One of the questions I’m always asked when people realize I’m one of the news anchors who introduced the Mobile Leprechaun story is, “Was that a real news story?” The answer is yes and no. More on that in a moment.
With more than 20 million combined views (more than 17 million on the original video from 2006), it’s one of the most-viewed all-time on YouTube. And every year around St. Patrick’s Day more and more people see it for the first time.
Here’s the backstory: This happened when I was working at WPMI, the NBC affiliate in Mobile. It was covered as a real news story…at first. We heard reports of large crowds gathering in the Crichton community and police were being called out. We didn’t know WHY they were gathering. The way I remember it, we weren’t going out there to cover a Leprechaun sighting (that would have been a questionable decision). We were going out there to see why such large crowds were causing problems in the neighborhood. When our crew arrived, things sort of snowballed. People were looking up at a tree and saying there was a Leprechaun in it. We started shooting video and that’s when the people of Crichton took over and turned this story into an internet sensation.
In the end, the now-legendary “amateur sketch” was auctioned off on eBay by WPMI and the proceeds donated to charity. I think it pulled in close to $1,000.
We’re about to re-stock on our merchandise before St. Patrick’s Day. My wife and I, along with our two kids, all get new t-shirts every couple of years. Cafe Press has a great selection. Check it out here.
It’s fun to be part of something that’s talked about so much for so long, although some of my co-workers are probably really tired of it. But I never get tired of hearing about it. It’s funny and ridiculous and makes people laugh. I always say that I could be immortalized on YouTube for something far worse. I’ll take this.