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The History and Making of the Hollywoodland Sign in Hollywood California


See images of the Hollywood Sign as it appeared from Google Earth from 2005 to the present, fantastic improvement!

The Hollywood Sign in Hollywood California

Originally the Hollywood sign was called Hollywoodland, before it was shortened to Hollywood

A Sign Is Born – 1923
Hollywood, which by now represented not just a city, but also an industry, a lifestyle and, increasingly, an aspiration, was officially coronated when the “Hollywoodland” sign was erected in 1923.

Built by Los Angeles Times publisher Harry Chandler as an epic $21,000 billboard for his upscale Hollywoodland real estate development, the Sign soon took on the role of giant marquee for a city that was constantly announcing its own gala premiere.

The “billboard” was massive. Each of the original 13 letters was 30 feet wide and 50 feet tall, constructed of 3x9’ metal squares rigged together by an intricate frame of scaffolding, pipes, wires and telephone poles – all of which had to be dragged up Mt. Lee on dirt paths.

Few realize that a giant white dot (35 feet in diameter, with 20-watt lights on the perimeter) was constructed below the Sign to catch the eye. The Sign itself featured 4,000 20-watt bulbs, spaced 8 inches apart. At night the Sign blinked into the Hollywood night – first “Holly” then “wood” and finally “land,” punctuated by a giant period. The effect was truly spectacular, particularly for pre-Vegas sensibilities.

Originally intended to last just a year and a half, the Sign has endured more than eight decades – and is still going strong.
Hollywoodland circa 1923

Original Dedication of the sign

Original dedication of the hollywoodland sign

This is what the homes looked like that were built in Hollywoodland in 1923

homes built in Hollywood for the Hollywoodland subdivision

The Hollywood Sign taken from Santa Monica Blvd. Area of Hollywood California, click the picture to see a larger version
The Hollywood Sign taken from Santa Monica Blvd. Area of Hollywood California

So you may ask, what is my fascination with the Hollywood sign?  Having traveled to Hollywood California back in the early 80's I always had an interest in the sign after seeing it and driving up the mountain and around the sign.  When you get up close to the sign you realize how gigantic it really is.  Each letter is more than 50 feet high!

Hollywood Sign images using Google Maps from 2005 to present day!

Being interested in google maps inevitably led me to search for and eventually find the Hollywood sign. Back in 2005 you could not just type in Hollywood Sign into google maps to find the sign.  It took me much time and moving of my mouse to find it.  That's the image you see first below.

In the year 2005, I had searched for and found the Hollywood Sign using Google maps, the first overhead view is the sign from above, click the image to see a much larger, full size, image of the sign

Hollywood sign overhead using Google Maps in 2005

On June 29th of 2006 I again searched for the Hollywood sign and once I found it, immediately I could see that google maps had improved tremendously and that the quality of the image was far superior as you can see below.  All of the radio and television antenna and satellite dishes that sit atop the mountain behind the sign are very visible in the google overhead map, how times change so fast.

Again, to see a large high definition overhead picture of the Hollywood sign below, just click the image, Enjoy!

The Hollywood Sign taken from Santa Monica Blvd. Area of Hollywood California in 2006 from Google Maps

On March 8, 2009 I searched for high resolution images of the Hollywood sign on google and found the images were about the same as the image above.  I searched  Yahoo maps and the image found there for the Hollywood sign is exceptionally high resolution.  See the thumbnail below and click the image to see a large image.  Note the incredible resolution!

Holywood sign overhead from Yahoo Maps March 8, 2009

This is another great view of the Hollywood sign from Live Search and what they call a birds eye view of the Hollywood sign, it's another great high resolution view of the sign.  We live in an amazing world!

overhead view of the Hollywood sign from LiveSearch in March of 2009

This is another great view of the Hollywood sign from Live Search and what they call a birds eye view of the Hollywood sign, it's another great high resolution view of the sign.  We live in an amazing world!

2008 image from NAVTEK Microsoft Bing search click this image of the Hollywood sign to see a much larger version!

January 19, 2013 Hollywood Sign Images update - I thought I would google the Hollywood sign again to see if there was much of a difference in the resolution of the satellite images available through Google.  Well, was I every surprised.  See the image below, how much more resolution and clarity there is in the image.  When you click the image, the original image comes up in a new window and you can see the details even more clearly.   It appears that the second L is leaning a little to the right, not sure if this is distortion from the photo or if it is actually leaning over.   Time will tell! Google and the internet have certainly changed and enhanced our view of the world.  Can't wait to see what this sign will look like in a few years from now!

Hollywood Sign January 19 2013 Google Satellite Overhead View

March 12, 2015 Hollywood Sign Google Images update - The image below is of the Hollywood sign as seen on Google Tilt view and shows the incredible detail.  I didn't even zoom in to maximum with the image below as my 24" screen will not show the entire sign (see the second image below to see that image!)  When you view the image below, there is incredible resolution and clarity.  When you click the image, the original image comes up in a new window and you can see the details even more clearly.   You can also see that there is something wrong with the second L, it's either leaning a little to the right or it's distorted - since the images from previous years also show this blemish on the second L, it would seem that there is an issue with that letter that they cannot or are not repairing.

