photo taken by Hannah Djavadi behind the Hollywood Sign

The Hollywood sign is recognized worldwide as it's the symbolic representation of the entertainment industry. The legacy of the sign is far richer than it's nine letters displayed as it’s recognized worldwide through pop culture.  The sign was created in 1923, and it was then that the sign became a beacon for the entertainment industry, as it represented the glamorous and dazzling life, which catered to the stars. 

The sign is located on Mt. Lee Mountain in Griffith Park. Accessing the sign is easy for locals and tourists and it’s just a walk up Beachwood Drive as it leads you into the park. Beachwood Drive is filled with beautiful and original homes and the neighborhood has it’s own market, café, and shops that still reflect the original properties and the timeless history of the 20’s.  Hiking the sign has been a major attraction for those who visit the park. Out of respect for the residents who live on Beachwood Drive, there are marked signs where individuals are asked not to park. Hikers will park at the bottom of Beachwood drive and walk up the hill. From there, the park is marked with signs as there are many options to view the sign. Signs are marked with miles and directions so individuals are easily able to navigate the park.                                           

photo taken by Hannah Djavadi of marked signs throughout the park

The sign’s original purpose was used for a temporary real estate advertisement. It was intended to leave the letters up for only a year and a half. Additionally, “The "Hollywoodland" sign is constructed at a cost of $21,000 atop Mt. Lee. Thirteen 50-foot letters and four thousand 20 watt light bulbs pronouncing, in classic advertising phonics, "Holly"... "wood"... "land"... Hollywoodland." {C}[1] 

The sign had lit up as its main purpose was to attract and generate attention towards the advertisement. In 1940, Albert Kothe who took care of the sign was involved in an accident where most of the sign was destroyed. When the sign was rebuilt, “land” was taken out of Hollywood to reflect the city rather than the housing developments and real estate. “Beginning in August 1978, almost 200 tons of material were used[2] and donors such as Hugh Hefner, Andy Williams, Gene Autry, Warner Bros, Alice Cooper and Dennis Lidthke were major donors. Additionally,  “Local groups have campaigned to make tourist access to the sign more difficult. The Hollywood Sign Trust convinced Google and other mapping services to stop providing directions to the location of the sign, instead directing visitors to two viewing platforms, Griffith Observatory, and the Hollywood and Highland Center. Another, less remote area from which the sign can be viewed is Lake Hollywood Park on Canyon Lake Drive”[3]

a photo taken by Hannah Djavadi from the trail overlooking the Griffith Observatory

 

The sign has played major significance in film, entertainment, and music. During the 30’s, a New York stage actress committed suicide on the H of the sign which unveiled a multi-faceted interpretation of this iconic symbol-one that was more dark and tragic. “When Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941, Hollywood mobilized to become a full-time war industry. But the War also had a more subtle effect on moviemaking and creative choices.”[4] In 1948, “box office receipts plummeted 45% from wartime highs. The culprit: Television. With characteristic resilience, Hollywood soon managed a successful transition to the small screen.” [5]  Recent films where the Hollywood sign is included are: “San Andreas (2015), Sharknado (2013), Gangster Squad (2013), Seven Psychopaths (2012), Argo (2012), and Rock of Ages (2012) to name a few. [6]

The sign recently had its 90th birthday in 2013. It continues to represent the past and future growth of the entertainment industry, and all the new dazzling opportunities. 

a photo taken by Hannah Djavadi 

 


 

[1] “The Story of Hollywood Land” by Gregory Williams. Retrieved from http://www.beachwoodcanyon.org/HISTORY.htm on July 1, 2016.

[2]Hollywood Sign Restoration Project 2005: Current Progess” Retrieved from http://baycal.com/hsrp/index.html on July 1, 2016

[3]  Walker, Alissa (21 November 2014). "Why People Keep Trying to Erase the Hollywood Sign From Google Maps". Gizmodo. Retrieved on July 1, 2016.

[4]The History of the Sign Retrieved from http://hollywoodsign.org/the-history-of-the-sign/ on July 1, 2016.

[5]The History of the Sign Retrieved from http://hollywoodsign.org/the-history-of-the-sign/ on July 1, 2016.

[6] The Sign in Popular Culture: Movies Retrieved from http://hollywoodsign.org/category/the-sign-in-the-movies/ on July 1, 2016.