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by wanderer 2005
July 22, 2005
Each letter stands 30 feet wide and 50 feet tall, and the sign was erected in 1923, originally as an advertisement for a housing development named HOLLYWOODLAND. During that time, there was the filming boom in L.A., and names such as Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, and Mary Pickford were all the rage.
A lot of people don’t know that the original sign had 4,000 light bulbs that were maintained and changed daily by a caretaker who lived in a small house behind one of the letter "L’s." The lights would flash at night, first the word HOLLY, then the word WOOD, then LAND.
Yes, it’s true that during the depression in September 1932, a struggling actress named Peg Entwistle committed suicide by jumping to her death from the letter H.
Around 1939, the sign fell into disarray due to the bankruptcy the land developers fell into, the lack of a caretaker, and vandals. All the light bulbs were eventually stolen, leaving the sign to fall apart.
In 1949, the chamber of commerce decided to drop the word "LAND" and repair the rest of the sign, making history with the word Hollywood.
In 1973, the sign was declared an historical monument by the city of Los Angeles and plans were put in place to revamp and restore the ailing sign. A fundraiser was held at the Playboy Mansion, and people were encouraged to sponsor or "buy" a letter at $28,000 each. Alice Cooper sponsored an "O," Gene Autry sponsored an "L," and Paul Williams the "W."
For 3 months in 1978, the sign was torn down and a brand-new one was built. The sign was originally intended to last for a year and a half, but 82 years later, it still stands.
Be warned that it is illegal to get near the actual sign. Security cameras and motion detectors make it impossible to get close. But there are a few places in the city that you can get a great view of the sign. The first one is at the corner of Hollywood and Highland at the Hollywood and Highland Center. Go up the stairs to levels 2 through 5 to get the best pics. The second is the corner of Beachwood Canyon Drive and Glen Holly. The original Hollywoodland real-estate subdivision was located at the end of Beachwood Canyon Drive. Third is the northwest corner of Franklin Avenue and Gower Boulevard.
And the last one is Lake Hollywood, which a little more difficult to get to from the 101 Freeway and Barham Avenue. Exit Barham Boulevard from the 101 freeway. Take Barham east to Lake Hollywood Drive. Turn right on Lake Hollywood Drive and follow it to the top of the hill. At the top of the hill, Lake Hollywood Drive will bear sharply to the right. At the bottom of the hill, bear sharply to the left onto Montlake Drive. Follow Montlake to Tahoe. Turn left on Tahoe to Canyon Lake, turn right, and then proceed up the hill. You'll notice a park on your left. That’s THE best spot to get a great picture, if you can find it. (I told you it was a complex place to get to.)
From journal Movie Stars and Rock Stars
April 6, 2005
From journal 4 days in Los Angeles
los angeles, California
October 22, 2000
Although the steep beginning will leave you a little winded, the view at the first peak is breathtaking in its own right. On a clear day you can see for miles in three directions-- Griffith Observatory to the east, downtown Los Angeles and beyond southeast, and the Pacific Ocean to the west. The terrain quickly changes to rolling hills just as you pass bridle paths leading from a commercial stable.
At the first fork in the road, elect the backswitch to your left. Then work your way up winding elevated paths. You’ll encounter a paved path for the fire engines. Take a right here up the steeper incline. (Left leads you back to the neighborhood.) The paved road leads to views of Los Angeles’ Valley views and the Hollywood sign. (The sign is gated off. Climbing it is illegal.)
Should you choose to go left at the path’s you will shortly encounter another fork that offers the choice of a downhill path to lush ravines or the unmarked junction with Mulholland Trail. The Mullholland Trail junction leads to Griffith Park Observatory (12 miles later!).
I recommend the Mt. Lee hike for quiet morning hike that will leave you feeling your in nature’s backyard. Hiking boots not required. Bring water and expect higher temperatures in afternoon.
From journal Morning City Retreats: Los Angeles’s Kinder and Ge
June 21, 2006
From journal Spring Break
New York, New York
September 12, 2004
From journal A New Yorker loving Los Angeles
by Red Mezz
Inverness, Scotland, United Kingdom
October 20, 2009
From journal A Little Wander around Hollywood at Christmas...
Tel Aviv, Tel Aviv, Israel
July 22, 2008
From journal A Second in LA
May 3, 2006
From journal Summer Vacation to Southern California