Only YOU can help save the Hollywood Sign. (Or at least the land around it.)

Hollywood-signImage Credit: dpa/LandovCahuenga Peak, the home of L.A.’s famed Hollywood Sign — you know the one, it’s big — is in danger of being sold to developers, who intend to build an array of McMansions blocking the icon that’s inspired countless disaster movies, kitschy souvenirs, and one really great Miley Cyrus song.

An organization called Save Cahuenga Peak is fundraising in an attempt to purchase the land and donate it to nearby Griffith Park; Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Tippi Hedren, Aisha Tyler, and John Slattery are among the celebs shaking their hips like yeah to donate to the cause. The group’s first effort was to cover the sign itself with the message “Save The Peak,” a massive undertaking that was already underway when Ke$ha tried to convince us all she’d gotten drunk and tagged it in the middle of the night — you can see in news reports like this one (also embedded after the jump) just how hardcore you’ve gotta be to drape those four-story letters, people.

I also enjoy this video from some dude named Blake — despite the schmoopy Valentine’s Day content — who is standing in a spot I know and love on the roads just beneath the landmark’s fenced-off perimeter. The area around the sign has some of L.A.’s best in-town hiking, the kind of land that starts as a neighborhood and turns into wilderness before you know it, with panoramas of the entire sprawling metropolis on clear days. It would really suck if all that nature went away.

Save Cahuenga Peak has until April 14 to raise the funds, and — provided you can get past the irony of a campaign to save a former real estate billboard from real estate development — you can donate via their website. They are a ways off from their goal, so if you have any extra cash lying around after giving what you can to the various earthquake-stricken areas of our planet, I hope you’ll find it in your hearts to throw some their way. And while we’re at it, are there any entertainment landmarks in your towns that need saving?

Comments (28 total) Add your comment
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  • Emma

    Are you telling me that someone in California is still building houses?

    • Rahul


  • terry

    Jeez, all the studios, producers, directors stars agents that are godawful wealthy in hollywood, c’mon pass a hat and save your heritage. If you don’t care, then why should we. Hell Cameron could pay for it with his avatar pocket change. Look at Spielberg, I know he bought like an oscar or something and gave it back to the academy.

    • Lesa

      Gov. Schwarzenegger should have the money

      • CHris

        CA is broke and the Gov is part of the reason why. I think he has enough on his plate to worry about before he starts to donate money to save the sign.

    • Mia

      I hope some crazy old lady doesn’t dip into the savings to help pay for this. Disney or Sony or any studio could buy the land without even missing it. Hey, they could even have a Hollywood sign ‘brought to you by Disney’. What’s more Hollywood than that?
      Just don’t ask regular people for the money.

  • Q.H.

    I hope if this land gets sold and the McMansions get built, there are a swarm of arsonists on hand to teach these a**h***s a lesson.

  • Jed

    About time Hollywood actors & actresses start donating some of their millions to help save the park. I mean how much can the general public do? Hey Brad Pitt and Angie Jolie and George Looney, how about starting off the contributions?

    • Jean Genie

      Sorry – they’d probably do it anywhere BUT America.

  • CHris

    I remember The Top Gun house in Oceanside being torn down to make way for luxury ocean front hotels. The community wanted to keep the house, but was simply outgunned by developers.

  • Lesa

    Why don’t we ask Gov. Schwarzenegger I’m sure he should have the money

    • Tina

      He doesn’t have any. He completed the sale of the state to special interests. He’s wasted all our tax dollars and he can’t find any to balance the budget. He can’t run the government. He’s a girlie mahn.

  • miss k

    Wait, they’re actually going to sell the land and build mansions that will BLOCK the sign??? That’s like building houses around the Washington Monument or setting up an amusement park next to the Statue of Liberty. You just can’t mess with national symbols.

  • amj

    I am confused as to why the city doesn’t already own this area? Seems like afterall this time, the sign and its land would already belong to California. Seems stupid to have let this happen. I agree that they need to save this, unfortunately you have to wonder who wants one of those houses. The big blockbuster stars should open up their pocketbooks and save this since Hollywood made them wealthy in the first place. This would be a travesty if it happens!

  • amj

    Reading up on this area, it’s interesting to note that Howard Hughes (and his estate) owned this land until 2002 when a development group in Chicago bought it when the city couldn’t come up with funds to purchase it. Howard bought it originally to build a mansion and never did. The sign itself is not on the land in question. It is land close to the sign and would block part of the view. But, the sign is already owned by the parks and recreation.

    • amj

      So, I guess my point it that Hollywood couldn’t come up with the money 8 years ago when it was likely cheaper than now. Come on celebrities, producers, studios and their execs…chip in and save this land!

    • amj

      And, it’s only 12.5 million..seems like someone in Hollywood can raise this. The rest of us are poor and out of work right now. But, it seems we still find money to rent that movie though. Have you seen the record ticket sales! James Cameron–seems like Avatar did pretty well…throw some of that money at it.

