Pop quiz: where's the Hollywood Sign's original "H"? The Smithsonian? The Playboy Mansion? That movie museum that Los Angeles doesn't have yet? Wrong, wrong, and wrong. It's in Bloomington, Minnesota, supposedly, somehow. Well, here's how: by the 1970s, the original 1923 Hollywood Sign (which was only supposed to be up temporarily as an advertisement for the Hollywoodland subdivision) had fallen on hard times. In August 1978, it was taken down off of Mount Lee and replaced a few months later with a fresh new set of letters sponsored by celebrities including Hugh Hefner (the "Y") and Alice Cooper (the second "O"). According to the AP, "It was believed the original sign was sold for scrap metal," but somehow Minneapolis-based artist Bill Mack managed to buy "the remains of the original sign" a few years back.
According to Mack's website, "The original Hollywood sign was placed in a storage facility after it was taken down. No one was aware that the company hired to remove the sign had understood its historical significance and elected to store it rather than dispose of it as was planned. The sign remained in storage until it was purchased by noted collector of rare and unusual memorabilia, and renouned artist, Bill Mack in 2007. The artist intends to use the metal facing from the sign as canvas on which he will paint the likenesses of the great "movie stars"from the Golden Years Of Hollywood." He's spent several years now working on the "H" and was set to unveil it in Bloomington last week; he plans to eventually go on a worldwide tour with the letter.