Infobox Historic building
name = Hollywood Sign
caption = The Hollywood Sign as it appears today.
Los Angeles, California
Thomas Fisk Goff
client = Woodruff and Shoults (Hollywoodland)
construction_start_date = 1923
completion_date = 1923
structural_system = Wood and sheet metal (1923)
size = 45' high; about 200' longThe Hollywood Sign is a famous
landmarkin the Hollywood Hillsarea of Los Angeles, California, spelling out the name of the area in convert|50|ftcite web|author= Renée Montagne|title = The Hollywood Sign|work = Present at the Creation|publisher = National Public RadioCrime Library|date= 2002-10-28|url = http://www.npr.org/programs/morning/features/patc/hollywoodsign/index.html|accessdate = 2006-09-20] high white letters. It was created as an advertisement in 1923, but garnered increasing recognition after its initial purpose had been fulfilled.cite web|author= Hollywood Sign Trust|title = The Hollywood Sign|work = A Beat-by-Beat Plotline|publisher = Hollywood Sign Trust|date= 2005-05-19|url = http://www.hollywoodsign.org/pdf/HOLLYWOOD%20PLOTLINE.pdf|accessdate = 2007-08-12] The sign was a frequent target of pranks and vandalism but has since undergone restoration, including a security system to deter vandalism. The sign is protected and promoted by the Hollywood Sign Trust, a nonprofit organization whose purpose is to physically maintain, repair and secure the sign, to educate the world about its historical and cultural importance, and to raise the funds necessary to accomplish these projects.
From the ground, the contours of the hills give the sign its well-known "wavy" appearance. When observed at a comparable altitude, the letters appear straight-across.
The sign makes frequent appearances in popular culture, particularly in establishing shots for
films and television programs set in or around Hollywood, and for example in the background of the current CGI fanfare logo of 20th Century Fox. Signs of similar style, but spelling different words, are frequently seen as parodies.
The sign originally read "HOLLYWOODLAND", and its purpose was to advertise a new housing development in the hills above the
Hollywooddistrict of Los Angeles. H.J. Whitley had already used a sign to advertise his development Whitley Heights, which was located between Highland Avenue and Vine Avenue. He suggested to his friend Harry Chandler, the owner of the " Los Angeles Times", that the land syndicate in which he was involved make a similar sign to advertise their land. Real estate developers Woodruff and Shoults called their development "Hollywoodland" and advertised it as a "superb environment without excessive cost on the Hollywood side of the hills." (A movie named " Hollywoodland" was made in 2006.)
They contracted the Crescent Sign Company to erect thirteen letters on the hillside, each facing south. The sign company owner,
Thomas Fisk Goff(1890–1984) designed the sign. Each letter of the sign was 30 ft (9 m) wide and 50 ft (15 m) high, and was studded with some 4000 light bulbs. The sign was officially dedicated on July 13, 1923. It was not intended to be permanent. Some sourcesWho|date=June 2008 say its expected life was to be about a year and a half, but after the rise of the American cinema in Los Angeles it became an internationally recognized symbol, and was left there.
It became so associated with Hollywood that in September 1932, actress
Peg Entwistlecommitted suicideby jumping to her death from the letter "H", as she saw the sign as a symbol of the industry that had rejected her.Fact|date=June 2008
Official maintenance of the sign ended in 1939, and it rapidly began to deteriorate.
During the early 1940s,
Albert Kothe(the sign's official caretaker) caused an accident that destroyed the letter "H", [Summer 2006 edition of "The Beachwood Voice"] as seen in many historical pictures. Kothe was driving his car up to the top of Mount Lee drunk, lost control of the vehicle, and drove off the cliff behind the "H". While Kothe was not injured, the 1928 Ford Model Awas destroyed, as was the letter.
