How popular is the baby name Esai 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 Esai.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Esai


Posts that Mention the Name Esai

What gave the baby name Caprica a boost?

TV show "Caprica" (2010)

The rare name Caprica, which popped up in the U.S. baby name data several times in the 1970s, returned in 2010:

  • 2012: unlisted
  • 2011: unlisted
  • 2010: 6 baby girls named Caprica
  • 2009: unlisted
  • 2008: unlisted

Why?

Because of the sci-fi TV series Caprica (pronounced CAP-rih-kuh), which aired for just one season (Jan. to Nov., 2010). The title of the show referred to the fictional planet upon which the story was set.

TV show "Caprica" (2010)

Caprica was a spin-off prequel of the TV show Battlestar Galactica — not the original version from the late 1970s, but the re-imagined version from the early 2000s.

The events of Caprica took place 58 years before the events of Battlestar Galactica. The show focused on two Caprican families, the Greystones and the Adamas, and portrayed the creation of the first Cylons.

What are your thoughts on “Caprica” as a baby name?

Sources: Caprica – Wikipedia, Caprica – Rotten Tomatoes

P.S. One of Caprica‘s main characters, Joseph Adama, was played by Esai Morales

What gave the baby name Danielle a boost in 1987?

The character Danielle/Danny from the Diet Pepsi commercial "Apt. 10-G" (1987).
“Hi, I’m Danielle. You got another Diet Pepsi?”

If the Pepsi commercial in yesterday’s post on the baby name Sanjana seemed familiar to you, there’s a reason: That commercial was a scene-for-scene remake of an award-winning Diet Pepsi commercial that premiered in the U.S. six years earlier.

The spot, called “Apartment 10-G,” first aired in 1987 — either during the Super Bowl or the Grammy Awards (my sources don’t agree). It starred Michael J. Fox as the “urban knight satisfying the thirst of [the] damsel-next-door.”

Below is the one-minute version of the commercial:

Here’s a description, in case you don’t want to watch:

A young man is alone in his apartment when there’s a knock at the door. He opens the door to find a pretty young woman, who enters and says, “Hi, I just moved in next door. Could I borrow a Diet Pepsi?” He responds, “Sure, come in” (even though she’s already in). As he heads for the kitchen, he shows his excitement with a jump and a quiet “Yes!” She is idly looking around his apartment when he reaches the fridge…only to discover an empty bottle of Diet Pepsi. He calls out, “How about something else?” She responds, “Listen, if you don’t have a Diet Pepsi…” He already has one leg out the kitchen window as he calls back, “No, I got it.” He goes out onto the fire escape — the window slams shut behind him — and jumps down to street level. It’s raining outside. He spots a vending machine selling Diet Pepsi across the street. He tries to cross, but nearly gets hit by a car, so instead he jumps roof-to-roof over the traffic to reach the vending machine. He has a can of Diet Pepsi in his hand as he climbs up the fire escape ladder. He finds the window locked. Just as the woman starts walking toward the kitchen (calling, “You okay in there?”) there’s the sound of glass shattering. The man comes out of the kitchen — soaking wet, out of breath — and hands her the can, saying, “Here’s your diet Pepsi.” Then there’s another knock at the door. The woman says, “That must be my roommate, Danny.” “Danny?” the man repeats, with a worried look on his face. A second woman suddenly comes into view behind them. She leans seductively against the wall and says, “Hi, I’m Danielle. You got another Diet Pepsi?”

(The minute-and-a-half version included a run-in with a motorcycle gang.)

So now, the big question: Did this Pepsi commercial give a boost to the baby name Danielle the same way the Lehar Pepsi commercial gave a boost to the baby name Sanjana?

It’s very possible!

The name Danielle was already well within the U.S. top-20 at that time, but it saw a conspicuous increase in usage in 1987:

  • 1989: 15,366 baby girls named Danielle [rank: 17th]
  • 1988: 16,253 baby girls named Danielle [rank: 17th]
  • 1987: 17,007 baby girls named Danielle [rank: 14th] (peak usage)
  • 1986: 14,943 baby girls named Danielle [rank: 16th]
  • 1985: 15,411 baby girls named Danielle [rank: 18th]
Graph of the usage of the baby name Danielle in the United States since 1880
The name Danielle saw peak usage in 1987

So far, I haven’t been able to find an explanation better than the commercial.

My next-best-guess would be actress Danielle von Zerneck, who played Donna in the 1987 movie La Bamba (with Esai Morales).

There was also a young character named Danielle on the soap opera As The World Turns at that time. I don’t think she caused the 1987 peak, but — because she was born in the storyline in October of 1983 — I do think she’s behind that steep increase in usage in 1984. (Interesting fact: Her mother, Betsy, was played by future movie star Meg Ryan.)

But, getting back to the Pepsi commercial…do you remember seeing it on television in the late ’80s? If so, do you recall whether or not it drew your attention to the name Danielle?

Sources:

Name quotes #100: Kyle, Lou, Terancia

quotation marks

It’s the 100th batch of name quotes! :)

Real Housewives of Potomac cast member Wendy Osefo told the story behind her name in an episode from late 2020:

For Wendy Osefo, being named after a popular fast food restaurant chain is a constant reminder of her family’s hard work and success. 

“My parents came to this country with nothing. My dad worked at a fast food restaurant and one day he found out that he was being promoted to manager,” Wendy recalled on The Real Housewives of Potomac‘s November 8 episode. “He was so happy that to thank this country for giving him the opportunity to be a manager, he named his second daughter after that restaurant: Wendy.”

She added, “I am literally the embodiment of the American dream.”

