What turned Pebbles into a baby name in 1963?

pebbles flintstone
Pebbles Flintstone

Today’s Google Doodle is a tribute to the 50th anniversary of The Flintstones, which first aired on September 30, 1960. So I thought I’d help celebrate by posting about Pebbles, the Flintstones-inspired baby name.

The Flintstones originally featured Fred, Wilma, Barney and Betty. The babies, Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm, weren’t introduced until 1963 — Pebbles in February, Bamm-Bamm in October.

And 1963 is the very first year we see Pebbles pop up in the U.S. baby name data:

  • 1965: 14 baby girls named Pebbles
  • 1964: 31 baby girls named Pebbles
  • 1963: 31 baby girls named Pebbles [debut]
  • 1962: unlisted
  • 1961: unlisted

And, surprisingly, Pebbles has remained on the list every year since.

There was renewed interest in the name during the early/mid 1970s (Pebbles cereals were introduced in 1971) and the late 1980s/early 1990s (singer Perri “Pebbles” Reid had a few hit singles during this period).

Update, 3/13/15 – Looks like Pebbles may have been named via contest. (Either that, or the “contest” was for marketing purposes only.) From a Neatorama article about the Flintstones: “In 1963, a new angle was added to the show with the birth of Pebbles Flintstone, Fred and Wilma’s daughter. In anticipation of her birth, a huge nationwide contest was held to “name the Flintstone’s baby.”

Update #2, 9/17/20 – M Cain’s comment below inspired me to research the Pebbles name contest a bit more. The following story, which I found in Joseph Barbera’s 1994 autobiography My Life in ‘Toons: From Flatbush to Bedrock in Under a Century, suggests to me that the contest was rigged.

[The idea] — to give the Flintstones a baby — set off two days of uncharacteristically rancorous meetings at the studio debating the sex of the offspring. After much collective hair pulling, we decided: It’s a boy.

Relieved at having reached a decision at last, I turned to other matters. A few days later, I took a phone call from Ed Justin, our merchandising man in New York.

“I hear the Flintstones are having a baby.”

“That’s right,” I said.

“Boy or girl?”

“It’s a boy! Fred Jr.–A chip off the old rock!”

“That’s too bad,” he said. “I’ve got the vice president of Ideal Toy here, and the only dolls they’re doing are girls. We could have had a hell of a deal if it had been a girl.”

“It is a girl,” I said. “Her name is…Pebbles. A pebble off the old rock.”

Some ideas develop after days of meetings. Others are born in the flash of a dollar sign set off by a single phone call.

Sources: A Flintstones World, SSA

7 thoughts on “What turned Pebbles into a baby name in 1963?

  1. I am 61 years old. When I was 24, I worked with a lady named Pebble Wilson. Her brother was a weather man for a tv station in either Bryan or Houston Texas. I think his last name was english. We called her Pebble. She told me that when she was a toddler there was a contest to name the flintstone baby. Her mom submitted her name and she won the contest. They added an S to her name for the cartoon.

  2. Thank you for sharing that story, M Cain! It inspired me to do more digging on the origin of Pebbles’ name, and I added what I found to the post. (I don’t think that quote negates your friend’s story — her mom certainly could have submitted the name “Pebble” to the contest — but it looks as though the baby’s name was predetermined, regardless of the entries.)

  3. My grandmother . Pebble, told me and ALL her family, she won the contest to name the baby of the Flintstones and won the contest. I am 41 years old and Pebble is my first name and my grandmother has passed away.

  4. I knew the winners of the Name the Flintstones Baby. My best friend Sandy Rhoades mother submitted the name. Sandy had two brothers by the names of Dusty and Rocky. They won a bunch of stuff, one being coke products for a year, an above ground pool and l’m sure much more. I was just a kid but like many in the neighborhood we enjoyed some of the prize!

  5. Thank you Elizabeth! I just googled it because I was 10 years old at the time (I am 70) now. I submitted a name…………..can’t remember what I came up with! I often wondered who came up with the name. I remember sitting in anticipation of the announcement of the winner. It was just a big deal back then. I cringe to hear today that it might just have been a marketing ploy. 60 years later………….you made me smile!

  6. My neighbor across the street was an advertising artist in the twin Cities, Minnesota. I was about 10 when Ed Erickson told us he had won the naming contest for Pebbles. We played with his kids, late 50’s early 60’s.

  7. I remember that contest like it was yesterday!! Can’t recall what name I submitted, though (I was 10 at the time!!).

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