The legendary Hollywood sign happens to be a landmark as well as a cultural icon. It is on one of the peaks in the Santa Monica Mountains, Mount Lee, and overlooks Hollywood, Los Angeles, in California. The white capital letters are 45 feet in height and 350 feet in width. The sign has made several appearances in several films and is famous worldwide. The trademark rights of this sign are with the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. However, there’s more to this sign than what meets the eye. And in this article, we throw light on some such interesting facts that you might not be aware of!
The Hollywood Sign Is Almost As Old As The District
The foundation stone of Hollywood dates back to 1887, and the main idea was to create a community that would have like-minded people. Though not many are sure of how Hollywood got its name, some say that Harvey and Daeida Wilcox, the founders met a woman who had a summer ranch with the same name. The name inspired the duo, and the rest is history.
According to another legend, the entire area might also have derived its name from a red-berried shrub named California holly, which is quite abundant in that region. Hollywood was a municipality in the year 1903 and then became a part of Los Angeles in the year 1910, just a year before the first film studio’s positioning here.
The Unpleasant Turn of Events
There is no doubt that Hollywood is a sign of glitz and glamour. However, it has also been witness to some unpleasant incidents that shook the film industry. Broken dreams led Peg Entwistle, a struggling actress, to take her life at this very spot. As per the records, Peg shifted to Los Angeles from New York City to build a Hollywood career. She was on board for a murder-mystery flick. But, after the project got over, the studio neither contacted her nor renewed her contract.
That led to heartbreak. Then 24, Peg climbed atop the letter H of Hollywood and jumped off from there into the ravine below. Several newspapers reported that a failed acting career had led the actress to commit suicide. However, the sad part was the play offer she never saw coming. A letter, offering her the lead role in a play, reached her just before her death. But, she did not know about it. What an irony!
Four Letters Were Actually Removed
After the Great Depression struck the Hollywoodland real estate industry, the Hollywood sign suffered from irregular maintenance. “H” toppled over to make it read “ollywoodland.” After transferring the sign’s ownership to Los Angeles in the middle of the 40s decade, the L.A. Recreation and Parks Commission wanted to remove the iconic sign.
However, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce decided to interfere, and eventually, it removed “land” and restored it to “Hollywood.” Even many locals are not aware of this interesting fact.
The Hollywood Sign Has Been ‘Destroyed’ In A Host Of Movies
There have been numerous films that have featured the Hollywood sign. And a lot of them destroyed the sign too as part of the plot. Directors have a penchant for destroying it. From Down Three Dark Streets and Beyond the Valley of Dolls to Friends with Benefits, Argo, and Gangster Squad, you might have noticed the sign in several sequences.
The letters fall from Mount Lee in the 1974 film, Earthquake. A pilot shoots the letters up in the 1979 film, 1941. It almost catches fire in Escape from L.A., the 1996 flick. A tornado ravages it in The Day After Tomorrow, the 2004 movie. In the 2010 movie Resident Evil: Afterlife you see the zombie apocalypse leading to the destruction of the sign.
The good news is that the iconic sign is standing high up there with its full glory. And it is bringing in tourists from across the world. These are some fascinating facts that a majority of you might have been oblivious to. How many of these facts did you know already?
Do, tell us in the comments section. Do not forget to mention any other interesting information that you might know about the Hollywood sign if we missed it here. Also, share this with your friends and start planning your next vacation to see the Hollywood sign! We are sure it would be all the more memorable as you now know all about the sign.