So far we’ve looked at baby names associated with the game shows What’s My Line?, Card Sharks, and Press Your Luck, so today let’s check out names given a boost by Tattletales, which originally aired from 1974 to 1978.
Tattletales featured three celebrity couples competing against each another for a full week, which is notable. The couples were split up, and either the men or the women were asked a question — often a provocative one — while their partners were offstage. The partners were then brought in via TV camera and asked the same question. Each couple’s objective was to come up with as many matching answers as possible.
As one source put it: “Famous celebrities revealing their intimate secrets on national television made Tattletales a success.” And with all those people watching, it’s not surprising that the show had an influence on baby names…
Dareth Dareth Rich and her husband, actor Anthony Newley, were on 10 episodes in 1975, starting in May. The name Dareth debuted in the baby data the same year.
Chevi Chevi Colton and her husband, actor Joe Silver, were on 5 episodes in November of 1975. The name Chevi debuted in the data the same year.
Scoey Actor Scoey (SKOH-ee) Mitchell and his wife Claire Thomas were on the show dozens of times, including 15 episodes in 1974, starting in June. Mitchell had been appearing elsewhere on TV since the late ’60s, but the name Scoey didn’t debut in the data until 1974. (One source noted that “Scoey” was short for “Roscoe.”)
Bernnadette Actress BernNadette Stanis and her then-husband Tom Fauntleroy were on 5 episodes in November of 1975 (the week before Chevi, in fact). Stanis had been playing the role of Thelma on Good Times since early 1974, but the name Bernnadette didn’t debut in the data until 1976.
I also think there are connections between the appearances of Altovise Davis (wife of singer Sammy Davis Jr.), Nalani Kele (wife of comedian Shecky Greene), Reiko Douglas (wife of comedy writer Jack Douglas), and Tiana Alexandra (wife of screenwriter Stirling Silliphant) and the respective rises in usage of Altovise, Nalani, Reiko, and Tiana in the mid-’70s.
Speaking of rises…
The show was rebooted in the early ’80s, and it looks like one of those ’80s contestants triggered that steep rise in usage of the name Jere in 1982:
1984: 18 baby girls named Jere
1983: 33 baby girls named Jere
1982: 66 baby girls named Jere [peak]
1981: 6 baby girls named Jere
1980: 8 baby girls named Jere
In February of 1982, actress Jerelyn “Jere” Fields appeared on Tattletales with actor/comedian Jimmie Walker (who’d played Thelma’s brother J.J. on Good Times). They weren’t romantically involved — just paired up for the show — but their appearance together sparked rumors that they were dating.
…So which game show should I tackle next? Suggestions welcome!
Source: Baber, David. Television Game Show Hosts. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2008.
Plenty of Disney Princesses (Ariel, Mulan, Tiana, Elsa, etc.) have had an impact on the U.S. baby name charts. But two of the earliest Disney characters to affect the charts weren’t princesses. In fact, they weren’t even human. They were white-tailed deer.
The classic animated film Bambi came out in August of 1942. The next year, the baby names Bambi and Faline both debuted as girl names on the SSA’s baby name list.
1946: 11 baby girls named Bambi
1945: 9 baby girls named Bambi
1944: 7 baby girls named Bambi
1943: 8 baby girls named Bambi [debut]
1943: 5 baby girls named Faline [debut]
The name Faline remains rare to this day, but the name Bambi went on to be given to hundreds of baby girls per year from the mid-’50s to the mid-’60s, then again from the mid-’70s to the mid-’80s.
The New York Times states that “Bambi reached peak popularity in 1979 after the release of the song “Who Killed Bambi?” in a movie about the Sex Pistols, an influential punk rock band.” It’s an interesting coincidence, but I doubt the song had any influence on usage.
The Disney movie was based on the 1923 novel Bambi, Eine Lebensgeschichte aus dem Walde (Bambi, a Life in the Woods) by Austrian author Felix Salten. In German, Faline’s name is pronounced fah-LEE-neh (as opposed to fah-LEEN in English).
I’m seeing a lot of discussion today about the fastest-rising baby names of 2010. There’s Maci and Bentley (thanks to a reality TV show about pregnant teens), Tiana (thanks to Disney), Kellan (thanks to Twilight), Knox (thanks to Brangelina), and more.
But let’s look at the flip side. Which names fell in 2010? Which were some of the biggest losers?
I’ll give you a hint: Many were once the fast-risers. They became trendy for a little while, thanks to pop culture (e.g. a singer, a band, a movie, a book). But when that influence began to fade, the names began to fall.
Ciara, down 79 spots (singer Ciara)
Jonas, down 80 spots (musicians Jonas Brothers)
Marley, down 85 spots (movie Marley & Me)
Kimora, down 90 spots (model Kimora Lee Simmons)
Rihanna, down 198 spots (singer Rihanna)
Analia, down 472 spots (telenovela El Rostro de Analía)
This group even includes the names of the president’s daughters, Sasha (down 84 spots) and Malia (down 111 spots), whose names have not been in the news as much since 2008 and 2009.