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History of the Hollywood Sign

The Hollywood Sign

The Hollywood sign is the most recognized sign in the world.  Originally constructed in 1923, the sign read Hollywoodland because it was built to be an advertising sign for the Hollywoodland real estate development at the sign’s feet.  The sign was constructed using fifty-foot telephone poles as the main supports. Wooden beams and  guide wires tied the sign together and then faced with sheet metal.  For  the first two years, the sign was lighted with 4000 incandescent light bulbs, which were replaced by Albert Kothe, then bulbs burned out.

Refurbished Sign 

As time went on, the sign became a victim to the weather – wind, rain and sun.  By 1949, the letter H had blown down in a windstorm and the rest of the sign was in serious disrepair.  The County of Los Angeles, along with the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, took charge of the sign, replaced the letter H, and refurbished the sign. At the same time, they removed the last four letters so the sign read HOLLYWOOD when the work was completed.

Altered Sign 

Over the course of the next twenty-five years, the sign was modified, by several people, to read everything from HOLLYWEED to HOLYWOOD.

New Sign

By the mid 1970s, the sign, again, was in terrible disrepair.  A campaign was undertaken to refurbish the sign but, because the sign was so badly damaged, it was decided to remove the old sign and build a new one in its place.  Spearheaded by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, a major campaign was undertaken to raise money to build a new sign. Two major contributors, Hugh Hefner and singer Alice Cooper each paid a single letter.  The old sign was demolished and a new sign erected in the exact same location as the old sign.  In November, 1978, the new sign was unveiled.

Since then, the sign has had a couple of facelifts, the last being in 2012. 

The largest collection of photos of the Hollywoodland and Hollywood sign is on the hollywoodphotographs.com website.

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