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Hollywood Sign Altered

Altering the Hollywood Sign

For the first 50 years, since the Hollywood sign was erected, the sign was never altered or vandalized. Probably the most shocking event that took place was when actress, Peg Entwistle, climbed a ladder to the top of the letter H and jumped off.


The Sign Is Built

By 1923 Los Angeles time publisher, Harry Chandler and other investors, decided to invest in an upscale real estate development called Hollywoodland. The development was located at the north end of Beachwood Drive, at the base of the Hollywood Hills. In order to promote the project, Chandler and his partners put up $21,000 to erect a sign that was 45 foot high, white block letters that were anchored to telephone poles and illuminated by 4000 light bulbs. The sign was erected just below the top of the hills.


Hollywoodland Sign Changed

Twenty-five years since the sign was built, a strong rain and wind-storm caused serious damage to the sign which included knocking down the letter H. The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, along with the County of Los Angeles County undertook the project of removing the last four letters of the sign and refurbishing the remaining letters. Ever since 1949 the sign has read HOLLYWOOD.

Hollywood Sign Is Altered

The first time anyone undertook the effort to alter the sign was when someone painted the face of Leon Russell on a large piece of canvas. The prankster then hung the canvas from the D. Photos of this canvas are on the website. Ever since then, the Hollywood sign has been altered many times.


It was three years later that the next alteration took place. On January 1, 1976, Cal State Northridge student Danny Finegood, and some friends, made their way to the Hollywood sign with about $50 worth of black and white fabric, which they used to make the sign read HOLLYWEED. This was done to celebrate the day that less restrictive California marijuana laws took effect. Performed as what he claimed was part of a college art project, Danny used stones and rope to hoist up pieces of fabric and change the appearance of the giant letters.


The next time the sign was altered was, also, in 1976. Also altered by Danny Finegood, the sign was changed to read HOLYWOOD, which coincided with the Easter. The altered sign could be seen by attendees at the sunrise service at the Hollywood Bowl. Finegood would go on to change the sign two more times: once to read Ollywood in protest of Oliver North's Iran-Contra testimony and once again to read OilWar in protest of the Persian Gulf war.

Many Other Hollywood Sign Alterations

 Ever since Finegood’s first sign alteration, others have followed his lead, and the sign has been altered several times. In December 1983 a group of Naval Academy midshipmen, with permission, covered the sign for the Army-Navy football game’s first and only West Coast appearance. The sign was altered to read GO NAVY.

Two years later, in 1985, and obscure rock band from New Orleans named the Raffeys altered the sign in an act of unauthorized self-promotion. The sign read RAFFEYSOD.

In April 1987, Fox  was granted permission to alter the sign for five days, as a promotion for the prime time launch of their television network. The sign read FOX.

A month later, in May 1987, to honor 100th birthday of the naming of Hollywood, several Caltech students altered the sign to read CALTECH.

As mentioned above, the sign was altered to read OLLYWOOD to protest Oliver North and the Iran-Contra hearings.

In September 1987 the second L in the sign was covered to read HOLYWOOD in honor of Pope John Paul II when he visited Hollywood.

Also mentioned above, Danny Finegood altered the sign, in 1991, to read OILWAR in protest of the Gulf War. After the park rangers tighten security on the hill, Finegood’s pranks were no more.

In April 1991, in celebration of the end of the Gulf War, a yellow ribbon was tied around the sign. This act also supported the Hollywood Salutes Gulf Veterans Celebrations.

In 1992, a 75 foot tall cutout of Holli Would was built. The cutout, appeared to sit on the sign but actually was leaned up against the front of the sign.

Also, in 1992, supporters of presidential candidate Ross Perot got into the action and changed the sign to read PEROTWOOD.

The following year in 1993, 20 members of UCLA's Theta Chi fraternity altered the sign to read Go UCLA. This was just before the annual UCLA-USC football game. Apparently, the students were subsequently charged with trespassing. This incident prompted the 1994 installation of a $100,000 security system featuring video surveillance and motion detection.

When Virgin Atlantic Airlines started a nonstop flight from LA to London in 2000 the sign was altered to read JOLLY GOOD.

kj;klhfdThe last time the sign was altered was in February, 2010 when the original letters were covered with a series of large banners reading SAVE THE PEAK. This was part of a campaign by the The Trust for Public lands to protect the land around the Hollywood sign from real estate development that was recently proposed. As the alteration progressed other variations such as SALLYWOOD and   SAVETHEPOOD gained some notoriety.


The largest collection of vintage Hollywood sign photos are on the Hollywood website. All photos are available for purchase.







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