Los Angeles News

Repainting Hollywood Sign is a tall order

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Hollywood's most famous landmark, the Hollywood Sign, is getting a fresh look. Work began Tuesday morning on the huge letters sitting high above the city.

It's been an inspiration to so many: Famous throughout the world as symbol of the hopes and dreams only Hollywood can promise.

But time hasn't been kind to the iconic landmark. Hollywood Sign Trust Chairman Chris Baumgart says it's the latest aging Hollywood star to get a facelift late in life, just in time for its 90th anniversary next year.

"The paint that was put on 35 years ago, the base of that is failing, in terms of sticking to the sign itself. So just scraping and sanding won't work anymore," said Baumgart.

It will take about 10 weeks to strip, prime and repaint the sign, at a cost of $175,000; $140,000 of that was donated by paint company Sherwin-Williams. The rest comes from licensing fees to use the sign's image.

Anyone who thinks getting to the sign is easy should think again. Workers have to rappel down a cliff and hike a narrow walkway every day just to get on site.

"Obviously, we have some challenges in a job like this, and what this product does is it re-wets the original coats and doesn't allow anything to be introduced and to be airborne. So there's no environmental impact," said William Kopp, Western regional sales manager, Dumond Chemicals.

And those working on it, hope the symbol of fame, hope and dreams, will keep giving.

"It's a huge tourism attraction. It's a reassurance that the film industry, which represents a huge part of the economy here in Los Angeles, is alive and well, and it's just a reminder of who we are and where we are. We're Hollywood," said Baumgart.

(Copyright ©2014 KABC-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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