The HFPA has Hollywood in its name and, indeed, Hollywood has been our beat and our hq for 70 years. THEO KINGMA climbed every mountain, hill and rope to investigate what was going on with the internationally famous sign that hovers over our neighborhood. This is his report (and some amazing photographs):
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Back in 1923, when real estate developers  put up a large sign spelling HOLLYWOODLAND above the hills of a still rural Hollywood, they did so in the hope of selling parcels of orange groves.
Those interested the area, promoted as “a superb environment without excessive cost”, were even offered a free night stay at the only available hotel – The Hollywood Hotel.
In 1949, with the sign in decay, the City of Los Angeles decided to restore the sign, though with no need to promote the land, dropped the last four letters.
Today, the Hollywood sign stands among the most recognized signs in the world. The letters are 45 feet high and 31 to 39 feet wide. The total length is 350 feet.
Like so many starlets, the sign’s Hollywood career has known its drama. In 1932 a Broadway actress committed suicide by jumping off the sign. In the 1940s, the signs caretaker – somewhat under the influence – rolled down the hill in his Ford Model A, destroying the letter ‘H’. In the 1970s, the first ‘O’ broke in half and turned into a ‘U’. Shortly thereafter, the second ‘O’ tumbled down the steep hills.
Like so many aging stars that live below below her, the 89-year-old sign, is currently receiving a facelift.
Over a ten week period, each letter will be carefully stripped, primed and repainted white. The refurbishing efforts will require approximately 110 gallons of primer and 275 gallons of Emerald Exterior paint.