It is an icon, a sign of the city called Hollywood. It rests in the hills above Beachwood Drive, perched unevenly in what appears to be  in various heights and today is the 100th birthday of that sign. For those that grew up here, it has always been with us; a fanciful reminder that we live in a city of hopes and dreams that can only rise up. It has also been featured in many movies, often being tormented, demolished or trodden. But, it remains. It is a curiosity that the sign has only been illuminated twice in its long history—one can only imagine the Hollywood Sign at night, spotlights on each character, truly fulfilling the idea that is the place where stardom happens—but that is not likely. Residents below have fought this notion for years, fearing an illuminated kitchen. Alas, it is what it is and remains: the beacon, though dimly lit at night, the Hollywood Sign.

  1. The sign was originally erected in 1923 as an advertisement for a real estate development called “Hollywoodland.”
  2. Over the years, the sign underwent various repairs and restorations, and in 1949, the “land” portion was removed, leaving just “Hollywood.”

Movies and Television Shows Filmed at the Hollywood Sign:

  1. Superman (1978): The Hollywood Sign appeared in this classic superhero film.
  2. The Rocketeer (1991): This action-adventure film featured the Hollywood Sign prominently.
  3. Mullholland Falls (1996): This crime drama film also included scenes at the Hollywood Sign.
  4. Get Shorty (1995): In this crime-comedy film, the Hollywood Sign makes a cameo appearance.
  5. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019): Directed by Quentin Tarantino, this film is set in 1969 Los Angeles and features scenes with the Hollywood Sign.
  6. The Day After Tomorrow (2004): This disaster film includes a dramatic sequence involving the Hollywood Sign.
  7. The Artist (2011): This silent black-and-white film features a scene with the Hollywood Sign.
  8. LA LA Land (2016): This musical romantic comedy-drama showcases the Hollywood Sign in several scenes.
  9. Friends (TV Series): The Hollywood Sign has appeared in various episodes of the popular sitcom “Friends.”
  10. Beverly Hills, 90210 (TV Series): This iconic television series often included shots of the Hollywood Sign in its opening credits.
  11. Criminal Minds (TV Series): The Hollywood Sign is featured in several episodes of this crime drama series.

Please note that this list is not exhaustive, as the Hollywood Sign has made appearances in numerous other films, TV shows, commercials, and various forms of media over the years. It remains an enduring symbol of the entertainment industry and Los Angeles itself.

While the letters are all the same height of 45 feet, the width of the letters varies by quite a few feet in some cases. The current measurements of the letters are

H – 45 ft. H x 33 ft. 6 in. W
O – 45 ft. H x 33 ft. W
L – 45 ft. H x 31 ft. W
L – 45 ft. H x 31 ft. W
Y – 45 ft. H x 35 ft. W
W – 45 ft. H x 39 ft. 9 in. W
O – 45 ft. H x 33 ft. W
O – 45 ft. H x 33 ft. W
D – 45 ft. H x 33 ft. W

10. The sign has only been lit twice since its original build.

The Hollywood sign was only lit up twice in the years since it was first erected as the Hollywoodland ad: In 1984 to commemorate the Summer Olympics being hosted in Los Angeles, and again in 1999 as part of a spectacular citywide New Years Eve celebration as the world counted down heading into the new millennium.

Some other fun facts:

Actually, the sign has been the target of numerous alterations over the years, ranging from pranks to unofficial modifications:

  • January 1976 – Changed to “HOLLYWEED” (following passage of state law decriminalizing cannabis)
  • April 1977 – Changed to “HOLYWOOD” (Easter sunrise service)
  • December 1983 – Changed to “GO NAVY” (group of Midshipmen covered the sign for the Army-Navy’s only West Coast appearance)
  • January 1985 – Changed to “RAFFESYOD” (obscure rock band named the Raffeys did it for self-promotion)
  • May 1987 – Changed to “CALTECH” (Caltech senior prank)
  • July 1987 – Changed to “OLLYWOOD” (during the Oliver North Iran-Contra hearings)
  • September 1987 – Changed to “HOLYWOOD” again (for Pope John Paul II’s visit to Los Angeles)
  • September 1990 – Changed to “OIL WAR” (in protest of the Gulf War)
  • July 1992 – A 75-ft.-tall cutout of character Holli Would was added to appear to be sitting on the sign (promotion for the movie Cool World)
  • October 1992 – Changed to “PEROTWOOD” (supporters changed it for his presidential campaign run)
  • Sometime in 1993 – Changed to “JOLLYGOOD” (no one knows why)
  • February 2010 – Changed to “SAVE THE PEAK” (part of Hefner’s effort to raise funds to buy the land around the sign)
  • January 2017 – Changed to “HOLLYWEED” for the second time (following passage of state law legalizing recreational cannabis use)