Bright Lights, Big City - Off-Ramp for May 21, 2011

Highland Park celebrates relighting of iconic theater sign

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Kevin Ferguson/KPCC

Amy Inouye points to the newly re-lit Highland Theatre sign minutes after the ceremony took place.

For more than a decade, the large sign over Highland Park’s only movie theater was hard to see at night. A ceremony recently shed light on the neighborhood’s resurgence.

The Highland Theatre sign has risen a few stories above Figueroa Street since 1924. But nobody’s changed its lightbulbs in a long time. Local organizations, businesses and the National Park Service finally teamed up to raise money to restore its former glow.

Los Angeles City Councilman Ed Reyes bought enough bulbs to light the very last “E” in “THEATRE.” "You’re going to see this illuminated and you’ll watch it from all over Highland Park. It’s a landmark. It’s kind of like the lighthouse effect."

Seconds before the clock struck 8, the countdown began. At 8, the sign lit up and the crowd cheered.

It’s a beacon to guide visitors toward, for instance, dinner at the nearby Italian restaurant, a $6 first-run movie and a warm drink afterwards at the Antigua Bread Café.

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