Celebrity Names Blog

Will Epic Mickey Inspire Baby Names from the Disney Archive?

We are eagerly awaiting the release of Epic Mickey, a new game for Wii due Tuesday.  Not just because the game itself sounds cool, but because it reintroduces some long-forgotten Disney characters -- and names -- for a new generation.

(In case you haven't heard about Epic Mickey already, the story line is that Mickey Mouse accidentally creates an alternate universe, a kind of Magic Kingdom-turned-upside-down, known as The Wasteland, when he sneaks in to the studio of the wizard Yen Sid and spills some ink; adventures ensue in a battle between good and evil as characters from Disney's archive battle it out).

In addition to Mickey, Donald and Goofy, who we understand make appearances in one form or another in  the game, Clarabelle the Cow, who generated a lot of conversation in comments on this blog last week, appears along with Horace Horsecollar.

Other key characters you may have never heard of before are Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, Gus the Gremlin and Yen Sid.

Let's take a look at some of these character names and where they stand today in terms of viability as real-life baby names.

Clarabelle: This name was discussed extensively here last week and the overwhelming consensus is that despite fitting in to contemporary style patterns (Clara + Isabelle), Clarabelle  in popular consciousness is either a cow or a clown.  Sorry Clarabelle!

Horace: Originally appearing as Mickey's plough horse in The Plow Boy, in 1929, Horace Horsecollar became Mickey's best friend and trusty, silly sidekick, filling a role that eventually was assumed by Goofy. While perhaps the best-known Horace in Western civilization was the Roman poet, there are a variety of more contemporary Horaces known to modern Americans -- newspaperman Horace Greeley, educator Horace Mann, Harry Potter character Horace Slughorn, and, for Lost fans, Horace Goodspeed, the leader of the DHARMA Initiative. We think Horace could appeal to families seeking a classical name with a literary bent -- think Homer or Atticus.  Do you think the Horsecollar association rules it out?

Gus: Gus the Gremlin originally appeared in a Roald Dahl book published by Disney, but we don't think Gus has much of a Disney association.  We've discussed Roald Dahl in the past as a baby name trendsetter (Sophie, Matilda), and we think Gus, as a nickname for the more formal August or Augustus (again, a classical name!) has a shot at contemporary usage. And we'll even go out on a limb and say we can imagine it as a girl's nickname for Augusta in the same way that uber-masculine Sam has become a nickname for Samantha.

Oswald Disney is resurrecting Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, a character that pre-dated even Mickey Mouse.  Disney lost the rights for Oswald to Universal Pictures for years and just got them back in 2006. In the game Epic Mickey, Oswald is introduced as Mickey's half-brother and arch-nemesis.  We would think Oswald is a name that is never, ever making a comeback. Check out the NameVoyager graph for the name Oswald.  It was relatively popular into the 1920s when it fell off a cliff entirely.  The cartoon rabbit could be to blame. Or the blame could fall to Oswald Mosely, the leader of the British Fascists, who rose to fame in the 1920s.  Lee Harvey Oswald's assassination of President Kennedy in 1963 didn't do the name any favors. And today's moms probably think of Oswald the Octopus, the Nickelodeon mascot, when they hear the name Oswald. Now with Oswald being resurrected as an evil cartoon bunny, a comeback for the name Oswald is looking less and less likely.

Yen Sid: The precursor to Nevaeh, Yen Sid is Disney spelled backwards. It is the name the Disney animators gave to the white-bearded Sorcerer in Fantasia and The Sorcerer's Apprentice.  We can't see anyone using the name Yen Sid on a baby today, but backwards baby names are quite the rage. Check out this list of backwards baby names on our sister site, BabyNameWizard.com.

What do you think of our assessment?  Do you like these Disney names?  Can you imagine using any on a baby today?

--J.B.

Comments

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November 26, 2010 4:29 PM
By Stephanie (not verified)

I had no idea most of those characters were Disney. Yen Sid might not be used in combination but I can see Yen being used and even Sid. I was unaware that the wizard from Fantasia even had a name, though. Very interesting, though.

November 26, 2010 5:31 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Another Disney Horace is one of the blundering villains in 101 dalmatians.
I doubt it will ever make it big, simply due to the first syllable. No one wants their kid to be called "Hore" for short!

November 26, 2010 8:21 PM
By Casey (not verified)

How could you forget that Gus is the name of the most lovable mouse in Cinderella? ;)

November 27, 2010 2:10 PM
By Miri (not verified)

Gus for a girl? I'm not feelin it. Sam stays cute with the Sammy diminutive but Gussie? That ship has sailed.

November 30, 2010 2:18 PM
By Top 10 Name of the 70s (not verified)

Gus is common here in Australia. Most often a contraction of "Angus" nowadays- but I do know one "Augustus". His parents also call him "Augie" - which is cuter - but also reminds me of "Awgie Doggie"! Perhaps you could do a thread on Hanna-Barbera names!!

November 30, 2010 2:18 PM
By paula (not verified)

Right away I caught the fact that Yen Sid was Disney spelled backwards.

A friend of mine had a dog (a DOG, not a child!!!) named Augusta which eventually was shortened to Gus.

December 2, 2010 3:07 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Oswald will never catch on here. Too much link to Kennedy's assassin Lee Harvey Oswald plus the name is not a nice name. I prefer Osborne.

December 2, 2010 6:45 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I have a friend in her mid-20s named Augusta, who goes by Gus sometimes.

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