Though it seems like the Hollywood sign has been there for just about forever, the famous sign was first built in 1923 and only intended to last for 18 months. Over the past 100 years, the sign has gained international fame as a Californian and American icon, but it’s also gained notoriety as a site for vandalism and even death.
So, how much do you know about it?
On January 1, 2017, national news covered that the sign had been involved in a prank to read out “HOLLYWEED,” but this prank is just the tip of the iceberg. Over the history a lot more pranks have in center the Hollywood sign.Read below the famous of them.
The first sign was built in 1923 to advertise a real estate development called Hollywoodland. The original letters were 30 feet wide by 50 feet high and were adorned with some 4,000 lightbulbs.
It was intended to remain for only a year and a half, but the sign gained popularity and was left on the hillside for a longer period.
In the early 1940s, the sign’s caretaker was drunk driving when he lost control of his car and crashed into the H, destroying both his car and the H, but remaining unharmed. Close to 1949, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce started a restoration project that fixed up the sign to read HOLLYWOOD to represent the neighborhood and not the old housing development.
Built only of wood and sheet metal, however, the sign would continue to fall apart over the years.
By this time, it was also a popular site for pranks and vandalism. Pictured above, the sign was transformed to read HOLLYWEED for the first time in 1976 after a state law decriminalized marijuana.
This year the sign had the same treatment when someone revived the 1979s history. When the iconic Hollywood sign was altered again on January 1 of this, most of people shrugged it off as the work of a pot-loving, minor-crime-committing artist.
Rhe guy, Hands, whose real name appears to be Zach, and who has spent some time hanging with fellow weed advocate Tommy Chong, is reportedly not afraid of legal ramifications for his actions.
In fact, while up there on the sign, he claims he cleaned up some litter.
I left the area cleaner than I found it.
he said. Good job, man.
Hollywood and Playboy
In 1978, a new campaign was launched to restore the sign after many damages it suffered.
Very few know that these actions were in part led by famous Hugh Hefner of Playboy. Some $250,000 was raised to make steel letters supported by steel columns on a concrete foundation. Notable donors include Hugh Hefner, Andy Williams, and also Alice Cooper, who donated in memory of Groucho Marx.
My childhood dreams and fantasies came from the movies, and the images created in Hollywood had a major influence on my life and Playboy.
The new letters, standing at 45 feet in height, were unveiled in a live TV special to commemorate Hollywood’s 75th anniversary as a city.
The sign is owned by the city of Los Angeles, but until recently the area surrounding it, named Cahuenga Peak, was the property of a Chicago-based group who had planned to sell to developers.
This happeneed in 2010 when the surrounding area was on sale and the Cahuenga Peak, the site of the iconic sign once again needed help. This time Hefner come again in the first place and donated $900,000 dollars.
Thanks to the Playboy founder’s gift and $500,000 from the Tiffany & Co. Foundation and Aileen Getty, the campaign reaches the total needed to buy iconic sign land.
The 138-acre property, which offers a spectacular 360-degree panorama of the Los Angeles Basin and the San Fernando Valley, now will become part of Griffith Park.
The campaign was a success, it was also featured on Facebook and artists like Tom Hanks and Arnold Schwarzenegger were truly involved in saving the magnificent and fabulous sign.
So if you are planning to feel a little about the history of the area and Hollywood sign, make sure to visit and have some pictures there. Hollywood sign land, once was owned by Howard Hughes, had always been a target for luxury homes and posh hotels.