Let's face it - Christmas television can get a little boring. How many times can one watch fun movies like Elf, Home Alone and Polar Express? Maybe that's why 'The Yule Log' generates so much excitement each year. After all, what better way to celebrate the season than by watching a warm crackling fire?
This rather imaginative programming was first aired on New York's WPIX on December 24th, 1966. Stuck with an open programming slot created by the sudden cancelation of a Christmas Eve college basketball game, the station's President, Fred Thrower, came up with a brilliant idea. Why not fill the slot with a 'Christmas card' for its viewers. The 'card' comprised of a fireplace complete with a warm crackling fire and Christmas stockings hung on the sides. It was no ordinary fire either, but one that had been warming up Gracie Mansion, the official residence of the city's mayor.
The genius of the 3-hour program was that it comprised of a 17 second scene that was repeated over and over again, with some Christmas music playing in the background. To everyone's utter surprise, the show was a roaring success!
From then on, it became an eagerly awaited annual tradition. Then in 1989, the unthinkable happened - The Yule Log got canceled. However, it was not for lack of fans but because the station found it too expensive to air it without commercials.
But that was not the end. In 2000, New Jersey resident Joe Malzone set up an online petition to bring the show back. The response was so overwhelming, that the station had no choice but to give in. That year, it was the most watched Christmas 'show' in the Metropolitan New York Area and a new 'Yule Log' era was born.
The show's success has resulted in numerous copycats. This year's line up includes hour-long shows by on-demand Internet streaming companies Netflix and Hulu, as well as, one with a My Little Pony theme on the kid-friendly Hub cable channel. And if none of them are good enough for you, there is always YouTube, where numerous parodies have made their appearance. One of the cutest ones features Internet celebrity feline, Lil Bub, who has added her own magic touch by purring the entire time! The best part is that it lasts an entire hour if, you can sit through it!
Happy Viewing and A Very Merry Christmas To All Of You!
Resources: Wired.com, nydaily.com