How popular is the baby name Ernie in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Use the popularity graph and data table below to find out! Plus, see all the blog posts that mention the name Ernie.

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Popularity of the baby name Ernie

Posts that mention the name Ernie

What gave the baby name Davy a boost in 1955?

The character Davy Crockett from the TV series "Davy Crockett" (1954-1955).
Davy Crockett from “Davy Crockett

The name Davy, a diminutive of David, saw a sharp rise in usage in 1955 according to the U.S. baby name data:

  • 1957: 54 baby boys named Davy
  • 1956: 92 baby boys named Davy [rank: 772nd]
  • 1955: 195 baby boys named Davy [rank: 525th]
  • 1954: 32 baby boys named Davy
  • 1953: 30 baby boys named Davy

That spike qualified Davy the fastest-rising boy name of the year.

Here’s a visual:

Graph of the usage of the baby name Davy in the U.S. since 1880.
Usage of the baby name Davy

The variant spelling Davey peaked in usage that year as well.

David itself — already very popular (and still rising) — also saw an uptick:

  • 1957: 82,404 baby boys named David [rank: 3rd]
  • 1956: 81,645 baby boys named David [rank: 4th]
  • 1955: 86,304 baby boys named David [rank: 2nd]
  • 1954: 79,561 baby boys named David [rank: 5th]
  • 1953: 76,119 baby boys named David [rank: 5th]

(It finally reached #1 in 1960, though it dropped back down to #2 the following year.)

What was influencing these names?

Frontiersman David “Davy” Crockett — or, to be more precise, Walt Disney’s fictionalized version of Davy Crockett.

The real Davy Crockett (1786-1836) was a Tennessee-born soldier and politician who died during the Texas Revolution, at the Battle of the Alamo. Outside of Tennessee and Texas, he was a “relatively obscure” historical figure.

In the early 1950s, animator and entrepreneur Walt Disney decided to build an amusement park. To fund the project, he made a deal with the ABC network to create a weekly anthology show called Walt Disney’s Disneyland. It was Walt’s first television series.

The initial hour-long episode aired in October of 1954. It began with Walt talking directly to viewers about Disneyland, which was then under construction in Anaheim. While describing Frontierland, Walt mentioned “the first coonskin Congressman,” Davy Crockett. Soon after, viewers saw Davy Crockett himself (played by Texas-born actor Fess Parker) singing “The Ballad of Davy Crockett”:

The first episode to feature a Crockett storyline was “Davy Crockett, Indian Fighter,” which was broadcast in mid-December. The second, “Davy Crockett Goes to Congress,” aired in January of 1955. The third and final episode, “Davy Crockett at the Alamo,” followed in February. All three were filmed largely in the Great Smoky Mountains, and each one featured that catchy theme song.

Three episodes and a single song were all it took to make the King of the Wild Frontier an overnight sensation among U.S. children. (Which is doubly impressive when you consider that, in 1955, only about half of American homes had a television set.)

Title of the TV serial "Davy Crockett" (1954-1955)
Davy Crockett

In April of 1955, Life magazine reported that the Crockett craze — “unexpected even by the watchful Walt Disney” — had resulted in “a corresponding frenzy in commercial circles.”

Dozens of manufacturers are hustling to turn out more than 200 items, from baby shoes to wallets, which might conceivably be connected with Crockett’s life. By June they will sell to the retail tune of $100 million — just about the largest merchandising feat of its kind.

Other Davy Crockett products included comic books, trading cards, toy rifles, toy holsters, toy guns, toy powder horns, shirts, pants, jackets, pajamas, bathing suits, bath towels, bedspreads, lunchboxes, mugs, plates, jigsaw puzzles, guitars, and records.

Speaking of records, renditions of the Davy Crockett theme song by Bill Hayes, Fess Parker, and Tennessee Ernie Ford ended up ranking 6th, 22nd, and 24th (respectively) on the list of top-selling records of 1955, according to Billboard.

But the most coveted Davy Crockett item of all, of course, was the coonskin cap.

At the height of the fad in the summer of 1955, coonskin caps sold upward of 5,000 a day. […] A shortage in coonskins caused furriers to resort to muskrat, rabbit and fox skins to produce the caps.

To capitalize on the Crockett craze, Walt Disney not only rebroadcast all three TV episodes (in April and May), but also combined the episodes into a feature-length film, Davy Crockett: King of the Wild Frontier, released in late May.

Then — after the Disneyland theme park opened in July, and The Mickey Mouse Club premiered in October — Walt revived Davy (who had technically been killed at the Alamo in episode three) and created a pair of prequel episodes: “Davy Crockett’s Keelboat Race” (which aired in November) and “Davy Crockett and the River Pirates” (December). These were likewise turned into a movie, Davy Crockett and the River Pirates, released in July of 1956.

Crockett-obsessed American families ended up spending more than $300 million on Davy Crockett merchandise during the mid-1950s. (That’s about $3.4 billion in 2023 dollars.)

While dozens of these families chose to name their baby boys Davy — which is why the name increased in usage more than sixfold in 1955 — very few, if any, went for Crockett, which remained absent from the baby name data throughout the 1950s.

