Explaining that it was time to stop reporting the Richmond news during the weekly 11 p.m. broadcast, NBC12 anchor Gene Cox told viewers yesterday that he would step down from the timeslot, choosing intead to go home earlier in the evening to his highly-secretive, crystalline palace known as the Fortress of Solitude.
Though Cox will remain anchor of the 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. newscasts, the local news veteran said that he has needed more time for meditation and personal thought at his “home away from home,” made from a giant triangular cluster of interweaving crystals and located in the deep within the Arctic circle.
The fortress also includes a special room where Cox can speak to holograms of his late father, Gene-El.
“Day in and day out, I see the dark side of this city…the criminals, the ghastly underworld of the River City…and the fortress…this…place…is somewhere that I seek solace and comfort from all the ugliness in the world,” the 68-year-old Cox said.
“Yep, a superman can really get some thinking done here,” he added.
Cox, who has spent his career reporting on city politics, crime, and once saved an out-of-control airliner filled with more than 200 people from crashing, has largely kept the Fortress of Solitude’s specific location and inner contents hidden from those around him.
However, several of Cox’s closet allies have been allowed into the alienlike ice-home from time to time.
Anchor Ryan Nobles, who will take over Cox’s 4 p.m. timeslot, was invited to the Fortress of Solitude earlier this year, where he spent nearly three hours being advised by his mentor on proper anchoring techniques, including vocals, keeping straight-faced during sad or funny segments, and making sure you’re looking into the correct camera.
“Overall, the Fortress was quite a sight. It was weird, though, because Gene got really introspective as soon as he stepped in, like became a completely different person,” said the 32-year-old Nobles, who hopes he is invited back to the crystal castle very soon. “I won’t lie though, it was also super cold, and I forgot to bring a jacket.”
Taking Cox’s spot during the 11 p.m. broadcast will be longtime NBC anchor Curt Autry, who, after he finishes the nightly news program, will return to his own home in a pineapple under the sea.
After 30 years, Gene Cox has stepped down from his role as 11 p.m. news anchor on NBC affiliate WWBT, though he will continue to serve as anchor of the 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. broadcasts. Here’s a look back at Tobacco Avenue’s coverage of Richmond’s most prominent local celebrity – and his superhuman qualities.
And just in case you missed it, here’s the Blooper Reel from his final 11 p.m. broadcast yesterday evening.