PIX11 celebrated Christmas with an annual tradition, airing the Yule Log on Wednesday, screening the original, long-lost footage from 1966 on Christmas morning from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m.
At 9 a.m., viewers saw the classic, beloved 1970 footage, which aired through 1 p.m.
Relive both classic moments in videos 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 Saturday, December 24, 1966, at 9:30 PM 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 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 at the mayor’s residence. In 1970, the city didn’t exactly extend a warm welcome for the station to return to their original set.
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, the team had a perfect 7-minute loop that magnificently captured the fire when it was at its roaring best. It’s this iconic fireplace footage that has captured the fascination of millions in the tri-state area and across the nation since 1970.