Early in the 2010s, I published a list of the top debut names per year. In the middle of the 2010s, I published a list of the top one-hit wonder names per year and noted that four names made both lists: Narice, Saford, Gevan, and Jefre.
A few months after putting up the second list, I covered Saford. But I didn’t write about any of the other names until last week’s post on Gevan. After that one, I decided that it was time to finally post about the other two, so today we’ll do one and next week we’ll look at the other.
Out of the four names, Jefre had the most impressive debut:
- 1963: unlisted
- 1962: unlisted
- 1961: 21 baby boys named Jefre [debut]
- 1960: unlisted
- 1959: unlisted
It appeared right around the time the name Jeffrey was at peak usage, so it would be easy to write off Jefre as a spelling variant of then-stylish Jeffrey.
But there’s more to the story.
Actor Jeremy Slate (birth name: Robert Bullard Perham) was one of the stars of the short-lived TV show The Aquanauts (1960-1961), about a pair of divers in Southern California.
One Sunday in mid-July, 1961, newspapers across the country ran a story about the swimming habits of Jeremy’s young family, which consisted of his wife Beverly and their four children: Jamie (girl), Jason, Jeremy Jr., and Jefre. It wasn’t long — just two pages — but it included two big photographs, both featuring eight-year-old Jefre.
Ironically, the piece came out about a month and a half after the very last episode of The Aquanauts aired. (And it wasn’t even being called The Aquanauts at that point; a few months before being canceled, the series was re-titled Malibu Run.)
So that explains the sudden appearance/disappearance of “Jefre” in the U.S. baby name data. What are your thoughts about this name? Do you like it, or do you prefer a more common spelling?
- The Aquanauts – Wikipedia
- Slate, Jeremy. “I’m Afraid of the Water!” Ogden Standard-Examiner 16 Jul. 1961: 51.