The Papal Visit : Papal Digest : A Sign of the Times--This One is ‘Holywood’

<i> Compiled by Nikki Finke from staff reports </i>

As far as pranks go, this one may have been well-intentioned. But not everyone was pleased when the famed Hollywood sign suddenly read “Holywood” before dawn Tuesday.

The alteration was accomplished when someone wrapped a huge sheet of black plastic around the first “L” and then tied it down with twine, police said.

A man emerging from a Hollywood dance club was the first to report the prank to authorities at 4:55 a.m. “Holywood” would have been clearly visible for at least a mile along John Paul’s parade route.

But the pontiff never got a chance to see it. By 9 a.m., before he even arrived in L.A., the 65-year-old landmark had been returned to normal. An anonymous caller told United Press International that nine people were involved in the prank. “We just decided that we had nothing better to do with our evening and that it would be time well spent to welcome the Pope to Los Angeles,” UPI quoted the caller as saying.