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Merry Prankster In LA Wants To Start 2017 On A High Note

Los Angeles residents awoke on New Year's Day to see the iconic Hollywood sign altered to read "Hollyweed." Most of them were fine with it.
Los Angeles residents awoke on New Year's Day to see the iconic Hollywood sign altered to read "Hollyweed." Most of them were fine with it.

On the morning of Jan. 1, Los Angeles residents and visitors alike awoke to see the iconic Hollywood sign had been altered overnight.

Some were delighted. A number of posts on Instagram Sunday are captioned things like, "I love this city!" and "Let's keep it!"

Police were, perhaps, less amused: They were investigating the vandalism Sunday, and said the male prankster was recorded by security cameras wearing all black at around 3 a.m. He could face a misdemeanor trespassing charge if caught.

This actually isn't the first time this has happened. Whether it was a tribute, or an accident, the vandal mimicked a similar prank that was done 41 years ago today by Daniel Finegood, on Jan. 1, 1976: The day California's relaxed marijuana law took effect. According to the LA Times, Finegood did a number of similar stunts, changing the sign to read "Ollywood" to protest the worship of Marine Lt. Col. Oliver North during the Iran-Contra hearings in 1987, and "Oil War" in 1990 as a political statement about the Persian Gulf War.

The "Hollyweed" prank, however, seems more like a celebration than a protest. The AP suggests it might be a gesture to the approval of Proposition 64 in November, which legalized recreational use of marijuana.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Corrected: January 3, 2017 at 12:00 AM EST
A previous version of this story referred to California's Proposition 64 as legalizing recreational use of marijuana beginning in 2018. In fact, recreational use became legal when voters approved the measure in November; the state has until Jan. 1, 2018, to begin issuing licenses to sell marijuana.
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