documentary series, documentary series, Television
Apr 6, 2023

History of the Hollywood Sign Explored in New PBS Series, Iconic America with David Rubenstein

PBS has a new series debuting this April. Iconic America is highlighting The Hollywood Sign and it’s history in one of the docu-series 8 upcoming episodes.

Image Credit: Sage Scott

In Iconic America an eight-episode series, sees David M. Rubenstein – co-founder of The Carlyle Group, and the series’ host and executive producer set off to explore American history through a close examination of our iconic national symbols: indelible artifacts, places, and archetypes. 

Shot on location across the country, Rubenstein invites historical experts and community members to examine myriad ways Americans engage with these subjects. Together, they dive deeply into each symbol’s history and how its meaning has changed over time, using these symbols as a gateway to understanding America’s past and present.

The subject of the episode premiering May 3 is The Hollywood Sign (other episodes include Fenway Park, the Gadsden Flag, the American Cowboy, and more). This episode tells the story of how a real estate advertisement erected in 1923 became an international symbol of fame, fortune and the American dream. It features interviews with writer, host and producer Melissa Rivers; sociologist and author Nancy Wang Yuen; Hollywood real estate agent Josh Flagg; former CEO of Paramount Pictures, Sherry Lansing; CEO of Orion Pictures, Alana Mayo; and Hollywood legend Sylvester Stallone, among others.

The series works to spotlight how these icons like the Hollywood Sign were created and how the perception of them formed and changed. These manifestations of our cultural history are sometimes highly contested as different groups invest them with distinct meanings. The symbols that endure speak to what a society values and how people see themselves ─ and they help us to contextualize a nation’s shared past in the present moment.