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January 2, 2017

On New Year’s Day, 1976, a Man Changed the Hollywood Sign to “Hollyweed” to Celebrate the Decriminalization of Marijuana

On January 1, 1976, Danny Finegood and friends climbed to the top of Mount Lee and used stones, rope and sheets to change the Hollywood sign into reading “Hollyweed”. This was done to celebrate that a new marijuana law had been implemented by the state of California. It changed the charge of possession of marijuana from a felony to a misdemeanor. The changing of the sign made front pages around the world.

Hollywood sign altered to read “Hollyweed”, 1976.

On New Year’s Day, 1976, Danny Finegood changed the Hollywood sign to “Hollyweed” as a college prank in order to celebrate the decriminalization of marijuana.

Finegood died of multiple myeloma in January 2007 at age 52, and the L.A. Times obituary celebrated him as an artist, a prankster and a husband.

“For a long time, he had this idea that if you just changed the two O’s you could change the whole meaning of the sign,” his wife Bonnie Finegood told the Times in 2007.

Finegood and his colleagues returned to the famous sign a number of times for other art projects and protests. Later in 1976 they had it read “Holywood” on Easter. In 1987, they protested the public perception of Marine Lt. Col. Oliver North amid the Iran-Contra hearings with “Ollywood.” In 1990, it read “Oil War” in a protest of the Persian Gulf War.

Self-styled 'environmental artists' are showing support for Lt. Col. Oliver North, involved with the Iran-Contra affair. Photograph dated July 20, 1987 | Herald-Examiner Collection, Los Angeles Public Library.


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