English II, 1st Hour
Research Paper First Draft
15 November 2013
Saved By a Playboy
Everyone has seen the Hollywood Sign, whether in movies, or in person. For years the Hollywood Sign has been a symbol of success and glamour in the movie industry, but I bet you do not know that it was almost destroyed. If it weren’t for Hugh Hefner and a few celebrities, a movie industry icon may have disappeared.
According to Abigail Kelly, the Sign originally reading “HOLLYWOODLAND” was dedicated in 1923 as an advertisement for a housing development in Los Angeles (37). World War II hit the “HOLLYWOODLAND” housing developers hard. During the Great Depression, the housing development went bankrupt, leaving the developers with no way to pay for the removal of the Sign. Originally supposed to be temporary, the Sign ended up being a long-lasting symbol of glamour and success in the movie industry (“Hollywood,” 1). The Sign also led to population growth in the city below. The Sign, located on Mt. Lee in California, towers over the city below with letters 50 feet high and 30 feet wide (Kelly, 37). There is also a giant white dot 35 feet in diameter and outlined with 20-watt lights right below the Sign to catch the eye. The Sign as a whole consisted of over 4,000 20-watt bulbs most spaced 8 inches apart (“Welcome to…” 2007). The Sign cost $21,000 to install, not including the numerous repairs that have been made over the past 90 years (Kelly, 37).
The Sign had its few years of glamour, but soon was affected by the weather. The fact that the Sign was supposed to be temporary also played a part in the fast wear and tear of the Sign (“Hollywood,” 1). The weathering of the Sign was not the only thing that contributed to its darker days. As letters began to tumble down Mt. Lee, a young actress’s life began to tumble as well.
The introduction of sound in film invited thousands of hopeful actors to the town of Hollywood during the Depression. Of...