You’ve probably seen advertisements for the movie Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, which is currently playing in theaters. It’s a sequel to Jumanji (1995).
The second film (starring The Rock) quickly became more successful than the first (which starred Robin Williams). So now the question is this: Should we expect to see Jumanji return to the baby name charts?
Because the initial film managed to boost Jumanji into the U.S. baby name data for the first (and so far only) time in 1996:
1996: 8 baby boys named Jumanji [debut]
Both movies were based on the children’s picture book Jumanji (1981) by author/illustrator Chris Van Allsburg. In the book, “Jumanji” is the name of a magical board game. (Allsburg also wrote/drew the modern Christmas classic The Polar Express.)
Here’s a name I can’t quite figure out: Dainette. It popped up in the mid-1950s, dropped out of the data the next year, and never came back. It ended up as the highest-hitting one-hit wonder of 1955.
1955: 14 baby girls named Dainette
Names with -ette and -etta endings (like Danette) were trendy at the time, but this doesn’t account for why Dainette would have appeared with more than a dozen babies and then disappeared just as suddenly.
I’ve checked all the usual sources — movies, TV shows, new stories, etc. — but so far I have zero theories about Dainette.
A soprano named Devy Barnett who performed on the TV talent competition Ted Mack & the Original Amateur Hour at least once, on May 16, 1960. (She may have appeared on other episodes that year as well, I’m not sure.)
I don’t have much information on Devy. She was a music student at Rutgers in the early ’50s, she put out her first recording (Songs of Charles Ives, released by Stereo Age) in 1958, and in the ’80s she was a member of the studio music faculty at Cal State. She married at least twice, and had several children.
But she never achieved fame. Apparently not many Amateur Hour contestants did, with a few notable exceptions: Gladys Knight, Pat Boone, Ann-Margret, Tanya Tucker, and Irene Cara (see the posts on Fame and Sparkle for more on Irene).
The name Devy reminds me of the name Eydie in that both names were put on the onomastic map by young singers making television appearances. (Coincidentally, Eydie was also given to exactly 27 baby girls in 1960.)
What are your thoughts on the name Devy? Do you like it?