Happy 100th Birthday, Hollywood sign !

the iconic Hollywood sign is 100 years old!

July 13th 1923 saw the Hollywood sign dedicated on Mount Lee in the Hollywood hills overlooking LA….or actually Hollywoodland as the sign originally read when it was first erected. Built originally as an advert for real estate investors it soon became synonymous with the fledgling film industry that was developing in LA due to the almost year round sun ideal for shooting exteriors without any fear of rain. Originally illuminated the light were switched off in 1933 due to cost The ‘Land’ part of the sign was removed in 1949 when it was first redeveloped and has been standing there ever since.

It wasn’t always so glamourous and has been the site of many suicides the being in 1932 when actress Lillian Millicent “Peg” Entwistle jumped from the letter “H” of the Hollywoodland sign to end her life after failure to star in the movies.

By 1978 the sign was pretty dilapidated and a Save The Sign Campaign was launched by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce with a goal to raise $250,000 to build a new Hollywood Sign. Hugh Hefner hosted a gala fundraiser at the Playboy Mansion, where individual sign letters were auctioned off at $27,700 per letter to celebrity sponsors including

  • H: Terrence Donnelly (publisher of the Hollywood Independent Newspaper)
  • O: Alice Cooper who donated in memory of comedian Groucho Marx
  • L: Les Kelley (founder of Kelley Blue Book)
  • L: Gene Autry  (actor)
  • Y: Hugh Hefner
  • W: Andy Williams (singer)
  • O: Giovanni Mazza (Italian movie producer, co-founder of Panaria Film)
  • O: Warner bros records
  • D: Dennis Lidtke (businessman, graphics company Gribbit)

The Pacific Outdoor Advertising Company, assisted by Hughes Helicopter and Heath Company, was awarded the contract to tear down and rebuild the Holly wood sign. The project took eight painters over 700 hours to prepare and paint the sign, which used 300 gallons of primer and paint. Raiden Peterson was project manager of the 1978 reconstruction, and helicopter pilot Greg Ashe flew 20 steel beams to the construction site. The beams were secured in deep holes filled with 194 tons of concrete. It was the third such makeover for the 72-year-old sign.

1n 1992 as part of the film promotion for Cool World, starring Brad Pitt and Kim Basinger, the Hollywood Sign was altered to include a 75-foot-tall cut out of Basingers’ character Holli Would. The alteration angered local residents, who were “appalled” by the city’s approval of the alterations.”

18th May 1995 saw the Hollywood sign unveiled with another facelift and 2005 saw the 45-foot high letters of the famous sign, last painted in 1995, received a coat of primer and specially formulated paint called Hollywood White

In 2010 the Trust for Public Land President Will Rogers, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Los Angeles councillor Tom LeBonge and Chairman of the Hollywood Sign Trust Chris Baumgart celebrated after the governor made the announcement that sufficient money had been raised to purchase and protect the land around the historic Hollywood sign in Griffith Park. The Hollywood sign is now protected by its own security company due to pranks and having been a popular location for drug use as well as keeping bus loads of tourists at a distance and preventing damage

2107 saw the sign changed to Hollyweed when cannabis laws were changed in California

2023 saw the sign get another lick of paint for its 100th birthday

related feature: Why Christoph Waltz almost gave up on Hollywood…….

related feature: Just how small is it outside Graumanns’ Chinese Theatre and the walk of stars?


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