The baby name Sharlie popped up on the SSA’s baby name list for the very first time in 1933. It was the second-highest girl-name debut that year after Gayleen.
- 1935: not listed
- 1934: 10 baby girls named Sharlie
- 1933: 20 baby girls named Sharlie [debut]
- 1932: not listed
What was the inspiration?
My guess is the catch phrase “Vas you dere, Sharlie?” which became very popular around 1933.
It was introduced to radio audiences in 1932 by comedian Jack Pearl, playing his character Baron Munchausen (loosely based on Baron Münchhausen).
As the Baron, Pearl would tell far-fetched stories with a comic German accent. When the straight man expressed skepticism, the Baron replied with his familiar tagline and punchline: “Vass you dere, Sharlie?”
“In 1933, Jack Pearl’s fame had reached such heights that he was summoned to MGM, the most prestigious studio in Hollywood, to star in his first feature, Meet The Baron.”
Here’s the Meet the Baron trailer [vid]. You can hear “Vas you dere, Sharlie?” at 0:16 and 2:22.
According to the Hollywood Walk of Fame site, the Baron’s catch phrase “soon became part of the national lexicon.”
Unfortunately for Pearl, though, radio audiences soon tired of the Baron:
Pearl’s “Vos you dere, Sharlie?” made him an overnight sensation and a virtual overnight has-been. It was his best and just about only idea, and–as Jack Benny had warned him might happen–the Baron wore out his welcome quickly.
- Nachman, Gerald. Raised on Radio. Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1998.
- Neathery, Aaron. “Jack Pearl, The Baron Munchausen of the Air.” The Third Banana. 13 Dec. 2005.