How popular is the baby name Bimbo in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, check out all the blog posts that mention the name Bimbo.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Bimbo


Posts that Mention the Name Bimbo

Interesting One-Hit Wonder Baby Names

They came, they went, and they never came back!

These baby names are one-hit wonders in the U.S. baby name data. That is, they’ve only popped up once, ever, in the entire dataset of U.S. baby names (which accounts for all names given to at least 5 U.S. babies per year since 1880).

There are thousands of one-hit wonders in the dataset, but the names below have interesting stories behind their single appearance, so these are the one-hits I’m writing specific posts about. Just click on a name to read more. (Names that aren’t links yet have posts coming soon!)

1890s

1900s

  • (none yet)

1910s

1920s

1930s

1940s

1950s

1960s

1970s

1980s

1990s

2000s

2010s

2020s

  • (none yet)

As I discover (and write about) more one-hit wonders in the data, I’ll add names/links to this page. In the meanwhile, do you have any favorite one-hit wonder baby names?

P.S. If this content looks familiar, that’s because you’ve seen it before! I’ve just put it in a new spot. :)

Baby Boys Named Beaver? Gee Whiz, Wally.

Jerry Mathers as Beaver Cleaver

April 7th is International Beaver Day, so today is a weirdly appropriate day to check out the baby name Beaver, which debuted on the baby name charts in 1959:

  • 1965: unlisted
  • 1964: 9 baby boys named Beaver
  • 1963: 5 baby boys named Beaver
  • 1962: unlisted
  • 1961: unlisted
  • 1960: unlisted
  • 1959: 5 baby boys named Beaver [debut]
  • 1958: unlisted

The cause? Leave It to Beaver, the iconic TV sitcom that aired from 1957 to 1963.

The central character of the series (which had nothing to do with actual beavers) was a boy named Theodore “The Beaver” Cleaver. Beaver was the youngest member of an idealized, post-war family of four living in a fictional suburban community.

As with Rambo and several other pop culture-inspired baby names, “Beaver” had been in use as a first name in the U.S. long before 1959. (In fact, one of the co-creators of the show discovered the name while serving in the Merchant Marine during WWII. One of his shipmates was named Beaver.) Leave It to Beaver simply boosted the visibility/usage of the name enough for it to finally appear on the SSA’s annual baby name list, which doesn’t include names bestowed fewer than five times per year.

So how did a boy named Theodore acquire a nickname like Beaver? When Beaver was born, his older brother Wally couldn’t pronounce “Theodore” correctly. The result was “Tweeter.” From there, the word somehow morphed into “Beaver.”

The nickname was finally explained during the last episode of the series. Jerry Mathers, the actor who played Beaver, thought the explanation was “lame.” Perhaps…but this explicit focus on Beaver’s nickname during the mid-1963 finale may have been what caused the usage of Beaver to peak in 1964.

The name Wally was also used more often during the late ’50s and early ’60s. So was the name of Beaver’s father, Ward, but not the name of his mother, June.

What do you think of the baby name Beaver? Is it better or worse than Bimbo? How about Twig (another sitcom nickname from the 1950s)?

Sources: International Beaver Day – BWW, Leave It to Beaver – Wikipedia, Leave It to Beaver FAQ, Jerry Mathers how the name “Beaver” on “Leave It to Beaver” came about [vid]

P.S. At least one U.S.-born Beaver got the middle name Cleaver. This real-life Beaver Cleaver was born in 1965.

What turned Frosty into a baby name?

frosty the snowman, sheet music, 1950

The unusual baby name Frosty has appeared in the SSA’s baby name data just once so far:

  • 1952: unlisted
  • 1951: unlisted
  • 1950: 6 baby boys named Frosty
  • 1949: unlisted
  • 1948: unlisted

What inspired this sudden interest in Frosty?

The Christmas song “Frosty the Snow Man,” believe it or not. Written and composed by Steve Nelson and Walter “Jack” Rollins, it was first published in 1950.

The lyrics tell the story of a snowman named Frosty (with “a corncob pipe and a button nose and two eyes made out of coal”) who magically comes to life when an “old silk hat” is placed on his head.

Gene Autry was one of the first artists to record it, and his version saw the greatest success during the 1950 holiday season. According to Billboard magazine, Autry’s “Frosty” peaked at #2 on the Best Selling Children’s Records chart for several weeks in a row at the end of 1950 and the beginning of 1951. More importantly, it peaked at #7 on the Best Selling Pop Singles chart during the first week of 1951. (The rankings that week were “based on reports received December 27, 28 and 29.”)

Other recordings of “Frosty the Snow Man” available during the 1950 holiday season included versions by Nat “King” Cole, Red Foley, Roy Rogers, Vaughn Monroe, Curt Massey, Guy Lombardo, Dick “Two-Ton” Baker, Harry Babbitt, and Jimmy Durante.

What are your thoughts on Frosty as a baby name? Do you like it more or less than Bimbo?

Sources:

  • “The Billboard Music Popularity Charts.” Billboard 6 Jan. 1951: 16.
  • “The Billboard Music Popularity Charts.” Billboard 30 Dec. 1950: 10.
  • Frosty the Snowman – Wikipedia

Image: “Frosty the Snow Man” Sheet Music, Smithsonian

P.S. The biggest hit of Gene Autry’s career? “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” released just ahead of the 1949 holiday season.

P.P.S. The name Rudolph saw peak usage around the time Italian-born silent film actor Rudolph Valentino died in 1926, at age 31.

What turned Bimbo into a baby name?

Bimbo, Jim Reeves
“Bimbo” by Jim Reeves

Would you name your son Bimbo?

I ask because Bimbo was a one-hit wonder on the U.S. baby name charts in 1954. Five baby boys got the name that year.

  • 1956: unlisted
  • 1955: unlisted
  • 1954: 5 baby boys named Bimbo [debut]
  • 1953: unlisted
  • 1952: unlisted

Cruel? Possibly.

These parents weren’t bestowing it with the slang term in mind, though. (Bimbo, originally a variant of bambino, Italian for “baby,” had become a synonym for “floozie” back in the 1920s.) They’d heard it in a country song about a little boy called Bimbo. Here’s the first verse:

Bimbo is a little boy who’s got million friends
and every time he passes by, they all invite him in
He’ll clap his hands, sing and dance, and talk his baby talk
With a hole in pants, and his knees stickin’ out, he’s just big enough to walk

“Bimbo,” written circa 1953 by Rod Morris, was recorded in 1953-1954 by various performers including Gene Autry*, Ruby Wright, Pee Wee King/Redd Stewart, Eddy Howard, Lawrence Welk, Polly Possum, and Brucie Weil.

bimbo, records, 1954, song
© 1954 Billboard

But the most successful rendition was performed by Jim Reeves, whose “Bimbo,” released in late 1953, peaked at #2 on the list of Best Selling Country & Western Records for three weeks from late January to early February, 1954.

[T]he song became wildly popular, especially with families who had children. “People were even naming their little boys ‘Bimbo,’ after the song,” [Jim’s wife] Mary said in astonishment.

Here’s a video featuring the Jim Reeves recording:

What do you think of the name Bimbo?

*This was a few years after Gene’s rendition of “Frosty the Snowman” inspired a handful of parents to name their sons Frosty.

Sources: