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Hollywood Sign's 90th Birthday

Birthday Party

Hollywood’s biggest star, the Hollywood Sign, celebrated its 90th birthday Thursday evening, September 19, at a packed event on the rooftop of Drai’s Hollywood, overlooking the world famous icon of the entertainment industry. The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce and the Hollywood Sign Trust presented “The White Party,” named in honor of the nine most famous letters in the world, which received a complete makeover in preparation for its starring role last year.

In attendance was Bob Barker, the popular host of “The Price Is Right” and the Miss USA Pagaent. Barker also celebrated his 90th birthday

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Chris Baumgart, chairman of the Hollywood Sign Trust, noted that the Sign has experienced the ups and down of pursuing a dream. ”She never gave up and ultimately got the role as the symbol of the global entertainment industry.  Today, the sign is recognized around the world, and her message is alluring: Bring your dreams to Hollywood, give it your best and you might make it to the top.”

First Hollywood Sign

Built in 1923, the original Hollywood Sign originally read HOLLYWOODLAND and was the advertising sign for a real estate development by the same name.  Originally the sign was illuminated with 4000 incandescent light bulbs, which were changed, when they blew out, by Albert Kothe. Photos of the illuminated sign are on the hollywoodphotographs.com website.

One of the most tragic events that occurred about the sign involved an aspiring actress Millicent “Peg” Entwhistle.  Despondent over her acting career, she climbed to the top of the letter “H” and jumped to her death.

By 1949, the sign was badly damaged by a wind storm. The last four letters were removed and the rest of the sign was refurbished to read HOLLYWOOD.

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In 1978, at the low point of the Sign’s career, the  Hollywood Chamber of Commerce launched a campaign to completely rebuild the Sign. Several celebrities including Hugh Hefner and Alice Cooper contributed their own money to help finance the building of a new sign. In addition, hundreds of Hollywood residents also contributed thousands of dollars to the campaign. The sign is now Tinseltown’s biggest star, standing 45 feet tall and 450 feet across, and the City of Los Angeles and Department of Recreation & Parks act as her bodyguards to keep away fans that might get too close.

Featured speakers and guests also included by Los Angeles Councilman Tom La Bonge, Donelle Dadigan, president and founder of The Hollywood Museum, presenting sponsor of the White Party, Hollywood Sign Trust Chairman Chris Baumgart and Leron Gubler, president and CEO of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce.

“After 90 years of withstanding termites, landslides, earthquakes and whatever disasters Hollywood moviemakers have thrown at it, we thought it was appropriate to have a party to celebrate the Hollywood Sign,” said Leron Gubler, president and CEO of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, “It is, without question, the ultimate symbol of Southern California.  It has become an international icon–recognized, emulated and admired worldwide.”

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Visit hollywoodphotographs.com for  vintage Hollywood images and photos.

 

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