Michael Jackson sign is restored at Hollywood school
For seven years, the gleaming silver letters that once proclaimed the Michael Jackson Auditorium at Gardner Street Elementary School in Hollywood were hidden behind white plywood boards.
The boards had been placed there to hide the name of the pop singer at the behest of parents shortly after Jackson was arrested on suspicion of child molestation in 2003. Since his death last year, fans had rallied for the restoration of the sign, which they saw as a symbol of Jackson’s legacy.
Now, Jackson’s name gleams again.
Los Angeles Unified School District Supt. Ramon C. Cortines ordered the boards stripped away Friday "in recognition of Michael Jackson’s musical legacy and contribution to modern culture."
A school district spokesman said the decision was made in large part because Jackson had been acquitted of criminal charges in the molestation case.
On Friday night, a Facebook page calling for the restoration of the sign was overflowing with joyous comments.
"I could cry!!" one person wrote. "I wish he were here to see this!!"
On the page, devotees from places as far away as Japan and Sri Lanka posted photos of themselves holding handmade posters calling for the boards to be stripped away.
Fans had planned to show up at a school board meeting Tuesday to demand that the sign be revealed.
Jackson was briefly enrolled as a student at Gardner Street Elementary. In 1969, he and his family moved to Los Angeles from Gary, Ind., so that Jackson and his brothers could make a record with Motown.
Jackson was an 11-year-old sixth-grader at the school when the Jackson 5 released their debut album, a smash hit that foreshadowed Jackson’s record-breaking solo career.
The Gardner auditorium was dedicated to Jackson in 1989. He attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony, where the school's choir sang "We Are the World," a tune Jackson co-wrote.
An illustration of Jackson's face was posted in the auditorium in 1989, and a picture depicting the singer surrounded by children was hung in the main office. The auditorium drawing was removed several years ago because it kept falling down. The picture in the office also was removed to make room for a new intercom system.
-- Kate Linthicum
Photo: L.A. Times file