The Los Angeles City Council Tuesday celebrated the 100th year anniversary of the iconic Hollywood Sign, and commemorated the milestone by declaring Oct. 31 as “Hollywood Sign Day” in the city.
Councilwoman Nithya Raman, who represents the 4th District, which includes Mount Lee where the Hollywood Sign is located, led a presentation during Tuesday’s Council meeting and uplifted the work of the Hollywood Sign Trust, a nonprofit aimed at maintaining, repairing and securing the famous sign.
Designated as a historic cultural monument in 1973, the council passed a resolution introduced by Raman on Oct. 10 to honor the sign’s 100th year anniversary.
“It (the sign) brings so many people here. It brings so much money into the city, and we have to, as we move forward into this next century at the Hollywood Sign, use some of those dollars to ensure that we maintain the park around it and ensure that this sign continues to be a resources for people who are coming to visit it, but not be a bother for the residents who live around it,” Raman said.
Jeff Zarrinnam, chairman of the Hollywood Sign Trust’s Board of Trustees, said as a child he made promise to himself that one day he would be “taking care of that Hollywood (sign).” He also thanked his colleagues for their dedication to preserving the Hollywood Sign, as well as the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, Hollywood United Neighborhood Council, and others involved in the care of the beloved sign.
Adam Burke, president and CEO of Los Angeles Tourism, a nonprofit aimed at supporting tourism in the city, said the Hollywood Sign is helping the recovery of tourism after the negative impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.
He noted tourism is the fourth largest employment sector in the city with approximately 550,000 Angelenos working in tourism related careers. Last year, visitors who came to the city contributed about $34.5 billion to the local business community.
“Everywhere I go around the world, whether I’m in India, stay in Japan or China, the consistent theme is that the reason people come to our city of angels is because it represents a sense of personal freedom,” Burke said. “It’s because we’re a community that truly celebrates diversity and inclusion.”
According to Raman, the sign started as a billboard concept for a real estate development called Hollywood Land in 1923. On Dec. 8 of that year, for the very first time, Angelenos looked up and saw the sign lit up by 3,700 light bulbs, she added.
In 1944, the Hollywood Land developers decided to donate the remaining undeveloped land housing tracts consisting of 425 acres to the city of Los Angeles.
The city of Los Angeles formally accepted the offer and added it to park acreage on Jan. 30, 1945.
In 1978, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce launched a “Save the Sign” campaign, with a goal of raising $250,000 to build a new, more permanent Hollywood Sign of the same design and original size. The sign “survived” years of neglect and repair until it was rebuilt in October 1978, according to the resolution.
Additionally, the Hollywood Sign Trust was honored with a 2023 Preservation Award by the Los Angeles Conservancy.
“As the sign celebrates its centennial throughout 2023, the Hollywood Sign Trust and the city of Los Angeles continue to protect Hollywood’s biggest star and educate the world about Los Angeles’ most-famous icon,” the resolution states. “The Hollywood Sign remains a celestial fixture above a city of constant change and a beacon for aspiring stars from all walks of life, with nine simple white letters.”
Prior to the Council meeting, Raman hosted a cake-cutting ceremony in the media room behind the Council Chambers to celebrate the occasion and shared brief remarks about the significance of the sign.
Updated at 11:55 a.m. Oct. 31, 2023
–City News Service