It was on this date, July 13, 1923, that possibly the most renowned sign in the movie industry, the Hollywood sign, was officially dedicated to the Hollywood Hills atop Mount Lee in Los Angeles, California. The 50-foot letters were initially intended to spell Hollywoodland, but the ‘land‘ portion was deleted in 1949.
Nobody could have guessed that the Hollywood sign would become an iconic emblem when it was initially built in 1923. The word “Hollywood” is even missing from the sign.
The development was concluded by the end of 1923. According to Gerald Schiller’s It Happened in Hollywood, it would take approximately a year to market the remaining plots, at which point the billboard would be destroyed.
Throughout the years, transient publicity has become a permanent monument in a variety of Hollywood stories, both large and small. One particularly memorable moment was when actress Peg Entwhistle committed suicide by jumping from the sign. After the bulbs had been burning and several years of being beaten by the weather, the town decided to replace the original sign with the new, shorter terminology that we all know and recognize.
Woodruff and Shoults erected it as a local real estate subdivision sign to advertise a new housing development, and it was only intended to be there for a year. However, after being abandoned during the boom of Hollywood, it has become an iconic destination, with tourists and movie aficionados going to Griffin Park to experience some of the splendor of the silver screen.
Hugh Hefner, the creator of Playboy Records, spearheaded a campaign in 1978 to have the sign, which had been severely damaged, permanently replaced with a more lasting construction. The replacement cost $250,000, and rock artist Alice Cooper and crooner Andy Williams were among the benefactors who contributed to the cost.
Today, 50 tour companies are attempting to keep up with the high demand for hikes into the Santa Monica Mountains to see this iconic landmark. Use of the observation platforms at the Hollywood and Highland Center and the Griffin Observatory is recommended.