Bewitched, the sitcom about a witch who marries a mere mortal, premiered on ABC in September of 1964 and ran all the way until 1972. Like many popular TV shows, it had a noticeable influence on U.S. baby names. For instance…
The name Samantha, which had ranked far outside the top 1,000 for most of the 20th century, skyrocketed in popularity in the mid-1960s thanks to main character (and witch!) Samantha Stephens, played by Elizabeth Montgomery.
- 1968: 2,339 baby girls named Samantha [rank: 136th]
- 1967: 1,806 baby girls named Samantha [rank: 176th]
- 1966: 1,794 baby girls named Samantha [rank: 182nd]
- 1965: 1,963 baby girls named Samantha [rank: 179th]
- 1964: 421 baby girls named Samantha [rank: 473rd]
- 1963: 73 baby girls named Samantha
The name reached and maintained top-5 status during most of the 1990s (with a lot of help from another fictional Samantha: Samantha Micelli from ’80s sitcom Who’s the Boss?).
Montgomery also played the part of Samantha’s cousin Serena, who was a recurring character during later seasons of the show. The name Serena saw higher usage in the late ’60s and early ’70s as a result.
The name Darrin was boosted up to its highest-ever usage in 1965 thanks to Samantha’s husband Darrin Stephens, originally played by Dick York.
- 1968: 2,078 baby boys named Darrin [rank: 138th]
- 1967: 2,029 baby boys named Darrin [rank: 141st]
- 1966: 2,568 baby boys named Darrin [rank: 119th]
- 1965: 3,257 baby boys named Darrin [rank: 102nd] <- peak usage
- 1964: 801 baby boys named Darrin [rank: 272nd]
- 1963: 310 baby boys named Darrin [rank: 450th]
In fact, all the spelling variants of Darrin saw peak usage in 1965. The most common spelling of the name, Darren, reached 52nd place in the rankings that year. Also in the top 1,000 were Darin (123th), Daren (271st), Darron (408th), Daron (494th) Daryn (717th), and Darryn (818th).
- 1968: 7 baby girls named Endora
- 1967: 17 baby girls named Endora
- 1966: 19 baby girls named Endora
- 1965: 28 baby girls named Endora [debut]
- 1964: unlisted
- 1963: unlisted
Endora was so dismissive of Darrin that she nearly never bothered to say his name correctly, calling him things like Derwood, Dagwood, Darwick, Dumpkin, and so forth.
Endora’s own name was inspired by the biblical Witch of Endor; “Endor” was an ancient Canaanite city.
Tabatha & Tabitha
Samantha and Darrin’s first child was a baby girl born in January of 1966. They named her Tabitha, a name first strongly suggested in the storyline by Endora (“Whatever you call her, I shall call her Tabitha”).
Behind the scenes, it was Elizabeth Montgomery who suggested the character name Tabitha — spelled the traditional way, with an i.
But, for some unknown reason, the name was spelled Tabatha — with an a — on the credit role. Montgomery was later quoted as saying: “Honestly, I shudder every time I see it. It’s like a squeaky piece of chalk scratching on my nerves.” The spelling wasn’t corrected until season 5 (1968-1969).
Accordingly, the usage of both baby names rose during the ’60s, with Tabatha ranking higher than Tabitha for a three-year stretch before the spelling mistake in the credits was corrected:
|Year||Tabitha usage||Tabatha usage|
|1971||947 [rank: 295th]||543 [rank: 398th]|
|1970||1,050 [rank: 279th]||585 [rank: 401st]|
|1969||944 [rank: 297th]||658 [rank: 355th]|
|1968||549 [rank: 391st]||701 [rank: 328th]|
|1967||444 [rank: 451st]||581 [rank: 378th]|
|1966||327 [rank: 524th]||500 [rank: 419th]|
The name Adam more than doubled in usage over a two-year stretch thanks to Samantha and Darrin’s second child, Adam, who was born in October of 1969.
- 1972: 5,748 baby boys named Adam [rank: 51st]
- 1971: 5,855 baby boys named Adam [rank: 57th]
- 1970: 4,320 baby boys named Adam [rank: 71st]
- 1969: 2,869 baby boys named Adam [rank: 113th]
- 1968: 2,546 baby boys named Adam [rank: 119th]
- 1967: 2,528 baby boys named Adam [rank: 118th]
The name reached and maintained top-20 status for several years during the early 1980s.
…So are you a fan of Bewitched? Which names from the show do you like the best?