2006_12_yulelog.gifIf it's almost Christmas, it's almost time to cozy up to WPIX 11's Christmas Yule Log, the televised bit of hearth warmth that momentarily replaces dreams of a "wbf" (woodburning fireplace, in apartment classified speak). Yesterday, amNew York had a great feature about the
longevity of Channel 11's yule log tradition. The roaring fire created from a 17-second loop of a Gracie Mansion fireplace in 1966 by Fred Thrower and played every Christmas until 1989. It wasn't until Yule Log fanatic Joe Malzone started a website, The Yule Log, and garnered support from others who missed the Yule Log that WPIX brought the tradition back in 2001.

The 21st-century rendition airs on Christmas morning instead of the night before, and, according to Julie O'Neil, WPIX's programming director, "The coals are darker, the flames are richer. It's about as good as it can get."

The 6.5-minute repeating loop is a digitally remastered version of a recording made in 1970 on 35mm film. This year, the Yule Log will return to its original three-hour format, with the complete 1973 soundtrack, the one seen as definitive.

Malzone tapped his friend Lawrence "Chip" Arcuri, whose vast music archive filled in the holes with rare, vintage recordings, some of which have never been released on CD.

What's more, WPIX's O'Neil created a documentary called "A Log's Life" (the old Yule Log clipped was mis-labeled as a Honeymooners' episode "A Dog's LIfe") that will air many times, including tonight at 7PM on Channel 11.

You can download the Yule Log as a podcast from Channel 11 WPIX/CW's website. And the Yule Log can be seen on Christmas Day, between 9:30AM and 11:30AM. More about the Yule Log at Wikipedia.