Do you like movies? How about television shows? Of course, you do! And that’s why you should be saying, “Hooray for Hollywood!” Many of the movies and television shows you watch are products of that famous town in Southern California known as Hollywood.

Hollywood is an area located to the west and northwest of downtown Los Angeles, California. Throughout history, Hollywood has been the home of movie stars and movie studios. When you think of the center of the American entertainment industry, you think of Hollywood.

Today, the entertainment industry has spread to other areas of Southern California and even other areas of the country, including New York City. However, Hollywood still remains an important part of the industry as the home of movie studios and entertainment-related industries.

The name “Hollywood” was the idea of H. J. Whitley, who bought a 500-acre ranch in the area. Whitley’s idea was to use the ranch land as the starting point of a grand city. Whitley eventually earned the nickname of the “Father of Hollywood.”

Although American filmmaking did not start in Hollywood, it did not take long for Hollywood to become the center of the industry. By 1920, Hollywood was world-famous as the heart of the film industry in the United States. In the following decades, television studios and music recording studios would also begin to call Hollywood home.

One of the most famous landmarks in Hollywood is the famous Hollywood Sign. Located on the south side of Mount Lee in Griffith Park just north of Mulholland Highway, the Hollywood Sign spells out “HOLLYWOOD” in letters that stand 45 feet tall and stretch over 350 feet wide.

The rough and steep terrain in the area gives the sign its unique wavy appearance. Originally, the sign spelled out “HOLLYWOODLAND,” as it was built in 1923 for the purpose of advertising a new housing development with that name.

The original sign was covered with over 4,000 light bulbs and never intended to last for more than a year or two. However, with the popularity of Hollywood as the center of the movie industry, the sign became associated strongly with Hollywood and was never removed.

Over time, the sign sustained a lot of damage and deteriorated badly. In 1949, the City of Los Angeles Parks Department took over the responsibility of repairing and rebuilding the sign. “LAND” was removed from the sign, as were the light bulbs.

In 1978, the entire sign was replaced with letters made of steel. Nine donors each gave over $27,000 to fund the $250,000 restoration project. The new version of the sign was dedicated on November 14, 1978 — the 75th anniversary of Hollywood.

43 Join the Discussion

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  1. Dear Wonderopolis,

    I loved today’s wonder! I think tomorrow’s wonder of the day is about turning.

    I didn’t leave a comment yesterday or the day before because I was too busy.

    Remember back on wonder of the day #665 – How do you play the piano? I thought wonder of the day #666 was about an organ and I was wrong. Wonder of the day #666 was not about an organ. Wonder of the day #666 was What is a spleen?


    • WOOHOO, we LOVE your great guessing, TJ! :) We are glad you enjoyed learning about Hollywood, California with us today! The great thing about WONDERing with us is that we can always Wonder back in time, just like you mentioned with past Wonders! We hope you’ve been busy WONDERing with your great imagination– you ROCK! :)

  2. I watched and loved Harry Potter. :-)
    Hollywood pushed technology to create the magic! I WONDER if all movies use that much technology. I WONDER, what was the first movie made in Hollywood?

    • How great that you enjoy the magic of technology in movies, Charlie! We think learning about new technology is AWESOME, especially when it helps us WONDER even more! :) We WONDER if you can use technology to research your question on your own! Here’s a past Wonder that will make you say “WOW!” :)

      Wonder #629– Do Robots Wonder?

  3. I was wrong. Again. But I liked today’s. I recently visited Universal Orlando Studios. Today’s WONDER reminded me of that. I think tomorrow’s WONDER will be about a radio or something like that. =)


    • WOW, Emily, Universal Studios sounds like a WONDERful place to go — so much imagining to do! We love to listen to popular tunes on the radio- what a SUPER guess! While some use the radio to communicate, We’ve got another type of communication system for you to check out:

      Wonder #93– What is Braille? :)

  4. This website is awesome!!! My mom showed me this website and it’s so cool!! I LOVE all the topics… this is a great website for school and for projects and stuff!!! Thanks Wonderopolis! :)

    • We are tickled pink that you are WONDERing with us, Jaidyn-elise! We LOVE meeting new Wonder Friends just like you!! Thanks for joining in the Wonderopolis fun– we hope you have a WONDERful day! :)

    • Hi there, Chris! We love to WONDER so much that we can often lose track of time! Because we’re WONDERing all day, we are always gathering COOL information and FUN facts to share in the Wonderopolis World! Thanks for visiting and we can’t wait to WONDER with you soon! :)

    • We think it’s SUPER that you enjoyed today’s Wonder, Aeliza! Thanks for joining us– keep on WONDERing! :)

    • Great WONDERing, Carlos! We love all your AWESOME questions and WONDER if you can find the answers through your own research! We appreciate your GREAT comments– thank you for sharing! :)

  5. I guessed today’s WONDER wrong!
    Anyway, today’s WONDER rocks!
    I think tomorrow’s WONDER is going to be about merry-go-rounds or those turning cups you see in Disneyland.

    • You’ve been using your imagination, Sophie, and we think that ROCKS! We are SUPER HAPPY to hear you enjoyed the Hollywood Wonder, too! :) We hope you enjoy today’s water Wonder! :)

    • How GREAT that you enjoyed learning about Hollywood, Llana! We are just as excited to discover tomorrow’s Wonder! Thanks for your kind comments– we think you’re STELLAR! :)

    • Nice work, Maya– you correctly placed Hollywood! We Wonder if you’ve ever visited Los Angeles, California? We think it would be a WONDERful place to explore! Thanks for sharing your AWESOME comment with us, Maya! :)

    • WOW, you are a lucky duck, Maya! We think it’s SUPER cool that you can drive by and wave to Hollywood on our behalf! :)

      Thanks for commenting on our Hollywood Wonder, we really appreciate it! :)

    • Thanks for sharing your comment with us today– Hollywood is super cool to learn about and fun to visit, too, Sara! We can’t wait to Wonder with you again! :)

    • We think it’s SUPER cool that you live in Hollywood, Sara! Thanks for sharing a little bit about yourself with all your friends here in Wonderopolis! :-)

    • That’s really cool, Maya! Thank you for sharing some Hollywood celebrities you’ve seen! We think it’s fun to see the celebrity hand prints and feet prints in the cement in Hollywood, too! :-)

    • What a thoughtful comment, Maya! We hope you are having a great time in Hollywood, especially when you can see your Wonder Friend on a regular basis! Thanks for commenting and joining the fun today! :)

    • WOHOO, we are glad you’re back, WONDERing about Hollywood today, Chip! We hope you had a fun visit to Hollywood– or if you haven’t been, we hope you get to check out that famous California landmark! :)

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Have you ever wondered…

  • Where is Hollywood?
  • Why was the Hollywood Sign built?
  • Why is Hollywood famous?

Wonder Gallery

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Try It Out

What movies do you thank Hollywood for? If you’re like many kids, you love movies. Thanks to Hollywood, there are always all sorts of new and interesting movies hitting theaters each week.

What are some of your favorite movies of all time? What is it about them that you like so much? Is it something about the story? Perhaps it’s the characters in the movie? Or is it the special effects that you like the most?

Share your thoughts on your favorite movies with your Wonder Friends on Facebook. We’d love to hear which movies you like the best and why. Hurray for Hollywood!

Still Wondering

Smithsonian’s History Explorer features a Night at the Museum Movie collection that allows children to visit the sites and artifacts that inspired the film Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian.

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