HOLLYWOOD (CBSLA.com) — Authorities say someone managed to modify the famed Hollywood sign to read “Hollyweed” in an overnight act of trespass.
Sgt. Guy Juneau with the Los Angeles Police Department’s Security Services told CBS2 the incident unfolded around midnight Saturday after a thrill-seeker climbed the mountain and threw two tarps over the “O’s” to make them appear like “E’s.” It was caught on city surveillance cameras.
The Perrot family visiting from Australia told CBS2 they noticed the sign from their hotel. At the time, it read “Hollywoed,” while city park rangers were switching it back.
“We looked out this morning, and the Hollywood, the double O, there was actually only one E left,” Lia Perrot said.
The sign was restored to “Hollywood” by 10:45 a.m. Sunday. It remains unclear who was involved in the incident, which was being investigated as a misdemeanor charge of trespassing, according to Los Angeles police.
Juneau said police planned to review security footage to identify those responsible. It remains unclear whether authorities plan to release the footage to the public.
“Sounds pretty harmless for the most part,” tourist Mike Pham told CBS. “As long as nobody got hurt.”
An official for the Hollywood sign said the incident isn’t the first time the sign has been the target of a prank or act of vandalism.
Back on Jan. 1, 1976, a man named Danny Finegood altered the sign to read “Hollyweed,” the same day a marijuana law took effect, according to published reports. In November, California voters approved Proposition 64, which legalized the recreational use of marijuana.
It was one of several times Finegood altered the sign. In 1979, to mark Easter, he changed it to read “Holywood.” In the 1980s, during the Iran-Contra hearings, he changed it to “Ollywood” to mock Lt. Col. Oliver North.
Finegood passed away in 2007. His son, Matthew Finegood, told KCAL9 Sunday evening that he has fond memories of his father’s satirical messages.
“I wasn’t alive for ‘Hollyweed’ or ‘Hollywood,’ but ‘Ollywood,’ I was like six. And I remember they were all in here. And they woke me up. And one of the guys worked for the local radio station, he was a cameraman, and he hooked us up with a helicopter ride at sunrise with the doors off. And we were out the door taking pictures at sunrise.”