Hollywood Sign

Things to Do in Los Angeles

Photo Image of Hollywood Sign
Image courtesy of Deposit Photos


Let’s start with a sage warning: do not attempt to climb the nearly 14-metre (45 feet) high letters of the Hollywood sign. For one thing, they’re flat and slippery. For another, the rocky, sandy terrain that leads up to them is on a steep, dangerous hillside on Mount Lee. People have done it and been injured in the process. One died.

The suicide of young actress, Peg Entwistle, who threw herself off the “H” in 1932, is the subject of a musical and soon to be a major motion picture, but in the meantime, she turns up now and then in ghostly form. Just don’t climb the sign!

There is a trail that leads toward the sign, but it’s a one-hour hike each way, uphill getting there, and it does not take climbers close to the 107-metre-long (350 feet) sign anyway. Best you go to Griffith Park and see it from there; that’s the best vantage point, and safest, too.

Why is the Hollywood sign there? It’s a historic landmark and icon now, but when it was put up in 1923, at the staggering cost of $21,000, by L.A. Times publisher, Harvey Chandler, it was an advertisement. Yes, a giant billboard for a new upscale residential development he was creating. The sign was in a bad state in the 1970s and was refurbished; it was rebuilt completely in 1978, presumably without Peg’s assistance.

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