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The Ultimate Guide to the Hollywood Sign

The Ultimate Guide to the Hollywood Sign

Los Angeles exudes glitz, glamour and glory and all of it is symbolised by that iconic Hollywood sign that overlooks the city. Everyone recognises the sign – it stands for entertainment as we know it. We may recognise, but just how much do we all know about those huge letters up in the hills? We’re betting there are a lot of facts about the Hollywood Sign that aren’t all that well known so we’ve decided to swoop in and answer any niggling questions you may have. Here is our ultimate guide to the Hollywood sign!

Does it Cost Money to Hike to the Hollywood Sign?

Hiking in Griffith Park

Hiking in Griffith Park

The short answer to this question is NO. All hiking trails are free to use, but be mindful that parking at Griffith Observatory is metered and all the hiking trails begin in Griffith Park. If you don’t want to park your car, you can get to Griffith Park using the DASH bus.

The hiking routes are open all year round, from sunrise to sunset, and they vary in difficulty, so make sure you do your research before you head out on one of the trails. And happy hiking!

Why is the Hollywood Sign Famous?

Buster Keaton standing in front of a building

Buster Keaton, a Golden Age movie star / Image Source / License

Although the Hollywood sign wasn’t intended for fame when it was first erected in 1923, its appearance coincided with the rise of American cinema in Los Angeles – the Golden Age of Hollywood – and, consequently, the sign became an internationally recognised symbol of the glamorous world people were seeing in movie theatres. No other area has its name so boldly showcased for everyone to see, making the Hollywood sign a unique landmark.

Did the Hollywood Sign Used to Say “Hollywoodland”?

Image Source / License

The Hollywood sign did originally say “Hollywoodland”. It was built to advertise a housing development in the hills above Hollywood itself. The advertising scheme followed the example of a similar campaign used to sell a development at Whitely Heights.

Who Planned and Built the Hollywood Sign?

a group of people posing for a photo

Harry Chandler/ Los Angeles Times/ License

The lead investor in the “Hollywoodland” housing development was a man called Harry Chandler. He was given the idea for the sign by his friend H.J. Whitely (of Whitely Heights) and he planned and approved construction on the “Hollywoodland” sign.

The Crescent Sign Company was given the contract to construct the enormous sign. Company owner, Thomas Fisk Goff, designed it and each letter was 30 ft wide and 50 ft tall. Moreover, the sign included approximately 4000 light bulbs which would flash intermittently, showing up each segment of the sign – ‘Holly’, ‘Wood’, ‘Land’ – individually before the lights revealed the sign as a whole. A searchlight was installed just below the sign to make sure it attracted attention!

The Best Ways to View the Hollywood Sign

a group of people standing on top of a mountain

There are many great ways to see the Hollywood sign but the best way is, without a doubt, on the Golden Ticket LA Hollywood Sign Tour! Our tour will take you to a secret spot that guarantees you great sights and photos of the sign without other tourists getting in the way. Our guides have extensive knowledge of the area and its stories too, so you’re sure to have a really fun time.

What’s the Story Behind the Hollywood Sign?

a castle on top of Hollywood Sign

Hollywood Sign and LA

The “Hollywoodland” sign was only meant to last for around 18 months, but it had become such a part of the city that it was never taken down. However, by the 1940s the sign was beginning to show a lot of wear and tear and in 1944 the ‘H’ had fallen due to strong winds.

In 1949, a project to restore the sign began, with the stipulation that the ‘Land’ part of the sign be removed so that the sign would represent the district rather than the housing development it was built for.

For a time, the sign had new life but, built from wood and sheet metal, it eventually began to deteriorate again and by the 1970s the sign no longer read ‘HOLLYWOOD’ but ‘HuLLYWO D’.

In 1978, a public campaign to restore the sign and turn it into a more permanent fixture began. Nine donors sponsored the replacement letters which were made of steel and measured at 45ft tall. The project cost $250,000. Since then, the sign has been refurbished once in 2005 and it stands strong today, waiting for your visit!

So there you go – our guide to the Hollywood Sign! And if you are looking for a more extensive exploration of Los Angeles then be sure to check out our Private Tour of LA. We’re also happy to answer any other questions you may have so feel free to get in touch!

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