'Beach Blanket Babylon,' San Francisco’s Long-Running Celebration of Camp, to End

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An enormous hat as part of Beach Blanket Babylon's Fol de Rol, created and designed Steve Silver in 1987. (Courtesy Beach Blanket Babylon)

The campy Beach Blanket Babylon musical revue show that has been a must-see for San Francisco tourists for 45 years is coming to an end.

Producer Jo Schuman Silver announced Wednesday the show’s final performances will be on New Year’s Eve 2019.

The show spoofs political and pop culture through characters in colorful costumes with massive, gravity-defying hats, including one with San Francisco’s skyline.

Hats, Hats, Hats!

Silver says the show is ending because she felt it was the right time and not for financial reasons.


She says that when the show was started by her late husband Steve Silver in 1974, it was scheduled to run for only six weeks. Instead, the show became an international phenomenon and “the quintessential San Francisco experience,” seen by royalty and national TV viewers alike.

“It never was about the money, the glory, the fame,” Silver told KQED in 2014. “He just wanted to have a great time and bring all his friends along. His mother’s bridge club, his cousins. Everybody.”

Silver estimates that the show has been seen by 6.5 million people from around the world.

See a slideshow of Beach Blanket Babylon photos below.