What are your thoughts on the name Davy? Would you use it? (How about Crockett?)

P.S. If you’re wondering about Fess Parker’s first name, it was passed down from his father, who’d been named in honor of Ohio politician Simeon D. Fess.


Charles Barkley named his baby after a mall in Delaware

Christiana mall in Delaware
Christiana mall

On an episode of his podcast The Steam Room, former basketball star Charles Barkley mentioned that Syndey was his “favorite girl name” and that he’d use it for a daughter if he ever had another.

Then he revealed how he named his first daughter (and only child), Christiana:

Well she’s named after a mall, in fairness. There’s a Christiana Mall in Delaware that I used to always go by. That’s how she got her name, Christiana.

When co-host Ernie Johnson asked why he named his daughter after a mall, Charles answered:

I don’t know. I just liked the mall.

Later in the conversation, Ernie joked, “If you’d had a son, how about Orange Julius?” Charles one-upped him with: “Burger King.”

The Christiana Mall was named for its location — the community of Christiana in northern Delaware. The location was named after the Christina River, which, in turn, was named after 17th-century Swedish queen Christina. The river was once part of Sweden’s only New World colony, New Sweden, which existed from 1638 to 1655.


Image: Adapted from Christiana Mall between Macy’s and Target by Dough4872 under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Wayne Gretzky named his baby after Ty Cobb

Hockey player Wayne Gretzky (with the NY Rangers in the late '90s)
Wayne Gretzky

A couple of years ago, retired Canadian hockey player Wayne Douglas Gretzky — “the Great one” — talked about baby names with Ernie Johnson and Charles Barkley, hosts of The Steam Room (vid) podcast.

Gretzky’s first child, a girl, was born in 1989.

(This was the year after he married his wife, American actress Janet Jones. It was also the year after he won his fourth Stanley Cup with the Edmonton Oilers.)

Gretzky said, “I wanted to name my first daughter Gordie. My wife nixed that.”

So, instead of naming their firstborn after Gordie Howe, they named her Paulina.

A year later, in 1990, they welcomed a baby boy.

And I said, okay, I get to name my second one. So I named him Ty, after Ty Cobb, because I love baseball.


So when I grew up, I don’t know, I was one of those kids that, in April, I threw my hockey equipment in the basement…I couldn’t wait to play baseball. […] I loved it. I just loved the game. I loved the thinking part of it, the fundamentals of the sport, I just truly — I couldn’t get enough of baseball.

In fact, when he was a teenager in Ontario, Gretzky came close to signing a professional baseball contract. (He played shortstop and pitcher.)

So that explains why a hockey legend named his eldest son after baseball legend.

Wayne and Janet’s next two sons were named Trevor and Tristan (middle names Douglas and Wayne, respectively). Their fifth and final child, a girl, was named Emma.

P.S. Ty Cobb’s full first name? Tyrus.


Image: Adapted from Wayne Gretzky New York Rangers by Håkan Dahlström under CC BY 2.0.

The baby names Kippie and Kippy

The character Kippie (played by Glenn Walken) from the TV series "The World of Mr. Sweeney" (1954-1955).
Kippie from “The World of Mr. Sweeney”

The simple name Kip has a longer history than one might guess. There was a Kip in the 11th century Domesday Book, for instance.

But today’s post isn’t quite about Kip. It’s about the diminutive forms Kippy and Kippie, which saw some interesting usage in the ’50s and ’60s. No doubt the trendiness of Kip during that era set the scene for this usage, but pop culture played a part as well.

Let’s start in 1955, when Kippie debuted as a boy name, and Kippy both peaked as a boy name and debuted as a girl name:

Kippy (male)Kippy (female)Kippie (male)Kippie (female)
*Debut, †Peak usage

I think this extra 1955 usage can be attributed to a TV series called The World of Mr. Sweeney. The main character was Mr. Cicero P. Sweeney, who ran the town general store, but another prominent character was Cicero’s young grandson Kippie, played by Glenn Walken. (Fun fact: Glenn is the brother of Christopher Walken.)

The show began as a weekly segment on The Kate Smith Hour in 1953, but was spun off into an independent program — 15-minute episodes, 5 times per week — that lasted from 1954 to 1955. (Father Knows Best (1954-1960) occasionally featured a boy named Kippy as well, but I think Mr. Sweeney better accounts for the spike/debuts.)

Moving on to the ’60s, we see another spike for Kippy in 1960, followed by a relatively strong debut of Kippy as a girl name in 1962:

Kippy (male)Kippy (female)Kippie (male)Kippie (female)

During 1960, a male character named Kippy Clark was featured in the comic strip Mary Worth. (This might seem trivial, but comics were widely read decades ago. The name Mardeen debuted thanks to the very same strip.)

In 1962, following the sudden death of famous comedian Ernie Kovacs, his widow Edie and his ex-wife Bette battled in court over the custody of his two teenage daughters, Bette and Kippie Kovacs.

Do you like the name Kippy/Kippie? How about Kip itself? Let me know what you think in the comments…