Last Saturday, I went hiking on the Mt. Hollywood trail this past weekend for the first time with some friends to go see the Hollywood sign. It was really cool seeing the sign in person after watching many movies and TV showing the famous sign and the glamourous hills below. Placed near the top of Mount Lee in the Hollywood Hills, it overlooks all of Hollywood as well as the city of Los Angeles.
The sign originally spelled out “HOLLYWOODLAND” because it was built to advertise the housing development in the Hollywood hills. The owner, H.J. Whitley advertised his development as a “superb environment without excessive cost on the Hollywood side of the hills.” After its indented use of only a year and a half passed, the sign was kept there because of its symbolic recognition during the rise of American cinema. Over the years, the sign sustained extensive damage and deterioration. One instance during the 1940’s was when Albert Kothe, the signs official caretaker, was driving drunk at the top of Mount Lee when he lost control and drove off the road hitting the cliff behind the H. In 1949, a contract was set in place to remove the “LAND” so it would reflect the Hollywood district instead of the previous housing development. As years went by, the letters began to deteriorate away. The first O turned into a U, and the third O had fallen down. In 1978, Hugh Hefner started a public campaign to have the Hollywood sign restored to its beauty from when it was originally built. The letters were restored in 1978 and again in 2005. The massive sign represents the beauty that is the Hollywood hills and the glamorous lifestyle that comes with it.