San Francisco Treat: God Bless America, Hat That I Love
Forget about Roy Halladay and the Philadelphia Phillies beating the San Francisco Giants Thursday to stay alive in the National League Championship Series. Forget about members of the Grateful Dead singing the Star-Spangled Banner. The real buzz after the game was about the over-the-top hat that artist Tammy Nelson wore when singing “God Bless America.” It takes a village, and they were all on her head!
The majestic crown the singer wore, featuring the San Francisco skyline and a Giants player on it, was the talk of fan blogs and the Twitterverse. Instead of the cliche of the singer wearing the home team’s jacket and cap, Nelson was decked out in an 1890s-style San Francisco-style ball gown, gloves, and the hat that launched a million “What the…” conversations among baseball fans.
But it turns out that the hat is, um, old hat to San Francisco citizens. Nelson’s hat is seen in the long-running local musical revue “Beach Blanket Babylon.” Funny thing is, it looks like the hat shown during the seventh-inning stretch is one of the tamer ones in the production (the “Beach Blanket Babylon” photo gallery shows some even more outrageous ones, including someone wearing a giant Ritz Cracker box on her head!)
While “Beach Blanket Babylon” is known among most San Francisco residents, much of the rest of the country wasn’t aware of the show until Thursday night, unless they either read about it in Armistead Maupin’s “Tales of the City” books,” or watched the infamous Rob Lowe/Snow White opening to the 1989 Oscars. (The Snow White onstage is part of the “Beach Blanket Babylon” show.)
Yahoo Sports’ Big League Stew reported that “veteran Bay Area scribe Ray Ratto preferred to smirk at potential tourists directly for not knowing about this loud lid.” Ratto wrote on Twitter, “Out of town writers baffled by Beach Blanket Babylon hat. They should have seen the 350th time it was unveiled — in 1967.”
Actually, the show debuted in 1974, but who’s counting?
At any rate, if I ever get to visit San Francisco, I’m going to have to check out that show — and those hats!
Photo by jonneygee
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