The famous Hollywood sign is iconic, even if it is most often obscured by smog. It is a bit of a legend nowadays that the sign was once vandalized to read “Hollyweed,” celebrating California’s change in marijuana sentencing in 1976, which paved the way for later legalization movements.
Though no damage was ever done to the sign itself, the o’s were turned into e’s by cleverly placed pieces of fabric. The weed deed was done by a fellow named Danny Finegood, as part of an art class project. Though Danny died at 52 due to multiple myeloma, his story lives on through activists and marijuana enthusiasts’ fond memories of Hollyweed.
Danny was responsible for several other alterations: he made the sign read “Holywood” on Easter in ’77, and “Ollywood” in protest of Lieutenant Oliver North at the time of Iran-Contra scandal, and “Oil War” in protest of the Gulf War.
The last of Finegood’s sign-altering stunts was never captured on film, as this time the police were ready and quickly removed the plastic coverings used to make the sign.
Danny would inspire copycats who tried their luck with defacing the Hollywood sign after he called it quits, but it around-the-clock security, fencing and alarms made more recent attempts far less successful than Danny’s early ones.
So, let’s go back in time. It’s 1976. Danny, a fine arts major, stops in to see his girlfriend after doing a little work on the Hollywood sign. She said had just saw the news talking about the Hollyweed makeover, and Danny, the smooth operator that he is, asked if she liked his work.
The stunt paid off. They grew even closer and went on to marry three years later. Danny Finegood’s two children, Matthew and Natalie, share their family’s love of art and pranks— though perhaps not on the same scale that their dad enjoyed them.