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Old Hollywood Sign Photos

Old Hollywood Sign Photos

The largest collection of old Hollywood sign photos and images is the hollywoodphotographs.com website.

Erected in 1923, the Hollywood sign has long welcomed aspiring actors looking to make it big in Los Angeles. And despite decades of run-ins with vandals, pranksters and developers, among others, it has managed to hang on to its prime location near the summit of Mount Lee in the Hollywood Hills. Last year the sign celebrated its 90th birthday, here are some things you may not know about how it came to be, and its brushes with disaster.  The hollywoodphotographs.com website has hundreds of old Hollywood sign photos and all are available for purchase.

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Hollywood is Named

Harvey and Daeida Wilcox came to Hollywood in 1883 and purchased 120 acres in the Cahuenga Valley. In 1887, Daeida met a woman on a train with a summer home, in Chicago, she called Hollywood. She liked the name so much that she asked her husband to name their small farm, Hollywood. That year, Mr. Wilcox put on the first real estate subdivision and he called it Hollywood.

Hollywoodland Sign.

The Hollywood sign was an advertising sign.? In 1923, Los Angeles Times publisher Harry Chandler had decided to invest in an upscale real-estate development called Hollywoodland, which capitalized on the growing recognition of Hollywood as a movie-industry mecca. In order to promote the project, Chandler and his partners put up $21,000 for 45-foot-high white block letters that were anchored to telephone poles and illuminated by 4,000 light bulbs.

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Millicent “Peg” Entwistle

Although the Hollywood sign symbolizes glamour and stardom, it can also represents broken dreams.   Actress Peg Entwistle moved from New York City to Los Angeles to try her luck with movies. Soon after she received a part in a murder-mystery film, but the studio reportedly did not renew the option on her contract upon its completion. That September the 24-year-old allegedly climbed a ladder to the “H” on the Hollywoodland sign and jumped off.  Visit hollywoodphotographs.com to see a photo of Millicent “Peg” Entwistle.

Hollywood Sign

Regular maintenance on the sign stopped when the Hollywoodland real-estate development went under due to the Great Depression. In 1949,the “H” even toppled over in a wind storm, so that it briefly read “ollywoodland.”  The L.A. Recreation and Parks Commission apparently wanted it razed. But the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce stepped in, and in 1949 it removed the last four letters and restored the rest.

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New Hollywood Sign

Despite the 1949 restoration, the Hollywood sign eventually began to deteriorate once again.  By 1977, most of the letters were falling down. In 1978, Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner held a gala at his mansion, where he and eight other donors, including rock musician Alice Cooper, pledged nearly $28,000 each to fund a replacement sign. The new sign was the same size as the old one, but with structural improvements such as steel footings rather than telephone poles. Since then, it has periodically received a fresh coat of white paint, most recently in December 2012

Hollywood sign

Altering The Hollywood Sign

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 it read “Hollyweed” in celebration of the relaxed marijuana laws in California. . Finegood would go on to change the sign three more times: once to read “Holywood” on Easter, once to read “Ollywood” in protest of Oliver North’s Iran-Contra testimony and once to read “Oil War” to protest of the Persian Gulf War. Other pranksters have changed the sign prior to college football games, and to express support for the third-party presidential candidacy of Ross Perot.  As a result of such shenanigans, public access to the site is prohibited and security cameras have been installed, along with a razor-wire fence, motion sensors and microphones.

hollywood sign

New Houses

Business tycoon Howard Hughes bought 138 acres west of the Hollywood sign in 1940 with the intention of building a mansion there. Those plans were abandoned.  Nothing more happened with the land until 2002, when Hughes’ estate sold it to a Chicago-based investment firm. To prevent luxury homes from going up, a number of movie studios, actors and foundations raised the $12.5 million asking price, with Hugh Hefner providing the final $900,000. The site is now protected parkland.

hollywoodphotographs.com is the largest collection of photographs on the subject of Hollywood and the Hollywood Sign

 

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