The famed Hollywood sign high in the hills over Los Angeles got a little higher on Sunday. This happened when someone altered two of its letters to make it read “Hollyweed.”
The AFP reports that LA Police said unidentified thrill-seekers had climbed up and arranged tarps over the two letter “O’s” to make them look like “E’s,” CBS affiliate KCAL reports.
Each letter is 45 feet (13.7 meters) high, so the feat would have required not just bravado but considerable athleticism.
This may have happened in celebration of a measure approved in November, when California voters passed an amendment legalizing recreational use of marijuana.
A police spokesman said surveillance cameras might help them identify the culprit or culprits. The act, meanwhile, is being treated as a case of misdemeanor trespassing.
It was not the first of such incident since the sign was first erected in 1923 — at the time as “Hollywoodland” — to advertise a local real estate development.
The same lettering change to the sign was made exactly 41 years ago. That was when a California law relaxing penalties for marijuana use took effect.
And that alteration turned out to be the work of a college art student, one Danny Finegood.
He later returned to the sign, along with friends, on Easter Day 1976 to make it read “Holywood.” It was again changed in 1990 to read “Oil War” in protest of the Persian Gulf conflict.
Finegood’s original handiwork, which he considered an act of environmental sculpture, was done for an art class project. The Los Angeles Times did a report on the foregoing.
Using $50 in sheets and ropes, he, three other friends made the change. And Finegood received an “A” from his art teacher.
But while he might have inspired the latest act of hillside mischief, Finegood cannot be blamed for it. He died in 2007, aged 52.
Finegood’s work tightens security
Largely because of his work, however, Los Angeles officials increased security around the sign. They installed a fence, alarms and eventually a closed-circuit surveillance system.
It is not clear how someone made it through those barriers Sunday, but Danny Finegood might well have admired their work.