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Christmas Music Guru
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Date Posted:11/02/2016 07:15:16Copy HTML


              

                      (Outtake from footage of the original 1966 Gracie Mansion Yule Log film that aired from 1966-1969)



After years of searching, the original 1966 Yule Log footage has been found.

 

It was found among the possessions of the late Bill Cooper, the producer of both original 1966 Yule Log telecast, as well as the later 1970 reshoot of what has now become the classic and legendary Yule Log that we have all come to know and love.

 

Bill's possessions relating to his broadcasting career were left to WPIX upon the death of his widow, actress Kay Arnold Cooper, in 2014. Since then, the folks at the station have been slowly sifting through Bill's possessions looking for the original footage, but with no luck -- that is, until early August when it was finally found.

 

What was found was not the entire original 1966 3-hour broadcast, but rather two minutes of the original 16mm footage of the fireplace without audio. It was actually because of the shortness of the loop (17 seconds), as well as the fact that it was only shot on 16mm film, that WPIX needed to reshoot the loop in 1970.

 

The original 1966 footage was shot at Gracie Mansion, the home of then Mayor of New York, John Lindsay. When WPIX shot that original footage, the camera crew decided to remove the protective screen to capture the conflagration in all its flaming glory. Unfortunately, though, a stray spark flew out damaged an expensive antique rug. As a result, when WPIX decided to reshoot the loop in 1970, they were not welcome back. This touched off a nation-wide search to find an identical fireplace.

Eventually, one was found in, of all places, Palo Alto, California. And not long after, Bill Cooper and his crew of technicians were dispatched out to complete the reshoot. This time, from the footage they shot (in a sweltering August heat, by the way), they were able to edit out a perfect 7-minute loop that magnificently captured the fire when it was at its roaring best. It is this iconic fireplace footage that has captured the fascination of millions in the tri-state area since 1970, and now, with its broadcast nationally since 2003, many more millions across the nation. And it is this iconic footage that has become so classic and legendary, not the original 1966 footage.

The classic and legendary 1970 reshoot footage is far superior to the original 1966 footage both technically because it was shot on state-of-the-art 35mm film, as well as artistically because of the much more ornate mantelpiece that was used and the spectacular, roaring fire that was captured on film within that glorious 7-minute loop that the program is comprised of.

However, because of the legendary status of the program, as well as its place in the history of television, finding the original footage has been a longtime goal and we are happy to say that it has finally been accomplished.

So, I am pleased to announce that on Christmas Eve at 11pm (EST), WPIX-TV will air a special one-hour 50th Anniversary presentation of the Yule Log with the recently found original 1966 Gracie Mansion footage. It will be accompanied by the first hour of the classic Yule Log soundtrack, which I restored in 2006. By the way, this is the first time the program has aired on Christmas Eve in almost 30 years.

For the Hour 1 track listing of the Yule Log soundtrack, click here for my website's music section and see Songs 1 thru 25.

In addition, on Christmas Day, this special 1-hour presentation of the original 1966 Gracie Mansion Yule Log will encore at 7am. It will then be followed by a second, third, fourth and fifth hour (8am-12pm) of the classic and legendary 1970 Yule Log -- with that fifth hour being the new hour that I produced especially for this 50th anniversary.

Click here for the official WPIX press release statement.

**Please note: as I announced in a previous thread, my new 5th hour of the Yule Log that I produced this year for the 50th anniversary will premiere nationally on Antenna TV at 6am as part of a special 50th Anniversary Golden Jubilee presentation from 2am-7am (EST). Following that, here in New York, it will air on WPIX-TV at 11am (EST) as part of a special 5-hour presentation of the program from 7am-12pm (EST).

Click here for that earlier announcement.



Lawrence F. "Chip" Arcuri Owner/Webmaster | The Yule Log.com
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Re:The Original 1966 Yule Log Footage Has Finally Been Found

Date Posted:11/02/2016 09:02:50Copy HTML

Chip,

I'm so glad that the original footage from 1966 has been found.  I know I had asked you a few times if Kay Cooper was able to find it in Bill's possessions, and Yay!!! she did find it.

