Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Hollywood Sign's Role in the Launch of the Fox Network

As the media extensively covered last week's Hollywood sign stunt, it served as a reminder that the landmark used to frequently be altered by businesses, college kids and pranksters.

These days, that never happens -- pranksters now have to rely on fake, doctored video footage -- which is why the Trust for Public Land scored tons of attention when it altered the sign to read "Save the Peak." (The Trust is looking to call attention to its efforts to buy and preserve nearby land on Cahuenga Peak.)

In 1987, Fox had much less altruistic reasons for altering the sign. The brand-new network, which launched its primetime schedule in April 1987, was looking to promote its debut, and hoped to make noise by turning the Hollywood sign into "Fox" (altering the "HOL" letters, and covering up the rest).

The business-oriented alterations of the sign appear to have ended after 1992's "Cool World." To promote that movie, a massive cutout of lead character Holli Would was placed on top of the sign -- angering many individuals. Paramount paid $54,000 to turn the sign into a massive promotion. (It's unclear how much News Corp. paid back in 1987.)

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