told, was Petey, and he was the mascot for Canobie Lake Park in Salem. I went there for my high school trip in the sixties, but haven’t been back. Petey held up two of his four fingers in a peace sign gesture. Like the dancing coffee cup, Petey apparently could not speak.

WATCH THE VIDEO on Boston Fox25 TV

“Excuse me,” his/her friend said. ”Petey says there are TWO mascots at the park.” Petey nodded in agreement. There wasn’t much left to say. My wife registered to win a free car and we waited near the white goat. The sun was just breaking through the clouds.

Petey of Canobie Lake Park

Person in coffee cup suit


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