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Hollywood Sign

Hollywood Sign

Location submitted by: sdonley on 06/02/2012
DBA Approved: Y

PANICd#: 1109

It's fitting that the Hollywood Sign, the worldwide symbol of the entertainment industry, was conceived as an outdoor ad campaign for a suburban housing development called Hollywoodland.

3204 Canyon Lake Drive
Hollywood , CA 90068
Open to the public: No

http://www.hollywoodsign.org/

Lat: 34.127285
Lon: -118.3265068

Database Summary:

Demographic Rank: 5
History: 2
Stories: 3
Claims: 3
Evidence: 0
Resources: 0
Retrievals: 6197
Vistor Rating: 5.0
Votes: 1

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History

History information is some background and history about the location. This is meant to be a basic summary. Below the history records you will find sources in which you can click on to find out more information. There may be multiple history records per location.


It's fitting that the Hollywood Sign, the worldwide symbol of the entertainment industry, was conceived as an outdoor ad campaign for a suburban housing development called "Hollywoodland."

After all, despite the high profile of the film biz, real estate has always been Hollywood's primary economic driver.

Although the Sign's appearance and purpose have evolved over the years, its basic aspirational message remains the same: This is a place where magic is possible, where dreams can come true.

Back then, the dream was a beautiful home and lifestyle. Today, the Sign's promise is more subtle- and can only be described as the parade of images, desires and ideas conjured by the word "Hollywood."

Imagine a time when the only stars in Hollywood were found in the crystal- clear night skies arching over rolling hills.

This was the setting for the area's native people, the Gabrielinos. Later, the Gabrielinos lived on missions for some time but reminders of their culture remain.

Before Hollywood became the world's entertainment mecca, it resembled other west frontiers- a landscape of farmers, cowboys, prospectors, bandits, and mostly undeveloped land. All land north of Sunset Boulevard, for example, was considered useless for anything but grazing.

With more and more Easterners drawn by the promise of sunny skies and mild, dry weather, the area's bedrock industry- real estate- soon kicked into high gear.

Subdivisions begat more subdivisions, and by the end of the 19th century Hollywood was taking on the contours of a recognizable town. Thanks to Daeida Wilcox, it also had a name.

In 1887, Mrs. Wilcox, wife of town founder Harvey Wilcox, met a woman on a train trip who referred to her Florida summer home, "Hollywood." She was so struck by the name that she suggested it to her husband - and the rest is history.

All was quiet until 1907, when bad weather drove a small Chicago film company westward to complete a shoot.

The first real studio, Nestor Film Company, soon followed from New Jersey, cranking out three pictures a week- one western, one eastern, and one comedy for a grand total of $1,200.

By 1912, word of Hollywood's ideal film-shooting climate and landscape spread, and at least 15 independent studios could be found shooting around town. Old barns were turned into sound stages and Hollywood's quiet time was over.

It wasn't just sunny skies that spurred the mass film migration to Hollywood. In 1897, famed inventor and early movie mogul Thomas Edison began suing rival producers who were utilizing filmmaking-projection devices based (he felt) on his Kinetoscope technology.

Many of these movie "pirates" fled from New Jersey (home of the Edison Company and the original movie capital), first to Cuba, then to California for good.

By 1915, America was officially film crazed, and Hollywood was shaping into the glamorous, sometimes surreal landscape we've come to know and love.

Hopeful actors and actresses filled the streets, dazzled by a new American dream: film stardom. Studios, meanwhile, sprung up like wildfires and engaged in a cutthroat battle for survival. As the industry matured, many of these independent companies merged, forming the big studios that would shape and control the industry moving forward.

By 1920, 40 million Americans were going to the movies each week. As the industry blossomed, Hollywood strove to keep pace physically. L.A. history buffs (and fans of the movie Chinatown) know the key to the area's explosive development during the early 20th century was the Owens Valley Aqueduct System, spearheaded by William Mulholland (who was the head engineer of the Municipal Water Department) and initially completed in 1913.

