How popular is the baby name Torchy in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, check out all the blog posts that mention the name Torchy.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Torchy


Posts that Mention the Name Torchy

Interesting one-hit wonder names in the U.S. baby name data

tulips

They came, they went, and they never came back!

These baby names are one-hit wonders in the U.S. baby name data. That is, they’ve only popped up once, ever, in the entire dataset of U.S. baby names (which accounts for all names given to at least 5 U.S. babies per year since 1880).

There are thousands of one-hit wonders in the dataset, but the names below have interesting stories behind their single appearance, so these are the one-hits I’m writing specific posts about. Just click on a name to read more.

1890s

1900s

  • (none yet)

1910s

1920s

1930s

1940s

1950s

1960s

1970s

1980s

1990s

2000s

2010s

2020s

  • (none yet)

As I discover (and write about) more one-hit wonders in the data, I’ll add the names/links to this page. In the meanwhile, do you have any favorite one-hit wonder baby names?

P.S. You might also be interested in this list of the top one-hit wonder baby names since 1880

Which Lane sister name do you like best?

The Lane Sisters in the movie "Four Wives" (1939)
The Lane Sisters

The Lane Sisters were a trio of sisters who became famous for their singing and acting during the 1930s and ’40s.

Interestingly, though, their surname wasn’t “Lane.” And there were a total of five of them, not just three.

The Mullican family of Iowa consisted of parents Lorenzo and Cora and their five daughters:

  • Leotabel, or “Leota,” b. 1903
  • Martha, b. 1905
  • Dorothy, or “Lola,” b. 1906
  • Rosemary, b. 1913
  • Priscilla, b. 1915

Four out of the five daughters pursued careers in entertainment. Three out of the four saw success in film. Along the way, they all adopted the simpler surname “Lane.” (Their mother did, too.) And that’s how the final three — Priscilla, Rosemary and Lola — became known as the Lane Sisters.

Which of the five names do you like best? Why?

Source: Lane Sisters – Wikipedia

P.S. Lola Lane, who was one of the actresses who played Torchy Blane, inspired Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel to create the character Lois Lane!

Where did the baby name Kookie come from in 1959?

The character Kookie from the TV show "77 Sunset Strip" (1958-1964).
Kookie from “77 Sunset Strip

Before there was Fonzie, there was Kookie.

In 1959, the baby name Kookie was a one-hit wonder in the U.S. baby name data:

  • 1961: unlisted
  • 1960: unlisted
  • 1959: 5 baby girls name Kookie [debut]
  • 1958: unlisted
  • 1957: unlisted

I thought it was just a variant of Cookie until I did some research. Turns out that Kookie was a hipster character played by Edd Byrnes on the detective show 77 Sunset Strip (1958-1964). He worked as a valet parking attendant at the club next door to the detectives’ office. The character quickly became a cultural phenomenon:

Constantly combing his glossy, duck-tailed hair and speaking in what was called ‘jive talk’, Gerald Lloyd Kookson III – ‘Kookie’ to his friends — helped Stu and Jeff out on their cases and stole the show. Teenage girls went wild for Kookie and his fan mail reached 10,000 letters a week. A glossary was issued for those who wanted to learn his language which included such young dude phrases as, ‘let’s exitville’ (let’s go), ‘out of print’ (from another town), ‘piling up the Z’s’ (sleeping), ‘a dark seven’ (a depressing week) and ‘headache grapplers’ (aspirin) – all soon copied by youth worldwide.

This popularity led to Kookie-branded merchandise, including “Kookie’s Comb.”

Kookie's Comb
Kookie’s Comb

Byrnes also appeared in-character as Kookie on other TV shows and in advertisements (such as a series of Harley-Davidson ads for the Topper motor scooter).

Most impressively, Edd Byrnes became a top-10 recording artist with the release of the 1959 novelty song “Kookie, Kookie, Lend Me Your Comb” (vid), a duet with Connie Stevens that reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100.

In 2005, TV Guide ranked the top 25 teen idols of all time. Edd “Kookie” Byrnes came in 5th. (John Travolta came in 3rd. Michael J. Fox came in 23rd.)

Source: Lewis, Jon E. and Penny Stempel. Cult TV: The Essential Critical Guide. London: Pavilion Books, 1996.

Where did the baby name Torchy come from in 1939?

The character Torchy Blane
Torchy Blane

In 1939, the name Torchy made its one and only appearance in the U.S. baby name data:

  • 1941: unlisted
  • 1940: unlisted
  • 1939: 8 baby girls named Torchy [debut]
  • 1938: unlisted
  • 1937: unlisted

Two years later, variant spelling Torchie did the same thing.

Where did these two one-hit wonders come from?

My guess is fast-talking fictional newspaper reporter Torchy Blane, the heroine of nine low-budget movies released in the late ’30s with titles like Torchy Gets Her Man (1938), Torchy Blane in Chinatown (1939) and Torchy Runs for Mayor (1939). All of the films “followed the same formula — the nimble-minded, intuitive Torchy (who never bothered to take notes when she interviewed a person) would end up solving a crime way before her lunkhead boyfriend, police Det. Steve McBride.”

Ironically, Torchy Blane’s real first name wasn’t Torchy. According to two of the films, her first name was actually Theresa.

Most of the time the Torchy was played by actress Glenda Farrell, though twice she was played by other actresses (Lola Lane and Jane Wyman, respectively).

And that reminds me — did you know that Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel was inspired by Torchy Blane to create the character Lois Lane? He’s how he puts it:

Our heroine was of course a working girl whose priority was grabbing big scoops. What inspired me in the creation was Glenda Farrell, the movie star who portrayed Torchy Blane. Because of the name Lola Lane, who also played Torchy, appealed to me, I called my character Lois Lane.

P.S. Speaking of Glenda Farrell…she was behind the Glenda trend that lasted from 1933 (she appeared in a whopping 11 movies that year) until the middle of the century.

Sources:

Update, 10/2017: I may have discovered an even better explanation for Torchy! In 1939, the soap opera Guiding Light introduced a new character named Torchy Reynolds. (This was back when the soap was radio-only.) Torchy, a former showgirl from San Francisco, was part of the story until 1942. Her time on the show (1939-1942) matches up better with the 1939 and 1941 single-year appearances of Torchy and Torchie than the film series (1937-1939) does. What do you think?