Where did the baby name Corky come from in 1928?

The characters Lora, Corky and Walt from the comic strip "Gasoline Alley" (1918-today).
Corky from “Gasoline Alley

The curious name Corky first appeared in the U.S. baby name data in the late 1920s:

  • 1930: unlisted
  • 1929: 8 baby boys (and 5 baby girls) named Corky
  • 1928: 7 baby boys named Corky [debut]
  • 1927: unlisted
  • 1926: unlisted

Where did it come from?

The comic strip Gasoline Alley (1918-), which introduced a newborn named Corky on May 2, 1928.

Corky’s parents were Walt and Phyllis Wallet, and his older brother was 7-year-old Skeezix. (Lora, in the image, was Walt’s teenage cousin.)

Gasoline Alley was one of the first strips in which the characters aged over time, and so, a couple of decades later, Corky became the uncle of Skeezix’s kids Clovia and Chipper.

The name Corky has never been very popular, but it saw more usage in the 1950s than in any other decade — possibly because of the 1951 films Gasoline Alley and Corky of Gasoline Alley. In both movies, Corky was played by actor Scotty Beckett (who, several years earlier, had appeared in A Date with Judy with Jane Powell).

What are your thoughts on Corky as a baby name?

Image: Advertisement for the Post Gazette. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 31 Jul. 1930: 5.

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