Baby Name Prediction: Cruella?

The new Cruella

The 2014 film Maleficent gave rise to the unlikely baby name Maleficent. So will the upcoming film Cruella similarly inspire parents to name their kids Cruella?

Cruella de Vil is the well-known Disney villainess from the 1961 animated movie 101 Dalmations. In mid-2021, Disney plans to release the live-action Cruella, which will apparently feature a younger, pre-evil version of Cruella (played by Emma Stone). The story will be set in “the punk rock era of the 1970s.”

On the one hand, the name Cruella is clearly based upon the word “cruel,” and the character’s intent in original movie was to capture, kill and skin a bunch of puppies (!) in order to make a fur coat.

On the other hand, the name Cruella easily shortens to Ella, which has been a trendy top-20 name for over a decade now. And the character in the upcoming movie will no doubt be portrayed in a more sympathetic manner (taking a page out of the Maleficent playbook).

What are your thoughts on this one?

Source: First Look at Emma Stone in Disney’s Live-Action ‘Cruella’ Drops

george waGGner

While grabbing a screenshot of the movie Wolf Call for this week’s post on Towana, I noticed something peculiar in the opening credits:

george waGGner
“george waGGner”

The name of the director, George Waggner, had been styled “george waGGner” — all lowercase letters, except for two uppercase G’s in the surname.

Waggner worked in movies and in television from the 1920s to the 1960s, and this styling was typical for him. Even on his grave marker the G’s in his surname are larger than the other letters.

It’s kinda reminding me of SanDeE* from L.A. Story

Source: George Waggner – IMDb

Gloomy Gus & Happy Hooligan

gloomy gus

A few months ago, while perusing the records for real-life instances of the unusual name “Gloomy” for a Patreon post, I happened to spot a 3-year-old Georgia boy listed as “Gloomy Gus Edwards” on the 1920 U.S. Census.

Turns out that wasn’t his real name — the 1930 U.S. Census reveals that he was simply a Floyd — but spotting him did make me curious about the origin of the phrase.

“Gloomy Gus” — defined by dictionaries as a someone with a sullen outlook or demeanor — can be traced back to a character in the comic strip Happy Hooligan (1900-1932). Happy and Gloomy were brothers.

Of course, after learning this, I had to check for people named Happy Hooligan. And you know what? I discovered two. One was another census find, so it may not have been legit, but the other came from a birth record, which is more promising. Happy Hooligan Johnson was born in Tennessee in 1909:

Happy Hooligan Johnson, b. 1909

Happy and Gloomy also had a snobbish third brother named Montmorency. I wasn’t able to find any 20th-century Americans with the name “Montmorency,” though.

“Light” and “Bright” Baby Names

(This turtle came from an old Lite Brite commercial!)

Names containing the words “light” and “bright” seem to be gaining traction.

The first to appear in the U.S. baby name data was Delight* in the late 1800s, followed by Bright in the early 1900s. For decades, they were all by themselves.

In the late ’70s, Twilight and Starlight* entered the scene. And in the 1980s, they were joined by unisex Brighton.

But that was it…until the turn of the century, when various “light” and “bright” names started popping up:

One “light” name that hasn’t made the data yet — one that might be particularity appealing to those who like the trendy name Luna — is Moonlight.

Do you like any of these “light” or “bright” names? Would you consider using one?

*The data also includes variants like Delite, Starlite, Starlit, Skylit, Lyte, and Bryten.

Bridgewater’s Water Bridge

Barton Aqueduct (1793) by G. F. Yates

England’s canal era (from the 1760s to the 1830s) was kicked off by Francis Egerton, 3rd Duke of Bridgewater*, who’d commissioned the construction of the Bridgewater Canal (1761) from his coal mines in Worsley to the city of Manchester.

The most notable feature of his canal was the stone aqueduct across the River Irwell at Barton-upon-Irwell. It was the first navigable aqueduct in England, and it allowed the horse-towed canal boats to cross the river at an elevation of nearly 40 feet. (This engineering feat even attracted tourists, who came to marvel at the boats on the aqueduct floating over the boats on the river.)

My favorite part of this story? The name of the canal, Bridgewater, just happens to mirror the description of canal’s most notable feature, the water bridge, which itself happens to bridge water. What fun coincidences. :)

Sources:

*The dukedom took its name from the town of Bridgwater in Somerset. The settlement was originally called Brigge/Brugge/Brigga — “bridge.” After the Norman Invasion, the land on which the settlement stood was given to Norman knight Walter of Douai, so the settlement became known as Brugge-Walter/Brigge-Walter — “Walter’s bridge.” This later evolved into Bridgwater.