I only hope that WPIX will broadcast it without the black bars on all 4 sides of the program.  I believe I had talked about this in one of the more recent broadcasts of The Yule Log being I receive WPIX as a Superstation from Dish Network, they only give us the SD feed, but I believe that Dish receives the HD feed.  So this is what I see in the "Normal" mode on my receiver.





I can go to a "Stretch" mode on my receiver, but for the particular Yule Log Broadcast that I believe I mentioned in recent years, in a post I can find now, even fully zoomed in there were black bars on all 4 sides of the video.

I do receive Antenna TV over the air, but sometimes the signal gets interrupted, so hopefully WPIX will broadcast this in full screen SD for us folks who can't get WPIX in HD.
Christmas Isn't Just A Day In December, It's A Way Of Life. Susan
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Re:The Original 1966 Yule Log Footage Has Finally Been Found

Date Posted:11/03/2016 09:16:03Copy HTML

Very nice!!! THE Yule Log on Christmas Eve!!! As it should be!! 
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Re:The Original 1966 Yule Log Footage Has Finally Been Found

Date Posted:11/04/2016 01:46:06Copy HTML


Susan:

Kay did not find the film. I talked to her many times about it, but she could just never find it. However, she always believed that it was somewhere among Bill's possessions in the house. Well, in the end she was absolutely right. But it wasn't until after she died that it was discovered among Bill's possessions. Since then, the station and I have had to keep it a secret -- and it wasn't easy.

As for the way the program's being broadcast with the black bars, that is a Dish Network issue, not WPIX. It is Dish Network that chooses to only give you the SD feed, and not the HD. And the station just can't do anything about that.



Gene:

Christmas Eve as it should be, indeed.


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Re:The Original 1966 Yule Log Footage Has Finally Been Found

Date Posted:11/04/2016 07:15:14Copy HTML

Chip,
I have to ask... what was your reaction when PIX called with the news that they found the 1966 footage?!?

This all still feels like a dream.  I can't believe I'm actually going to get to see the "original" Yule Log in all it's glory!  So amazing.  It scares me to think that that tin could have gone unnoticed and possibly lost. Kudos to Rolando Pujol for discovering it.

I guess all that is left is to find out more about the location of the 1970 shoot, the people who lived there, etc.  I'll take anything.  I have always been very curious about that. Hopefully they find more gems in Kay's belongings.

Patrick
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Re:The Original 1966 Yule Log Footage Has Finally Been Found

Date Posted:11/05/2016 02:30:08Copy HTML


When Rolando first called me about it, he had just found it. We both couldn't believe the timing of possibly finding it on the 50th anniversary. I said to him that people are never going to believe that something so serendipitous could happen. I said folks will think that we had it all along and just held it back for the 50th anniversary. Anyway, we both held our breath while engineering worked on the film. After it was indeed confirmed that it was the original, we were both ecstatic and stunned.

My only concern about finding the original 1966 footage is that I don't want it in any way to overshadow or detract from the classic and legendary 1970 reshoot footage, as that is the classic and legendary footage we have all come to know and love. That is why the station is only airing the 1966 footage for just the one hour on Christmas Eve and Day.

As I said in my opening post on this thread, the classic and legendary 1970 reshoot footage is far superior to the original 1966 footage both technically because it was shot on state-of-the-art 35mm film, as well as artistically because of the much more ornate mantelpiece that was used and the spectacular, roaring fire that was captured on film within that glorious 7-minute loop that the program is comprised of.

However, because of the legendary status of the program, as well as its place in the history of television, finding the original footage has been a longtime goal and we are so very happy that it has finally been accomplished.

As for ascertaining more information about the location of the 1970 reshoot, that has been a longtime goal, too. And I hope someday we can hit pay dirt on that as well.



