Hollywood Sign Restoration Project 2005: Current Progress

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Originally erected in 1923 at a cost of $21,000 for the purpose of advertising a real estate development, the Hollywood Sign has since become a symbol recognized worldwide as synonymous with the birthplace of today's global entertainment industry.

Initially, the sign was illuminated by 4,000 20-watt lights, which at night would light the "Holly," "wood," and "land" segments in sequence.

Although only intended to last eighteen months, the sign managed to endure the Great Depression, but by 1939 the developer that had built the sign was bankrupt, and maintenance stopped completely. The land on which the sign rests was acquired by the city in 1944, but by 1949, the deterioration had reached such an extent that the "H" fell down the mountainside, and the Chamber of Commerce stepped in to remove the "land" segment and restore the rest of the sign.

The lack of a sustained maintenance program continued to take its toll on the structure, however, so that by 1978, with large pieces of letters missing and the third "O" completely gone, it was determined that the sign should be entirely rebuilt. A fund-raiser hosted by Hugh Hefner at the Playboy Mansion, thanks to contributions from Alice Cooper, Gene Autrey, Paul Williams, and other donors, raised the necessary quarter of a million dollars.

Beginning in August 1978, almost 200 tons of material were used to build the structure now in place, seen from space in the photograph at right, taken by NASA's Landsat-7 satellite.

Maintenance is now under the management of the Hollywood Sign Trust, which ensures that the sign receives the care it has earned as a cultural icon. Having last received a facelift in 1995, the sign is now due for another, and Bay Cal Painting is proud to be able to donate its services toward the restoration of this important historic landmark.

Our work on the sign is currently underway. Click here for details regarding the project, and its current progress.