Saturday, August 13, 2016


In 1923, a land syndicate created a new housing development on the Hollywood hillside of the Santa Monica Mountains. In an attempt to flaunt their new development, they contracted the Crescent Sign Company to erect a large HOLLYWOODLAND sign on Mount Lee, which is also part of Griffith Park.

The 13 letters, on a hillside facing south, were each 30 feet wide and 50 feet high. The letters were studded with some 4,000 light bulbs, whereby the sign would flash in 3 segments -- "HOLLY" & "WOOD" & "LAND" would alternate, lighting up individually.

The Poles that supported the sign were hauled up to the site by mules. The cost of the project was $21,000.

The sign was officially dedicated in 1923.

It was only intended to remain there for a year and a half. However, with the rise of American cinema in Los Angeles, the sign became a favorite symbol and remained in place.

Over time, it sustained damage and deterioration of the unprotected wood and sheet metal structure.

In 1932, the HOLLYWOODLAND sign was the scene of a bizarre incident. Millicent Lilian "Peg" Entwistle (1908 - 1932) was a stage and screen actress. She had appeared in several Broadway productions and only a single movie, titled Thirteen Women, On September 16, 1932, Entwistle leaped to her death from the "H" on the HOLLYWOODLAND sign, at age 24.

The official caretaker in the early 1940s, while driving drunk, was approaching the top of Mount Lee when he lost control of his 1928 Ford Model A and veered off the cliff directly behind the H, destroying both his car and the original 50-foot tall letter H.

In 1949, the Hollywood Chamber of Congress entered into a contract with the Parks Department of the City of Los Angeles to repair and rebuild the sign. As part of the contract, the "LAND" portion of the sign was to be removed, leaving the sign with 9 letters, reading HOLLYWOOD. The Chamber of Congress also opted not to replace any of the light bulbs on the letters.

In the 1970s, the first O had splintered and the third O had fallen down, rendering the sign to read HULLYWO D.

Hugh Hefner, publisher of Playboy magazine, began a campaign to restore the landmark sign.

In 1978, the Chamber of Congress decided to replace the deteriorating sign with a more permanent structure. Nine donors each gave $27,777.77 (totaling $249,999.93) to sponsor one of the replacement letters. The nine donors were each assigned a letter.

H -- Terrence Donnelly (publisher of Hollywood Independent Newspaper)
O -- Giovanni Mazza (Italian movie producer)
L -- Les Kelley (creator of The Kelley Blue Book)
L -- Gene Autry (actor)
Y -- Hugh Hefner (Publisher of Playboy)
W -- Andy Williams (singer)
O -- Warner Bros. Records
O -- Alice Cooper (singer)
D -- Dennis Lidke (businessman)

Alice Cooper had made his donation in the memory of his friend, comedian Groucho Marx, who had once joked that he would also donate an "O" from his own name.

The new version of the sign was unveiled on November 11, 1978, on a live CBS television special broadcast commemorating the 75th anniversary of the incorporation of the city of Hollywood.

Hooray for HOLLYWOOD.

Quote for the Day -- “Hollywood is like Picasso's bathroom.” Candace Bergen

Bret Burquest is the author of 11 books. He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a few dogs and has fond memories of having lived a dozen years in the Land of Fruits & Nuts.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Trivial Trivia

In his 1918 book titled TRIVIA, British Author Logan Pearsall Smith (1865 - 1946) wrote "I know too much; I have stuffed too many of the facts of History and Science into my intellectuals. My eyes have grown dim over books; believing in geological periods, cave dwellers, Chinese Dynasties, and the fixed stars has prematurely aged me."

For those you thrive of useless trivia, I offer the following useless trivia.

  • The average person falls asleep in 7 minutes.

  • The average person's left hand does most of the typing.

  • "Stewardesses" is the longest word types with only the left hand.

  • There are 293 ways to make change for a dollar.

  • A dime has 118 ridges around the edge.

  • There are 336 dimples on a regulation golf ball.

  • "Dreamt" is the only English word that ends with the letters "mt."

  • Winston Churchill was born in a ladies' room during a dance.

  • Maine is the only state in the USA whereby the name is only one syllable.

  • Al Capone's business card listed his occupation as a used furniture dealer.

  • The microwave was invented after a researcher walked by a radar tube and a chocolate bar melted in his pocket.

  • A cat has 32 muscles in each ear.

  • A dragonfly has a life span of 24 hours.

  • Peanuts are one of the ingredients of dynamite.

  • The average life of a five dollar bill is 5 1/2 years before it is replaced due to wear.

  • The Sunday New York Times, the largest newspaper in the world, has nearly a thousand pages, weighing up to 7+ pounds. It takes nearly 20 acres of wood pulp to produce one Sunday edition.

  • During 1968 to 1974, a woman in rural Iowa, Marva Drew, typed the number from 1 to 1,000,000 on a standard typewriter, filling nearly 2,500 pages.

  • ADCOMSUBORDCOMPHIBSPAC is an acronym used by the U.S. Navy, meaning "Administration Command Subordinate Command Amphibious Forces Pacific Fleet"

  • The English word "set" has close to 200 meanings, 60 as a noun and 120 as a verb, depending on the context in which it is used.

  • You can't have everything, where would you put it?

  • If the shoe fits, get another one just like it.

  • On the other hand, you have different fingers.

  • Those who laugh last, think slowest.

  • The things that come to those who wait may be things left by those who got there first.

  • The cure for insomnia is to get more sleep.

  • Snowmen fall from the sky unassembled.

  • I got a sweater for my birthday, but I wanted a moaner or a screamer.

Quote for the Day -- “My wife and I were happy for twenty years -- then we met.” Rodney Dangerfield

Bret Burquest is the author of 11 books. He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a few dogs and where those who live by the sword get shot by those who don't.