The man who came up with the idea of the burning log on the TV screen was born in Tampa because of course he was
Turn on your television on Christmas Eve at 8 and flip to Bay News 9. What you'll see is four hours of a burning log set to Christmas carols. This log is the local version of a holiday tradition that dates back to 1966 and since then has been seen many times by many millions. Was The Yule Log the first music video? Was it the first reality show? Was it a postmodern adaptation of the age-old custom of villagers in distant cultures and centuries felling seasonal logs for warmth and light?
It aired in the beginning only in New York. By now, almost half a century later, it can be seen in Philadelphia, Seattle, Miami, Denver, St. Louis and so on. It can be seen in high-definition, in 3D and on DVD, with titles like Just Logs, Just Flames and Visions of Tranquility. The Associated Press has called it "one of television's oddest yet most heartwarming holiday habits," and the San Francisco Chronicle has called it "one of the two or three best ideas in the history of television."
But the seeds of the story of the log, believe it or not, start right here, in Florida's sandy soil.