The First Appearance of Pepi

five fathers of pepi, ira avery, book, 1950s

The peppy name Pepi first appeared in the U.S. baby name data in 1956:

  • 1958: unlisted
  • 1957: unlisted
  • 1956: 5 baby boys named Pepi [debut]
  • 1955: unlisted
  • 1954: unlisted

What put it there?

“The Five Fathers of Pepi” — a mid-1956 episode of the live anthology TV show The United States Steel Hour.

The episode told the story of a group of men (Giorgio, Benozzo, Jacopo, Carlo, and Vittore) in an Italian town who were raising a war orphan named Pepi.

Pepi, a young orphan, has been adopted by five men of a town on the Italian riviera. Both the “fathers” and the boy are very happy about this arrangement, until the arrival of a wealthy American couple threatens the pleasant state of affairs. The Americans become interested in Pepi and consider adopting him themselves, legally. When they fail to be discouraged by various ruses, the “fathers” feel there is only one thing left to do and it is up to Giorgio, the “bachelor father,” to act quickly.

Giorgio was played by a young Paul Newman, described by a contemporary source as the “outstanding talent of stage, screen and television, who has skyrocketed to stardom during the past year.”

The story, written by Ira Avery, had been published in book form in mid-1955. Interestingly, though, Avery had originally created it as a television script for a 1952 episode of The Philco Television Playhouse.

What are your thoughts on the baby name Pepi? (It’s a pet form of Giuseppe, the Italian form of Joseph.)

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