I’ve known for a while that the baby name Passion debuted impressively in 1974. Not as high as Nakia, but higher than Savalas.
1976: 30 baby girls named Passion
1975: 34 baby girls named Passion
1974: 34 baby girls named Passion [debut]
I occasionally looked for a reason, but never spent too much time on it because word-names are notoriously tricky to research.
Then I happened to discover something about the like-sounding name Pashen — which also debuted in ’74, and which I thought was merely a variant of Passion.
1975: 6 baby girls named Pashen
1974: 9 baby girls named Pashen [debut & peak]
As it turns out, the blaxploitation movie Willie Dynamite, which was released nationally in early 1974, featured a female character named Pashen (played by Joyce Walker). Willie was a New York City pimp, and Pashen was one of his call girls. Here’s how Pashen’s name appears in the end credits:
So: “Pashen” was the main form of the name, while “Passion” — despite being correctly spelled — was the variant form. (Other variant forms that also debuted in 1974 were Pashion and the one-hit wonderPashun.)
Since then, though, “Passion” has emerged as the preferred spelling among expectant parents. Well over 2,000 baby girls have been named Passion since the mid-1970s, whereas only about two dozen baby girls have been named Pashen.
What are your thoughts on these names? Which spelling do you prefer?
Speaking of Desira, here’s another baby name that was influenced by a Flash Gordon comic strip character. This one is Darlia, and it was a one-hit wonder in 1946. In fact, it was the top one-hit wonder of 1946. More than a dozen baby girls were named Darlia that year:
1946: 13 baby girls named Darlia [debut]
Darlia appeared in a storyline called “The Atomic Age,” which ran in papers from October of 1945 to March of 1946.
The installment featured identical twin sisters: Queen Evila (the bad twin) and Darlia (the good twin). For much of the story, the wrongdoers had Flash convinced that Evila was Darlia and vice versa. In the end, though, the truth came out just in time for Flash to save the day. But not in time to save the sisters. In fact, Darlia had to save him: she “courageously sacrifice[d] her own life by stepping into the line of fire” that otherwise would have killed Flash. Evila, on the other hand, died by falling off a ledge while trying to escape from an infirmary.
Do you like the name Darlia? Do you like it more or less than Desira?
In 1992, Leeds United superfans Jeanne and Andrew Cazaux welcomed a baby boy. They named him “Dominic Andrew Lukic Newsome Fairclough Whyte Dorigo McAllister Batty Strachan Speed Chapman Cantona Cazaux” after the following Leeds players:
So which team does Dominic root for these days? Arsenal. “I think I chose Arsenal mainly to rebel,” he said. “I was only about eight years old and it was just one of those things you do to go against your parents. They were disappointed but said that it was my choice.”