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Happy/Sad Foot sign in Silver Lake revolves into an animated music video

SILVER LAKE – The legend grows for the Happy Foot/Sad Foot sign on Sunset Boulevard. It has now become an animated music video, L.A. Magazine reports.

Director Mike Hollingsworth storyboarded the video more than a decade ago  about the contrasting lives of Happy Foot and Sad Foot. Now the band YACHT has made it the official video for their recent single, Hard World.

“I definitely wanted this to be with an L.A. band because it’s such an L.A.-centric thing,” Hollingsworth told L.A. Magazine. In fact, band members Jona Bechtolt and Claire Evans said they used to live near the sign at Sunset and Benton Way. Said Evans, “it was a huge part of our daily experience of the city.”

Keep in mind, this darkly comic music video is based on a revolving sign for the Sunset Foot Clinic. On one side, a cartoon drawing of a smiling foot, arms outstretched, not a freakin’ care in the world. On the other side, a sad and damaged foot – propped on crutches, bandages around the big toe, damned to spin like that for eternity.

Local superstition says if you see the happy foot first as you drive by, it’s good luck. Sad foot first? Go home, try again tomorrow.

The sign – or versions of it – has shown up in novels by Jonathan Lethem and David Foster Wallace, and in an interview with Beck in Anthem magazine. Nor is the YACHT video even the sign’s first dip into the music scene, having inspired the song “Sad Foot Sign” by The Eels, apparently sometime around 2003.

With YACHT’s song Hard World, however, a day in the life of Happy Foot and Sad Foot becomes fully realized in a five-toed world where one unlucky foot hits all the red lights. Slight spoiler alert: By the end of the video, you kind of hate Happy Foot.

One of the podiatrists in charge of the Sunset Foot Clinic told The Eastsider last year that he only became aware of the sign’s cultural status after patients kept coming in and saying they grew up seeing the sign.

“This happened enough times that I eventually Googled our Happy Foot/Sad Foot sign,” Dr. Thomas Lim said. “My reaction … nice, we’re trending …”

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One comment

  1. The sign plays a fairly pivotal moment on “You’re the Worst,” in the episode “The Last Sunday Funday” too.

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