Iconic Hollywood sign altered

A prankster changed the sign by draping tarps over two letters as well as adding a peace sign and a heart drawing.
A prankster changed the sign by draping tarps over two letters as well as adding a peace sign and a heart drawing.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

NEW YORK • In 2017, Hollywood has become Hollyweed.

At least that may have been the New Year resolution of a determined prankster who, early on Sunday, draped tarps over the famed Hollywood sign, transforming the Os in "wood" into lowercase Es.

A spokesman for the Los Angeles Police Department said the episode was being investigated as trespassing, rather than vandalism, because the miscreant had not interfered with the integrity of the sign.

To change the Os to Es, the prankster nestled a peace sign and a drawing of a heart into the bottomright corners of the two letters.

The stunt was a throwback to Jan 1, 1976, when prankster Daniel N. Finegood, who died in 2007, altered the letters in the same way.

Although the sign has been the object of such horseplay many times (Mr Finegood alone changed it several more times over the years), the letters of the sign have not been altered in a long time, said Ms Betsy Isroelit, a spokesman for the Hollywood Sign Trust.

She added that increased security and video cameras had led to fewer pranks and that more security measures would be taken.

The latest prank may have been a reference to Proposition 64, a state ballot proposition passed on Election Day that legalised recreational marijuana for Californians aged 21 years or older.

Mr Finegood's original alteration also referred to state legislation; in 1976, California had relaxed its record-keeping regarding arrests and convictions of those suspected or found guilty of marijuana use.

"There was obviously recent legislation in California that may have inspired people," Ms Isroelit said of the stunt, laughing.

"But to me, it looks more like a New Year's Eve prank."


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 03, 2017, with the headline 'Iconic Hollywood sign altered'. Print Edition | Subscribe