There’s a ‘mistake’ on the Hollywood sign that you can’t unsee

The Hollywood sign is one of the most recognized landmarks in the world, yet few people realize the sign features a glaring mistake.

Upon first look you might not catch it, but once you spot it, it’s hard to unsee.

Keep reading to learn all about the “mistake.”

The famous Hollywood sign, which originally read “Hollywoodland”, was first built in the early 1920s. It was intended to be temporary.

“It was originally built to promote a development project called ‘Hollywoodland’ and the letters would light up at night to attract people from downtown LA to the Hollywood Hills to purchase a piece of land to build their dream home,” Jeff Zarrinman, chair of the Hollywood Sign Trust, tells

“They thought they would sell all the lots within a year so they didn’t design it with strong enough material. It was made from telephone poles and cables.”

But after the Depression it became clear Hollywoodland was a bust. Although the real estate development might have failed, the sign, though in disrepair, was still standing.

LOS ANGELES – CIRCA 1925: A group of men most likely Surveyors and builders working on the new housing developement known as Hollywoodland pose for a portrait beneath the sign that was erected to advertize the site, circa 1925 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Despite calls to dismantle it, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce took over its maintenance and ownership. They repaired the sign and left “land” off, erasing any memory of the previously failed real estate development project.

However, in the late 1970s, it was decided the Hollywood sign needed a complete rebuild, and for three months no sign sat atop the Hollywood Hills.

After raising the necessary $250,000 through auctioning off the dilapidated letters, the Chamber was able to rebuild the sign in August 1978, which is the one we see standing today.

Victor Maschek /

But during its construction a “mistake” was made.

“I always get a kick out of telling people this when they’re standing in front of it,” Zarrinman says.

“Even though people just stand and stare at it when they visit it, they never notice.”

“When I point it out and tell them one of the ‘V’s in the ‘W’ is wider than the other by a significant margin, they’re always amazed.”

When the sign was rebuilt, it was done in proportion to the design in the early 1920s, “so the ‘mistake’, if you want to call it that, is still there.”

I’ve seen the Hollywood sign numerous times and never noticed it! And now I can’t unsee it.

Have you ever noticed the “mistake”?


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