The gritty TV police drama Toma, which starred actor Tony Musante as New Jersey police detective David Toma, started airing in 1973.
The year the show premiered, the baby name Toma, which had only ever appeared in the data as a girl name, started seeing usage as a boy name. It even cracked the boys’ top 1,000 briefly.
- 1975: 6 baby girls / 26 baby boys named Toma
- 1974: 21 baby girls / 84 baby boys [rank: 884th] named Toma
- 1973: 21 baby girls / 43 baby boys [debut] named Toma
- 1972: 9 baby girls / x baby boys named Toma
- 1971: 5 baby girls / x baby boys named Toma
But usage petered out after Toma was canceled in 1974.
In 1975, a retooled version of Toma called Baretta came out. The new show, which starred Robert Blake as New York City police detective Tony Baretta, was less violent and included more comic relief than the original. (Baretta had a pet cockatoo named Fred, and one of his informants was a man called Rooster.)
In response, the name Baretta debuted in the baby name data, and it remained there for the same number of years the Emmy-winning series was on the air (1975-1978).
- 1979: unlisted
- 1978: 8 baby boys named Baretta
- 1977: 13 baby boys named Baretta
- 1976: 6 baby girls / 13 baby boys named Baretta
- 1975: 14 baby girls [debut] / 18 baby boys [debut] named Baretta
- 1974: unlisted
Which name do you like more, Toma or Baretta?