The Emergence of Eydie

eydie gorme, singer, 1950s
Eydie Gormé in 1954
The baby name Eydie debuted in the U.S. data in 1954:

  • 1960: 27 baby girls named Eydie
  • 1959: 37 baby girls named Eydie
  • 1958: 50 baby girls named Eydie [peak]
  • 1957: 23 baby girls named Eydie
  • 1956: 11 baby girls named Eydie
  • 1955: 10 baby girls named Eydie
  • 1954: 5 baby girls named Eydie [debut]
  • 1953: unlisted

Where did it come from?

Pop singer Eydie Gormé.

She was most famous during in the 1960s: her biggest hit was “Blame It on the Bossa Nova” (1963), and she won a Grammy for “If He Walked Into My Life” (1966).

But she first came to people’s attention when she started making regular TV appearances in 1953 on the The Tonight Show, originally hosted by Steve Allen. She often performed with her husband, Steve Lawrence.

Eydie was born Edith Garmezano in New York City in 1928. (Her husband’s birth name was Sidney Liebowitz.) Her family — parents Nessim and Fortune, siblings Robert and Corene — later shortened the surname to Gormé. She adopted the stage name Edie when she started singing, but was so frequently called “Eddie” that she decided to add a Y to emphasize the correct pronunciation (ee-dee).

What are your thoughts on the name Eydie?

Sources: Eydie Gormé – Wikipedia, Winners – Best Female Pop Vocal Performance – Grammy.com, Singer Eydie Gorme dies at 84
Image: Radio-TV Mirror, Aug. 1954


Sayonara: The Goodbye Baby Name

sayonara, brando, umeki
Sayonara (1957) movie poster
We’re all familiar with sayonara, the Japanese word for “goodbye.”

But did you know that Sayonara was also a one-hit wonder on the U.S. baby name charts in the 1950s?

  • 1959: unlisted
  • 1958: 6 baby girls named Sayonara
  • 1957: unlisted

The James Michener novel Sayonara came out in 1953. Set during the Korean War, it told the story of U.S. airman Lloyd Gruver, stationed in Japan, who fell in love with a Japanese entertainer called Hana-ogi. (Her namesake is a historical courtesan; hana means “flower” and ogi means “fan”).

Originally, the book was going to be adapted into a stage production à la Michener’s South Pacific. With a musical in mind, Irving Berlin wrote a song called “Sayonara.”

Instead, the story was turned into a movie (starring Marlon Brando) a few years later, and so Irving Berlin’s song ended up on the soundtrack.

Both Sayonara the movie and “Sayonara” the song came out in late 1957. The film made a bigger splash than the song did, so it may have had more of an influence on baby names.

In March of 1958 the film won four Oscars, including one each for supporting actors Red Buttons (who played Joe Kelly) and Miyoshi Umeki (who played Katsumi).

Miyoshi Umeki, both a singer and an actress, was the first Asian performer to win an Academy Award. Her win drew attention to the Japanese name Miyoshi, which debuted in the data as well in 1958:

  • 1965: 6 baby girls named Miyoshi
  • 1964: 9 baby girls named Miyoshi
  • 1963: 8 baby girls named Miyoshi
  • 1962: 7 baby girls named Miyoshi
  • 1959: 8 baby girls named Miyoshi
  • 1958: 20 baby girls named Miyoshi [debut]
  • 1957: unlisted

A few months later, Umeki appeared on the TV game show “What’s My Line?” Here’s how she signed her name:

miyoshi umeki, signature, japanese
Miyoshi Umeki’s signature

Miyoshi was Umeki’s birth name, but at the start of her singing career in Japan, she used the stage name Nancy Umeki. She reverted to her Japanese name upon relocating to America, ironically.

Sources: Sayonara (1957) – Notes – TCM, Fame may be fleeting, but warm memories of Miyoshi Umeki live on – Japan Times

The Baby Name Rannah

rannah, 1954, socorro, movie, westernThe name Rannah was a two-hit wonder on the U.S. baby name charts in the mid-1950s:

  • 1957: unlisted
  • 1956: 5 baby girls named Rannah
  • 1955: 16 baby girls named Rannah [debut]
  • 1954: unlisted

Where did it come from?

