Start watching
Tending Nature poster 2021

Tending Nature

Start watching

Southland Sessions

Start watching

Earth Focus

Start watching

Reporter Roundup

Start watching

City Rising

Start watching

Lost LA

Start watching
Your donation supports our high-quality, inspiring and commercial-free programming.
Support Icon
Learn about the many ways to support KCET.
Support Icon
Contact our Leadership, Advancement, Membership and Special Events teams.

November 1978 - Hollywood Sign Restored

Hollywood Sign
The rebuilt Hollywood sign in November 1978. | Photo: L.A. Times/UCLA Library Digitial Collections/Creative Commons License

On November 14, 1978, the Hollywood Sign, L.A.'s most recognizable landmark, was re-dedicated, completing a major restoration program following years of neglect, thanks to the financial help of influential members of the Hollywood community,

Built in 1923 to advertise a real estate tract called "Hollywoodland," the sign, erected on the south face of Mount Lee in the Santa Monica Mountains above Hollywood, originally bore the 13 letters of the development, each 50 feet tall and 30 feet wide. Built by the Crescent Sign Company and designed by its owner, Thomas Fisk Goff, the sheet metal sign supported by wood scaffolding was outfitted with over 4,000 light bulbs and was illuminated at night.

The sign was only intended to last for 18 months, but soon became part of the visual landscape and local lore. In 1932, 24 year old actress Peg Entwistle committed suicide by jumping to her death off of the letter "H." Other letters were damaged over the years, and the sign underwent a restoration process in 1949 headed by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce and the L.A. City Department of Recreation and Parks. The "LAND" portion was removed, and the sign from then on became the "HOLLYWOOD" sign.

In 1978, the sign, visibly neglected with graffiti and holes, underwent a major restoration campaign, spearheaded by Playboy magazine publisher Hugh Hefner. Public donations were solicited, appearing on supermarket shopping bags and billboards, and much of the restoration cost was financed through major donations of Hollywood celebrities, producers, publishers, and executives.

The major donors were Hollywood Independent newspaper publisher Terrence Donnelly ("H"); movie producer Giovanni Mazza ("O"); Kelley Blue Book publisher Les Kelley ("L"); actor Gene Autry ("L"); Hugh Hefner ("Y"); singer Andy Williams ("W"); Warner Bros. Records ("O"); rock musician Alice Cooper ("O"); and private citizen Thomas Pooley, donating in the name of friend Matthew Williams ("D"). Each donor gave $27,777 each, totaling $250,000.

The new letters were five feet shorter than the original, but the supporting scaffolding behind them were constructed of more durable steel. Security fencing and surveillance cameras were eventually installed to prevent vandalism and intruders. The new sign was no longer illuminated, but was lit up with external lighting during the 1984 Olympic Games and New Year's Eve of 2000. The sign went through a minor restoration program in 2005, when it was re-painted.

Support Provided By
Support Provided By
Read More

The 1970s: Cousteau's Odyssey Continues

To a very small degree, I have done my best to follow in the footsteps of Jacques Cousteau.
The view from atop Mount Wilson. Catalina Island can be seen top left, and the downtown Los Angeles skyline is visible far right. The entire city of Pasadena is visible in the lower half of the picture. | Photo: Elson Trinidad

Transmitting Live from Mount Wilson: How KCET's Signal Comes to You

Keeping KCET running on the air, which requires a lot of electricity, a lot of equipment, and a lot of backup systems.
Zarii Arri

Zarii Arri: Teach Our Children to be Nice

Zarii Arri moved to California for acting and ice skating.