In 1949, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce began a contract with the City of Los Angeles Parks Department to repair and rebuild the sign. The contract stipulated that "LAND" be removed to spell "Hollywood" and reflect the city, not the "Hollywoodland" housing development. [cite news|url=http://www.npr.org/programs/morning/features/patc/hollywoodsign/index.html|title=The Hollywood Sign, Present at the Creation|date=
October 28, 2002|publisher=NPR|] The Parks Department dictated that all subsequent illumination would be at the cost of the Chamber, so the Chamber opted not to replace the light bulbs. The 1949 effort gave it new life, but the wooden and sheet metal sign continued to deteriorate in the open air of the Hollywood Hills. Eventually the first "O" splintered and broke off, resembling a lowercase "u", and the third "O" fell down completely, leaving the severely dilapidated sign reading "HuLLYWOD".
In 1978, due in large part to the public campaign to restore the landmark by
shock rocker Alice Cooper(who donated the missing "O"), the Chamber set out to replace the intensely deteriorated sign with a more permanent structure. Nine donors gave $27,777 each (totaling $250,000) to sponsor replacement letters made of Australian steel, guaranteed to last for many years (see Donors section below).
The new letters were 45 ft (13.7 m) high and ranged from 31 to 39 ft (9.3 to 11.8 m) wide. The new version of the sign was unveiled on Hollywood's 75th anniversary,
November 14, 1978, before a live television audience of 60 million people.
Refurbishment, donated by Bay Cal Commercial Painting, [cite web|url=http://www.baycal.com/hsrp/index.html|title=Hollywood Sign Restoration Project 2005|accessdate=2008-01-01|publisher=Bay Cal Painting] began again in November 2005, as workers stripped the letters back to their metal base and repainted them white. Also in 2005, the original 1923 sign was put up for sale on eBay by producer/entrepreneur Dan Bliss. [cite news|url=http://money.cnn.com/2005/11/17/news/newsmakers/hollywood_sign |title=Buy a piece of HOLLYWOOD|author=Jessica Seid|publisher=CNN|date=2005-11-17] Bliss sold the sign to artist Bill Mack.
* H - Terrence Donnelly, Publisher Hollywood Independent Newspaper
* O - Giovanni Mazza, Italian movie producer
* L - Les Kelley, originator of the
Kelley Blue Book
* L -
* Y -
* W -
* O -
Warner Bros. Records
* O -
Alice Cooper, in memory of Groucho Marx
* D - Dennis Lidtke
The sign is located on the southern side of
Mount Leein Griffith Park, north of the Mulholland Highway. A good viewpoint within 100 yards of the sign can be reached by driving north up Gower Street from Hollywood Boulevardand then north along Beachwood Drive.
In 2000, the
Los Angeles Police Departmentinstalled a security system featuring motion detection and closed-circuit cameras. Movement any closer than 50 yards activates an alarm, and the police are called.
* Altitude 1578 ft (491 m)
Land in the vicinity of the sign remains privately owned. Much of it was owned by the estate of
Howard Hughes, who had once planned a hilltop mansion at Cahuenga Peak; part of that tract was sold in 2002, and the new owners are interested in exploiting a route for a road to access the property granted in 1945 by the Los Angeles City Department of Water and Power. As a result, the city of Los Angeles is considering buying the property, possibly by raising money from celebrities as was done for the restoration. [cite news
title=Chicago investors' sale puts famous Hollywood sign in jeopardy, residents say
April 17 2008
It is illegal to make unauthorized alterations to the sign. Although the city has occasionally allowed it in the past for commercial purposes, current policy does not permit changes to be made. This is largely due to neighborhood opposition and to past accidents. However, the sign has been unofficially altered a number of times, often eliciting a great deal of attention. Some of the more famous modifications have included:
*HOLLYWeeD – January 1976, following the passage of a state law decriminalizing marijuana.
*HOLLYWEED – December 1983, for the opening scene of the film "Hollywood Hot Tubs".
*HOLYWOOD – April 1977, for Easter sunrise service, viewable from the Hollywood Bowl.
*GO NAVY – November 1983, before that year's
Army-Navy Gameat the Rose Bowl stadium.
