The Heart of Hollywood Tour
By Peter May
It can be seen from space and is probably the most recognisable sign in the world. What started out as a sign originally created in 1923 as an advertisement for a local real estate development, the Hollywoodland sign became an American landmark and cultural icon. Although it was intended to last for only two years, the sign remained in place on the Mount Lee hillside for 50 years. It was only until 1978 when the sign fell into disrepair and needed to be replaced with the current one.
The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce launched the “Save the Sign” campaign with the help of several celebrities. Nine donors each sponsored a new letter to cover the cost of rebuilding the sign. The donors included Hugh Hefner, Gene Autry, Andy Williams, Alice Cooper, and others. Over $250,000.00 was raised. Interestingly, Alice Cooper made his donation in honour of Groucho Marx.
The Original Hollywood Sign was placed in a storage facility after it was taken down. No one was aware that the company hired to remove the sign had understood its historical significance and elected to store it rather than dispose of it as was planned. Bill Mack who owns the sign has embarked on a worldwide tour, which is currently residing at London’s o2 where you can see the original H letter.
This is a small but very interesting exhibition consisting of a selection of very rare artefacts from Hollywood’s golden age. Alongside the sign are film props and items that will please film buffs and anyone interested in Hollywood scandal. Visitors are taken around the venue accompanied by a very knowledgeable tour guide explaining each artefact so you are left to draw your own conclusions to some of Hollywood’s best kept scandals and cover ups.
One of the most famous of all and displayed here is the actual bed where Marilyn Monroe was found dead of apparent suicide. Continuing the sombre setting in the collection is a handwritten note from Elvis, which reads like a suicide note. It was found by his maid at his hotel room in his twilight years and gives an insight into the ultimate reason an overweight and emotionally distraught Elvis Presley died just a short eight months later.
There are talks of touring to Berlin and Liverpool but you will need to be quick as this tour is only around in London until July 17th and should not be missed.
Tickets: Adult: £10 + £3.25 booking fee
Concession: £5 + £2.75 booking fee
Child: £5 + £2.75 booking fee
Tickets can be purchased now from https://www.theo2.co.uk/