When Les Folies Bergere opened on Christmas Eve 1959, the topless revue quickly made the showgirl the racy symbol of Vegas. Throughout the 60s, showgirls were seen on magazine covers and golf course openings. Now, after almost fifty years, Les Folies Bergere has closed with its final performance March 28.
Originating in the Tropicana, Les Folies Bergere was imported from Paris and most of the original dancers couldn’t even speak English. The Folies became the show you had to see if you wanted to experience all the glitz and glamor of Vegas in its heyday. Showgirls from the Folies were found on the arms of the mayor and the biggest Hollywood stars were seen in the audience.
Unfortunately, times have changed for Vegas and Les Folies Bergere falls victim. Tropicana Entertainment LLC filed Chapter 11 last May. In December, the man behind the Folies since 1966, Jerry Jackson, went to a meeting at the Tropicana. He was looking for the money to stage a golden anniversary celebration that would never be forgotten but was told there was no money available. In January, the Tropicana announced the closing of Jackson’s beloved show.
For almost fifty years, Les Folies Bergere represented Vegas in the hearts and minds of its visitors. The years of bringing glamor to the masses has ended for both the show and the Tropicana as Vegas enters a new stage in history. Les Folies Bergere will remain in our memories alongside the Rat Pack, the Stardust and the Sands as representative of the golden age of Vegas.