The Emergence of Chucky

guidling light, radio, baby name

No, I’m not talking about the evil doll. I’m talking about the baby names Chucky and Chuckie, which both emerged in the U.S. baby name data in the late 1940s:

YearChuckie usageChucky usage
195216 baby boys20 baby boys
195123 baby boys17 baby boys
19507 baby boys11 baby boys
19496 baby boys [debut]10 baby boys
1948(unlisted)5 baby boys
1947(unlisted)(unlisted)

Why?

Because, around this time, a baby/young boy named Chuckie was being featured on the popular radio soap opera The Guiding Light.

In 1948, the soap began to focus on the Bauer family, particularly Meta [MAY-tah] Bauer. That year Meta conceived a child out of wedlock with Ted White.

After she gave birth to a baby boy (either in late 1948 or early 1949) she gave him up for adoption. The adoptive parents chose to name him Charles after the pastor who’d helped arrange the adoption.

During 1949, but both Meta and Ted decided they wanted the baby back, so young Chuckie became the object of two separate custody lawsuits (one filed by Meta, the other by Ted). Chuckie was given back to Meta, so Ted decided then to marry her (early 1950) solely in order to have access to his son. But the marriage didn’t work, Meta left, and she initiated yet another custody battle for Chuckie.

By mid-1950 Chuckie was somehow old enough to be taking boxing lessons (Ted’s idea) and ended up with a severe head injury. He slipped into a coma for a few weeks, then died in September. (Days later, Meta shot and killed Ted.)

Chuckie’s tragic death likely accounts for the higher usage of Chuckie in 1951.

But both names see their highest usage in 1961 specifically:

YearChuckie usageChucky usage
196223 baby boys31 baby boys
196145 baby boys36 baby boys
196026 baby boys31 baby boys

This looks to be due to a different Chuckie entirely — a mischievous blonde boy named Chuckie who was the focus of a Leave It to Beaver episode called “Chuckie’s New Shoes” that aired in December of 1960.

Do you like the name Chuckie? Would you use it as a legal name, or do you prefer it as a nickname for Charles?

Source: About GL: Who’s Who in Springfield | Meta Bauer | Guiding Light

The Introduction of Tawn

advertisement for tawn men's toiletries, late 1940s
© 1947 Life

The baby name Tawn debuted as a girl name in the U.S. baby name data in 1948:

  • 1950: unlisted
  • 1949: 6 baby girls named Tawn
  • 1948: 12 baby girls named Tawn
  • 1947: unlisted

The name Dawn no doubt paved the way for Tawn, but I think this relatively high debut in 1948 can be attributed to something even more specific: an ad campaign for a new line of men’s grooming products sold under the brand name Tawn.

The line included shampoo, hair dressing, cologne deodorant, talc, brushless shave, and after-shave lotion. Each item could be purchased individually or as part of either a gift-set or a men’s travel kit.

Tawn Lotion had existed as a standalone product since at least the early 1940s. McKesson-Robbins, Inc., bought the product in 1942, developed a line of Tawn products around it, then introduced the line in 1947 via ads in several national magazines (Life, Look, Collier’s and The Saturday Evening Post).

Tawn after-shave lotion, for men who get around!
© 1947 Life

…I usually don’t include two images of the same thing in a post, but the tagline “For men who get around!” was too good to skip. :)

So what are your thoughts on the baby name Tawn? Would you use it?

Source: “Tawn Comes of Age.” Glass Packer Mar. 1947: 193.

Charmin’ Sharman

sharman douglas
Sharman Douglas © 1947 LIFE

The name Sharman was the fastest-rising baby name of 1948, the second-fastest of 1949, and saw its highest usage in 1950:

  • 1953: 44 baby girls named Sharman
  • 1952: 63 baby girls named Sharman
  • 1951: 76 baby girls named Sharman
  • 1950: 160 baby girls named Sharman [peak]
  • 1949: 126 baby girls named Sharman
  • 1948: 30 baby girls named Sharman
  • 1947: 8 baby girls named Sharman

What was the influence?

American socialite Sharman Douglas.

Her father served as the U. S. ambassador to the Court of St. James’s from early 1947 to late 1950. While the family lived in England, Sharman became famous for her close ties to the British royal family — particularly Princess Margaret. (They were roughly the same age.)

Here’s what the American newspapers were saying about Sharman in mid-1947:

An eager, flaxen-haired teenager from Tucson, Ariz. has become Britain’s debutante of the year. The common people and the socially elect have fallen under her spell. She is tall, lithe Sharman Douglas, 19-year-old daughter of U.S. Ambassador and Mrs. Lewis W Douglas. Apart from the two royal princesses, she is undoubtedly the most photographed girl in all Britain, screen stars included.

The press followed “Charmin‘ Sharman” throughout the time she was overseas.

In late 1948, for instance, the papers reported that she was dating two men — the Marquess of Blandford and the Marquess of Milford-Haven — both of whom had been linked to Princess Margaret. In mid-1949, it was reported that her father “had cut down on [her] social life” after a London columnist brought up the possibility of Sharman and Princess Margaret falling for the same man.

What are your thoughts on the baby name Sharman?

Sources:

  • “British Study Likely Romance.” Billings Gazette 18 Jul. 1949: 8.
  • “English Nobleman to Visit U.S.–Business Or Romance?” Sandusky Register 14 Oct. 1948: 16.
  • “Life Visits U.S. Ambassador to Britain.” Life 27 Oct. 1947: 150-156.
  • Sharman Douglas – Wikipedia
  • Wace, Barbara. “Sharman Douglas Captivates British Society in First Season.” Corpus Christi Caller-Times 12 Aug. 1947: 9.

The Debut of Darrylin

darrylin zanuck, 1949, baby name
Darrylin Zanuck, 1949

Years before the boy name Darryl was at the height of its trendiness (in the early ’60s), the Darryl-based, Marilyn-like name Darrylin debuted in the baby name data:

  • 1955: unlisted
  • 1954: 6 baby girls named Darrylin
  • 1953: unlisted
  • 1952: unlisted
  • 1951: 8 baby girls named Darrylin
  • 1950: unlisted
  • 1949: 11 baby girls named Darrylin
  • 1948: unlisted

What made it show up in 1949 specifically?

Darrylin Zanuck, the teenage daughter of famous film producer Darryl Zanuck (founder of 20th Century Fox) and his wife Virginia (a former silent film actress).

She was in the news starting in August of 1949, after her parents announced that the 18-year-old had just gotten engaged to a 22-year-old University of Southern California student named Robert “Bob” Jacks (who went on to become a TV producer). The announcement mentioned that the couple would wed after his graduation the following year, but the pair ended up marrying just a few months later, in November.

And here’s some interesting trivia: Darrylin was a pioneering lady-surfer. In 1947, surfboard maker Joe Quigg crafted a board just for her — it was shorter and lighter than the boards being used by men at the time — and that board has since come to be known as the “Darrylin Board.”

What are your thoughts on the name Darrylin?

Sources:

[Here’s another name coined by Darryl and Virginia Zanuck: Darvi.]