Today, July 13th, it is 89 years since the landmark cultural icon that is the Hollywood Sign was officially dedicated. The iconic Hollywood sign is one of the most recognisable signs in the world, featuring in many films and logos, and often the first thing people think of or picture when the name Hollywood is mentioned. However, whilst most people would recognise the Hollywood sign straightaway, and it is extremely well-known, there are a number of interesting facts about the Hollywood sign that not everyone realises.
So, in celebration of the Hollywood sign's 89th anniversary, here are 15 things you probably didn't know about the Hollywood sign. 1. Originally the Hollywood sign didn't read Hollywood. Originally it read Hollywoodland. 2.
The Hollywood sign wasn't built to promote Hollywood, but was erected simply as an advertisement for a new housing development.
3. The original Hollywood sign was illuminated using 4,000 light bulbs which would light up in segments, 'HOLLY', 'WOOD', 'LAND', and then all lighting up together.
4. The Hollywood sign today is 5 feet shorter than the original. The original letters were each 50 foot tall, but today they are 45 feet tall each.
5. From most angles the letters appear at different heights, but the sign has been designed so that from one particular angle all of the letters appear completely even at the same height.
6. The original Hollywood land sign was never intended to be permanent, and was not expected to last more than around 18 months. It was only left up as it became an internationally recognised symbol during the rise of the American cinema and the Golden Age of Hollywood.
7. In the early 1940s the letter H was completely destroyed, and remained missing for some considerable time. It was destroyed by the sign's official caretaker, Albert Kothe, who was driving whilst considerably inebriated, lost control of his car and drove off the cliff, destroying both the car and the letter.
8. By the 1970s three of the nine letters were either missing or severely damaged, and in 1978 a campaign was launched to restore the landmark sign with nine donors each giving $27,700, sponsoring one letter each.
9. The campaign to restore the Hollywood sign in 1978 was launched by rock singer Alice Cooper, who himself donated $27,700 and donated the second letter O.
10. One of the other donors was Hugh Hefner, founder of Playboy magazine, who donated the letter Y.
11. The land near where the Hollywood sign is built was purchased in 1940 by Howard Hughes to build a fabulous hilltop mansion for the actress Ginger Rogers, to whom he was engaged. The mansion was never built as shortly after the purchase of the land Rogers broke up their engagement.
12. The Hollywood sign was not the first of this kind, and a very similar sign had been previously erected nearby by H. J. Whitley, to promote his housing development called Whitley Heights. It was on his recommendation that the Hollywoodland sign was built.
13. Although it is illegal to make an authorised changes to the side, there have been official changes made on several key occasions. In January 1976, after the state law decriminalised marijuana the sign read 'HOLLYWeeD'. In 1978 when Pope John Paul II visited the second L was covered up so that it read 'HOL YWOOD'.
14. In 2010 the UK town of Basildon created its own version of the Hollywood sign, although each of the letters only stands 5 feet tall, rather than 45 feet tall. The sign cost £90,000, and has been met with somewhat unenthusiastic responses. 15. The use of the sign's image is actually licensed, with the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce claiming trademark rights over it. If you're interested in finding out more about the Hollywood sign then there is actually an official website with a lot more information available: http://www.hollywoodsign.org. If you're really keen you can even watch the Hollywood sign live, 24 hours a day, through a couple of web cams which you can see here: http://www.hollywoodsign.org/Webcams. Why not celebrate the 89th anniversary of this iconic symbol of film and cinema? We have a wide range of Hollywood themed party decorations, from Hollywood foil balloons and Hollywood scene setters to Hollywood lunch napkins, and even a Hollywood Shooting Star Trophy award. Help your guests make an entrance with a Hollywood red carpet floor runner, and serve our snacks and meals for your star guests with our Hollywood metallic plates and party cups! Autograph books at the ready!