The Hollywood Sign: Fantasy and Reality of an American Icon

The Hollywood Sign: Fantasy and Reality of an American Icon

by Leo Braudy
     
 

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ISBN-10: 030015660X

ISBN-13: 9780300156607

Pub. Date: 03/15/2011

Publisher: Yale University Press

Hollywood's famous sign, constructed of massive white block letters set into a steep hillside, is an emblem of the movie capital it looms over and an international symbol of glamour and star power. To so many who see its image, the sign represents the earthly home of that otherwise ethereal world of fame, stardom, and celebrity—the goal of American and

Overview

Hollywood's famous sign, constructed of massive white block letters set into a steep hillside, is an emblem of the movie capital it looms over and an international symbol of glamour and star power. To so many who see its image, the sign represents the earthly home of that otherwise ethereal world of fame, stardom, and celebrity—the goal of American and worldwide aspiration to be in the limelight, to be, like the Hollywood sign itself, instantly recognizable.

How an advertisement erected in 1923, touting the real estate development Hollywoodland, took on a life of its own is a story worthy of the entertainment world that is its focus. Leo Braudy traces the remarkable history of this distinctly American landmark, which has been saved over the years by a disparate group of fans and supporters, among them Alice Cooper and Hugh Hefner, who spearheaded its reconstruction in the 1970s. He also uses the sign's history to offer an intriguing look at the rise of the movie business from its earliest, silent days through the development of the studio system that helped define modern Hollywood. Mixing social history, urban studies, literature, and film, along with forays into such topics as the lure of Hollywood for utopian communities and the development of domestic architecture in Los Angeles, The Hollywood Sign is a fascinating account of how a temporary structure has become a permanent icon of American culture.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780300156607
Publisher:
Yale University Press
Publication date:
03/15/2011
Series:
Icons of America Series
Pages:
224
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.00(d)

Table of Contents

Prologue 1

1 Hollywood Before "Hollywood" 11

2 Hollywood Becomes "Hollywood" 43

3 Hooray for Hollywood 87

4 Shadows on the Sign 118

5 From Eyesore to Icon 145

Notes 193

Bibliography 197

Acknowledgments 201

Index 203

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