While many outside of New York City are familiar with the Yule Log, the program started out here as a gift to New Yorkers without fireplaces in their apartments. This is why Fred M. Thrower (as president of WPIX) created the Yule Log in 1966, though it also served to allow employees of the station to spend more time with their families during the holiday. Here are a few more fun facts about the Yule Log, a New York TV Tradition:
- The original log was filmed at Gracie Mansion.
- While filming there, producers removed a protective fire grate to capture the flame on camera better, and a stray spark damaged a pricey antique rug.
- When that footage later needed to be re-shot (the original deteriorated), the mayor's office refused permission for filming at Gracie Mansion again.
- Eventually, in 1970, it was filmed again on a hot summer day in a home in California. This is what you see today.
- According to SI Live, the soundtrack features 93 Christmas songs, and nearly all of them are from the 1950s and 1960s.
- It did not air in the 1990s, or in the year 2000, because some monster cancelled the Yule Log.
- The Yule Log turned up in Whit Stillman's Metropolitan the same year it was cancelled.
- Stillman called it "sort of a symbol of loneliness... It probably wasn’t a great Christmas for you if you were watching it... [but] it’s a great thing to have when you touch bottom socially. No matter how low you go, if you had a TV, you had the Yule log.”
- Eventually it was brought back, through the help of fans who launched a website and a "Bring Back The Log" campaign.
This year you'll be able to tune into WPIX and see the Yule Log on Christmas Day from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and it will also be streamed online Christmas Eve from 6 to 10 p.m. (and these days Netflix has a similar offering, Fireplace For Your Home).