'Beach Blanket Babylon' starts final weekend shows in San Francisco before NYE finale

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Linda Ragus was the first in line for Saturday's early show of Beach Blanket Babylon. She came up from Fresno.

"I wasn't going to miss this last one performance. It's a special place. It's a San Francisco institution," says Ragus.

Beach Blanket Babylon debuted in 1974, making it the longest-running musical revue in the world. The cast and crew have put on more than 17,000 shows and entertained more than six million viewers.

RELATED: After 45 years, San Francisco's 'Beach Blanket Babylon' will have its final show on New Year's Eve

The show is known for its big wigs, outrageous costumes and spoofs on pop culture and politics. Fans says that is what makes the show so popular.

"I have to admit those wigs were magnificent. The costumes were just terrific," says Melanie Arellano, who lives in Vacaville.

"They are so talented. The pop culture references. It just blew my mind, it was so clever. I just didn't want it to end," says Gabrielle Javier from Novato. She admits that this was her first time to see the show.

As its popularity grew, so did its fans base. Lauren Apellaniz, who has seen the show twice, is here from Florida.

"I am super sad! It was such a great show. I know it is such a big part of San Francisco," says Apellaniz.



"I thought six weeks until I find a real job. And it turned into 40 years, just like that," says Stage Manager John Camajani.

He says he never thought the show would run four decades. Looking back, he says the shows from the mid-1980s are his favorite.

"The music was abound everywhere, and we stuck a lot of that in the show. Anything you'd see in the paper in the morning, would invariably end up on stage that night," explains Camajani.

He says the show pushed boundaries and a lot buttons. He hopes the fans will look back with praise.

Jennifer Rupiper, who lives in Sonoma County, saw her first Beach Blanket Babylon show in 1979! She says the show is still relevant and is sad to see it end.

"I'm bummed. I really am. There is so much talent. It puts a smile on everybody's face. It's just a great thing," says Rupiper.

Producer Jo Schuman Silver made the announcement to end the show back in April. Camajani says it takes a lot to put on a production like this and that the time has come to call it quits.

"We are as on top as we will ever be. The show is going like gangbusters, and the timing feels right," he says.

The finale will be New Year's Eve. All remaining shows are sold-out.

WATCH: Slideshow of "Beach Blanket Babylon" through the decades in 60 seconds!
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Beach Blanket Babylon started in 1974 and has had nearly 17,000 performances.

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