Celebrate Christmas with the iconic WPIX Yule Log

Local News

NEW YORK — It’s a classic Christmas tradition that can’t be missed. PIX11 News will air the original WPIX Yule Log footage from 1966 beginning at 4 p.m. That version of the Yule Log can be watched now in the player above.

Earlier on Christmas morning, PIX11 screened its beloved 1970 WPIX Yule Log footage. Watch now in the player below.

The world-famous WPIX Yule Log is a yearly tradition and a staple for families celebrating the holiday season.

The Yule Log premiered in full-color on Dec. 24, 1966, at 9:30 p.m. on WPIX Channel 11 in New York City.

Although many duplicates and copycats exist, the original Yule Log — the one that started it all — was filmed in 1966 on 16 millimeter film at Gracie Mansion, the home of then-Mayor 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 down.

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 at the mayor’s residence. In 1970, the city didn’t exactly extend a warm welcome for the station to return to its original set.

So the station sought an identical fireplace to keep the tradition alive. One was eventually found in Palo Alto, California, and a crew of technicians was dispatched out to complete the re-shoot. 

This time, the team recorded a perfect 7-minute loop that magnificently captured the fire at its roaring best. It’s this iconic fireplace footage that has fascinated millions in the tri-state area and across the nation since 1970.

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