The above photo illustrates how close I got to the iconic Hollywood Sign on my visit to Hollywood many years ago.
Now Warner Brothers have put forward a plan to the Los Angeles authorities which will allow a much closer look at the sign.
They plan an aerial train which would ferry visitors to and from the landmark Hollywood Sign. The studio would pay for the construction and operate it from a parking lot near their Burbank backlot.
Revenue will be split with the city.
Warner Brothers also plan to build an education center about the sign on Mount Lee , within Griffith Park.
At present the only way to get nearer to the sign is a long trek up the hills of the park.
The famous sign was built on Mount Lee in 1923 as “HOLLYWOODLAND”, by the Hollywoodland Realty company as an advert for their new housing development of the same name in Beachwood Canyon.
Sadly, as time went on, the sign was neglected. In 1949, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce removed “LAND”, and repaired the rest – the ‘H’ had been toppled down the hill.
In 1973, the sign was given landmark status. During the early 1970’s the entire ‘O’ and the top of the ‘D’ toppled down Mt. Lee.
It took until 1978 for a new sign to be constructed – 45 feet high.
Hollywood may still be awaiting a museum but at least Hollywood realises their historic sign’s importance. I hope the authorities back Warners’ plan.
A shot from behind the sign.
Thanks to Bob, I’ve discovered some more interesting facts.
When the original sign was taken down, it was put in storage.
In 2007, American artist and memorabilia collector Bill Mack bought the sign . It presumably was in a pretty poor condition, and much of the metal was cut up to make portraits of stars, painted into the metal.
But Mr. Mack completely restored the huge letter “H” (45 feet tall, the height of 4 double decker buses), and weighing 95 tons.
From June 20 to July 17, 2018, The O2 Arena in London hosts an exhibition called THE HEART OF HOLLYWOOD WORLD TOUR, with the enormous ‘H ‘ letter as the centrepiece and used for 3D displays.
The exhibition includes costumes and props from films such as “Gone With The Wind” and “The Wizard of Oz”, and displays the portraits by Bill Mack done on the original sign’s metal.
The website http://www.heartofhollywoodtour.com has all the details.
The ambitious intention is to tour the exhibition to 60 countries in the next 5 years, then return the ‘H ‘ letter to Hollywood in 2023, the hundred’s anniversary of the sign’s beginning.
The website doesn’t yet show the itinerary after London.
I haven’t read any reviews of the exhibition.
Artwork by Bill Mack, using the original metal of the sign which shows the holes which helped it to stay up in the wind.
Thanks too to Jim for his comment about DOWN THREE DARK STREETS (1954). The climax of the film has Ruth Roman making her way up to the Hollywood sign where she has to leave money for an extortionist under the letter “W”.
Ruth Roman can (just) be seen below the sign.
I also came across the above HOLLYWOOD sign which stands in a field in the tiny rural village of Hollywood in County Wicklow, Ireland.
This little village claims to be the first ‘Hollywood’, having been in existence hundreds of years before its more famous counterpart! – the name came from “HOLY WOOD”, in the 6th century.