The baby name Cotina was a top debut name in 1972, coming out of nowhere to be given to an impressive 109 baby girls that year:
- 1978: unlisted
- 1977: 6 baby girls named Cotina
- 1976: 5 baby girls named Cotina
- 1975: 13 baby girls named Cotina
- 1974: 33 baby girls named Cotina
- 1973: 65 baby girls named Cotina
- 1972: 109 baby girls named Cotina [debut]
- 1971: unlisted
- 1970: unlisted
But that’s not all. The popularity of similar names — most notably Katina — spiked in ’72 as well:
*Debut, **One-hit wonder
It took me a while to come up with a decent theory for this one, as the only person the search engines kept directing me to was Greek actress Katina Paxinou (1900-1973).
I was stuck until, in a decades-old Village Voice article, I spotted a reference to a fictional soap-opera baby named Katina. She was “born” in early 1972 on the CBS soap opera Where the Heart Is (1969-1973).
The program was set in suburban Connecticut and focused “on the sexual and psychological intrigues of the wealthy but highly dysfunctional Hathaway family.” One of the adult Hathaway siblings (Allison) had a husband (Hugh) who had an affair with a woman named Christine. This affair resulted in an illegitimate child — a baby girl called Katina.
Expectant parents tend to pay particular attention to TV babies, and soap operas have historically influenced baby name rankings quite a bit, so the one-two punch of a baby born on a soap opera must have had some sort of impact.
Then again, I can’t explain why the variant “Contina” jumped so much higher than, say, “Katena” or “Kateena,” which are much more Katina-like. So perhaps I’m missing something.
Does anyone out there remember Where the Heart Is? Do you think the soap was popular enough to have started a short-lived Katina craze in the early ’70s?