*RAFFEYSOD – January 1985, reportedly done by a band called "The Raffeys", who were trying to drum up publicity.
*HOLLYWOOD II – April 1986, to mark the revitalization of area.
*FOX – April 1987, for promotion of the television network.
*CALTECH – May 1987, on Hollywood's 100th birthday.
*OLLYWOOD – July 1987, during the
*HOLYWOOD – September 1987, for
Pope John Paul II's arrival.
*USCWOOD – 1987, for the annual USC-UCLA football game.
*As part of a promotion for the 1992 film "
Cool World", a 75-foot-tall cutout of Holli Would was installed, appearing to sit on the sign. The alteration angered local residents, [cite news |first=Deborah |last=Schoch |title=Hollywood Residents Can't Shroud Anger Promotion: Paramount Pictures defends attaching a movie cartoon character to the famous sign. Citizens fear a tourist invasion and say that the landmark is being commercialized. |url=http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/latimes/access/61039169.html?dids=61039169:61039169&FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:FT&date=Jul+06,+1992&author=DEBORAH+SCHOCH&pub=Los+Angeles+Times+(pre-1997+Fulltext)&desc=Hollywood+Residents+Can't+Shroud+Anger+Promotion:+Paramount+Pictures+def |publisher= Los Angeles Times|date=July 6, 1992 |accessdate=2008-09-22 ] [cite news |author=Associated Press |title=Cartoon Character Opens Landmark Rift |url=http://nl.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/Archives?p_product=SJ&s_site=mercurynews&p_multi=SJ&p_theme=realcities&p_action=search&p_maxdocs=200&p_topdoc=1&p_text_direct-0=0EB719DF2E0AA62A&p_field_direct-0=document_id&p_perpage=10&p_sort=YMD_date:D&s_trackval=GoogleP |publisher= San Jose Mercury News|date=July 7, 1992 |accessdate=2008-09-22 ] who picketed the unveiling of the altered sign.cite news |first=Mathis |last=Chazanov |title='D' as in Disagreement Cartoon Character Atop Landmark Sign Sets Off Protests |url=http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/latimes/access/61039484.html?dids=61039484:61039484&FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:FT&date=Jul+07,+1992&author=MATHIS+CHAZANOV&pub=Los+Angeles+Times+(pre-1997+Fulltext)&desc=`D'+as+in+Disagreement+Cartoon+Character+Atop+Landmark+Sign+Sets+Off+Pr |publisher= Los Angeles Times|date=July 7, 1992 |accessdate=2008-09-22 ]
*OIL WAR – 1991, for the
*PEROTWOOD – During the 1992 presidential election, showing support for candidate
*PINKYWOOD – for the 1992
Don Bluthfilm " Rock-a-Doodle" during a chase scene around the "Pinky Pictures" studio back lot.
*GO UCLA – 1993, for the annual
UCLA-USC football game. Twenty members of UCLA's Theta Chifraternity achieved the prank, and were subsequently charged with trespassing. This incident prompted the 1994 installation of a $100,000 security system featuring video surveillance and motion detection.
*PEROTWOOD – During the 1996 presidential election in support of candidate Ross Perot.
*JOLLYGOOD – When
Virgin Atlanticbegan flying nonstop from LA to London.
January 1, 2000, the sign was lit up in an array of flashing colors in celebration of the new millennium.
