On New Year’s Day, Los Angeles woke up to an amusing news of the landmark “Hollywood” sign changed to “Hollyweed” by a potential prankster, or a group of them, probably under the influence of the last four letters of the changed word. Now, this is mere speculation; the LA Police Department, Hollywood Division, are investigating the vandalism.
This is not the first time ever that the landmark sign has been changed to mean something else or rather read differently – probably attempts to drive home a point or a grievance.
However, tweeters had a ball of a time tweeting away about the chucklesome change.
The sign’s huge dimensions may have involved some hard labour and planning to change – the entire sign which reads “HOLLYWOOD” stands 45 feet tall and covers a length of 350 feet – certainly not an easy task to swap the two ‘Os’ with two ‘Es.”
There is a history of such changes to the “Hollywood” signage, mostly amusing, over the years.
Just to keep our readers informed, here are some facts and a brief history of this iconic identity of Hollywood, Los Angeles, California:
It was originally developed in 1923 for commercial purposes – an advertisement of a local real estate agent and was named “HOLLYWOODLAND” initially.
The sign comes under the ambit of The Trust for Public Land which is a non-profit organization responsible for the promotion and upkeep of the sign atop a hill.
The location of the sign and the surrounding area come under the Griffith Park area.
The sign was intended to last for over a year only; however, ever since the growth in popularity of the American cinema industry in LA, referred to as the “Golden Age of Hollywood”, the sign became a permanent feature of the particular landscape.
As the sign was designed to last for about 18 months only, it had to undergo many repairs and up gradation and maintenance work to keep it standing even today – one of the best-known landmarks in the world.
As mentioned earlier, this was not the first time the sign became a victim of vandalism – however, some temporary changes to the sign in the past were legally permitted for advertising purposes. However, according to current policy, no changes are allowed to be made to the sign – it’s unlawful.
Here’s a list of the changes made to the sign since its inception and the reasons behind the acts:
1. HOLLYWeeD – January 1976, to protest against the state law decriminalizing marijuana
2. HOLYWOOD – April 1977, for the Easter Sunrise Service
3. GO NAVY – December 1983, when the sign was changed with legal permits for the Army-Navy first ever football game
4. RAFFEYSOD – in 1985, an unauthorized self-promotion by a New Orleans-based rock band called the Raffeys.
5. FOX – April 1987, a Fox television network promotion for the primetime launch.
6. CALTECH – May 1987, on Hollywood’s centennial – one of Caltech’s many senior pranks
7. OLLYWOOD – July 1987, during the Oliver North and Iran-Contra hearings
8. HOLYWOOD– September 1987, when the second L was covered for Pope John Paul II’s visit
9. OIL WAR – 1991, for the Gulf War
10. A yellow ribbon was tied around the sign – April 1991 to celebrate the end of the Gulf War.
11. A 75-foot tall cutout of Holli Would, the main character from the film Cool World (1992) amidst protests by local residents.
12. PerotWood – 1992, in support of Ross Perot and his presidential campaign
13. GO UCLA – 1993, for the annual UCLA-USC football game. It was a prank and the offenders were charged with trespassing.
14. SAVE THE PEAK – February 11, 2010, when the original letters were covered with a series of large banners that read “SAVE THE PEAK”. It was a campaign move by The Trust for Public Land to protect the land around the Hollywood Sign from real estate development.
15. HOLLYWeeD – January 1, 2017, a New Year’s Eve stunt by, so far, unknown prankster/s. The matter is under investigation. Speculations are that it was reverence to a new California law legalizing recreational marijuana.