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Arts and Entertainment

Iconic sign, the Hollywood, gets pesky for residents

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By EMN Updated: Jan 16, 2015 11:00 pm
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[dropcap]R[/dropcap]esidents of the Hollywood Hills are sick of the pilgrims to the Hollywood Sign. All the norms of human decency have been abandoned, apparently – tourists don’t just drive up to the viewing platform, though that vexes the locals enough. They scramble up to the letters themselves. They urinate on them; they spit at the residents. They take selfies. It has caused so much ill-feeling that the locals have persuaded some mapping software companies to take the road off the maps.
One resident, Heather Hamza, told the Hollywood Reporter last week: “I shudder to think if any of these people coming up here have weapons in their cars. One of these days someone will get shot.” I often shudder to think what would happen if people drove around with yoghurt in their cars. One of these days, someone would get covered in yoghurt.
The drive up to the sign, which was originally constructed in 1923 to advertise a local housing development but has since become synonymous with the city’s celluloid heritage, reminds me of Guildford – lots of greenery and high hedges, the intimation of great riches but nothing to see.
On the streets of Los Angeles proper, you can walk for four miles and see nobody who isn’t pushing a lawnmower. Up here, in the Santa Monica mountains, there is a purposeful hiking, together with, granted, a lot of cars. The viewing platform is a fair way from the sign itself, and there is no way I can see of scrambling any closer, irrespective of the trespassing signs. But it can’t be this, surely? This 10ft square lay-by of people taking pictures: nobody could mind this?
Mandy and Dean, 49 and 50 respectively, were here from Wakefield. “It’s too many cars coming up and down, that’s what it is,” said Dean, authoritatively. “I think they’re mad,” said Mandy. “They should have a little shop or a cafe, they’d make a killing.”
Most people don’t mind tourists because they spend so much money. When you already have all the money in the world, the upsides are less apparent. It makes you wonder how the Queen feels about Buckingham Palace.
“In the end, the Hollywood sign was here first,” Chenoa adjudicated. “It’s been here longer than any of them.” It probably isn’t accurate down to its core, this statement (there will be somebody in these hills who is incredibly old). But it’s true enough.

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By EMN Updated: Jan 16, 2015 11:00:46 pm