Big Landmark, Big Birthday: The Hollywood Sign at 90

Those nine iconic letters share a birthday party with Mr. Bob Barker.

By Alysia Gray Painter
|  Thursday, Sep 19, 2013  |  Updated 8:35 PM PDT
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Big Landmark, Big Birthday: The Hollywood Sign at 90

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Yep, it's the Hollywood Sign. Perhaps you know it? The landmark turns 90 in 2013. There's a gala to celebrate it, and its co-birthday sharer, Mr. Bob Barker, on Thursday, Sept. 19. (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)

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You might share your birthday week with a friend or neighbor -- maybe you have the same exact birthday or maybe you're the same age -- which means that you both sometimes will throw a party together.

It's fun, is why, and you can go in on the balloons and streamers together (and share the clean-up).

There's a little bit of that spirit to the local dignitary-packed celebration going down at Drai's at the W Hotel on Thursday, Sept. 19. The Hollywood Sign turns 90 in 2013 -- that's the sign with the giant nine letters that sits above Beachwood Canyon (perhaps you've seen it) -- and so does Bob Barker.

So the TV game show hosting legend and new nonagenarian will be the one to raise a toast to the Hollywood Sign at the special occasion, one that is sure to summon a number of happy birthdays for Mr. Barker and the big sign, too.

We do love co-birthdays, especially those that include television stars and local landmarks.

And while this is an invite-only shindig, Discover Los Angeles has asked the public to send the Hollywood Sign best wishes and favorite memories. Drop @discoverla the good word and use this: #HollywoodSign90

The president of the Hollywood Museum, reps from the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, history-loving authors, and other Tinseltowners of note will be on hand on Sept. 19 to say stirring words and reflect. We imagine that some speakers will include the fact that the sign was once used to sell homes back in ye olde Hollywoodland and was never intended to become an Important Symbol of the City.

But of course the Hollywood Sign got its own Hollywood Ending: An optimistic and ultimately positive turn of events following a touch-and-go beginning, a beginning only meant to last a matter of months.

Here's our question: The Hollywood Sign has been around since 1923, yes. But when did the very first person coax someone to take their picture with it on Beachwood Drive or Mulholland? That same year or the next? And how many of those photos now exist? A million? That sounds like a pretty accurate number to us, give or take.

And our last question: If you were to put a giant pointy birthday hat on the sign, where would it go? We vote atop one of the Ls.

Happy 90th, Hollywood Sign and Bob Barker!

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