Los Angeles’ iconic Hollywood sign was altered to read ‘HOLLYWeeD’ on New Year’s Eve, presumably in celebration of the full state-level legalisation of marijuana, but many might be unaware it has happened before, on the same day of the year and for similar reasons.
When Angelenos awoke on 1 January, 1976, the sign read as Hollyweed for the first time, having been draped in material by Cal State Northridge student Danny Finegood to mark the day relaxed marijuana laws came into effect.
Neither prankster damaged the sign, both using different coloured materials to alter the lettering, with the most recent incident being investigated only as misdemeanour trespassing.
Finegood was actually cheered on by his parents, who were “very proud” that he had come up with the idea, and the stunt earned him an A grade in his class assignment.
He took exception to some papers referring to him as a “vandal”, saying: “We broke no laws and did no damage to the sign.
”An artist's role throughout history has been to create representations of the culture he exists in. By hanging four relatively small pieces of fabric on the landmark, we were able to change people's perception of the Hollywood Sign.”
Finegood was the first to alter the sign, but many followed, some with permission, some without.
For various reasons including film promotion, political protest and a visit from the Pope, the HOLLYWOOD sign has over the years read HOLLYWeeD, HOLLYWOOD, GO NAVY, RAFFEYSOD, FOX, CALTECH, OLLYWOOD, HOLYWOOD, OIL WAR , PerotWood, GO UCLA, SAVE THE PEAK and HOLLYWeeD (again).
An icon of LA's film industry, the sign was also the site of tragedy, Broadway actress Peg Entwistle having jumped to her death from the letter 'H' in 1932.
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