From an interview with Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Kyle Trask at Rivals.com:

Florida quarterback Kyle Trask returns Saturday to his home state of Texas, where he will play on the field he was named after.

His parents both went to Texas A&M, so he grew up an Aggies fan.

[…]

His father, Micheal Trask, and mother, Melissa Charba, both attended the school in the late 1980’s. When they welcomed their second son on March 6, 1998, his first name came from A&M’s football stadium.

“My mom and dad were Aggies, so they named me after Kyle Field,” Trask revealed Monday. “My whole family is full of Aggies.”

From an interview with Lou Diamond Phillips at Cowboys & Indians:

The story of his own life began on the Subic Bay Naval Station in the Philippines, where he was born Louis Diamond Upchurch in 1962. His interesting name has an interesting back story: His father, Gerald, named him after U.S. Marine Corps Master Gunnery Sgt. Leland “Lou” Diamond (known as “Mr. Leatherneck,” he is considered one of the finest Marines of all time); after his dad died, Phillips took his stepfather, George’s last name.

(Phillips’ co-star in the movie La Bamba was Esai Morales.)

From a 2014 article about high school basketball player Terance Mann in the Boston Globe:

The inevitable question that the Tilton School’s 6-foot-5-inch, 190-pound shooting guard has heard countless times before: Are you named after that Terence Mann?

“Most people think it’s from the movie ‘Field of Dreams,'” which featured a character portrayed by actor James Earl Jones, explained the junior, who, when not attending the boarding school in New Hampshire, lives in Lowell with his mother, Daynia La-Force, and 15-year-old brother, Martin. “But my grandma’s name is Terancia, and they named me after her.”

From an article about musician Gurf Morlix in Buffalo News:

It’s a name that makes you wonder. Run into Gurf Morlix in album credits for Peter Case or in a concert review of Warren Zevon, and you imagine one of two things. Either he’s a refugee from some republic trying to secede from the Soviet Union, or else he’s hopelessly addicted to science fiction novels.

In truth, he’s an emigrant from one of Buffalo’s ostensibly normal suburbs — Hamburg — and, if anything, he looks a bit English as he talks over a plate of pasta fazool in his favorite hometown restaurant.

“A friend of mine changed it for me,” he responds in answer to the name question. “It was kind of a stupid thing. I dreamed this name when I was 13 years old and I told my friend about it and he said, ‘Well, I’ll never call you anything else.’ And then everybody did.”

From the essay “The Mountains with No Name” by Clint Augustson at the Katmai Terrane blog:

“What are the names of those mountains?” I ask Michael, bear biologist and de facto trailblazer, as I gesture at a sweeping wall of wild windswept cliffs.

“I don’t think they have names,” Michael answers, smiling when he sees my astonishment. “A lot of mountains in Katmai are unnamed.”

I was thunderstruck by the concept. These peaks are as magnificent as any in the lower 48, each with its own striking contours, but they had no known name attached to them. Throughout the park are mountains that may never have one. My first reaction was one of awe: here is a place so wild that massive features are untouched by the human predilection for labels. My second reaction carried a hint of melancholy: these remarkable forms felt strangely underappreciated, no title to lend them texture and personality.

[…]

As I sit on a ridgeline drenched with tiny pink alpine azaleas and a host of other curious forms of tundra life, I consider that it is perhaps better for some mountains to remain ever-nameless, at least officially. Names carry a tremendous amount of power. Cultures across the world affix the act of naming with spiritual weight. Consider Mount Solstice: one could just as easily name this mass Butterfly Hill, Stormclaw, or Timothy, and each would lend different shadings to how we interpret the location, each would shape how we consider it. Can a name really capture the essence of such a place? Do we pay more attention when we cannot neatly affix a place by a pin and conveniently categorize it?

Where did the baby name Esai come from in 1987?

Esai Morales as Bob Morales in La Bamba (1987)
Esai Morales as Bob Morales in “La Bamba”

The uncommon name Esai debuted in the U.S. baby name data in 1987:

  • 1990: 22 baby boys named Esai
  • 1989: 34 baby boys named Esai
  • 1988: 33 baby boys named Esai
  • 1987: 14 baby boys named Esai [debut]
  • 1986: unlisted
  • 1985: unlisted

Where did it come from?

Actor Esai (pronounced ee-sie) Morales, who was one of the stars of the 1987 movie La Bamba.

The movie was a biopic of rock and roll pioneer Richard Valenzuela, popularly known as Ritchie Valens (played by Lou Diamond Phillips). Esai played Ritchie’s brash older brother, Bob Morales. (The characters had different fathers, which accounts for the different surnames.)

Esai Morales, born in New York and of Puerto Rican descent, inherited his first name from his own father. The name is thought to be based on Esaias, which is a form of the Biblical name Isaiah (meaning “Yahweh is salvation” in Hebrew).

Interestingly, the character’s surname being “Morales” like his own was a factor in Esai’s decision to take the part. At the time, he was trying to choose between the role in La Bamba and a role in the Steven Spielberg movie Batteries Not Included, which he assumed would be an “instant hit.”

And I just thought to myself, there’s the commercial-looking success thing, but then there’s this thing that tugs at my heart. It made me cry. I read the story and, like, I had tears streaming down my face. […] And I saw a character with my name on it. Literally, it had my name on it. You don’t see great roles oftentime with Latino names, much less your own. You know, so I was like, you know, I’m gonna roll the dice with this one. And I think I made the right decision.

What do you think of the name Esai?

Sources: Esai Morales – Wikipedia, Esai Morales on his decades-long career in Hollywood – BEONDTV

P.S. Despite having a very short recording career, Ritchie Valens scored several hit singles, including “Donna.”