Interesting Tidbits about the Hollywood Sign in LA

What’s so special about the Hollywood Sign? To the eyes of many, it might seem just like any other old sign- blocky and uninteresting to boot, whose only redeeming quality is the fact that it has become synonymous with Los Angeles City and the whole glitz and glamor of Hollywood itself. But there is more than meets the eye with the Hollywood Sign. Not only is it a cultural icon, it also enjoys a rich and varied history that not a lot of people know about.

Here are some of the interesting facts that you might want to learn about this very iconic masterpiece.

It’s Not Originally “Hollywood”

The sign, which was erected in 1923 as advertisement for an upscale housing development, originally read as “HOLLYWOODLAND” instead of the “HOLLYWOOD” that we see today. It was designed to be lit up by lights. Parts of the word- “HOLLY,” “WOOD,” and “LAND” would blink one after the other, which made for a very interesting view back then. The “LAND” part of the sign was dropped in 1949 when the sign was rebuilt.

Many Interesting Things Happened at the “H”

The original 1923 “H” was thought to have been lost, until it showed up in 2005 on the ecommerce website eBay. It was apparently owned by producer and businessman Dan Bliss who later sold it to sculptor Bill Mack. Another interesting event that happened at the letter “H”: the suicide of young actress Peg Entwistle in 1932. She climbed a ladder up to the top of the letter and jumped, dying from severe injuries to the pelvis (as the autopsies showed). In the 1940s, official caretaker Albert Kothe crashed his car into the “H”. Luckily, he was unharmed, but the letter required extensive repair.

The Sign Has Been Defaced Many Times

Pranksters like to change the sign so that it will read “HollyWEED” instead of “Hollywood.” This is a prank that was first recorded in 1976, upon the state’s decriminalization of marijuana, and was even recently repeated by modern day jokesters in January this year.

High-Profile Celebrities Sponsored Its Restoration

In 1978, a widespread campaign to repair the sign was started. Celebrities such as actor Gene Autry, singer Andy Williams, Alice Cooper, and Hugh Hefner among others donated $27,777.77 each for the repair of each letter of the sign.

The Original Sign Was Bigger

The original sign that was erected in 1923 was actually bigger than the one we have today. The 1923 sign was about 50 feet tall, while the modern reconstructed one is 45 feet tall, five feet shorter than the old one.

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