You have to admit, it’s pretty unusual: Tuning in to a channel and seeing a burning fireplace, then hours later returning and seeing the exact same thing. That is definitely not the norm on New York television. But during the Christmas season of 1966, it happened!

Once upon a very special time there was a very special event that occurred in New York City. With Christmas, come many different sentiments. One of which, is a warmth that is shared with family and friends that seems to be found in abundance during the Christmas season. During the 4th century, the Romans celebrated Christmas through a “feast of lights” in which a log was burned. This symbolized the end of the world’s darkness and the rebirth of Christ as the light of the world. This tradition has endured time and was carried into the 20th century. As cities became more and more populated (especially in the metropolitan area), fireplaces grew more and more scarce.


New York City – a location where the fireplace had become just a festive relic of a time gone by – could never really appreciate the warmth and cheer that a Christmas hearth could bring.

Up until 1966, that is.

Television station WPIX in New York had a thoughtful and insightful General Manager at the time who was quite noble in his own recollections of Christmas. He reflected on all those residents of the city who had never been exposed to the alluring crackle of a Christmas Eve fireplace.

Fred Thrower may not have realized it at that time, but he had just given birth to a Christmastime tradition that touched a generation.


From 1966 to 1989, the WPIX Yule Log brought great joy to many families every Christmas. Beginning in 1978, the station began broadcasting the program on Christmas morning as well. Unfortunately, Christmas Eve 1989 did not find the program on Channel 11’s schedule. Christmas morning of 1989 would be the last time the program would be seen due to a managerial decision to remove it from the airwaves.





In April of 2000, I was poking around the web and discovered a digitized version of the Yule Log. Apparently, a company on the West Coast had been hired to digitize the program to be put on WPIX’s website. There were about 10 partial songs and maybe 80 or 90 individual frames. Well, as a video editor – not to mention someone who missed the program immensely – I brought the frames into my editing system complete with audio and compiled a makeshift Yule Log. All in all, it didn’t look too bad on the final tape. One day, the thought occurred to me. I wonder how many other folks out there miss the program as much as I do?

While my web designing skills at the time left much to be desired, I figured as long as Yahoo was offering free sites, I’d grab one and call it “Bring Back The Log.” If I’m not mistaken, it had one page with questions like do you remember the WPIX Yule Log and what were your memories of it, and the like. Then I added an email link on it.

That was all during the early spring of 2000. Well, the site didn't receive any hits at all. OK fine, no emails -- BUT NO HITS?? Yahoo/Geocities has a way of tracking that. I guess I should’ve expected that, being there were more people hiding Easter Eggs under trees rather than hanging tinsel on them. But needless to say I was still kind of down. Then it came, and was it a big one. A woman from Australia sent me an email saying she was from the New York area and remembered the show quite fondly. Well, from that point on I realized there had to be more people that remembered the show. So I waited it out. Then sure enough, as it got closer to Christmas, the emails started coming in. I think by Christmas of that year, I had received over 300 emails about the show. Most asking why it was removed. I remember checking the TV Guide during Christmas week to see if I would get to see that ad that got me so excited as a kid. Well, needless to say, Christmas came and went that year and no Yule Log.

It wasn’t until the summer of 2001 that I saw a Christmas in July sale at a local car dealership that started me thinking again. At that point, I decided it was time to let WPIX know that if absence does in fact make the heart grow fonder, then 11 long years saw plenty of New Yorkers ready to share their Christmas again with the Log. The first thing I did was redo the website and made it much more entertaining and informative. Then I began submitting it to as many search engines as possible. As fall settled in that year, I had gotten more than 600 emails from people all around the country. I then forwarded each and every one to WPIX. It was becoming quite clear that those who grew up with the Log definitely wanted to see its return. (continued below)




In late November 2001, I was contacted by Thomas Vinciguerra. Tom is a contributing writer for the New York Times and was a great help to me in originally putting this site together. He had been in contact with certain key individuals and advised me that the chances were good that the show would be returning to the air that Christmas of 2001. Now my work was cut out for me. From that point on, I knew WPIX would need to be inundated with requests to bring the show back to the airwaves.

Through early December, there was a huge buzz that the show would be back. Then on December 6th, 2001, an email came in to the site. It read: “Congratulations, we did it! Radio station WPLJ had just announced that WPIX-TV would be reinstating the Yule Log!”. The following week, Tom’s article entitled “TV Rekindles An Old Flame” was released in the New York Times and WPIX issued its press release to make it official. From that point on, I was contacted by newspapers, radio stations, book publishers, TV networks -- you name it. All of them wanting to know how I did it. The truth is I didn’t do anything. The credit goes to WPIX and in particular, program director Julie O’Neil. It was Julie who found the program sitting in a New Jersey storage facility and had the wisdom to bring it back to the New York City airwaves -- not to mention restore the video AND covert the program to HiDef. Also, none of this would have been possible without the guidance of current WPIX General Manager, Betty Ellen Berlamino, who had the ultimate final say.

As the popularity of the program grew, so did this website. In 2002, I decided it was time to give it its own individuality and The Yule was born in the fall of that year. Then in 2005, I switched it to the more popular .com domain, which is its current identity.


Thankfully, in the years since, the website continues to attract more and more people. And it is only through the support of ALL of you that I am permitted to continue the legacy of this great website.

Lawrence F. "Chip" Arcuri ~ Owner/Webmaster of The Yule


Just an observation on how those of you who want to see the program continue can make that happen.

Television has become such a competitive animal. One can only imagine how simple things were back in the 60s compared to today. New York City had 7 channels in 1966; maybe 9, if you were lucky enough to have a UHF antenna. With the advent of 24 hour cable channels, VCRs, DVD players and devices that are out now that did not even exist when this site first premiered, over the air television is truly standing the test of time. Let’s face it, it’s all about sponsors. Obviously, shift your loyalties in the direction of the sponsors. But more important, contact them and let them know how much you appreciate them sponsoring this time honored Christmas tradition.