It seems as if most performers now keep their real name when starting a career, but in the past it was very common for young beginners to choose a stage name, and they were sometimes pretty inventive. A good example of that occurred in the 1950s when Omaha-born rockabilly pioneer Barbara Morgan turned herself into Sparkle Moore. Her inspiration? A popular character named Sparkle Plenty, who appeared in the Dick Tracy comic strip.
For those who don’t remember, Sparkle Plenty was a little blonde who first appeared in the strip in 1947 as a baby and grew to adulthood over the years. The character was a big hit with fans, and you could buy Sparkle Plenty dolls and cut-outs, and even a mail-order toy ukelele that was – er – endorsed by her. (You can find more info about Sparkle Plenty HERE.)
Sparkle Moore certainly had the look of her namesake, complete with a blonde mane in a similar style, but she wielded a guitar, not a ukelele, when she first hit the recording studio at age 17. As it turned out, her debut effort — the irresistible “Rock-a-Bop”– would end up being her best-known record, although she eventually recorded several others. Many of them — like “Killer” and “Skull And Crossbones” — reflected her ‘bad-girl’ persona, which she also used while on tour. Not coincidentally, she often opened for ‘bad-boy’ star Gene Vincent, who perfected the whole look and style.
But even though Sparkle Plenty continues even now to occasionally show up in the Dick Tracy comic strip, Sparkle Moore had a very short career as an entertainer. While still in her teens she left the business for motherhood and marriage, and seems to have pretty much disappeared from public view. She would be in her seventies now.