The WPIX Yule Log, A TV Broadcast of a Burning Fireplace Log on Christmas in the New York City Area

The WPIX Yule Log is returning to PIX11 this year on Christmas morning.

It wouldn’t be a holiday in New York without the PIX11 Yule Log! The Yule Log, the famous film loop of a burning log in a hearth, has warmed the hearts of` viewers since it debuted on PIX in 1966. To celebrate the fabled fire stick’s 47th anniversary, PIX11 will air The Yule Log (available in HD) from 9am-1pm on Christmas morning.

For those not familiar with the WPIX Yule Log, it was the 1966 brainchild of WPIX CEO and President Fred M. Thrower who wanted all those living in New York City apartments to enjoy Christmas by the fire and all his employees to be able spend the holiday at home.

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 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.

The late Bill Biery introduced the Yule Log to TV viewers for many years, like this one from 1986.

Written by Lori Dorn

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