      • MsSuniDaze

        I agree, the sign needs to be saved but not by us. Studios and stars should save it since it somewhat represents their industry. In some way we have already contributed to the campaign by buying movie tickets.

  • jaime

    Um yeah star have donated millions to disaster relief, come on throw a few to your heritage. We give enough buying $12 tickets…

    I wouldnt donate anything.

  • J

    Y’know, I’m all for saving things that are part of our national heritage and history, but please–asking regular folks to dip into already hard-earned savings–what little we all have left at this point–is absolutely ridiculous. HOLLYWOOD should be saving the Hollywood sign, for crying out loud; it’s pocket change to most of them. Here’s an idea: how about NOT funding a single asinine movie (Cop Out, say, or From Paris With Love, maybe) and there you have it: all the money you could ever want to buy the Hollywood sign a dozen times over. Sheesh.


    It would be a disaster if they tore down sign. It’s a piece of AMERICANA that can never be replaced. Shame on them for spoiling more of AMERICAN history!

  • ML

    It’s possible the developers are looking for a way to get out of a deal that isn’t worth what is was back in 2002. Generate urgency to get someone to buy the land they may have trouble developing in this economy.

  • Agu Smith Chukwuebuka


  • Moe Moltar

    It’s funny how no one reports the audacious profit the current investment group Fox River Financial Resources is trying to gain from the sale of the Cahuenga Peak property to the City of Los Angeles. Fox River Financial Resources purchased the land from the Howard Hughes estate in 2002 for under $3 million in the middle of the housing bubble. Fox River then set false values of $40 Million with no improvements to the property (just a brilliant fact finding effort to dig up some old paperwork when Howard Hughes sued for the rights to build). Not generating any interest, Fox River Financial Resources then lowered the value to $22 Million (It was on the market for over a year with no takers), and now $12.5 Million.
    The land is still ridiculously over valued and The Trust For Public Land has done some intricate work to raise a little over 60% of the deal price, but much of that comes from bond money and city budgets that should be used for better purposes (Their online campaign has only generated less that 10% of its online contribution goal halfway through the campaign $45,000 of $500,000 requested). The city and state are already reeling from massive debt and deficits, yet, TPL is continually pursuing this piece of land that would be difficult if next to impossible to develop. Is it better to buy an overvalued piece of property or fund our schools and cities?
    Yet the vicious circle of greedy land speculators continues. It is a common practice for big money in real estate to knowingly buy property next to conservation areas and monuments and threaten to develop the land in order to make deals like these with conservation groups (Think back to the classic National Lampoon cover “If you don’t buy this magazine, we will kill this dog”).
    For this is big money generator in getting a transaction to go through. By the government using the TPL as an intermediary, they can avoid most of the transparency that should occur in these types of transactions. The TPL has used a magnificent campaign of covering the Hollywood Sign with a “Save the Peak” banner to misrepresent what is at stake. Cahuenga Peak is to the west of the sign, the property in question is along the summit and behind the sign. From Hollywood, hardly any of this property is visible. The sign is perched on Mt. Lee, it is already a part of Griffith Park. But if you go to the campaign’s Facebook fan site or watch the scrolling feeds on the campaigns web site, 75% of the people believe that the Hollywood sign is going to be torn down if the land is developed. Casual activists are not doing their homework.
    TPL commonly has to deal with shady character. Look at some of the transactions that took place a few years ago where Bryan A. Simmons, another land speculator made millions tying together a patchwork of Malibu properties under various corporate entities to fly under the radar of legislation, He then provided a similar option and worked with the TPL to sell the properties to the Santa Monica Mountain Conservancy. Mr Simmons made millions of dollars in profit from taxpayers and then became a high level contributor back to the TPL (Good Night everyone, you were wonderful! Remember to tip your hostess). In all, its a dirty business when you look at how it all comes together, especially since the majority of funds will come from taxpayers and struggling bohemians, who donate to a cause that is only lining the pockets of the Fox River Financial investors and to extent, the TPL (Their CEO made over $330,000 in salary last year).
    I believe in the end, we will see the TPL fail to raise the $12.5 million price tag, but will negotiate a lower price (Probably $9M) and Fox River Financial will get off with a huge tax break for their “Donation” (i.e. they will only pay taxes on $1-3 million of their 6 million profit). It’s a brilliant conspiracy that is worthy of a Hollywood movie.

    • scott Zwartz

      I think everything you say is correct, except I understand the purchase price in 2002 was only $1.5 Million.

      If the Media did their job, they would find out why Councilman La Bonge is the #1 fundraiser for Fox River, getting $5 Million from a City that says it has a $212 Million deficit. I guess LA has no deficits when it comes to giving money to developers, but it has a deficit when it comes to building parks for the kids in Hollywood.

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