When Angelenos awoke on New Year’s Eve, 2016, the sign read as Hollyweed for the second time.
The same alteration in 1976 earned Danny Finegood an A grade in his class assignment. And parental pride. Finegood was the first to alter the sign, but many followed, some with permission, some without.
Including some pretty unexpected changes.
Over the years, the sign has read:
- HOLLYWeeD – January 1976, following the passage of a state law decriminalizing marijuana.
- HOLYWOOD – April 1977, for Easter sunrise service, viewable from the Hollywood Bowl.
- GO NAVY December 1983, when a group of Midshipmen, with permission, covered the sign for the Army-Navy football game’s first and only West Coast appearance.
- RAFFEYSOD – in 1985, an obscure rock band from New Orleans named the Raffeys altered the sign in an act of unauthorized self-promotion.
- CALTECH – May 1987, on Hollywood’s centennial (of its incorporation as a municipality), also one of Caltech’s many senior pranks
- OLLYWOOD – July 1987, during the Oliver North and Iran-Contra hearings.
- HOLYWOOD– September 1987, the second L was covered for Pope John Paul II when he visited.
- OIL WAR – 1991, for the Gulf War.
- A yellow ribbon was tied around the sign – April 1991, in celebration of the end of the Gulf War. This act also supported the Hollywood Salutes Gulf Veterans Celebrations (D. Weiss, USNA’85/instigator & PM)
- A 75-foot (22.9 m)-tall cutout of Holli Would, main character from the film Cool World (1992). The cutout, which appeared to sit on the sign, was added as part of a promotion for the film. The alteration angered local residents, who said the cartoon character was “appalling” and an insult to women.
- PerotWood – 1992, to support Ross Perot and his presidential campaign.
- GO UCLA – 1993, for the annual UCLA-USC football game. Twenty members of UCLA’s Theta Chi fraternity achieved the prank, and were subsequently charged with trespassing. This incident prompted the 1994 installation of a $100,000 security system featuring video surveillance and motion detection.
- SAVE THE PEAK – February 11, 2010, the original letters were covered with a series of large banners reading “SAVE THE PEAK”, part of a campaign by The Trust for Public Land to protect the land around the Hollywood Sign from real estate development. As the changeover progressed such variations such as “SALLYWOOD” and “SAVETHEPOOD” gained some notoriety.
And back around to …..
- HOLLYWeeD – January 1, 2017, done as an unauthorized New Year’s Eve stunt, possibly paying homage to a new California law making recreational marijuana legal.
Siobhan O’Shea is a freelance writer. She writes about pretty much everything but especially likes to bring readers’ attention to new tech, marketing, human behavior, and other oddities.