The Hollywood sign is celebrating its 100th anniversary and, as a first gift, it has had a facelift. One crew used over 400 gallons of paint to give the letters a new shine.
It is perhaps America’s most iconic sign.
But the nine letters, which today represent the glitz and glamor of the entertainment industry, were originally just a big billboard.
The year is 1923; Calvin Coolidge enters the White House; the Yankees play their first home game in the old Yankee Stadium and TIME Magazine publishes its first issue.
Out West, Los Angeles is now the well-established movie capital of the world with the perfect climate for filming year-round, and America is movie mad.
More than 40 million Americans went to the movies every week in 1920.
As the industry grows, the population of Los Angeles also increases.
To take advantage of this, real estate developers have marketed the city’s Hollywood town as “HollywoodLand”, an upscale hillside community.
Giant 50-foot-tall letters are erected to advertise the new land development.
4,020 watt bulbs originally lit the sign and flashed its name.
The billboard was meant to be a temporary advertisement, but it has become ubiquitous in the city and its entertainment industry.
After years of decay, the city of Los Angeles took over the sign in the 1940s. It removed the lights and the “land” section, so that it better reflected the city and not the original subdivision.
Decades later, after more decay, the city decided to rebuild the sign.
Playboy founder Hugh Hefner hosted a gala where celebrities offered to sponsor the new letters, and in 1978 the city knocked down the sign and put on new letters.
It’s had a few facelifts since then, including a new paint job ahead of its 100th birthday.
Today, the letters stand 45 feet tall and remain the symbol of a city where stars are born and dreams are made: Hollywood.
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