NEW YORK (PIX11) — It’s the return of a beloved Christmas classic that’s been sparking holiday joy for generations.
PIX11 News aired two versions of its WPIX Yule Log footage on Christmas Day. The original 1966 version — long thought lost — aired from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.
The iconic 1970 version of the holiday celebration aired earlier on Christmas morning. Watch 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.