Hollywood Sign History

"Hollywoodland" was its original message, which, at night flashed "HOLLY," then "WOOD," and finally "LAND" punctuated by a giant period. Imagine 4,000 20-watt bulbs illuminating 13 enormous letters, 30 feet wide and 50 feet tall.

The sign was created and erected by Los Angeles Times publisher Harry Chandler in 1923 as a temporary billboard for his upscale Hollywoodland real estate development.

During the Great Depression, the real estate development company that created it could no longer maintain it due to financial hardship. In 1949, the "H" fell due to heavy winds and lack of maintenance. Hollywood Chamber of Commerce repaired the sign and removed the last four letters.

Many attempts were continued to repair and maintain the Hollywood sign. The most successful was by Hugh Hefner who organized a party at his Playboy Mansion to "adopt a letter." Letters sold for $28,000 each and the party was a complete success.

The old Sign was scrapped in August '78 and 194 tons of concrete, enamel and steel later, the Sign was re-born, poised and polished for a new millennium.
The Hollywood sign was eventually named a Los Angeles Cultural-Historical Monument #111 in 1973 by the Cultural Heritage Board of the City of Los Angeles.

However, during the 1970s and 1980s pranksters altered the letters to read various things, including "Hollyweed" and "Ollywood."

In 1992, the California Attorney General ruled on completing claims to the sign's guardianship, granting legal rights and responsibilities to three official agencies, the city of Los Angeles, The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce and the newly created Hollywood Sign Trust.

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