The Hollywood Sign has got to be one of the most famous and recognisable signs in the world. It’s appeared in countless TV shows and films, and is synonymous with Hollywood and its huge TV and film industries. Here are some pretty interesting facts about the sign – how many of them did you know?
From its construction in 1923 until 1949, it actually spelled out ‘Hollywoodland’ – when it was constructed, it was intended to be an advert for an upcoming high-end real estate development and was only intended to be up for a year.
2. The lack of a sign
For a three-month period in 1978, there wasn’t actually a Hollywood sign at all. This was because the letters were in quite bad shape owing to general deterioration and various acts of vandalism – one of the ‘O’s had even tumbled down the mountain. It was decided that a brand new sign should be constructed, with the late Hugh Hefner holding a fundraiser to raise money to pay for the construction of the new sign.
3. The new sign
When the new sign was unveiled, some 60 million people tuned in to watch it happen on TV. The sign was built with structural improvements to make it last longer. All letters are 45 feet and vary in width from 31 feet to 39 feet.
4. Save the Peak
On 10 February 2010, the sign was covered with letters that spelled out ‘Save the Peak’. This was done by a group of environmentalists who were concerned about possible real estate developments in the area. The group that carried out the protest actually received full approval from the Hollywood Sign Trust, the organisation that manages the sign.
5. Hikes to the sign
You can’t go up to the actual letters and touch them, but you can get close enough to the sign to see it in all its glory. There are several public hiking trails open every day of the year. Some are easier, while others are longer and more physically challenging. They range from 3 to 6.4 miles in length and from 750 feet to 1,050 feet in elevation change.
6. A tragic suicide
Peg Entwistle, an aspiring theatre actress, took her life in 1932 by climbing to the top of the ‘H’ and jumping off it. It was widely believed that she’d killed herself because of her failing acting career. What’s ironic is that just before her death, a letter had been sent out to her offering her the lead role in a play about a woman who commits suicide.
7. Heavily protected
These days, the sign is very heavily protected indeed. The city of Los Angeles is so committed to keeping the sign’s letters free from tourists and protected from vandals that it even got The Department of Homeland Security involved in coming up with the sign’s modern security measures. The sign is monitored by CCTV round-the-clock and there’s also razor wire involved.