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).
Source: A Flintstones World
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.