Hollywood is synonymous to the entertainment industry and the stars that have shaped the glamorous it made it into the tinseltown everyone loves. To represent the glamour of Hollywood is the world famous sign HOLLYWOOD that can be spied from quite a distance not just across the city but continents away thanks to the numerous films the sign appears in! However, did you know that the original HOLLYWOOD sign actually read HOLLYWOODLAND?
The first HOLLYWOODLAND “billboard” was put up by Los Angeles Times Publisher Harry Chandler in 1923 to advertise his upscale real estate development. The huge billboard was lit up at night and blinked one syllable/word after the next ending with a huge dot/period. The sign was supposed to last only for about 6 months but was such a huge hit and came to embody the spirit of the whole city that it was maintained with great care until the depression hit and the real estate company went under in 1944.
In 1949 the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce took pity on the neglected sign and got it to look more like the sign we now know by shortening the word to denote just eh city and not the real estate company as well as doing necessary repairs to give the sign a badly needed face lift. During the 1970s the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce decided that it was time to say goodbye to the decades old sign and build a new one. They had a hard time raising the amount needed to build the new sign ($.025 million!) until Hugh Hefner (yes Playboy mogul Hugh Hefner) came to the rescue by holding an gala to auction of each letter and the new sign was torn down and rebuilt by 1978.
Nowadays the sign, with all the prestige and history attached to it, lacks no sponsors when it needs a little facelift. In 1995 it got a new coat of paint thanks to Dutch Boy Paints. In 2000 it went hi-tech and was installed with a security system. In 2005 the security system was upgraded. And in 2005, a year after its 80th birthday it got another fresh coat of paint. Whatever happens, it seems that we’ll be seeing that HOLLYWOOD sign for a long long time. And that it a good thing….
Originally posted on May 17, 2008 @ 11:17 pm