Lawrence F. "Chip" Arcuri Owner/Webmaster | The Yule Log.com
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Re:The Original 1966 Yule Log Footage Has Finally Been Found

Date Posted:11/05/2016 03:26:29Copy HTML

Chip,
Thank you for the clarification.  I don't remember if you ever mentioned prior to your post, about Kay Cooper passing away.  Also, watching The Yule Log on WPIX, it was playing fine until either the restoration of the soundtrack or the 4th hour broadcast.  (I can't find the post I did about the technical glitches/difficulties) and I was getting WPIX in SD then,  and I didn't have the black bars all the way around the screen.  Dish tells me that WPIX doesn't allow them to give us the HD feed because it isn't a local station for us.

But most of WPIX's programming comes in without the black bars around it.  even if I don't put it into "stretch" mode.  It doesn't matter if it's SD or HD. the programming would fill out the screen for the most part.  I might still have a VHS recording of this, but there is no way to tell the year it was recorded unless at the end of the broadcast there is a Copyright year.  But it would have been within the last 10 years, probably less.

Again it was mainly during that broadcast of The Yule Log, where zooming in wouldn't make it fill the screen.

I vaguely remember asking you about it and telling you that there was some glitches during the broadcast, and maybe even on WGN America that particular year.  I don't believe it was on Antenna TV's broadcast though.

About ascertaining the location for the re-shoot in California, is it possible that somewhere in the archives, there might be an expense report/ledger, receipts, hotel reservations and so on that might indicate where the re-shoot was done?

Also, I know you don't want the 1966 Yule Log to overshadow the 1970 re-shoot and that is why WPIX will broadcast just the first hour, but is there any chance that they will broadcast the full 3-hours?  Especially for some of us who were fortunate enough to have actually watched this in 1966.   We didn't have a color TV then so it would be nice to see the full broadcast in color, and with the original songs from 1966
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Re:The Original 1966 Yule Log Footage Has Finally Been Found

Date Posted:11/05/2016 07:11:56Copy HTML


No Susan, there is no chance the '66 Yule Log will be broadcast for three hours. None, as it will never be allowed to displace the classic 1970 Yule Log which has now aired for 35 out of the 39 years the program has been broadcast thus far (that's not counting the 11 years the show was in hiatus).

First of all, as I said in my opening post on this thread, as well as in the group email that I sent out, w
hat was found was not the entire original 1966 3-hour broadcast, but rather only two minutes of the original 16mm footage of the fireplace without audio. That's all. The original audio for the '66 broadcast is still lost.

For the one hour presentation of the '66 footage this year, the station asked me if I could recreate something close to that original first hour of audio. And I could have, but I declined.
First of all, the oldest complete presentation of the program that I have in my archives is 1968. And even though it was pretty close to what aired in '66, it's still not the original '66 audio; so therefore it would not be a complete accurate recreation. But in addition to that, if I recreated something close to that original first hour of audio for the program, it would be a substandard product, as the soundtrack for the program back in those years from 1966-1972 was inferior to the final, definitive and classic soundtrack that Fred Thrower created for the broadcast in 1973. And it is that definitive soundtrack that ran for the duration, and consequently the majority, of the Yule Log's run on WPIX-TV. It is also the version that the great majority of people today are familiar with. This is the reason why my audio restoration of the program that I did in 2006 was based on the definitive 1973 soundtrack.

So therefore, as I also said in my opening post on this thread, for the special one hour presentation of the '66 Yule Log, it
will be accompanied by the first hour of the classic Yule Log soundtrack.

As for the 1970 reshoot, unfortunately no such records that you alluded to have ever been found. However, Bill's things are still being sifted through, so hopefully someday we hope they might be.



Lawrence F. "Chip" Arcuri Owner/Webmaster | The Yule Log.com
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Re:The Original 1966 Yule Log Footage Has Finally Been Found

Date Posted:11/06/2016 02:45:44Copy HTML

Chip,
Thank you again for clarifying.  Obviously I don't remember the soundtrack from 1966 being I was only 8 years old, but to remember my mom and siblings sitting in front of our TV and watching that first broadcast.

I hope that whomever is going through Bill's possessions, does come across the itinerary for the California re-shoot.  It would be a great peace of The Yule Log heritage to be added to what is already there.

