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Thursday, 8 November, 2001, 08:27 GMT
Hollywood sign stays white
Hollywood sign mock-up
How the Hollywood sign could have looked
By entertainment correspondent Peter Bowes in Los Angeles

A controversial plan to repaint the Hollywood sign in the colours of the American flag has been thrown out by councillors in Los Angeles.

The idea was to give the famous landmark a patriotic paint job as a gesture of support for America's servicemen and women.

In the end it was concluded that such a move would damage the sign's "historical integrity".


'We don't paint the White House red, white and blue

Tom LaBonge
The proposal to paint the 50ft-tall symbol, which towers over Tinsel Town, red, white and blue was derided by many people living in the shadow of the sign.

Local resident Henry Panczower explained his reservations to LA's parks and recreation committee.

"There are a lot of people that feel modifying the Hollywood sign to depict the American flag, not only is not patriotic, it's actually disrespectful of the flag," he said.

Security problems

Los Angeles councilman Tom LaBonge pointed out that other national monuments had not been repainted in the name of patriotism. "We don't paint the White House red, white and blue," he said.

City officials also explained that allowing the sign to be decorated, even temporarily, could lead to increased traffic or security problems.

Others had argued that by covering the sign in stars and stripes, it would become a potential target for terrorists.

Hollywood sign
The historic sign will remain plain white
The plan was that the sign would be painted red, white and blue for two weeks beginning 11 November to coincide with Veterans Day in the US.

Josh Kamensky, a supporter of the idea, told the council: "Hollywood loves America and that has been the real distilled essence of what this is about.

Unconvinced

"We know that the sign will not suffer any fatal or even permanent alteration with this."

The cost of the paint job was to be met by Universal Studios.

The theme park had also pledged to foot the bill for returning the sign to its normal state.

But the committee remained unconvinced and rejected the proposal.

There is a possibility that the idea could be brought before the entire Los Angeles City Council on Friday, but its chances of success appear to be very slim.

An online opinion poll carried out by the Los Angeles TV station, CBS2, suggested local people were divided in their views on the patriotic gesture.

Of the 419 votes cast - 163 said the area around the sign should be left alone completely, 158 people said to paint the sign, while 98 people opted for a flag to be erected next to the sign as an alternative to painting.

See also:

30 Oct 01 | Showbiz
Hollywood plans patriotic gesture
08 Oct 01 | Film
Hollywood re-think expensive
13 Sep 01 | Film
Hollywood 'changed forever'
Links to more Showbiz stories are at the foot of the page.


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