Hollywood Sign, Los Angeles, USA

LA’s most famous landmark first appeared in the hills in 1923 as an advertising gimmick for a real-estate development called ‘Hollywoodland’. Each letter is 50ft tall and made of sheet metal. Once aglow with 4000 light bulbs, the sign even had its own caretaker who lived behind the ‘L’ until 1939.

In 1932 a struggling young actress named Peggy Entwistle leapt her way into local lore from the letter ‘H’. The last four letters were lopped off in the ’40s as the sign started to crumble. In the late ’70s Alice Cooper and Hugh Hefner joined forces with fans to save the famous symbol, and Hef was back at it again in 2010 when the hills behind the sign became slated for a housing development. The venerable Playboy donated the last $900,000 of the necessary $12.5 million it took to buy and preserve the land. Technically, it’s illegal to hike up to the sign, but viewing spots are plentiful, including Hollywood & Highland , the top of Beachwood Dr and the Griffith Observatory .

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