I noticed in the still from the 1966 footage, that, even though it isn't that clear, that the fireplace isn't an exact match, but pretty close.  The carvings on the left and right from bottom to top are somewhat different.  The andirons look very close.

I know that the doll and stocking are probably gone forever, but with digital imaging, would it be possible to clean this image up and superimpose it over the 1972 re-shoot?

Or is it just better to leave it as it is, being it's what the majority of us grew up watching since 1972.

I think this has been asked before, but is there any chance of WPIX doing "A Log's Life" again, and maybe add more information about how this original footage was found?  Along with anything else the may have come along?
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Re:The Original 1966 Yule Log Footage Has Finally Been Found

Date Posted:11/06/2016 04:18:02Copy HTML


Susan,

First of all, the reshoot was in 1970, not 1972.

Second, in the seventh paragraph of my opening post on this thread I couldn't have stated anymore categorically about the technological and artistic superiority of the 1970 footage. And in my previous post, I also
couldn't have stated anymore categorically about how the 1966 footage will never be allowed to displace the classic 1970 Yule Log, which has now aired for 35 out of the 39 years the program has been broadcast.

So therefore, it should come as no surprise that I am stunned that you would ask me the question you just did in your last post. I suggest that you read both my opening post as well as my previous post on this thread very carefully again.



Lawrence F. "Chip" Arcuri Owner/Webmaster | The Yule Log.com
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Re:The Original 1966 Yule Log Footage Has Finally Been Found

Date Posted:11/06/2016 06:43:09Copy HTML

Chip,
Sorry about the year,  it was a typo on my part.  As for asking the last question, It is purely for "Nostalgia Purposes"  nothing more.  I would guess that some other die hard Yule Log Fans might be interested in it for the same reasons.

Yes, I understand that the 1970 California re-shoot is far superior to the 1966 original, but again, purely for "Nostalgia Purposes"  It's kind of the same for when the movie studio take a B&W print of a classic that we grew up with and then "Colorize" it,  Yes, it may look nice, but it isn't the same, and the technology isn't perfect in a lot of these "Colorized" prints.  especially when it comes to the teeth.  It is really noticeable on some of the Shirley Temple Classics.

Also, when everything is "Digitized" it takes away from the quality of the prints.  That is very noticeable on most TV programs, past and present.  You can see where the background areas that don't change during several frames of film that when the foreground images are changing, it looks like they are superimposed over the background, and with Analog you didn't get that.
Christmas Isn't Just A Day In December, It's A Way Of Life. Susan
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Re:The Original 1966 Yule Log Footage Has Finally Been Found

Date Posted:11/07/2016 02:35:37Copy HTML


We are all interested in the '66 footage for nostalgia reasons, Susan, which is precisely why we tried to find it as long as we did. And that is exactly why it is being broadcast for one hour on Christmas Eve night and for one hour Christmas Day morning. That's what makes your suggestion of "superimposing it over the 1970 reshoot" so incredibly baffling.

The finding of the '66 footage is a truly wonderful thing, but it must be kept in the proper perspective, and WPIX is doing just that.


Lawrence F. "Chip" Arcuri Owner/Webmaster | The Yule Log.com
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Re:The Original 1966 Yule Log Footage Has Finally Been Found

Date Posted:11/07/2016 04:01:09Copy HTML

Only 17 Seconds Long? Wasn't the Clip only 45 or so seconds long? And,will this be on Antenna TV  also? If the answer is "Yes" I'm getting a DVD Recorder for My Christmas Present,with My Bonus PE (Personal Expense) Check at the end of this Month!
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Re:The Original 1966 Yule Log Footage Has Finally Been Found

Date Posted:11/07/2016 05:28:00Copy HTML


The original loop that was filmed in 1966 was 17 seconds long. However, within that two-minute portion of the original program that was found this year, the loop is actually only 7 seconds long. This two-minute film clip was probably from one of the later shows (1968 or 1969), when they had to edit the loop because the film was wearing down. That premature wearing of the film was because the original 1966 loop was only shot on 16mm stockhence, the reason for the 1970 reshoot.

As for Antenna TV, they are only showing the 1970 classic Yule Log.



