A hiking path reopened Monday offering superb views of the Hollywood sign. As visitors flock to the trail, they might want to remember those who have gone before them -- some of whom have tampered with the sign.
It’s no secret the letters haven’t always spelled “Hollywood.”
Erected in 1923, the sign originally said “Hollywoodland” and stayed that way until 1949, when “land” was removed. Since then, it has pretty much just been “Hollywood” -- but the iconic landmark has not been without temporary edits.
Mother Nature was its first editor. According to a story in the Los Angeles Times archives, a storm took out the H in 1949, leaving the sign as “ollywoodland.” The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce restored the H but removed the “land” that same year.
On Jan. 1, 1976, a more lenient marijuana law went into effect in California. To mark the occasion, some young men draped the two O’s in “wood” with E’s to make it “Hollyweed.”
The sign got a badly needed face-lift in 1978, and in the 1980s and ‘90s it got several more masks.
It was draped with “Go Navy” before the 1983 Army-Navy game. On New Year’s Day 1985, it mysteriously read “Raffeysod.” Turns out that was a prank by a band called the Raffeys.
Two years later, Caltech students transformed it into the name of their school. That same year, it dropped an “L” to say “Holywood” for a visit by the pope, which he never got to see because the prank was undone before the pontiff got to L.A.
The Times has reported that the sign has also read “Holywood” in honor of Easter.
And that’s not all for 1987. That same year, Fox Broadcasting paid to have the sign read “Fox” for five days.
In the 1990s, it got political at least twice. The first time was in 1990, when an artist protesting the Middle East crisis made the sign say “Oil War.” Then, in 1992, supporters of presidential candidate Ross Perot got in on the action, changing it to “Perotwood.”
The next year, the sign read “Jollygood.” It’s unclear if it was referring to a particular fellow.
Five years ago, activists made use of the sign as part of an effort to halt nearby housing construction. The sign ultimately read “Save the Peak,” but we have some photos of the sign-changing process, including versions of it reading “Sollywood,” “Sallywood” and (our favorite) “Save the Pood.”
Of course, the sign has undergone other alterations over the years. It was illuminated at night when the Olympics came to Los Angeles in 1984, and it got festive to ring in the new millennium. There was a cartoon figure perched atop the D for a movie promotion in 1992. Disney proposed putting spots on the sign to promote “101 Dalmatians” in 1996 but ended up withdrawing its request.
Oh, and just in case you didn’t know how the sign came about in the first place: It was a promotion for a real estate development, a subdivision called Hollywoodland. Its formation was helped along by the L.A. Times publisher at the time, Harry Chandler.
Love history? Me too. Follow me on Twitter for more @lauraelizdavis.