Thursday, May 17, 2012


For name-geeks like me, one of the best days of the year is when the Social Security index releases its list of the previous year's most popular baby names.

That list came out yesterday, and the biggest story everyone is talking about (and by everyone, I mean other name-geeks) is how the boy's name, Mason, has made a huge jump, moving up from #12 in popularity to #2.

Casual observers attribute it to a Kardashian (don't ask me which one) tot's moniker.

But,'s Laura Wattenberg disagrees, writing:

My guess is that celebrity influence is overstated. Yes, having a little Mason on tabloid covers in every supermarket in the country makes a difference. But the critical spur to Mason's rise happened 25 years earlier, when the name first appeared in the soap opera "Santa Barbara." The national Mason rate rose ten-fold during the soap's run, and it's been climbing ever since.

Mason Capwell was initially played by Lane Davies (also GH's Cameron, DOOL's Evan, and as the oddest B&B fill in for Ridge, ever), followed by Terry Lester (Y&R's Jack and ATWT's Royce), and Gordon Thompson (Dynasty's Adam and that other SB, Sunset Beach's, AJ)).

When I interviewed Lane for my book, Soap Opera 451: A Time Capsule of Daytime Drama's Greatest Moments, he had this to say about the show and the character that first put 'Mason' on the map:

I think what made Santa Barbara different was the irreverent sense of humor involved. We respected the nature of the work, but we had fun with it – a lot of fun.  I always felt that sort of set us apart from the rest of the pack at the time, and probably still does today. Mason, in particular, personified that irreverence.  

Read more from Lane, and a dozens of other actors, writers, producers and experts in Soap Opera 451: A Time Capsule of Daytime Drama's Greatest Moments enhanced e-book, available on both Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

And for more on soap opera names (Ox?  IQ?) click here, and here!

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