Updated: Aug 19, 2020
The famous Hollywood Sign is an American landmark and cultural icon overlooking Hollywood, California. The sign is endlessly portrayed in photography, TV shows and movies. It is a popular tourist spot with hundreds of people hiking up the hills to get a glimpse each day. Many know about the Hollywood Sign, but few know the origins of how it became what it is today.
The famous Hollywood Sign was originally used as a billboard campaign for “Hollywoodland,” an upscale subdivision in 1923. Each letter was 50 feet tall and 30 feet wide. The whole sign was studded with around 4,000 light bulbs. At night, the sign flashed in segments: “HOLLY,” “WOOD,” and “LAND” lit up individually and then as a whole.
The sign was originally designed to stand for 18 months. After extensive damage and deterioration, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce repaired and rebuilt the sign in 1949. They decided that “LAND” was to be removed to spell “Hollywood” and reflect the district, not the housing development. But the Hollywood Sign’s unprotected wood and sheet metal structure continued to deteriorate. In 1978, Hugh Hefner started a campaign to help the Chamber of Commerce restore the landmark. Hefner and eight other donors sponsored the replacement letters made of steel supported by steel columns on a concrete foundation. The new letters were 45 feet tall and ranged from 31 to 39 feet wide.
The Hollywood Sign is an icon that stands for glamour, optimism and success. It’s so much more than nine white letters spelling out the city’s name. Take the time to research the history of the Hollywood Sign, you’ll be surprised with what you find!
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