Hollywood Sign

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by wanderer 2005 on July 22, 2005

The Hollywood sign is the most recognizable landmark in the world and is the epitome of Los Angeles. There’s A LOT of history behind this landmark.

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.)

Hollywood Sign
6342 Mulholland Highway
Hollywood, California, 90068


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