Save the Hollywood Sign


Welcome to Sallywood? Iconic LA landmark gets facelift




Los Angeles Times
February 11, 2010


LOS ANGELES (AFP) — One of the world’s most recognizable landmarks — the giant Hollywood sign in Los Angeles — was undergoing a facelift Thursday as activists ramped up a campaign to preserve the iconic symbol.


An environmental group bidding to raise around 12.5 million dollars to purchase a 138-acre (55-hectare) parcel of rugged land surrounding the sign had begun draping bright red letters over the popular tourist attraction.


The Trust for Public Land will shroud each of the sign’s 45-foot (13-meter) high letters in blankets so that the slogan “SAVE THE PEAK” becomes visible for miles around the sprawling Californian city.


By 5:30pm Thursday, the first two letters of the sign had been covered, leaving the landmark to read “SALLYWOOD.”


Activists will remove the slogan next Tuesday, Trust for Public Land spokesman Tim Ahern said. “Everybody in the city will be able to see the message ‘Save the Peak,'” Ahern told AFP.


The Hollywood sign, which was initially created as an advert for a real estate development in 1923, is owned by the city of Los Angeles.


However the mountainous land surrounding the famous white letters is owned by a Chicago-based consortium who have acquired rights to build four luxury mansions along the ridgeline.


Activists protested the plans, saying the sign would be blighted if the properties were built, and sought to buy the land from the consortium, which agreed to sell it for 12.5 million dollars if the money was paid by April 14.


“So far we’ve raised about seven million dollars. We’re hoping that what we are doing this week will help us raise the other 5.5 million,” Ahern said.


One of the City of Angels’ most beloved attractions, the Hollywood sign had fallen into disrepair until it was restored in the 1970s after a campaign which saw nine donors pay 27,777 dollars to “adopt” one letter each.


Although members of the public are forbidden from accessing the area around the landmark — a sophisticated alarm system including motion sensors has been set up to deter trespassers — the sign has a grisly history.


In 1932 British actress Peg Entwistle infamously committed suicide by throwing herself off the top of the letter H.


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