How popular is the baby name Perry in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, see baby names similar to Perry and check out all the blog posts that mention the name Perry.
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The cause was the catchy song “Cindy, Oh Cindy,” two versions of which reached the Billboard Hot 100 in late 1956 and early 1957. The one by Vince Martin and The Tarriers peaked at 12th, while the one by Eddie Fisher* peaked at 10th. Television audiences also heard the song: Perry Como sang it on his own show in November 1956, and Vince Martin sang it on The Steve Allen Show a month later.
Getting back to Cindylou, though…there are some possible outside influences for the debut of Cindylou specifically. The most intriguing is Cindy-Lou Who (“who was no more than two”) from the beloved Dr. Seuss book How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, which was published simultaneously in Redbook magazine and as a standalone book in December of 1957.
Now, Cindy-Lou was a minor character, and the story appeared late in the year — these are strikes against the theory. But, looking at vital records, there do seem to be a few extra people with the first-middle combo “Cindy Lou” born in December of 1957 as opposed to earlier in the year.
It’s likely that Dr. Seuss (or one of his editors) was influenced by the trendiness of the name Cindy that year…but did Cindy-Lou Who in turn give a bump to the name Cindylou? What are your thoughts on this?
*Later in 1957, Eddie Fisher’s wife, Debbie Reynolds, scored an even bigger hit with “Tammy.” Around the same time, their daughter, Carrie — who went on to play Princess Leia in Star Wars — had her first birthday.
P.S. The Buddy Holly song “Peggy Sue” (1957) was originally called “Cindy Lou,” incidentally.
plus 21 named Periann, 12 named Perriann*, and 5 named Perianne*
1959: 7 baby girls named Perian [debut]
Mississippi-born sportswriter Perian Conerly appeared on the panel show in late 1959, but — unlike most contestants — Perian wasn’t a complete unknown at that point.
She’d been writing a syndicated sports column since 1956 (at a time when female sports writers were unheard of). Her writing appeared in publications as prestigious as Sports Illustrated, Sporting News, and the New York Times. In fact, a few months before she was on WML?, she was profiled in the “Events & Discoveries” section of Sports Illustrated.
As the wife of Charlie Conerly, quarterback of the New York Giants from 1948 to 1961, Perian had the inside scoop on football. Perian and Charlie lived in New York for four months (September through December) every year, and even though Charlie was always the focus, “Perian was almost as big a star in New York as Charlie.”
Together, they were for years the toast of New York – he the ruggedly handsome quarterback and the original Marlboro man, she the Southern belle with movie star glamour and all that charm and wit.
Perian was the first female member of the Football Writers Association of America, likely thanks to her name. A male sportswriter suggested that she join and, assuming that the group wouldn’t offer membership to women, opined that “they will never know” she’s a woman because of her name. Perian did indeed get in and, from then on, mail from the organization was “addressed to Mr. Perian Conerly.”
Here’s what she said about her name in her 1963 book Backseat Quarterback:
Confusion about the gender of my first name is understandable. The spelling does not indicate that it is pronounced Perry Ann, being a contraction of two family names.
Ironically, 1963 — the year her two books (the second being Football Fundamentals for Feminine Fans) were published — was also the year her name dropped off the baby name charts. By that time, though, Charlie had retired from football, Perian had stopped writing her sports column, and the couple had returned to Mississippi.
The baby name Lastarza debuted in the U.S. data in 1953:
1953: 6 baby boys named Lastarza
Where did it come from?
Roland LaStarza, the Bronx-born, Italian-American boxer whose pro career lasted from the late 1940s to the early 1960s. He won 57 out of his 66 professional fights. Two of the fights he did not win were against the legendary Rocky Marciano.
Marciano barely won the 1950 bout, and in the much-hyped 1953 rematch — with the World Heavyweight title up for grabs — LaStarza won four of the first six rounds. Marciano had started off “overeager and awkward,” at one point swinging “so wildly that he missed and slipped clumsily to the canvas.” But “[i]n the seventh, Marciano changed his tactics, started aiming at LaStarza’s body as well as his head in an attempt to wear the challenger down. He succeeded.” Marciano won by technical knockout in the 11th round. The match was declared Fight of the Year by boxing magazine The Ring.
(Usage of the baby name Marciano also saw an uptick in 1953.)
After retirement, Roland LaStarza made guest appearances on several TV shows including 77 Sunset Strip, Perry Mason, and Batman. His surname never reappeared in the baby name data, though, making it a true one-hit wonder.
Source: “A Champ Too Tough For Anyone Around.” Life 5 Oct. 1953: 32-33.
Years ago I posted about Livonia, a baby both born on and named after a Pullman car. Recently I wondered: What other Pullman car names would have made good baby names?
So I downloaded a big spreadsheet of over 12,000 Pullman car names from The Pullman Project and was slightly surprised to see that thousands of them could have been baby names, if we allow for the splitting of compound car names (like Fort Miley, Glen Norman, Meredith College, and West Willow).
Here are a handful of examples. On the left are relatively common/familiar names, and on the right are some unexpected choices.