Where did the baby name Chachi come from?

Joanie Loves Chachi
Chachi & Joanie

The TV show Joanie Loves Chachi (1982-1983) was a Happy Days spin-off that focused on the characters Joanie Cunningham (sister of Richie) and Charles “Chachi” Arcola (cousin of Fonzie).

Joanie Loves Chachi didn’t last long, but it did make an impact on expectant parents.

In 1982, not only did the baby name Chachi show up in the U.S. baby name data for the first and only time, but the baby name Joanie was boosted back into the top 1,000 one last time:

YearUsage of ChachiUsage of Joanie
1984.86 baby girls
1983.129 baby girls
19829 baby boys [debut]176 baby girls [rank: 876th]
1981.130 baby girls
1980.132 baby girls

Later that year, though, ABC’s Joanie Loves Chachi got destroyed (ratings-wise) by NBC’s The A-Team. Chachi never appeared on the charts again, and Joanie went downhill until it fell off the SSA’s list entirely (i.e., was given to fewer than five baby girls) in 2008.

P.S. Here’s the cheesy Joanie Loves Chachi opening theme song. Don’t say I didn’t warn you…

Update (2/26/15) – Just spotted the Chachi-variant Shashi, which was a one-hit the same year.

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