The 12 Blogs of Christmas: Huge news about TV's 'Yule Log'
Half a century ago, Fred M. Thrower, president of New York's WPIX-TV had an idea. Film a few minutes of a log burning in a fireplace, loop it, and broadcast it for hours on Christmas morning.
The Yule Log became a hit and an annual Christmas tradition, spreading from New York to stations across the country. It's a big part of Thrower's legacy (even mentioned in the headline of his New York Times obituary) and the subject of the 2006 documentary A Log's Life (which you can watch here). These days you can stream a version of it on Netflix, or this one featuring a cat and dog, or this one featuring 10 hours of Nick Offerman drinking whiskey.
This year, however, if you want a real treat, you're going to have to go to the original source. The frequently-updated source of Yule Log news, theyulelog.com, recently reported a huge development in the Yule Log world. The original 16mm footage of the 1966 log has been found after a years-long search of the WPIX archives.
See, the '66 Yule Log was filmed at New York's Gracie Mansion, where the mayor lives. Several years later, WPIX realized the footage was deteriorating and they'd need to re-shoot it. The mayor's office, still upset over a very expensive rug that was damaged by a stray spark during the original filming, said no.
WPIX found what was apparently the only other suitable fireplace in the U.S., in California, and filmed a new Yule Log in the '70s. It was a sweltering summer day, and there are photos of shirtless producers drinking beer during the filming. After that, the original Yule Log footage was thought to be lost to the sands of time, until now.
As part of this year's 50th anniversary airing of the Yule Log, WPIX will also air the original footage (plus an all-new fifth hour of log action for the anniversary). You don't have to live in New York to watch it! WPIX will stream it live on its website and its log-specific Facebook page. The Log will be live-tweeting during the broadcast, and if you're so inclined, you can watch it in the Yule Log boxer shorts WPIX is selling.
The schedule, via a WPIX news release, is below:
CHRISTMAS EVE – SATURDAY 12/24
• 11pm-12am THE YULE LOG (1966 EDITION)
CHRISTMAS – SUNDAY 12/25
• 7-8am THE YULE LOG (1966 EDITION )
• 8am-12pm THE YULE LOG (1970 Edition )
• The 1970 Yule Log will feature a new hour of music produced by Lawrence F. “Chip” Arcuri, the creator of theyulelog.com fansite. Will also stream on PIX11.com from 8am-5pm
The 12 Blogs of Christmas, featuring stocking stuffer-sized holiday stories about pop culture and beyond will run each weekday leading up to Christmas Eve. You can find all of them on The Feed blog.