How popular is the baby name Kookie 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 Kookie.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Kookie


Posts that Mention the Name Kookie

Interesting One-Hit Wonder Baby Names

They came, they went, and they never came back!

These baby names are one-hit wonders in the U.S. baby name data. That is, they’ve only popped up once, ever, in the entire dataset of U.S. baby names (which accounts for all names given to at least 5 U.S. babies per year since 1880).

There are thousands of one-hit wonders in the dataset, but the names below have interesting stories behind their single appearance, so these are the one-hits I’m writing specific posts about. Just click on a name to read more. (Names that aren’t links yet have posts coming soon!)

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As I discover (and write about) more one-hit wonders in the data, I’ll add names/links to this page. In the meanwhile, do you have any favorite one-hit wonder baby names?

P.S. If this content looks familiar, that’s because you’ve seen it before! I’ve just put it in a new spot. :)

The Baby Name Shelleen

baby name, 1960s, shelleen, movie
Lee Marvin as Kid Shelleen, 1965

Here’s an interesting one. Most baby names that debut on the girls’ side of the list are put there by a female (either real or fictitious). But Shelleen, just like Kookie and Korla, seems to have popped up in 1965 thanks to a male.

  • 1968: unlisted
  • 1967: unlisted
  • 1966: 6 baby girls named Shelleen
  • 1965: 7 baby girls named Shelleen [debut]
  • 1964: unlisted
  • 1963: unlisted

The name can be linked to Kid Shelleen, the bumbling gunfighter played by Lee Marvin in the 1965 comedy Western Cat Ballou.

In fact, Lee Marvin had two roles in the film: Kid Shelleen, and Kid’s brother Tim Strawn, a much more competent gunfighter. For the dual role, Marvin won both the Golden Globe and the Academy Award for Best Actor in early 1966.

Males don’t typically give rise to new female names, but the timing and trends were just right for Shelleen in the ’60s. The same decade, similar names like Shelly, Michelle, and Sheila all saw peak usage.

What are your thoughts on the baby name Shelleen? Do you like it more or less than, say, Shelly?

Source: Cat Ballou – Wikipedia

Pop Culture Baby Names: Efrem & Zimbalist

Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.
Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.

Spotting Zimbalist on the SSA’s baby name list was a lot like spotting Arbutus: I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it the first time I saw it.

The baby name Zimbalist has only ever made the list twice:

  • 1973: unlisted
  • 1972: 5 baby boys named Zimbalist
  • 1962-1971: unlisted
  • 1961: 8 baby boys named Zimbalist [debut]
  • 1960: unlisted

Where does it come from?

Actor Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., who starred in the popular TV shows 77 Sunset Strip (1958-1964) and The F.B.I. (1965-1974).

The movie By Love Possessed (1961), which featured Zimbalist along with actress Lana Turner, may be what caused that initial 1961 debut. (By Love Possessed, btw, was the first movie shown regularly aboard airplanes. The carrier was TWA, and they began screening movies in-flight for first-class passengers in mid-1961.)

His first name, Efrem, saw increased usage as soon as 77 Sunset Strip started airing:

  • 1962: 55 baby boys named Efrem
  • 1961: 83 baby boys named Efrem
  • 1960: 56 baby boys named Efrem
  • 1959: 85 baby boys named Efrem
  • 1958: 8 baby boys named Efrem
  • 1957: unlisted

Efrem is a Russian version of the Hebrew name Ephraim, which means “fruitful,” while Zimbalist is a Jewish surname that originally referred to someone who played a tsimbl, a musical instrument in the dulcimer family.

Which do you like better as a first name, Efrem or Zimbalist?

P.S. Kookie was another 77 Sunset Strip-inspired debut.

Source: Bringing Inflight Movies to Airlines Was Harder Than It Sounds

Where did the baby name Kookie come from?

The character Kookie from the TV show "77 Sunset Strip" (1958-1964).
Kookie from “77 Sunset Strip

Before there was Fonzie, there was Kookie.

In 1959, the baby name Kookie was a one-hit wonder in the U.S. baby name data:

  • 1961: unlisted
  • 1960: unlisted
  • 1959: 5 baby girls name Kookie [debut]
  • 1958: unlisted
  • 1957: unlisted

I thought it was just a variant of Cookie until I did some research. Turns out that Kookie was a hipster character played by Edd Byrnes on the detective show 77 Sunset Strip (1958-1964). He worked as a valet parking attendant at the club next door to the detectives’ office. The character quickly became a cultural phenomenon:

Constantly combing his glossy, duck-tailed hair and speaking in what was called ‘jive talk’, Gerald Lloyd Kookson III – ‘Kookie’ to his friends — helped Stu and Jeff out on their cases and stole the show. Teenage girls went wild for Kookie and his fan mail reached 10,000 letters a week. A glossary was issued for those who wanted to learn his language which included such young dude phrases as, ‘let’s exitville’ (let’s go), ‘out of print’ (from another town), ‘piling up the Z’s’ (sleeping), ‘a dark seven’ (a depressing week) and ‘headache grapplers’ (aspirin) – all soon copied by youth worldwide.

This popularity led to Kookie-branded merchandise, including “Kookie’s Comb.”

Kookie's Comb
Kookie’s Comb

Byrnes also appeared in-character as Kookie on other TV shows and in advertisements (such as a series of Harley-Davidson ads for the Topper motor scooter).

Most impressively, Edd Byrnes became a top-10 recording artist with the release of the 1959 novelty song “Kookie, Kookie, Lend Me Your Comb” (vid), a duet with Connie Stevens that reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100.

In 2005, TV Guide ranked the top 25 teen idols of all time. Edd “Kookie” Byrnes came in 5th. (John Travolta came in 3rd. Michael J. Fox came in 23rd.)

Source: Lewis, Jon E. and Penny Stempel. Cult TV: The Essential Critical Guide. London: Pavilion Books, 1996.