Friday, April 18, 2008

Save The Sign!

Hollywood landmarks seem to have bullseyes on them these days.

The iconic Hollywood sign may soon be going the way of The Brown Derby, Musso & Frank’s, Chasen’s, and the Ambassador Hotel. Quietly, last month, the Chicago based investment group that owns 138 sage-covered acres above and to the left of the 45-foot-high, steel-and-concrete H put the land up for sale last month for $22 million, after purchasing the parcel from Howard Hughes’ estate for $1.7 million in 2002. Not a bad profit, even in today’s bull real estate market!

Councilman Tom LaBonge wants the city, which owns the ground under the sign, to buy the property, but the city can't legally pay more than $6 million. So, Labonge is trying for a repeat of the last time the sign was in trouble, when back in the 1970’s a bunch of celebs paid $28k each to replace crumbling letters.

We can’t lose the sign, folks. Los Angeles losing its sign is like Manhattan losing the World Trade Center towers. The landscape will be changed forever. Besides, if the sign goes, how will the pilots for the major airlines know they’re on the right flight path to Bob Hope Airport? Com’on, folks, we can’t lose the sign. Certainly the moguls, studio heads, media barons, and “A-Listers” can scrape together a few million dollars and save Hollywood’s soul—or at least it’s nametag.

Ironically, the sign was originally designed as a real estate advertisement (Hollywoodland) to help sell development in the region. Now, however, it has come full circle. From ad to icon, now threatened by the very industry that gave it birth (real estate, not the movies).

However perfect this circle might seem, let’s not lose the sign folks.

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