What turned Blue into a baby name in 1968?

Movie poster for "Blue" (1968)

Decades before Beyoncé had daughter Blue Ivy (2012), and years before Cher had son Elijah Blue (1976), the color-name Blue debuted in the U.S. baby name data:

  • 1970: 10 baby boys named Blue
  • 1969: 13 baby boys named Blue
  • 1968: 11 baby boys named Blue [debut]
  • 1967: unlisted
  • 1966: unlisted

What put it there initially?

I have two theories.

The first is Billy Blue “Blue Boy” Cannon, a character from the TV western The High Chaparral, which started airing in September of 1967. Blue Boy, played by actor Mark Slade, was a young man who was the son of main character, “Big John” Cannon. (The show also launched the name Manolito.)

The second is the movie Blue, which was released April of 1968. It was a western in which the main character, played by Terence Stamp, was called Azul/Blue on account of his blue-colored eyes. The movie was panned — critic Roger Ebert said Blue was “not just a bad movie, but a painfully inept one” — and it didn’t do well at the box office, but the advertising campaign may have been enough.

(Incidentally, the name Blue was used again in the title of western just a few years later with the release of Kid Blue (1973) starring Dennis Hopper.)

What are your thoughts on Blue as a baby name? Do you like it better as a male name or as a female name? How about as a first vs. as a middle?

Source: Review of Blue (1968) by Roger Ebert

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