The famed HOLLYWOOD sign was originally erected in 1923 to promote the Hollywoodland housing development. The owner of Crescent Sign Company, Thomas Fisk Goff, designed the sign making the letters about 50 ft. tall by 30 ft. wide and embedding about 4,000, 20 watt light bulbs in the sign to light it up and flash at a cost of about $21,000 and was expected to last about a year to two years.
The “LAND” portion of the sign was taken off in the late 1940s when the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce in conjunction with the L.A. Parks Department began efforts to repair the seriously deteriorated sign which had been abandoned by the Hollywoodland real estate group in the 1930s due to the Great Depression.
With the “LAND” removed it became a symbol for Hollywood. In the 1970’s the sign had deteriorated to the point where it read “HULLYWO D”. A campaign led by Hugh Hefner, Alice Cooper, and Gene Autry, gained nine donors, each contributing $27,700, to replace each of the original letters with more permanent 45 ft. tall steel letters. These donors were:
- H: publisher Terrence Donnelly
- O: producer Giovanni Mazza
- L: Kelley Blue Book founder Les Kelley
- L: actor/singer Gene Autry
- Y: Hugh Hefner
- W: singer Andy Williams
- O: Alice Cooper, donating in the name of Groucho Marx
- O: Warner Bros. Records
- D: Thomas Pooley
The new sign was unveiled on November 14, 1978. The Hollywood Sign was restored yet again thanks to face lift from Sherwin-Williams and The Hollywood Sign Trust. The Hollywood Sign’s most extensive refurbishment in nearly 35 years was completed to celebrate its 90th birthday in 2013.
For more information http://www.hollywoodsign.org