Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) May 25, 2023 -- In its centennial year, the Hollywood Sign has been celebrated all over the world. From a transformative re-painting to kick off its 100th anniversary to the welcoming news of a highly anticipated Visitor Center, the Sign brings people together and continues to intrigue with its fascinating myths and legends. In fact, the official birthday of the Sign leads the pack with what that date actually is, and what symbol would be complete without its fair share of stories that spread equally fascinating false rumors? The Hollywood Sign Trust, whose mission is to protect and preserve the Sign for generations to come, reveals the facts and debunks the myths in celebration of a historic anniversary with fans around the world.
“The Hollywood Sign was first erected in 1923 by a syndicate composed of Eli Clark, General Moses Sherman, Tracy Shoults, Sydney Woodruff and Los Angeles Times publisher Harry Chandler as a $21,000 billboard for an upscale Hollywoodland real estate development,” said Jeff Zarrinnam, chair of the Hollywood Sign Trust. “Intended to last just 18 months, the Sign has transcended all expectations and along the way has intrigued the public with a myriad of interesting myths and mysteries! As the Sign celebrates its100th anniversary, it’s a great time to take a look at the most popular myths and fun ones too.”
1) Drumroll: The Hollywood Sign’s Official Birthday:
Much urban legend surrounds the official birthday of the Hollywood Sign. The most popular dates include July 13, 1923 and December 8, 1923.
(Debunk): Some think July 13, 1923 is the Sign’s official birthday but that is an urban legend. There is no record of when construction began on the famous billboard— or reports of any official celebrations. However, according to an article in the Los Angeles Evening Express, the Sign was lit for the first time on December 8, 1923.
2) Why the “H” fell down:
In the early 1940s, the Sign’s letter “H” toppled over, sparking numerous myths as to how it came to happen. Many believe the Sign’s caretaker Albert Kothe knocked the letter over after ploughing into it while driving drunk in his 1928 Ford Model A.
Another rumor that surrounds Kothe is that he stripped the Sign of its copper and sold it as scrap metal.
(Debunk): The most likely explanation is that the letter “H” simply toppled over due to a combination of deterioration and strong winds.
3) The Sign is a Beacon for UFOs:
Some people believe that the Hollywood Sign serves as a beacon for extraterrestrial life and that aliens are drawn to it.
(Debunk): While the stories are riveting, and California does report more UFOs than any other state in the US, there is no hard evidence to support this claim.
4) The Haunting of the Hollywood Sign:
In 1932, an aspiring 24-year old silver screen actress Peg Entwistle, known as “The Hollywood Sign Girl,” reportedly climbed 50 feet up a workman’s ladder and jumped off the letter “H” to her death following a series of rejections from film studios. There was also news of a suicide note found in her abandoned handbag: “I’m afraid I’m a coward. I am sorry for everything. If I had done this a long time ago it would have saved a lot of pain.” PE. Her body was recovered in a ravine below the Sign by the Los Angeles Police Department
Inspired by the Peg Entwistle story, there have been many rumors of ghosts and supernatural activity in the hills surrounding the Sign, including spotting’s of a blonde woman dressed in clothes from the 30s—and the distinct scent of gardenias throughout the hills, the scent of Peg’s favorite perfume.
(Debunk): Although the supernatural stories are right out of a Hollywood movie, there's no hard evidence of ghosts. On the other hand, we encourage people to seek out the ghosts and myths they love the most about the Hollywood Sign.
5) Hugh Hefner’s estate owns the Hollywood Sign:
Hugh Hefner came to the rescue to help rebuild the Sign in 1978 when he hosted a gala fundraiser at the Playboy Mansion. Although individual Sign letters were ‘auctioned’ off to celebrity sponsors (including glam-rocker Alice Cooper and cowboy star Gene Autry), neither Heffner nor any of the celebrities or citizens who generously donated to the Sign own any of the letters.
(Debunk) The “ownership” of the Hollywood Sign’s physical structure is represented by the Hollywood Sign Trust whose nine (9) trustees are nominated to the Trustee Board of Governors by the mayor of Los Angeles (two trustees who are active city employees ) and the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce (seven trustees). The land under the Hollywood Sign is owned by the City of Los Angeles.
“The Hollywood Sign is not only the symbol for the entertainment industry, it’s also plenty entertaining itself,” continues Zarrinnam. “We look forward to the many myths to come while also enjoying the legends that people embrace as well as the hopes and dreams the Sign continues to inspire.”
About the Hollywood Sign Trust
The Hollywood Sign Trust is a 501(c)3 nonprofit trust created operated exclusively for religious, charitable, scientific, literary, or educational purposes and responsible for physically maintaining, repairing and securing the Hollywood Sign; providing capital improvements for the benefit of the public at large; and educating the world about the Sign’s historical and cultural importance. More information about the Sign's history and the Trust can be found at: http://www.hollywoodsign.org.
Hollywood Sign Trust
Betsy Isroelit, RBI, 1 213-300-0108, [email protected]