Welcome to the Week of Int! “The week of what?” The Week of Int!
It’s a week of posts focusing on the four -int names that were popularized by fictional TV cowboys (or the actors who played them) during the late ’50s and early ’60s.
First up? Clint.
Clint was already seeing moderate usage in the early ’50s, but usage increased considerably in mid-1950s:
- 1959: 482 baby boys named Clint (rank: 357th)
- 1958: 474 baby boys named Clint (350th)
- 1957: 398 baby boys named Clint (385th)
- 1956: 258 baby boys named Clint (469th)
- 1955: 115 baby boys named Clint (682nd)
- 1954: 81 baby boys named Clint (803rd)
- 1953: 106 baby boys named Clint (693rd)
- 1952: 84 baby boys named Clint (767th)
- 1951: 79 baby boys named Clint (793rd)
- 1950: 60 baby boys named Clint (886th)
The reason for the rise? My money’s on Clint Walker, the actor who played the part of Cheyenne Bodie in the successful TV Western Cheyenne (1955-1963), which happened to be TV’s first hour-long Western.
Cheyenne Bodie was “a former frontier scout who drifts through the old West, traveling without any particular motivation from one adventure to another.”
The series was held together not so much by its premise as by its charismatic star, Clint Walker, who rose from obscurity to become one of the icons of the TV western. With his powerful physique and towering height, Walker commanded the small screen through sheer presence; his performance gained gravity simply from the way his body dominated the screen.
According to the Nielsen ratings, Cheyenne was a top-20 series for three seasons straight (1957-1958, 1958-1959, and 1959-1960).
The show also boosted the male usage of Cheyenne during the second half of the 1950s and through most of the 1960s.
But I should mention that Clint Walker and Cheyenne are only part of the story, as several other gun-slinging Clints also emerged around this time:
- Clint Tollinger, a character played by Robert Mitchum in the movie Man with the Gun (1955).
- Clint Reno, a character played by Elvis Presley in the movie Love Me Tender (1956).
- Clint Travis, a character played by and Paul “Kelo” Henderson in the TV series 26 Men (1957-1959).
There was also a non-gun-slinging teenager named Clint in the short Micky Mouse Club serial The Adventures of Clint and Mac (most episodes aired in January of 1958).
The rise of Clint didn’t continue into the ’60s, despite a continued Clint presence in pop culture:
- Clint Eastwood, the actor who played Rowdy Yates on the TV series Rawhide (1959-1966).
- Clint McCoy, a character played by Rory Calhoun in the movie Young Fury (1965).
But usage picked back up in the ’70s. Clint saw peak popularity in 1980. These days, usage is roughly back down to pre-Cheyenne levels.
Do you like the name Clint? Would you use it for your baby boy?