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A neon dragon from Grauman's Chinese needs help to shine again

September 07, 2013|By Nita Lelyveld
  • David Svenson and Kim Koga of the Museum of Neon Art survey a neon sign from Grauman's Chinese Theatre, which they're storing in a Pomona warehouse. They are trying to raise money to repair it.
David Svenson and Kim Koga of the Museum of Neon Art survey a neon sign from… (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles…)

For 43 years, a pair of neon dragons danced above the marquees at Grauman's Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard.

When the dragons came down in a 2001 restoration, the Museum of Neon Art was supposed to get one of them. 

Instead, the theater owners kept the signs -- and they wound up exposed to the elements in a prop yard off the 5 Freeway. There they got rusted and busted. One had been thrown on top of the other, which began to collapse under the weight. Their glass was broken and their complex wiring was shot.

Now the Museum of Neon Art is trying to restore one of the dragons in an online crowd-funding campaign. Because of the neglect, the sign, which was in working condition when it was taken down 12 years ago, needs $35,000 of love.

In my latest City Beat, I tell the story of the neon dragon.

And keep reading below to see the story in photos that I sent out on Twitter.

 

[View the story "The fight to save a neon dragon from Grauman's Chinese" on Storify]

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Follow City Beat on Twitter and Facebook. Read more City Beats here.

Email ideas for future City Beats to nita.lelyveld@latimes.com

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