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Trial Balloon: March 10, 2010 Archive

Whither Jethro?

Posted at 6:00 AM on March 10, 2010 by Dale Connelly (49 Comments)


"Names" week continues here at Trial Balloon.

Monday we considered the plight of poor Orbison Blackhoof.
Yesterday we used Spin Williams' marketing advice to try to re-name snack chips.

Today is under-appreciated name day. Fashion doesn't apply to clothing alone. Names go in and out of style, and some potential names are passed over by parents because there is an absence of chic connected with the moniker.

There are many, many baby naming websites. I don't know how they come up with their "rankings", but one of them lists "Ethan" and "Isabella" as the most popular baby names of 2010.

Those are very nice sounding names, but what about "Jethro"?
In my opinion, there simply aren't enough of them.
Today is the birthday of one of the best known of the bunch - Jethro Burns.

Jethro was born Kenneth C. Burns in Conasauga, Tennessee on March 10, 1920. He would have been 90 years old today. He became famous for his musical comedy work with was Henry Doyle Haynes, otherwise known as "Homer".

Henry and Kenneth took on stage names as kids, but not the ones they wound up with. They billed themselves as "Junior" and "Dude". It was only when a radio announcer forgot what he was supposed to call them on the air (a dumb radio guy - surprise!) that his blunder turned them into "Homer and Jethro".

It seems the mistake worked out well for them.

But how tragic that the three best known Jethros of our age didn't receive that sturdy name from parents. Burns' "Jethro" was a mistake. Jethro Bodine was a made up character on the Beverley Hillbillies. And Jethro Tull was (is!) a band named after a real Jethro (an English Agriculturalist) who got his name from mom and dad in 1674.

It's name number 1,816 on the Most Popular Baby Names list, perhaps because there is something in "Jethro" that people tend to associate with cornflakes.

Where is the Jethro Tull cornflakes commercial? You'd think with a name taken from the inventor of the seed drill and the developer of horse drawn hoeing, the corn pushers would have seen a natural affinity there.

Which neglected baby names should make a comeback?


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