Trivia Minute July 13, 2016

Hollywood Sign: Above It All Since 1923

by Marcus Michelson
The Hollywood Sign (Image by Thomas Wolf via Wikimedia Commons)
The Hollywood Sign (Image by Thomas Wolf via Wikimedia Commons)

On this date in 1923, the Hollywood Sign in Los Angeles was dedicated.

Here are some things you may not have known about it.

Originally the sign read “Hollywoodland” as a promotion for a housing development in the Hollywood Hills. One of the developers of the project was Harry Chandler, the owner of the Los Angeles Times.

The sign is located on the southern side of Mount Lee above Hollywood.

The letters of the sign are 30 feet wide by 50 feet tall and were originally made of wood and sheet metal. The original version of the sign was outlined with 4,000 lightbulbs that would flash. The cost of the original sign was $21,000, or about $300,000 today.

The sign is said to be haunted by the ghost of actress Peg Entwistle, who jumped to her death from top of the the H in 1932.

The sign was only intended to remain for 18 months, but its creation coincided with the rise of the film industry in Hollywood and became a cultural icon.

Because it wasn’t built to last, it deteriorated rather quickly. In the 1940s, the sign’s caretaker destroyed the H in a drunken-driving accident. Later that decade, the city parks department took over maintenance of the sign and removed the letters LAND from the end. The light bulbs were also removed as the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce declined to pay the cost of electricity. By the 1970s, the sign was in awful shape. The first O was broken, resembling a lower-case U, and the third O had fallen completely, so the sign read “HuLLYWO D”.

In 1978, Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner headed up a campaign to restore the sign. Each letter was sponsored by a donor who gave about $28,000 apiece. The donors were a varied lot including Hefner, actor Gene Autry, singer Andy Williams and rock star Alice Cooper, who donated in memory of his friend, Groucho Marx.

The sign was refurbished again in 2005 by stripping the sign to bare metal and repainting it white.

Our question: What animated series sees the main character steal the D from the Hollywood sign, causing people to refer to the neighborhood as “Hollywoo” in later episodes?

Today is Statehood Day in Montenegro.

It’s unofficially Barbershop Music Appreciation Day, National French Fries Day, and Embrace Your Geekness Day.

It’s the birthday of actor Patrick Stewart, who is 76; actor Harrison Ford, who is 74; and writer/director Cameron Crowe, who turn 59.

This week in 1970, the top song in the U.S. was “The Long and Winding Road” by The Beatles, which was their last No. 1 hit in the United States.

The No. 1 movie was “Airport,” while the novel “Love Story” by Erich Segal topped the New York Times Bestsellers list.

Weekly take-home test

Which of the EGOT awards (The Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony) is “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda missing?

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Sources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/July_13

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hollywood_Sign

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peg_Entwistle

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hollywood_Hills

http://hollywoodsign.org/bojack-horseman-2014/

https://www.checkiday.com/07/13/2016

http://www.biography.com/people/groups/born-on-july-13

http://www.billboard.com/archive/charts/1970/hot-100

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Long_and_Winding_Road

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_1970_box_office_number-one_films_in_the_United_States

http://www.hawes.com/1970/1970-07-12.pdf

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