2012 in review

December 31, 2012 § Leave a comment

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

19,000 people fit into the new Barclays Center to see Jay-Z perform. This blog was viewed about 100,000 times in 2012. If it were a concert at the Barclays Center, it would take about 5 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

After Its New Owner’s Untimely Death, Work Continues on the Bela Lugosi House

December 26, 2012 § 7 Comments

The Bela Lugosi House 12/14/12/Hope Anderson Productions

The Bela Lugosi House 12/14/12/Hope Anderson Productions

When the Bela Lugosi House in Hollywoodland changed hands last year, I was glad to find out the new owner had the means and will to repair decades of neglect, including a leaky roof and non-functional plumbing. He was David Copley, billionaire heir to the San Diego Union-Tribune fortune. I told Copley’s realtor, who also happens to be mine, “I’m looking forward to meeting him.” “Oh, you never will,” he replied. “Why? We share a property line.” “He has lots of other houses–he’ll never be here.”

Sadly, that prediction has turned out to be true: just before Thanksgiving, Copley died in a car crash after suffering a massive heart attack. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/26/us/san-diego-loses-a-newspaper-scion-david-copley.html?pagewanted=2&_r=0
At that point the house, after extensive structural repair, was getting a new slate roof. In the garden, a big hole had been dug for the pool. All work abruptly stopped for a time. Then, about three weeks ago, it resumed.

Although I’ll never meet David Copley, I’m grateful that his estate is continuing the renovation of his house. How tragic that he didn’t live to enjoy the result.

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A Christmas Tree in Hollywoodland

December 23, 2012 § Leave a comment

I moved into the Canyon just before Thanksgiving of 2005; by the time I was settled, the businesses of Beachwood Village were transformed by colored lights and decorations. As Christmas neared, many of my neighbors lit their houses as well, enhancing my nighttime view of the Hollywood Sign with twinkling lights. (Less festive was the discovery that some of these houses would stay lit well after the holidays–in some cases until March. I’ve come to think of it as a local tradition.)

Before dark on winter days, I often walk the hilly streets of Hollywoodland. Recently, I noticed a striking addition to the Canyon’s holiday decorations: a towering pine tree hung with lights and a star. Located on Pelham Place, the tree dwarfs everything around it.

2012-12-11 17.07.00
As Under the Hollywood Sign approaches the end of its fourth year, I’d like to thank my ever-increasing readership. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading these posts as much as I’ve enjoyed writing them. Merry Christmas!

The Biggest Christmas Tree in Hollywoodland/Hope Anderson Productions

The Biggest Christmas Tree in Hollywoodland/Hope Anderson Productions

Newly Repainted, the Hollywood Sign Stars in a Time-Lapse Video

December 10, 2012 § 2 Comments

The Newly Repainted Hollywood Sign 12/10/12/Hope Anderson Productions

The Newly Repainted Hollywood Sign 12/10/12/Hope Anderson Productions

The Hollywood Sign’s big paint job is done; the result is a monument so pristine that the letters seem slightly larger (or perhaps closer) than they did before. The painters did a great job and finished ahead of schedule by more a week.

I’m grateful to Shawn Sites for alerting me to this excellent video produced by Sherwin-Williams and the Hollywood Sign Trust. It shows the job from start to finish, along with some breathtaking views of Los Angeles:


Winter Rains–and Peace–Descend on Hollywoodland

December 2, 2012 § 1 Comment

Clouds Obscure the Hollywood Sign, 4pm 12/2/12/Hope Anderson Productions

Clouds Obscure the Hollywood Sign, 4pm 12/2/12/Hope Anderson Productions

Four days of intermittent rain have brought clouds and mist to Beachwood Canyon, which in turn have completely shrouded the Hollywood Sign. In the above photo, the Sign should stand to the right of the turreted house, as it does in any number of photos on this blog. But it’s not there–and if you didn’t know where to look, you’d never guess its location.

Given the arid local climate, the Sign’s disappearance is a rare occurrence, and I can remember only a handful of days during my seven years here when I couldn’t see it from my house. Ironically, on the first of them I was trying to show the Sign to Kelly Brand, the actress I cast as Peg Entwistle in my short film “Peg Entwistle’s Last Walk.” Although we were probably only 100 feet below the Sign at one point, we couldn’t see it at all.

But today the Sign’s invisibility was a gift. Normally Sundays bring nonstop tourist traffic up Beachwood Drive, and a Grand Prix-like roar that doesn’t stop until sundown. But all day long, traffic was light; with nothing to see, no one came.

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