(February 29, 2008)
F. "CHIP" ARCURI
Owner/Webmaster of The Yule Log.com
Hello again, Yule Log fans and friends. I hope everyone is having a good 2008 so far.
This will hopefully be a better year for our message board. Aimoo, our web hosting company, seems to have worked out the last remaining post-conversion glitches to the new beta format. As everyone knows by now, last November, just as we were heading into the heart of the Christmas season, the geniuses at Aimoo decided the time was right to convert all their message board forums to a new beta format, and as we all saw – it was an unequivocal disaster. The board remained down until mid-December, and when it finally did come back up, it was a veritable mess. At that time, Joe left the decision to me as to whether to open up the board to members as is, or rather, to look for a new hosting company. Since it was so close to Christmas, and we had lost the better part of the season anyway, I chose the latter. I felt before we commit ourselves to Aimoo and risk something like this from happening again, this would give us time to consider other options. Our strategy was two-pronged: I explored the options available to us for other hosting companies, and Joe explored the option of adding the board directly to the main website, thereby eliminating the need for an outside hosting company altogether. However, since I found other hosting company’s formats to be very similar to Aimoo’s new beta format anyway, and because adding the board directly to the site turned out to be unfeasible – not to mention the fact that during this investigatory time, Aimoo seemed to have worked out all of the bugs – the decision was made to stay with Aimoo. Another huge incentive in making this decision was preserving all the history that we have accumulated thus far over these last several years in threads and posts, as switching to another hosting company would have meant starting from scratch.
So therefore gang, after more than three long months, and without further ado, I can now hereby happily announce to you all that the WPIX Yule Log.com message board is now officially open once again, and I look forward to seeing you there. For existing members, please be advised that as a result of the conversion, all avatars were reset to the default setting. To re-establish your custom avatar, just click the ‘profile’ tab at the top of your screen, and then the ‘edit profile’ tab after that. Welcome back!
Beyond our problems with the message board, unfortunately last year, because of our limitation of time, other things we had planned for the website did not come to fruition. Joe was in the midst of a move, and I had matters that needed attending to which curtailed my time considerably as well. Regrettably, even the Tribune affiliates schedule of air times for the Yule Log could not be posted, as neither Joe nor I had the time to contact each affiliate and verify whether they were airing the genuine WPIX Yule Log, or their own local version of the program. Consequently, we just felt it was better not to post the list, than to post it, and in the process, inadvertently promote some affiliate’s knock-off Yule Log. In the past, former WPIX program director Julie O’Neil did the legwork on this and provided the affiliate information to us as a favor; with her absence however, the task now falls to us. Rest assured that in the future, even if we should find that we don’t have the time to verify which Yule Log program each affiliate will be specifically showing, we’ll post the list notwithstanding, and just put a disclaimer that some of these affiliates might not be airing the original and genuine WPIX Yule Log.
As a result of your
many requests, one thing I made sure that we found the time for
last December was adding a picture of the Singing Angels 45-rpm
record, “Christmas Is Christmas
All Over The World,” to
the music section of the website. This very rare 45 displayed
there is from my own personal collection (as is everything displayed
there in the music section). In fact, because it was released as a local record
only (in Cleveland, Ohio), and was in print for only 1 year
(in 1973), this is probably the most rare and
hard-to-find record (45 or LP) in my entire collection. This distinction,
of course, is not due to the age of the record, as it is only 35 years
old, but rather due to the fact that very few copies were ever
printed. To view it, scroll down to song #22: http://www.theyulelog.com/htmls/music.html
Since the premiere of our restored Yule Log Broadcast in 2006, I’ve received several inquiries from folks questioning songs that are missing from various medleys on the program. Let me point out now for those who are not aware, and as familiar with the music of the Yule Log, that the medleys in question (of which there are six) had always been cut and aired in an abridged form. This was the practice of WPIX from the beginning in order to include as many different artists into the program as possible. In our audio restoration, we restored the soundtrack to exactly the way it was broadcast by WPIX-TV when it used to originally air. Primarily, and most importantly, this meant adding back the hour of missing music (18 selections in all – 2 of which were multi-song medleys) that had been deleted from the program over the years. All the songs were then arranged in their original order and the segueing between songs, which took painstaking attention to detail, was done to exactly duplicate the timing and pace that the original program had. In addition, all the songs used were digitally re-mastered, including 12 songs that had to be digitally re-mastered especially for this 40th anniversary restoration.
By the way, there are actually a total of 9 songs from these aforementioned six medleys that never aired on the Yule Log soundtrack. They are as follows: “It Came Upon A Midnight Clear” by The Living Strings (third song of a 5-song medley), ”O Holy Night” by The Living Strings (fourth song of a 5-song medley), “Silent Night” by The Living Strings (fifth song of a 5-song medley), “Hark The Herald Angels Sing” by Frank Devol (second song of a 3-song medley), ”O Little Town Of Bethlehem” by Percy Faith (second song of a 2-song medley), ”Away In A Manger” by Andre Kostelanetz (first song of a 2-song medley), “Joy To The World” by David Rose (third song of a 3-song medley), “O Little Town Of Bethlehem” by Eddie Dunstedter (second song of a 3-song medley), “Away In A Manger” by Eddie Dunstedter (third song of a 3-song medley).
When we restored the program in 2006, our first priority (after adding back the hour of missing music) was to present uncut the 8 individual songs that had always aired in an abridged form. There was time for this as our restored 3-hour program eliminated the half-hour station ID breaks that were the custom when the show originally aired from 1966-1989. These 8 songs that were once edited and now play in their entirety are: “We Three Kings” by The Living Strings, “O Tannenbaum” by Mantovani, “Mary’s Boy Child” by The Pete King Chorale, “The Christmas Waltz” by David Rose, “Bring A Torch Jeanette Isabella” by Percy Faith, “Lo How A Rose E’er Blooming” by Percy Faith, “Hark The Herald Angels Sing” by Roger Williams, “Silent Night” by Roger Williams.
The next priority was then to add as many of the 9 songs that had always been deleted from the, again aforementioned, six medleys as possible. Unfortunately, in the end, there was only time for one: “It Came Upon A Midnight Clear” by The Living Strings (third song of a 5-song medley). The other bonus song I elected to include in the restored presentation was “The Christmas Tree” by David Rose, which was a song that aired in the broadcast prior to the advent of the 1973 “classic” program, which our restoration was modeled after. One last point: please bear in mind that when I refer to our restored program as now being uncut and unedited, I am referring to compared to how it was originally broadcast – not literally. Thanks to all for your emails on this and for your interest in the music of the Yule Log. If anyone should ever have any questions regarding the program, past or present, always feel free to contact me via the message board, or if your prefer, direct at email@example.com.
I have good news about the upcoming Yule Log book: I
spoke to Mitch Thrower and he has informed me that the publisher still
has room to accommodate about another 15 stories. So they have extended
the deadline for submission of your stories until October 25, 2008.
The plan is for the book to go to print in mid-November, with release
for the holiday season. He asked me to remind you to get your stories
in and share with us your heartwarming memories of the Yule Log.
Well, that’s it for now folks. Stay well everyone, and don’t forget, the message board is now once again officially open. Here is a link for your convenience: http://forum1.aimoo.com/theyulelog
Lawrence F. "Chip" Arcuri