Numerous towns around the world have created their own signs that deliberately mimic the look of the Hollywood Sign:
Alburquerque, Badajoz, Spain
Australia(on Mount Panorama)
Coron, Palawan, Philippines
Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua Mexico[ [http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&q=Ciudad+Ju%C3%A1rez,+Chihuahua+Mexico&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=50.02446,70.048828&layer=&ie=UTF8&z=16&ll=31.705533,-106.518631&spn=0.013235,0.02414&t=h&om=1&iwloc=addr Map of Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua Mexico] ]
California(on a small hill at the intersection of Sepulveda and Centinela)
Dartford, Kent, England( Crossways Business Park)
Denison, Iowa(hometown of actress Donna Reed)
Des Arc, Arkansas
Dingle, Ireland(taken down after it was discovered to be illegal)
Endless Caverns, New Market, Virginia
California( Niles Canyonndash where Charlie Chaplinmade " The Tramp" in 1915 for Essanay Studios)
Hammarstrand, Sweden[cite news|language=Swedish|title=Bygget av jätteskylten över Hammarstrand är i full gång|url=http://www.ltz.se/artikel_standard.php?id=445950&avdelning_1=101&avdelning_2=105|author=Ingvar Ericsson|date= 22 September 2007|publisher=Länstidningen]
Heywood, Greater Manchester, England
Iriga, Philippines(on Mount Iriga)
Lomas de lo Aguirre, Chile
Los Lunas, New Mexico- two large L's on the east side of the mountain west of the city.
Nha Trang, Vietnam(the sign says "VINPEARL"on a mountain in a amusement park called "Vinpearl Land")
Richmond, Virginia(erected illegally, later taken down)
Mosgiel, New Zealand
Nouméa, New Caledonia
Penticton, British Columbia, Canada
Raton, New Mexico
Roscoe, New York(on a mountain near New York State Route 17)
Ponce, Puerto Rico
Ponta Delgada, Sao Miguel, Portugal
Riverview, New Brunswick, Canada
Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada
San Pedro Sula, Honduras
Seligman, Arizona(a large "S" on Seligman Mountain)
*South San Francisco,
California[ [http://maps.google.com/maps?ll=37.663406,-122.418026&spn=0.004284,0.007094&t=k&hl=en Map of South San Francisco, California] ]
TV Show[ [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
Sturgis, South Dakota
New Mexico( [http://maps.google.com/maps?t=k&ie=UTF8&ll=35.133948,-103.699608&spn=0.011091,0.016694&om=1 large "T" on a hill south of town] – see also Hillside letters)
Southern Californiacities have imitated the sign in some way. In Duarte, California, the Duarte "D" can be seen off the Route 210. A sign next to Dodger Stadiumfeatures the words "THINK BLUE". Rose Hills Memorial Parkhas a sign with the words "ROSE HILLS". It glows neon pink in the evening.
The sign has been replicated on the side of a small hill next to the bar Legends on Bradford Road in
Batley, West Yorkshire, England.
The logo of the video rental chain Hollywood Video incorporates an artistic rendering of the sign.
The campus of
Loyola Marymount Universityhas its acronym (LMU) displayed on a hill looking down the Playa Vistaand Marina Del Reyneighborhoods.
A sign in the video game "" reads "Vinewood". "Vinewood" in "San Andreas" is the in-game replica of Hollywood, where in-game movies were made.
The cover for the album "Toxicity" by
System of a Downfeatures cover art depicting the sign spelling out the band's name.
Presumably as a version of the famous letters, there is a large W on a hill in the town of
* [http://www.hollywoodsign.org Hollywood Sign]
* [http://maps.live.com/default.aspx?v=2&FORM=LMLTCP&cp=34.134091~-118.321199&style=h&lvl=19&tilt=-90&dir=0&alt=-1000&phx=0&phy=0&phscl=1&encType=1 Virtual Earth - The Hollywood Sign]
* [http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&ie=UTF8&z=19&ll=34.134098,-118.321603&spn=0.001507,0.002511&t=k&om=1 The Hollywood Sign from the air (via Google Maps)]
*Preview of "Under the Hollywood Sign," a documentary on the history and present-day life of Beachwood Canyon: www.hopeandersonproductions.com
* [http://www.baycal.com Bay Cal Commercial Painting - Donater of 2005 Restoration] (With Short History of the Hollywood Sign)
* [http://www.losangeleshelicoptertour.net/hollywood-sign.htm Hollywood Sign photographed from a flying helicopter]
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