Where did the baby name Shalako come from in 1970?

Movie poster for "Shalako" (1968)
Shalako” movie poster

The unusual name Shalako was a one-hit wonder in the U.S. baby name data in 1970:

  • 1972: unlisted
  • 1971: unlisted
  • 1970: 6 baby boys named Shalako [debut]
  • 1969: unlisted
  • 1968: unlisted

Where did it come from?

The movie Shalako, released toward the end of 1968. It was a Western starring Sean Connery as main character Moses Zebulon “Shalako” Carlin, a tracker and former cavalry officer. (Shalako’s love interest was played by Brigitte Bardot.)

In the story, set in New Mexico in 1880, Shalako had to rescue a group of European aristocrats that had decided to go hunting on reservation land and, as a result, gotten in trouble with the local Apaches.

The film was based on a 1962 novel by Louis L’Amour. Here’s how Shalako explained his unusual name in the book:

Name of the Zuni rain god. Seemed like every time I showed up in their country it rained, so they called me that for a joke.

For a time during the 1960s, L’Amour and others tried to build a working Old West town called Shalako in southwestern Colorado, but the town never materialized.

What are your thoughts on Shalako as a baby name?

Source: Shalako by Louis L’Amour – Internet Archive, Shalako (1968) – TCM.com

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