Lawrence F. "Chip" Arcuri Owner/Webmaster | The Yule Log.com
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Re:The Original 1966 Yule Log Footage Has Finally Been Found

Date Posted:11/10/2016 12:20:29Copy HTML

Chip,
About superimposing over the 1970 reshoot, that was just for trying to get the fireplace as close to original as possible, nothing more.   I remember watching "A Log's Life" and Kay Cooper stating that they found the doll, when they actually hadn't.  No faulting her recollection in any way, but to have it as close to original would be really great.

Again as for the molding around the top, left and right side of the fireplace from California, it is different than the 1966 Gracie Mansion fireplace.  Yes, the 1970 reshoot is what most people remember being it aired for 19 years before WPIX cancelled it for other shows like 21 Jump Street, and then brought it back in 2001.

I guess, I'm a stickler for having "Original" just like when trying to find record albums.  Yes, the reissues sound pretty much the same, but they aren't the original releases.  As I know you are too with your record collection.
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Re:The Original 1966 Yule Log Footage Has Finally Been Found

Date Posted:11/10/2016 01:48:09Copy HTML


Susan,

This is not the same as an LP reissue. And you should know better than that.

A reissue is taking an existing album and then altering it in some way.

The 1970 complete Yule Log reshoot is comparable to what Percy Faith did in 1959 when he completely re-recorded his album "Music of Christmas" and created a masterpiece that was superior both technologically because of the stereo, as well as artistically because of his perfected arrangements.

The 1970 rehoot was a total improvement over the original in every way, not the least of which was the new doll they used, which was a vast improvement over that absolutely hideous doll they used in the original.


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Re:The Original 1966 Yule Log Footage Has Finally Been Found

Date Posted:11/15/2016 08:27:33Copy HTML

As someone who never really heard of the practice of hanging a doll over a fireplace, I must agree with you Chip, that really is a hideous doll.
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Re:The Original 1966 Yule Log Footage Has Finally Been Found

Date Posted:11/16/2016 04:18:33Copy HTML

That doll is hideous. It sort of reminds me of one of the Spirits in Mr Magoo's Christmas Carol.


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Re:The Original 1966 Yule Log Footage Has Finally Been Found

Date Posted:11/16/2016 07:41:57Copy HTML

Only did I know about the original Gracie Log when, well, I came to this site :-)  Then saw the still photo on the Log's Life special.  Growing up in the '80s, the Palo Alto Log was the only one I knew.  This is going to be awesome....I need to DVR all!  

The b/w pic made the doll in Log Mark 1 look like a Hawaiian girl to me...in color, it looks more like a cowboy.  It kind of looks like a sock puppet compared to the Raggedy Ann doll in Log Mk. 2.  
And yes, while the Gracie Log invented the concept, Palo Alto PERFECTED it :-)  Still will be good to see the Mk. 1 log in motion finally.  It's kind of like Mystery Science Theater 3000...the KTMA episodes are NOTHING like the glory days of Comedy Central and Sci-Fi Channel, but you have to see at least one episode at least once just out of curiosity.  


I know I asked about how the soundtrack would line up with each presentation of each Log, but I got my answer here.  Will be curious to see if there's some kind of transition over Logs if the music is continuous...Chip do you know?
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Re:The Original 1966 Yule Log Footage Has Finally Been Found

Date Posted:12/02/2016 01:19:59Copy HTML

Wasn't the '70's Reshoot filmed in the Summer,so the Crew had Beer and Wore Swimming Trunks while they were Filming,or was that a Fake Story? I'm Curious to find out!
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Re:The Original 1966 Yule Log Footage Has Finally Been Found

Date Posted:12/02/2016 02:47:15Copy HTML


Yes, the Yule Log reshoot was filmed in August of 1970. For behind-the-scenes pics of the reshoot featuring producer Bill Cooper and the crew, click here.


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Re:The Original 1966 Yule Log Footage Has Finally Been Found

Date Posted:12/11/2016 02:00:44Copy HTML

This is amazing!  Saw the news conference when they played a teaser.  
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