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Arts and Entertainment

Fix Felix: Petition to Get Iconic Sign Glowing Neon Again

Felix the Cat sign in 2011 (Photo by UPtownpLAce via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)
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When is a neon sign not a neon sign? How about when its colorful neon is replaced with LED lights. This was the recent fate of the iconic Felix the Cat sign that hovers about Felix Chevrolet on Figueroa Avenue, and fans and preservationists are banding together to make their case for going back to the original neon.

As highlighted on the Fix Felix the Cat blog and the ensuing petition, the sign--erected in 1958--came close to being named an Historic-Cultural Monument in 2007, but Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the Los Angeles City Council opposed the notion, citing possible future inhibition of business growth. At the time, Darryl Holter of the car business pledged to keep the sign going--as in not take it down or make any changes.

Fast forward to this fall, and the sign's neon tubes have been swapped for LED lights as a "cost-cutting" measure.

"The cold, thin light of LEDs is a pale imitation of the beautiful natural gas glow of neon--the neon which made this sign historic, unique and beloved by Angelenoes," says the Fix Felix the Cat blog.

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This photo comparison from the blog looks at the then and now of the neon versus LED lights:

Place a photo of the neon Felix the Cat sign taken by Toby Hancock in August 2012 beside one of the LED sign taken by Chinta Cooper in November 2012, and you'll see how this classic Los Angeles sign has been ruined by the substitution of LEDs in place of neon tubes. Not only are the stripes of LEDs too perfect-looking and the colors and thickness incorrect, but less than two months after the LEDs were installed, individual diodes are already burning out. There is no way to replace individual diodes without replacing the entire row.

Ready to sign on for a change back to the original neon? You can add your voice and name to the petition here.

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