The Day The Hollywood Sign Became The Hollyweed Sign
One magical day in 1976, the Hollywood sign declared the land Hollyweed—perhaps an omen of things to come.
Danny Finegood, then a young art student at Cal State Northridge, once hiked up to the sign with $50 worth of fabric and some friends. They transformed the iconic sign to read 'Hollyweed,' Dangerous Minds reports. It wasn't a spur of the moment stoner decision either: the group had actually practiced the operation on a model of the sign first, and they made the change to the real sign on January 1, 1976, the day a more relaxed marijuana law went into effect in the State. Finegood used the gag as a school project and got an "A."
Finegood would later tamper with the sign two more times. He changed the sign to Ollywood in 1987 to protest Marine Lt. Col. Oliver North during the Iran-Contra scandal, and to Oil War in 1990 in protest of the Persian Gulf War, the L.A. Times reports. The police managed to fix the latter before dawn, so no one actually saw it. Finegood died of multiple myeloma at age 52 in 2007.
These days, you could never get away with something like this. The sign is not only difficult to get to, but you'd get in a lot of trouble. Plus, people who live by the sign get super mad if you clog up their neighborhood.
Though the Hollyweed sign was short-lived, it has lived on in song. Musician David Batterson memorialized the sign in his folk song, "Hollywood, USA." "Now this is a story about the big ol' sign and the day Hollywood became Hollyweed," Batterson sings near the beginning.