The baby name Cotina was a top debut name in 1972, coming out of nowhere to be given to an impressive 109 baby girls that year:
- 1978: unlisted
- 1977: 6 baby girls named Cotina
- 1976: 5 baby girls named Cotina
- 1975: 13 baby girls named Cotina
- 1974: 33 baby girls named Cotina
- 1973: 65 baby girls named Cotina
- 1972: 109 baby girls named Cotina [debut]
- 1971: unlisted
But that’s not all. The popularity of similar names — most notably Katina — spiked in ’72 as well:
It took me a while to come up with a decent theory for this one, as the only person the search engines kept directing me to was Greek actress Katina Paxinou (1900-1973).
I was stuck until, in a decades-old Village Voice article, I spotted a reference to a fictional soap-opera baby named Katina. She was “born” in early 1972 on the CBS soap Where the Heart Is (1969-1973).
Expectant parents tend to pay particular attention to TV babies, and soap operas have historically influenced baby name rankings quite a bit, so the double-whammy of a baby born on a soap opera must have had some sort of impact.
Then again, I can’t explain why the variant “Contina” jumped so much higher than, say, “Katena” or “Kateena,” which are much more Katina-like. So perhaps I’m missing something.
Does anyone out there remember Where the Heart Is? Do you think the soap was popular enough to have started a short-lived Katina craze in the early ’70s?