Tom Gregory's Hollywood Vault radio clips, as featured on Leeza Gibbons' national radio program Hollywood Confidential!
Below is a transcript of the review on the audio file playable above.The film Hollywoodland takes its title, from a 1923 advertising sign that still sits in the hills above Hollywood; the Iconic Hollywood sign.
Known round the world as America’s symbol of glamour, hope, fame and fortune, this huge but simple sign, started out as an endorsement for a subdivision of homes called Hollywoodland. Meant to last only a few years the Hollywoodland sign stood powerfully on its perch long after the bulldozers stopped and the builders went bust. The thirteen 50 x 30-foot white letters quickly wooed their way into the bloodstream of the city’s pulse.
4000 lights were added during the depression flashing its hopeful Holly - Wood - Land to the dull depression-weary spectators below.
In 1932 the fame-starved actress Peg Entwistle who lived near the sign, told her uncle she was going to the drugstore. But instead persistent Peg found herself making the dusty, difficult hike up to the sign. She climbed a workman’s ladder to the top of the H. Under the watchful gaze of the Hollywood’s winking, twinkling lights below, Peg dove into the grim reaper’s arms. An anonymous hiker found the body and Peg Entwistle’s final note which read: “I am afraid I am a coward. I am sorry for everything. If I had done this a long time ago, it would have saved a lot of pain. P.E."
By 1949 the last four letters that spelled out LAND were removed, and the sign was spiffed up. But termites get hungry quickly. It wasn’t until 1978 when a committee largely escorted by Hugh Hefner, adopted the sign, helping to make it the permanent steel structure you see today.
Huge sheets and plenty of black paint have altered the sign to fit the prankster’s whims. HOLLYWEED, when Marijuana laws were changed, Holywood when the Pope visited, and JOLLYGOOD when an airline began nonstop service to London.