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Vintage Hollywood Sign Photos

Vintage Photos of the Hollywood Sign


Unquestionably, the Hollywood sign is one of the most iconic symbols that is recognized by billions of people throughout the world. Almost every time you turn around, there is a photo on the television of the famous sign. It has long been recognized by the world that the historic Hollywood sign represents what Hollywood is all about, which is entertainment, and more specifically, the making of movies. The sign, which faces south, and is located on the hillside of Mt. Lee, in the Santa Monica Mountains. The famous sign was erected in 1923 as an advertising vehicle for the real estate development, known as Hollywoodland, which was located just below the sign. The original sign also read Hollywoodland.

Hollywood Sign Collection

The largest collection of Hollywood Sign and Hollywoodland Sign photos and pictures is on the website. Among the more than 500 photographs of the Hollywood sign, or images of its original construction, its state of disrepair, it's refurbishing and its demolition. There are also many rare photographs of the construction of the existing sign, which was unveiled and dedicated in November 1978. One of the most popular photographs of the new sign was taken by Hollywood historian, Bruce Torrence, who took the photograph the second the illuminating lights were turned on. This unique photograph has been used in many forms of communication including newspapers, magazines and books. It has also been used as the front cover photograph of the book" The Story Of Hollywood", by Gregory Williams.


Construction of the Hollywoodland Sign

Some of the rarest photos, of the Hollywood sign, or of the 1923 construction of the original sign when it read Hollywoodland.  The material for the sign consisted of 50 foot telephone poles, that were placed deep into the hillside, 4 x 4 wood beams, anchoring wires, and perforated pieces of sheet metal that were the face of the sign. All of the material was hauled up the hillside by mules, horses, tractors and people. It is estimated that it took about five months to erect this classic sign. In addition the sign was lighted by approximately 4000 incandescent light bulbs. It is generally agreed that the sign was only lighted for about three or four years, at which time the lighting was abandoned. The person responsible for replacing the burned-out light bulbs was Albert Kothe, who would climb a ladder to replace the burned out bulbs.

The website has several photos of the lighted Hollywoodland sign and also a photo of Albert Kothe. 


Hollywood Sign

By the late 1940s, the Hollywoodland sign was in great disrepair due to 25 years of being exposed to the elements. In 1949 the letter H was blown down in a windstorm in the rest of the sign badly damaged. The city of Los Angeles took it upon itself to refurbish the sign by rebuilding the letter H, removing the last four letters, and refurbishing the rest of the sign. Ever since then, the famous sign has read HOLLYWOOD.

For the next 25 years the sign was the subject of having its letters altered by those wishing to send a message to the viewing public. In 1976, the sign was altered with the use of white sheets, to read HOLLYWEED in commemoration of the relaxed marijuana laws in the state of California. Another time, the sign was altered to read HOLYWOOD to commemorate Easter. There have been other alterations, by various groups, that has caused the city of Los Angeles to erect a fence around the sign and to install cameras in strategic locations.  During the late 1960s and early 1970s, was continuing to be ravaged by inclement weather. In 1970 the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce embarked on a “Save The Sign” campaign to raise money to refurbish the sign. The restoration took place but only lasted a handful of years. By 1976 the sign was in such disrepair that many of the letters were barely recognizable.


New Hollywood Sign

The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, again, came to the rescue with a campaign to raise money to demolish the old sign and to erect a new sign in the exact same location. Many celebrity donors, including Alice Cooper and Hugh Hefner donated money for specific letters. Hollywood residents and thousands of other people contributed enough money to raze the old sign and build a new one. Some of the rarest photos and images of the deteriorated sign are on the website.

After months of construction, the new Hollywood sign was ready to be unveiled. In November, 1978, the sign was unveiled with a spectacular show of lights that illuminated the new sign. Since then, the face of the sign has been repainted with a state-of-the-art white paint.

Visit the website to see hundreds of Hollywoodland and Hollywood sign photos.

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