The baby name Yarnell was very rare until 1977, when it became a little less rare upon the sudden appearance of dozens of baby Yarnells in the U.S. baby name data:
- 1980: 9 baby girls named Yarnell
- 1979: 6 baby girls & 6 baby boys named Yarnell
- 1978: 22 baby girls & 17 baby boys named Yarnell
- 1977: 41 baby girls & 25 baby boys named Yarnell
- 1976: unlisted
If you think mimes are freaky (like I do) you might find the explanation a bit disturbing.
The spike can be traced back to mime team Shields and Yarnell, made up of married couple Robert Shields and Lorene Yarnell. Their TV variety show, The Shields and Yarnell Show, debuted in 1977 (but was canceled in 1978).
If you don’t remember the show, perhaps you remember their robots having breakfast routine [vid]. It was one of the skits they performed on a 1979 episode of The Muppet Show.
P.S. There was no equivalent spike for the name Shields, in case you were wondering. And that’s good, because one freaky mime name is quite enough.
P.P.S. The original appearance of Yarnell in the data in 1962 (as a boy name) can be attributed to TV actor Bruce Yarnell, who was appearing in the TV Western Outlaws at that time.