I Just Realised What Hollywood Sign Originally Said, And It Changes Everything

I had no idea about this.
DAVID SWANSON via Getty Images

When you think of Hollywood, the image of its iconic letter signs mounted on a hill more than likely comes to mind.

But did you know that they originally spelled something completely different ― and had more to do with a housing development than LA glitz and glamour?

In fact, it was only in 1949 that the sign became the one we know and love today.

What was it originally?

When the sign was erected around 1923, it read “Hollywoodland.”

It wasn’t meant to last, either ― the $21,000 billboard was meant to be a temporary ad for a housing development called Hollywood Hills.

So it shouldn’t be surprising that the “h” fell over in 1949.

And while this could have been a time to take the sign down, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce thought the landmark had become so iconic, it was better kept up.

They replaced the “h” ― but removed the “land” so that it wouldn’t reference any housing development in particular.

Hulton Archive via Getty Images


I know! And because the sign ― which remember, was just meant to be an 18-month ad ― was so flimsy, it needed constant repairs.

Eventually, a 1978 committee headed by Hugh Hefner and Alice Cooper sought to completely rebuild the sign.

A 2005 report suggests that the original sign ― which was torn down during the remake ― was sold on eBay for $450,400 by Dan Bliss, who had bought the lot from nightclub promoter Hank Berger, who had bought it from the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce.

Very showbiz of the sign to be foggy about its date of birth, change its name in its 20s, and get a full facelift at around 55...


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