Independent baby name blog & directory, est. 2006.
How popular is the baby name Torchy in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, see baby names similar to Torchy and check out all the blog posts that mention the name Torchy.
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The Lane Sisters, a singing/acting trio famous during the ’30s and ’40s, actually began as the Mullican sisters. And there were 5 of them, not 3.
The Mullican family of Iowa consisted of parents Lorenzo and Cora and daughters Leotabel (nn Leota), Martha, Dorothy (nn Lola), Rosemary and Priscilla.
Four out of the five daughters pursued careers in entertainment, and three out of the four saw success in film. Along the way they changed their surname to “Lane,” so the final three — Priscilla, Rosemary and Lola — became known as the Lane Sisters.
P.S. Remember that post about Torchy Blane? Lola Lane, one of the actresses who played Torchy, inspired Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel to create the character Lois Lane.
The first and only time the baby name Drene made it onto the SSA’s list was 1946:
1946: 6 baby girls named Drene [debut]
Drene shampoo…kind of.
Drene, the first shampoo to use synthetic detergent instead of soap, had been introduced by Procter & Gamble in 1934. So the product had been on the market for more than a decade by the mid-1940s.
What drew people’s attention to Drene in 1946 specifically, then?
“Drene Time,” a late-night radio variety show sponsored by Procter & Gamble. The 30-minute program, which featured singing and comedy, is where the sketch comedy series The Bickersons (starring Don Ameche and Frances Langford) got its start.
“Drene Time” only lasted from mid-1946 to mid-1947, but that gave it enough time to influence the baby name charts, if only slightly.
Drene shampoo continued to be sold until the 1970s, at which point P&G stopped production in the U.S.
Kookie was a hipster played by Edward 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.”
It also led to Edward Byrnes’ hit novelty song “Kookie, Kookie, Lend Me Your Comb” (1959), a duet with Connie Stevens that reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100.
But I didn’t know any of this when I spotted Kookie on the SSA’s 1959 baby name list:
In 1939, the baby name Torchy made its one and only appearance on the SSA’s baby name list:
1939: 8 baby girls named Torchy [debut]
Two years later, variant spelling Torchie did the same thing.
Where did these two one-hit wonders come from?
The inspiration was fast-talking fictional newspaper reporter Torchy Blane, the heroine of nine low-budget movies released in the late ’30s with titles like Torchy Gets Her Man (1938), Torchy Blane in Chinatown (1939) and Torchy Runs for Mayor (1939).
All of the films “followed the same formula — the nimble-minded, intuitive Torchy (who never bothered to take notes when she interviewed a person) would end up solving a crime way before her lunkhead boyfriend, police Det. Steve McBride.”
Ironically, Torchy Blane’s real first name wasn’t Torchy. According to two of the films, her first name was actually Theresa.
Most of the time the Torchy was played by actress Glenda Farrell, though twice she was played by other actresses (Lola Lane and Jane Wyman, respectively).
And that reminds me — did you know that Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel was inspired by Torchy Blane to create the character Lois Lane? He’s how he puts it:
Our heroine was of course a working girl whose priority was grabbing big scoops. What inspired me in the creation was Glenda Farrell, the movie star who portrayed Torchy Blane. Because of the name Lola Lane, who also played Torchy, appealed to me, I called my character Lois Lane.