The popular TV show The Bionic Woman (1976-1978), which featured a main character named Jaime Sommers (played by Lindsay Wagner).
The character originated on an episode of The Six Million Dollar Man* called “The Bionic Woman.” In that episode, Jaime was severely injured in a skydiving accident. She ended up with bionic legs, a bionic right arm, and a bionic right ear that gave her superhuman speed, strength, and hearing.
In the spin-off series, she put her new abilities to use by going on dangerous missions for the government.
The more common names Jaime and Lindsay (and sound-alikes Jamie, Lindsey, etc.) also saw much higher usage while the show was on the air. The rise of Jaime (as a girl name) was particularly dramatic:
1978: 4,002 baby girls named Jaime [rank: 71st]
1977: 5,906 baby girls named Jaime [rank: 46th]
1976: 7,836 baby girls named Jaime [rank: 29th]
1975: 915 baby girls named Jaime [rank: 263rd]
1974: 260 baby girls named Jaime [rank: 606th]
In fact, I remember quoting a person named after Jaime Sommers in name quote post a few years ago.
So what are your thoughts on the rare name Sommers? Would you use it? (How about the slightly more common Summers?)
To younger people, “Steve Austin” is the (stone cold) professional wrestler. Back in the ’70s, though, that name belonged to an iconic TV cyborg.
The main character of The Six Million Dollar Man (1974-1978) was former astronaut Col. Steve Austin, who acquired superhuman powers after being bionically rebuilt following a serious accident.
In an episode that aired early 1975, Steve’s goal was to track and capture the infamous “Taneha” — the last surviving member of a particular cougar species — before angry local ranchers could find him and kill him.
The same year, the baby name Taneha debuted in the U.S. baby name data:
1979: 6 baby girls named Taneha
1977: 5 baby girls named Taneha
1976: 7 baby girls named Taneha
1975: 24 baby girls named Taneha [debut]
Though the cougar was male, the name only ever charted for baby girls.
I’m not sure how the writers came up with “Taneha” for the fictional cat, but the Oklahoma town of Oakhurst was originally known as Taneha. It was built on land formerly owned by the Creek, and sources say the name was based on a Creek word meaning “oil is below.”