The Hollywood Sign: Unlikely Rival for the Statue of Liberty

Originally posted on Variety:

Flimsily constructed as a billboard for the Hollywoodland housing development at its feet, the Hollywood sign has evolved over its 90-year history into an international symbol of opportunity.

Though it’s long been known as an emblem of Hollywood wealth and glamour, in recent decades it has come to represent America itself for millions, especially around the Pacific Rim.

“They see (the Hollywood sign) in television, they see it in movies, and they see it as representative of the advertising of the American dream,” says Hollywood Sign Trust chairman Chris Baumgart. “It’s the allure of opportunity. Specifically, it’s the opportunity to make it in the entertainment business. But big picture, that’s the hope and dream that America represents.”

The sign is fenced off and under 24-hour surveillance, so it’s illegal to get within arm’s length. Yet tourists make the climb anyway. Hope Anderson, who directed the documentary “Under the Hollywood Sign,”…

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