Pop Culture Baby Name: Matlock

“Matlock” premiered on TV in September of 1986. The main character of the legal drama was cantankerous criminal defense attorney Benjamin “Ben” Matlock (played by Andy Griffith).

Matlock
Matlock

The baby name Matlock appeared on the SSA’s baby name list for the first and only time a year later:

  • 1988: unlisted
  • 1987: 5 baby boys named Matlock [debut]
  • 1986: unlisted

But that’s only the second half of the story.

The pilot for the series aired in March of 1986. News of the pilot was in newspapers in November and December of 1985, but the papers misspelled the name of the show as “Mattlock”:

mattlock
“Mattlock”

And the mere mention of the show — which hadn’t even aired yet — was apparently enough to inspire some expectant parents to name their sons Mattlock at the end of 1985:

  • 1986: unlisted
  • 1985: 7 baby boys named Mattlock [debut]
  • 1984: unlisted

And so both Matlock (one T) and Mattlock (two T’s) became one-hit wonders during the 1980s.

Source: “TV Notes.” Evening Independent 3 Dec. 1985: 8-B.


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