The controversial and violently opposed project diverted water from the Owens River, the lifeblood of a farming community. Furious Owens Valley residents (allegedly) dynamited the L.A. Aqueduct in 1924 and, later that same year, seized control of a critical aqueduct gate, shutting off the flow of the river. These acts of sabotage continued sporadically until 1928, when the chief backer of the opposition movement, the Owens Valley Bank, collapsed.

Still, the water flowed (usually), and Hollywood flourished. During the 20s, a whimsical skyline of movie set-inspired hotels and apartments rose along the big boulevards. The more prestigious addresses, including the opulent Garden Court Apartments, Chateau Elysee and Garden of Allah Villas, were imbued with the glamour of the stars that called them home.

The rise of the film aristocracy also meant suave new restaurants and nightclubs up and down Hollywood and Sunset Boulevards. Extravagant movie palaces completed the iconic Hollywood landscape.

Added by: sdonley on 06/08/2012 DB#:131
Source(s):
http://www.hollywoodsign.org/the-history-of-the-si...


Hollywood, which by now represented not just a city, but also an industry, a lifestyle and, increasingly, an aspiration, was officially crowned when the 'Hollywoodland' sign was erected in 1923.

Built by Los Angeles Times publisher Harry Chandler as an epic $21,000 billboard for his upscale Hollywoodland real estate development, the Sign soon took on the role of giant marquee for a city that was constantly announcing its own gala premiere.

The 'billboard' was massive. Each of the original 13 letters was 30 feet wide and 50 feet tall, constructed of 3"9′ metal squares rigged together by an intricate frame of scaffolding, pipes, wires and telephone poles.

All of this material had to be dragged up precipitous Mt. Lee by laborers on simple dirt paths.

Few know that a giant white dot (35 feet in diameter, with 20-watt lights on the perimeter) was constructed below the Sign to catch the eye. The Sign itself featured 4,000 20-watt bulbs, spaced 8 inches apart.

At night the Sign blinked into the Hollywood night: first 'Holly' then 'wood' and finally 'land', punctuated by a giant period. The effect was truly spectacular, particularly for pre-Vegas sensibilities.

Originally intended to last just a year and a half, the Sign has endured more than eight decades - and is still going strong.

In the 30s, the film industry ad radio broadcasting were in their heyday, but already some in Los Angeles were doing what Hollywood would always do best: harnessing technology for entertainment and communications.

The new wave - television - was in its experimental phase, and the sit of the Sign was instrumental in this early history. It is from atop Mt. Lee, behind the Sign, that the first television station west of New York was broadcast.

Mount Lee, in fact, takes its name from one of these broadcasting pioneers. A Cadillac dealer who started out selling bicycles created the first TV station outside of New York, with the catchy name of W6XAO. Going on the air on December 23, 1931, just months after the first New York stations, W6XAO aired the first documented television news coverage - of the Long Beach, California earthquake of 1933 - and the first soap opera, Vine Street.

Having bought the mountaintop above the Hollywood Sign from Mack Sennett, the silent film director and father of 'slapstick' comedy, Lee Broadcasting moved its antennae there in 1939. At one-and-a-half times taller than the top floor of the Empire State Building, Mount Lee became the highest television location in the world, and ushered in a new era in Hollywood's storied history.

Added by: sdonley on 06/08/2012 DB#:132
Source(s):
http://www.hollywoodsign.org/the-history-of-the-si...


Stories

Stories are just that. Stories and personal accounts that have been reported about the location.


The advent of synchronized sound sent the picture industry reeling, as the big studios frantically re-tooled and acting careers were ruined and made overnight.

Still, the 'talkies' took movie mania to new heights, and Hollywood was booming in 1929 when the stock market crashed.

Although the studios, which rely heavily on speculative capital, were hit hard initially, the Depression meant even bigger business as Americans flocked to theaters for ever more lavish, escapist productions.

The "Hollywood Sign Girl"
The element of sound promised new opportunities for vocally trained stage actors. Unfortunately, most of the thousands of would-be stars and starlets who flocked to Hollywood were met with cold rejection.