Hollywood Sign March 12 2015 Google Satellite Overhead Tilt View one click out

 

March 12, 2015 - this is super close up of the Hollywood Sign - The image below is so detailed that I cannot even fit the entire Hollywood sign in the frame of my 24" wide computer monitor!  I think that this will be the last image that I post of the Hollywood Sign for many years to come.  How can Google enhance the quality of this overhead image any further and even if they do, is there any point?  Remember this; the letters of the Hollywood Sign and about 50 feet high, so there is still some increase in resolution that Google can improve - by then, we will be able to see people from the overhead images! Looking forward to the future and Google again!

Hollywood Sign March 12 2015 Google Satellite Overhead Tilt View large

Images of the Hollywood Sign using Google Streetview

Updated March 4 2010 - The image below is another amazing advancement using Google Maps. Google now offers what is called 'Street View' which is a vehicle (actually a fleet of vehicles) that Google drove all over North America (and many other parts of the world) and photographed the landscape in a 360 panoramic view. The image below shows you the Hollywood sign from one of the streets at the base of the Hollywood Sign, this time Innsdale Drive. If you click the image below it will take you to a large high resolution image of the sign as seen from the street. Absolutely amazing, you almost don't even have to travel to many destinations anymore, just use Google Street View to see the best images from almost any vantage point.

Hollywood Sign from Google Street View in 2010

This image below if from Deronda Drive another vantage point, but a very nice close up high resolution street view image of the Hollywood Sign, Enjoy!

Hollywood Sign from Deronda Drive using Google Street View in 2010

A closer view

hollywood sign close up view using google maps street view

and even closer and more detail of the sign, courtesy of Google Map View

google map view closest image possible in 2010 to the sign using map view

UPDATE: February 13, 2012, below is an image from Google Street Map view and you can see the incredible resolution of this photo provided by Google, technology is always changing for the better!

hollywood sign february 13 2012 from google maps street view

and almost just as interesting is the people who were at the Hollywood Sign location when the Google Maps Street View vehicle drove by, they were more interested in taking a photo of the "Googlemobile" than the Hollywood Sign! lol (those lucky 5 people got to see the Hollywood Sign and the Googlemobile at the same time!)

 

people at the foot of the hollywood sign looking at googlemobile and seeing that they are captured on this image for life!

I was driving on Lake Shore Blvd. near the Humber River on March 2, 2015 and saw the Google Maps Street View Car and took a few photos, see below:

Google Street View Car in Toronto!   Google Street View Car in Toronto!    Google Street View Car in Toronto!   Google Street View Car in Toronto!     

and finally here is a photo uploaded from a user of the sign, beautiful photography

user photo of the Hollywood Sign 2010

see more super detailed images from Google over the past years of the Hollywood sign

The Hollywood Sign Today

Hollywood Sign ArgentinoHollywood’s civic restoration, which began in the 1970s, picked up steam in the ensuing decades, fuelled by a growing reverence for what the industry had come to represent worldwide. The Sign has always served as a barometer for the community; and as Hollywood re-blossomed, so too did the Sign, which benefited from a range of new preservation efforts.

In 1992, the California Attorney General granted distinct legal rights and responsibilities to three official agencies – the City of Los Angeles (which owns the land the Sign stands on), the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce (which owns the licensing rights for the Sign’s image), and the Hollywood Sign Trust (formed to maintain, repair and provide capital improvements to the Sign for the benefit of the public – with the larger mission of helping to preserve Hollywood’s standing as the worldwide center of motion pictures and cinema arts).

Thanks to the Trust’s efforts, the Sign got a fresh new paint job in 1995, courtesy of Dutch Boy Paints, during a ceremony hosted, appropriately enough, by Phyllis Diller (the ‘queen of face-lifts’). On December 31, 1999, the Sign was the site of the West Coast’s highest-profile “Y2K” celebration, ringing in the new millennium with a dazzling display of lights and special effects. The Sign was featured alongside the Eiffel Tower, the Great Pyramids of Egypt, and New York’s Times Square during global millennium countdown TV coverage … The erstwhile real estate billboard continued its place among the world’s most revered landmarks.

In 2000 the Hollywood Sign Trust hired Panasonic to install a state-of-the-art security system comprised of a vast closed circuit surveillance network, and Internet-based surveillance (which can viewed live on this very website). The system, which is monitored 24/7 to protect the Sign and it neighbours from unwanted visitors and the danger of fire, was upgraded with new technologies in 2005.

In 2004 the Sign celebrated its 80th birthday at a gala celebration hosted by movie musical legend Esther Williams (another remarkably preserved octogenarian). The ‘birthday party’ was held during the opening ceremonies for the AFIFest – which was sponsored in part by the Trust. In mid-2005, the Sign ‘goes into makeup’ once again, and will receive another new sparkling white paint job.

Poised and polished for this millennium, the Hollywood Sign continues to inspire movie makers and fans around the world, while playing a vital role in keeping the town it helped put on the map at the center of the global entertainment industry. Through the years – from its splashy real estate billboard roots, to its long neglect and decay, to its current status as a revered international landmark – the Sign has emerged more symbolically powerful than ever, conjuring an ever-expanding parade of images, desires and ideas with just nine simple letters:

H-O-L-L-Y-W-O-O-D

Hollywood Sign Argentino
Hollywood Sign Generator

read more about the Hollywood sign

http://www.hollywoodsign.org/history.html or http://www.hollywoodsign.org/pdf/HOLLYWOOD%20PLOTLINE.pdf or http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hollywood_Sign

Disclaimer: Please note that I do not hold the rights to the images used on this page

Read about what happened in real estate last month.

I wish you much success, good health and happiness today and always! 

Mark

 

 

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