The world-famous WPIX Yule Log is a yearly tradition and a staple for families celebrating the holiday season.
Created by WPIX Channel 11 in 1966, it debuted as a 3-hour program originally consisting of a 17-second 16 millimeter filmed loop of a festively decorated roaring fireplace while traditional Christmas carols served as its soundtrack.
The Yule Log premiered in full-color on Saturday, December 24, 1966, at 9:30 PM on WPIX Channel 11 in New York City.
Although many duplicates and copycats exist, the original one was filmed in 1966 on 16 millimeter film at Gracie Mansion, the home of then Mayor of New York, John Lindsay. Four years later, in 1970, WPIX decided to re-shoot the footage on state-of-the-art 35 millimeter film, as the original 16 millimeter footage had become worn by this time.
Unfortunately, when WPIX shot the original Gracie Mansion footage, to capture the log in all its flaming glory, the crew decided to remove the protective screen and a stray spark damaged a valuable antique rug. Needless to say, the Mayor’s office was not receptive to the idea of letting WPIX come back and re-shoot the footage.
The search was then on for an identical fireplace. One was eventually found in Palo Alto, California and a crew of technicians was then dispatched out to complete the re-shoot. This time from the footage they shot, they were able to edit out a perfect 7-minute loop that magnificently captured the fire when it was at its roaring best. It is this iconic fireplace footage that has captured the fascination of millions in the tri-state area and across the nation since 1970.