April 28, 2010 § 1 Comment
Monday’s announcement from the Trust For Public Land–that Hugh Hefner had donated the final $900,000 needed to buy the Cahuenga Peak parcel–marks the publisher’s second time as savior of the Hollywood Sign. The first came in 1978, when he conceived the fundraising campaign to tear down and replace the original Hollywood Sign with the replica that stands today. Although a number of individuals and studios eventually contributed to the cause, the idea–as well as the initial donation–was entirely Hefner’s.
Two years ago, when I interviewed Hugh Hefner for my documentary “Under the Hollywood Sign,” I asked whether any city officials had approached him about saving the Sign, which by the 1970s was in ruins. “No,” he said. “Nobody cared.” He went on to say, “Clearly the town had forgotten it, or it wouldn’t have been in such terrible disrepair.”
In June of 1978, a party at the Playboy Mansion kicked off the campaign. Within four months, Hefner had raised more than $200,000 for the new Sign. Unlike the original, it was anchored in bedrock and engineered to withstand wind and earthquakes. Work began on August 8th and was completed on October 30th, ahead of schedule and under budget. The new Hollywood Sign has held up beautifully, enduring the Northridge earthquake without damage and not budging in the three decades since its completion.
Our interview took place at the Playboy Mansion, a Holmby Hills estate that boasts no views beyond its own lush grounds. Given these surroundings, the fact that Hugh Hefner would care at all about the Hollywood Sign was striking to me. That he has continued to care in the 30 years since it was rebuilt seems proof of his remarkable generosity.
That day, Hugh Hefner spoke movingly of the Sign. “Hollywood is the city of dreams,” he said, “and the Hollywood Sign represents those dreams.”
April 14, 2010 § 2 Comments
Today’s press conference at the Hollywood Sign announced the fundraising effort has come up $1 million short; on the bright side, the deadline has been extended by 16 days.
This would be the time for some generous celebrities to get out their checkbooks. Ready? Go!
Deadline for Cahuenga Peak: Press Conference at the Hollywood Sign Scheduled for Wednesday, April 14th
April 13, 2010 § Leave a comment
Save the Peak Campaign Announcement
Los Angeles (April 12, 2010) – Councilmember Tom LaBonge and officials from the Trust for Public Land will make a major announcement regarding the Save Cahuenga Peak campaign on Wednesday, April 14th at 9 a.m.
Wednesday is the announced deadline for the campaign to raise $12.5 million to acquire Cahuenga Peak, a 138-acre parcel just to the west of the landmark HOLLYWOOD sign.
Councilmember LaBonge has been working for nine years to set aside $5.3 million in public and private park funds to acquire Cahuenga Peak from property owners who have threatened to develop the land for luxury residential housing. The City partnered with the Trust for Public Land, a national land conservation organization, to raise private funds to cover the balance of funds needed.
The campaign has attracted donations from Hollywood stars, inspired an outpouring of support from the local community, which raised more than $9,000 at a rally last Saturday.
WHAT: Update on “Save the Peak” campaign
WHEN: Wednesday, April 14, 2010. Press conference begins at 9 a.m. Shuttles to site begin at 8:30 a.m.
WHERE: The Hollywood Sign
(Meet at the Beachwood Market, 2701 Belden Dr., Los Angeles, CA90068 and we will shuttle you up to the sign.)
WHO: Councilmember Tom LaBonge, 4th District, City of Los Angeles
Will Rogers, President of The Trust For Public Land
Leron Gubler, CEO of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce
L.A. Dept. of Recreation and Parks
Members of the Beachwood Canyon neighborhood
Media Contact: Carolyn Ramsay (213) 359-3593
ph: (213)485-3337 fx: (213)624-7810
April 9, 2010 § Leave a comment
With 4 days left until the April 14th deadline, the rally supports the Trust for Public Land’s drive to Save the Peak. The Park is located on the 3200 block of Canyon Lake Drive. See you there!
March 17, 2010 § Leave a comment
Each week without fail, the piece that gets the most hits on my blog is “Howard Hughes, Ginger Rogers and the Property on Cahuenga Peak.” (The most frequent search term leading to this site is invariably “Howard Hughes.”)
With less than a month to go before the April 14th deadline to purchase the Cahuenga Peak parcel from Fox River Financial, the Trust for Public Land has begun an online fundraising campaign. Interested readers can go to www.savehollywoodland.org to learn more about the campaign and to donate.