Old-Time Radio Names: Zenith, Zero and Tao

I’m sure you’re all really busy making preparations to celebrate National Radio Day tomorrow, the day set aside to commemorate old time radio—I but hope you can take some time out to look at these interesting vintage radio character names we’ve dug up.

They date back to a time, from the 1930s to the fifties, when listening to the radio was the only home entertainment there was, aside from harmonizing around the piano. Moms tuned in to their daily soap operas— often only fifteen minutes long—as they feather-dusted and darned Junior’s socks, before Junior rushed home from school to hear the latest adventure of Don Winslow of the NavyAnd in the evening the whole family would gather around the big console to laugh at Baby Snooks or shudder at Suspense Theater.

Many of these shows were populated with great old names you don’t hear any more, from exotic flowers like Geranium (used not once but in two different shows), Gardenia, Lotus and Tulip, to unusual word names like Fury, Casino  and Tweed.

Here are some of the most interesting examples, with the titles of the mostly long-forgotten soaps and space odysseys they appeared in:


Ardala Valmar, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century

Birdie Lee Coggins—The Great Gildersleeve

BurmaTerry and the Pirates

Casino—Home of the Brave

Charity Amanda DykeAmanda of Honeymoon Hill

Corliss ArcherMeet Corliss Archer

Ebba FieldingAgainst the Storm

Effie PerrineSam Spade

Eula ShermanDan Hardin’s Wife

Fury Shark—Captain Midnight

GardeniaBetty and Bob

GeraniumThe Judy Canova Show, Amos ‘n’ Andy

Inza BurrageFrank Merriweill

KeturahHolly Sloan

Lillums—Harold Teen

Lish HarumDavid Harum

Lorelei Kilbourne—Big Town

LotusDon Winslow of the Navy

Maisie Revere–Maisie

Maraine ClarkBarry Cameron

Marilly—Mayor of the Town

MercyBackstage Wife

Meta BauerThe Guiding Light

Ora MountStella Dallas


Pixie OsborneHilltop House

Portia Blake ManningPortia Faces Life

Sapphire Stevens—Amos ‘n’ Andy

Siri AllenAgainst the Storm

SundayOur Gal Sunday

Tulip Valentine ElsonHilltop House

Zenith Sambrini—Ma Perkins


Ajax CassidyThe Fred Allen Show

Alabama RandallThe Jack Pearl Show

Ballard Brandon, John’s Other Wife

Bronco Thompson, The Great Gildersleeve

California CarlsonThe Hopalong Cassidy Show

Cleve HarringtonEvelyn Winters

Cosmo Topper—The Adventures of Topper

Cullen Andrews—Lone Journey

Eben Crowell—Four Corners, U.S.A

Enor—Lone Journey

Gann MurrayOur Gal Sunday

Goodman AceEasy Aces

Greyling DennisThe Brighter Day

Hannibal CobbHannibal Cobb

Ichabod Mudd—Captain Midnight

Kyron WelbyPretty Kitty Kelly

Lansing McKenzieLone Journey

Lorenzo JonesLorenzo Jones

Nero WolfeThe Adventures of Nero Wolfe

Oogie Pringle—A Date With Judy

Pagan Zeldschmidt—A Man Called X

Pascal TylerAgainst the Storm

Pepper  (born Lawrence) YoungPepper Young’s Family

Philo Sands—The Story of Mary Marlin

Phineas T. GrantThe Man I Married

Poindexter BriceDear John

Robespierre—The Baby Snooks Show

Rollo St. CloudLone Journey

Scotson WebbGirl Alone

Socrates Mullen—The Fred Allen Show

Tao SmithLone Journey

Thatcher ColtThatcher Colt

Tweed ParkerThe Romance of Helen Trent

Ulysses Hink—Dear Mom

Wolfe BennettLone Journey

Zero  SmithHowie Wing

Anything here that strikes your fancy?

Plus!  Hurry on over and vote for the Nameberry Awards.


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7 Responses to “Old-Time Radio Names: Zenith, Zero and Tao”

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Mego0801 Says:

August 21st, 2012 at 7:32 am

Corliss is a great name! I’d be worried they’d get called ‘Cordless’, I have a feeling that wasn’t an issue in Radio Days 🙂
Lorelei is really cute!
I really like Lansing, Pagan, and Thatcher.
I didn’t expect all these unusual names to come out of ‘Radio Days’, I wonder if any of these names became a little more popular after they had their radio debut, the way book name and movie names can get popular these days.
This was a great post, thank you, I really enjoyed it 🙂

niteowl13 Says:

August 21st, 2012 at 11:13 am

These seem like they could be celebrity baby names from 2013! 🙂

CaraMichelle Says:

August 21st, 2012 at 2:42 pm

niteowl13, that’s exactly what I was thinking! Some of these are nice, but others, like Pagan, are just no-nos!

Poppy528 Says:

August 22nd, 2012 at 12:33 am

I like Eben. and (gasp) Poindexter. Eula is neat – a mix of the almost hip Elula & the horrific Beulah (which I actually quite like). Fun list!

Saracita00 Says:

August 22nd, 2012 at 9:26 am

Kyron seems so modern! So similar to Myron, I wonder if the radio folks just changed a letter. It makes a tremendous difference, though, taking the name well out of “old man” territory.

Tao is one that should definitely be getting attention, with that clipped, one-syllable sound and O ending.

Bronco is another O ending that might find some modern love, also fitting into the “animal” and “adventure” name categories.

I’m not into the Grey names but I wonder if Greyling would have appeal as a follow up to Greyson.

Oogie is hilarious. I wouldn’t recommend it as a given name but it would be a great family nickname…maybe for Hugo

On the girls side, my favorite is Inza. Though it’s probably not usable IRL…she would be teased for having influenza.

Corliss is a good answer to Katniss.

And Lillums would be a great nickname for a Lily-variant name, or even an Elizabeth.

Fun post.

sabrinafair Says:

August 23rd, 2012 at 11:35 pm

I actually like these:

Casino— I really like this, but doubt I’d use it.

Gardenia— havee this down for middle name

Geranium— love this

Oriole— on my list

Pixie – cute

Sapphire – like

Sunday— for a boy

Tulip – as middle name

Zenith – neat for either

Alabama – like on a boy!

California – neat on a boy. I know girl named this.

Cosmo – middle name

Cullen – girl

Ichabod – middle name

Pascale – this way and girl

Pepper – used to like on girl

Robespierre—kind of neat

Socrates – always liked this

Tao – like

Ulysses – always liked

Zero – love this because Nightmare beofre Christmas

MOABcast #000 | Mind of a Beast Says:

May 10th, 2015 at 11:51 pm

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