“Splash”: A Short History of the First Name “Madison”

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The romantic comedy Splash was released on March 9, 1984. On the poster, Daryl Hannah wore an oversize “I Love New York” T-shirt and reached up behind her to tousle the hair of a tuxedo-clad Tom Hanks, with the Hudson River and the twin towers of the World Trade Center in the background. “Allen Bauer Thought He’d Never Find the Right Woman… He was Only Half Wrong! Daryl Hannah played a mermaid, deeply obsessed with Tom Hanks’ character Allen Bauer, whom she saved twice from drowning. The nude mermaid travelled to New York City in search of Allen Bauer, in Disney Pictures’ first PG-13 rated film. The mermaid learned English in six hours by watching television in Bloomingdales. A sexually rapacious child-woman, she gasped in wonderment at street lights, music, and pens, a noble savage who ate lobster with her hands. She decided to call herself “Madison,” after the avenue, triggering the name’s meteoric real-life rise. “Madison’s not a name,” said Bauer, who had suggested “Jennifer, Joanie, Hillary, Linda, Kim, Elisabeth, Samantha.” In 1995, 6,000 Madisons were born in the United States, and by 2010, it was the eighth most popular name for baby girls.

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