How The Hollywood Sign Became An Icon

The Hollywood Sign, located in the Hollywood Hills of Los Angeles, California, is one of the most iconic landmarks in America, with its bold white letters hovering over the city since its construction in 1923. Originally, the sign actually read "Hollywoodland", as it was created to promote a new housing suburb being built by developers Woodruff and Schultes, who thought its flashy lettering would attract the wealthy. Like 50-ft. The letters weren't enough, the Crescent Sign Company that installed it put more than 4,000 light bulbs on the letters, with "holly" then "wood" then "land" written on them, until the entire sign was finally illuminated.

It may be hard to believe now, but the famous sign was expected to last only about two years after its completion. It was never anything but a short-term ad, so Sign Maker didn't use the strongest material possible. By the 1920s, however, when Hollywood's golden age was in full swing, the bright white letters became a media icon, merging the relatively small neighborhoods of Hollywood with the American entertainment industry.

Hollywood Sign in Disappear during the 1970s.

Despite the neighborhood and the sign's growing reputation, the Great Depression came hard for all. This included the Woodruff and Schultz Real Estate Company, who had little choice but to allow the sign to deteriorate due to the difficulty and cost of its maintenance. It was during this time that Sine saw her darkest day, when a young actress named Peg Entwistle died after climbing a mountain and jumping off the letter H. In the 1940s, as the country recovered from the Depression, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce decided the sign was worth saving because of its cultural status, but felt that the "land" portion was too specific for a now-irrelevant housing development. , so he took it down to reduce the cost of maintaining exterior letters and thousands of light bulbs.

By the 1970s, once again the ramshackle Hollywood sign was missing an O and no longer gave rise to the glitz and glamor of the bygone golden age. This time, the city's purse strings were tight, so it was up to celebrities such as Alice Cooper, Gene Autry and Hugh Hefner, who called it "Tinseltown's Eiffel Tower", to step in and save it. . Hill lay bare for three months as nine donors sponsored a letter with a $27,000 donation under Hefner's coordination. Hefner bought the Y, Autry bought the L, and Cooper bought the O in honor of his late friend, the great comedian Groucho Marx. The flimsy material was replaced with steel, and over the decades the sign has only needed minor updates.

Hefner with his colleagues Holly Madison (left) and Bridget Marquardt, 2007.

Of course, nothing is so easy in a pricey city like Los Angeles. In 2010, a conservationist group called the Trust for Public Land was forced to fight the luxury real estate developers who had taken the sign hostage, asking for $12.55 to stop tearing down historic papers to build more fancy homes. Million was demanded to be paid. The trust managed to raise almost all the money, but for only a week, they were struggling to find the last million. Again, original Playboy Hugh Hefner rode to save the day, pitching in the final $900,000 straight out of his own pocket. That year, the city incorporated the land into Griffith Park, protecting it from any future land battles and securing its place above the City of Angels for many years to come.

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