In 1932, Peg Entwistle, a New York stage actress, became the symbol of the dark side of the Hollywood dream. Emboldened by her Broadway success, the ambitious young actress soon set her sights on the silver screen. She packed her bags for Hollywood and moved in with her uncle on Beachwood Drive - virtually in the shadow of the Hollywood Sign.

Unfortunately, Peg failed to make a splash, and she spent most of the brutally hot summer of '32 hanging around her uncle's house, waiting for a phone call that never came. Finally, on the evening of September 18th, Peg told her uncle that she was going to meet some friends at a nearby drug store, but this was a sad lie.

She instead made the arduous hike up the canyon hill to the Hollywood Sign, her one-time beacon of hope but now a symbol of failure and rejection. She climbed 50 feet up a workman's ladder to the top of the 'H' and plunged to her death. Peg Entwistle - dubbed by tabloids as the "The Hollywood Sign Girl" - was only 24 years old.

In a cruel twist of irony, a letter to Peg arrived the day after her death from the Beverly Hills Playhouse. She was offered the lead role in a play about a woman driven to suicide.

Added by: sdonley on 06/08/2012 DB#:1085
Source(s):
http://www.hollywoodsign.org/the-history-of-the-si...


The Hollywood sign was built in 1923 to advertise a real estate development site in Beachwood Canyon. The sign cost $21,000 to build and each of the letters was 50 feet high and 30 feet wide plus illuminated with thousands of light bulbs. The wooden sign read 'Hollywoodland' and was only meant to be temporary in order to promote business.

Maintenance of the sign discontinued in 1939 and over time, the sign fell into a state of disrepair. In 1944, the developers of Hollywoodland released 455 acres of land to the city of Los Angeles and this parcel included the Hollywood sign. The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce rebuilt the sign but did not replace the light bulbs. They removed the last four letters because Hollywood was permanently established as the movie capital of the world.

The sign was untouched and went into disrepair until the 1970s when there was a fund-raising event where donors were asked to buy replacement letters. In 1978, the original sign was demolished and replaced with new steel letters.

Added by: sdonley on 06/08/2012 DB#:1086
Source(s):
http://suite101.com/article/the-haunted-hollywood-...


The Ghost of Peg Entwistle at the Hollywood Sign

There have been many sightings by park rangers and hikers in Griffith Park of the ghost of a woman who is dressed in 1930-style clothing. The ghost is described as a blonde woman who appears to be sad. One evening a man and his girlfriend were walking their dog on a trail in the area. Their dog started to act strangely. They soon saw a lady appear in front of them and she was dressed in 1930s clothing. The lady seemed to be despondent and quickly vanished. The description of the female ghost is always the same; a blonde dressed in clothing from the 1930s and she is sad or in a daze.

A park ranger at Griffith Park has seen the female ghost several times and always detects the smell of gardenias. He has stood at the sign and seen the motion detectors trigger when nobody else has been present

Peg was only 24 years old when she jumped to her death. Sadly, a letter arrived at her uncle's house a few days later from the Beverly Hills Community Players to offer Peg a substantial role in a production at the Hollywood Playhouse.

The Hollywood tabloids nicknamed Peg Entwistle "the Hollywood sign girl".

Added by: sdonley on 06/08/2012 DB#:1087
Source(s):
http://suite101.com/article/the-haunted-hollywood-...


Paranormal Claims

Here are the paranormal claims for this location. These have been found through Internet research, reports from members, or reports from personal interviews. To add a claim, please contact PANICd.com, and we will review and add your information.


Claim # Added Added By Claim
1523 06/08/2012 sdonley The apparition of a woman with blonde hair dressed in 1930's clothing has been seen many times.
1524 06/08/2012 sdonley Motion detectors around the sign have been triggered when there is nobody around.
1525 06/08/2012 sdonley People have detected the smell of gardenias in the area around the "H"

Paranormal Evidence

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