October 25th, 2004

The Mark Of Kane

Citizen Kane
Mahatma Kane Jeeves (a pseudonym of W.C. Fields)
Marshall Will Kane (The Gary Cooper character in High Noon)
The Caine Mutiny
Michael Caine (the screen name of the artist formerly known as Maurice Micklewhite)
Kwai-Chiang Cain (Keith Carradine's character in Kung Fu)

These are some instances. There are others.

Why does this name (in various spellings) keep cropping up in the popular culture of the mid-twentieth century?

When it occurs in "real life" Kane is usually an Americanization of "Cohen". But none of my Kanes appears to be Jewish.

My guess is that we're dealing with the romance of the Biblical Cain- the man branded and outcast by God. The name serves as a badge of mid-twentieth century alienation.

Any other suggestions?