The baby name Marcheta wouldn’t have become trendy back in the 1920s if not for a newfangled invention: radio.
Marcheta debuted on the SSA’s baby name list in 1923:
- 1927: 25 baby girls named Marcheta
- 1926: 41 baby girls named Marcheta
- 1925: 46 baby girls named Marcheta
- 1924: 57 baby girls named Marcheta
- 1923: 14 baby girls named Marcheta [debut]
- 1922: unlisted
One year later, usage peaked.
The obvious explanation is the song “Marcheta: A Love Song of Old Mexico” (1913) written by Victor Schertzinger. Except the song was published ten years too early. Also, it was a flop.
A decade later, though, the radio had been invented and the song was revived.
By the end of 1922, “Marcheta” was a hit. Millions of copies were sold in the early-to-mid 1920s, and various artists recorded the song, including Elsie Baker and Olive Kline in 1922:
Victor Schertzinger went on to become a successful motion picture director, but he never used “Marcheta” in one of his movies. In fact, I don’t believe the song was ever used in a movie.
But it had an impact on the movies, because in 1924 the otherwise rare name Marcheta was used in not once but twice as the name of a lead character in a film:
- Marcheta, character played by Estelle Taylor in the movie Tiger Love
- Marcheta, character played by Derelys Perdue in the movie Untamed Youth
Because of this, there’s no telling how much of Marcheta’s usage in 1924 was due to radio and how much was due to cinema.
What do you think of the baby name Marcheta?
- Victor Schertzinger Historical Marker
- To Amend the Copyright Act: Hearings before a Subcommittee of the Committee on Patents, Senate, 68th Cong. 1 (1924) (Testimony of Frank Sheridan).
- Tiger Love (1924) – TCM.com
- Untamed Youth (1924) – TCM.com