The film Dawn at Socorro (1954), which included a female character named Rannah Hayes, played by Piper Laurie.

New York Times movie reviewer Bosley Crowther wasn’t too impressed with the film — “everything in this picture is plainly and properly contrived to satisfy those Western addicts who like conformance to the traditional grooves” — but expectant parents were clearly impressed by Rannah.

Though it looks a lot like Hannah, “Rannah” was actually pronounced to rhyme with Juana in the film.

Source: Crowther, Bosley. “‘Dawn at Socorro’ Is New Film at Palace. New York Times 28 Aug. 1954.

The Debut of Hoby

trackdown, hoby gilman, 1950s, western, television
Hoby

Westerns were the hottest thing on television in the late 1950s and early 1960s, and we can see it in the baby name data. Here’s yet another Western-inspired debut, Hoby:

  • 1961: 10 baby boys named Hoby
  • 1960: 6 baby boys named Hoby
  • 1959: 14 baby boys named Hoby
  • 1958: 30 baby boys named Hoby [debut]
  • 1957: unlisted

Hoby (which rhymes with Toby and Dobie) was the top debut of the year for boys in 1958. In fact, one of the biggest boy name debuts ever.

The inspiration? Hoby Gilman, the main character of the TV western Trackdown (1957-1959).

Hoby, played by actor Robert Culp, was a Texas Ranger who spent his days tracking down bad guys in post-Civil War Texas. “[Culp’s] Hoby Gilman was a cooler character than other deadpan Western cowboys. Culp…imbued Hoby with a hipness that was ahead of the time but which presaged the Sixties yet to come.”

Notably, Trackdown “was given official approval from the (modern day) Rangers and the state of Texas.”

The character originated on an episode of Zane Grey Theatre in May of 1957. A mere five months later, a whole series based on Hoby had emerged. (A whopping five episodes of Dick Powell’s Zane Grey Theatre were developed into subsequent TV shows. Impressive.)

Robert Culp went on to co-star with Bill Cosby in I Spy from 1965 to 1968. His character, named Kelly, gave a temporary boost to the male usage of Kelly, which peaked for boys in 1967/1968.

What are your thoughts on the name Hoby?

Sources:

Sindee: Boosted by C-Section Baby?

Sindee Roberta Neilson, 1957, news
Baby Sindee Neilson, early 1957
In yesterday’s post on Cindylou, we talked about how the name Cindy was at peak trendiness in 1957.

But even that trendiness can’t quite explain the magnitude of the 1957 debut of Sindee, which tied with Maverick in terms of usage:

  • 1960: unlisted
  • 1959: 9 baby girls named Sindee
  • 1958: 9 baby girls named Sindee
  • 1957: 32 baby girls named Sindee [debut]
  • 1956: unlisted

On-trend Sindee might have debuted that year anyway, but it wouldn’t have hit as high without the national news coverage of Sindee Roberta Neilson, born in January to Suzanne and Robert Neilson of Hartsdale, New York. Her birth was notable because it was Mrs. Neilson’s eighth caesarean section delivery — not technically a record at the time, but still a “very rare” occurrence.

Mrs. Neilson had a ninth C-section in 1959. Six of her nine babies lived past birth, but the only other names I could track down were Sherry and Suzanne (who is holding the camera in that photo).

What are your thoughts on the name Sindee? Do you like that spelling?

Sources:

  • Baby Makes History; Child Is Woman’s 8th Delivered by Caesarean Section.” New York Times 11 Jan. 1957: 13.
  • “After Her Eighth Caesarian.” Daily Banner [Greencastle, Indiana] 21 Jan. 1957: 3.
  • “Ninth Caesarean.” Daily Review [Decatur, Illinois] 17 Apr. 1959: 5.