What turned Dart into a baby name in 1956?

Part of the poster for "Foxfire" (1955)
Foxfire” poster

This one stumped me for a long time, but I think I’ve finally figured it out.

The word-name Dart debuted in the U.S. baby name data in the mid-1950s and hung around for several years before disappearing again:

  • 1961: unlisted
  • 1960: 6 baby boys named Dart
  • 1959: 5 baby boys named Dart
  • 1958: 8 baby boys named Dart
  • 1957: 10 baby boys named Dart
  • 1956: 12 baby boys named Dart [debut]
  • 1955: unlisted

At first I got stuck on a pair of auto-Darts: the Chrysler Dart, a concept car that was in the news briefly in mid-1956, and the Dodge Dart, a production car that went on sale in 1960. Neither one was a good answer.

Finally I happened to find a 1955 film called Foxfire that featured a main character named Jonathan “Dart” Dartland (played by Jeff Chandler). He was a half-Apache mining engineer whose new marriage to socialite wife Amanda (played by Jane Russell) was threatened by the cultural gap between them.

The screenplay, based on a 1950 novel of the same name by Anya Seton, was written by Ketti Frings.

What do you think of “Dart” as a baby name?

P.S. Foxfire was the film playing aboard the SS Andrea Doria the moment it was struck by the MS Stockholm.

Sources: Foxfire (1955 film) – Wikipedia, Foxfire (1955) – TCM

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