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Anyone Hear From The Toni Twins?

May 26th, 2008 · 34 Comments

By Garland Pollard

What happened to home perm maker Toni and those famous Toni twins?

Toni was synonymous with home permanents, and their advertising was all over game shows in the early TV era. Like Doublemint, Toni had twins in their advertising. An old ad from www.Old-Time.com tells the story of the brand, and the twins. (Note, the girls started looking hotter as the U.S. moved out of the radio era.)

Toni was purchased by Gillette in 1948 for $12 million from founders Neison and Irving Harris. Toni is still around a bit; the Toni Silkwave product is still sold at Walgreens. But its product line is no longer big and Gillette is now part of Proctor & Gamble.

But what happened to the other Toni products, including Toni shampoo? And then there was Tonette, the hair permanent for kids?

Gillette sold the remnants of Toni (what it called its White Rain line of hair care products) to Tampa-based Diamond Products Company in April of 2000, including a Gillette factory in St. Paul. According to The New York Times report, the White Rain line generated sales of $110 million in 1999 and then included brands like:

  • Adorn. At writing, still available at Walgreens.com.
  • Dippity-Do. Still available at Amazon.com.
  • Mink Difference
  • Tame
  • Lightwaves
  • Lilt Home Perm
  • Toni Epic Waves
  • Dry Look (Gotta love those groovy Dry Look bottles!)
  • Toni brands
  • White Rain (still around)

Here is the problem. Toni was part of the brand for all of these products. While some survived, they could not survive on their own. It would have been like trying to sell a Triscuit without the Nabisco in the corner.

BrandlandUSA Rule: Company Brands Are Important

There are product name brands. And then there are company brand names. Brand managers often disconnect the two. Often, a brand has been sold WITH the company name. Sometimes a company brand can become a product brand, or vice versa. This happened with Condé Nast Traveler. When Harold Evans started up the distinguished travel monthly, they picked the company name to give credibility to the new venture. These connections are decades old, and consumers only trust a certain product with a certain company name. Branding guys — you have to keep the company brand or things start screwing up.

  • Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes
  • Speed Stick by Mennen
  • Gillette Trac 2
  • Alberto VO5
  • Vogue and Vanity Fair by Conde Nast
  • Old Spice by Shulton (a Moosic, Pa. division of American Cynamid)
  • Lucky Charms and General Mills
  • Jell-O and General Foods.

Want to know more about company brands and product brands? Read our post from last year, Nabisco Brand Advice Corner.

Tags: Health

34 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Cali Girl // Oct 3, 2009 at 5:30 am

    I’m glad you feel the Toni twins got hotter as the years went on. I knew the last two Toni twins and they would appreciate that!

  • 2 linda todd (Duff) // Oct 27, 2009 at 8:32 am

    my twin sister (Sandra) and I were the 1985 Toni Twins

  • 3 tishylee // Apr 3, 2010 at 6:21 pm

    June & Fran Drew are doing well. In their 80s & sharp as ever.

  • 4 Garland Pollard // Apr 15, 2010 at 7:30 pm

    We heard a bit about the actual twins pictured above from Bill Dorrance:

    Wanted to let you know that I am the son of Rita Simen and that is her in the picture with her sister (my aunt) on your website (not sure which is which, but others in my family and her sister know).

    There are four surviving kids in our family, and four in her sisters.

  • 5 Gina // Aug 1, 2010 at 9:47 pm

    Helene and Kathy Mevo were related to me and they have both passed. I have been trying to find pictures if anyone knows where…

  • 6 Terry Yellig // Aug 25, 2010 at 9:10 pm

    My aunts Kathleen and Katheren Ring were Toni Twins in the 1940’s after World War II. Both have unfortuantely passed away, but I have a small billboard-style “Which Twin has the Toni” advertisement that my mother gave me before she died two years ago. It was my understanding that my aunts were the first “Toni Twins” but I don’t know that for a fact. I would like to know if they were the first.

  • 7 Barbara Haeusser // Sep 26, 2010 at 6:02 pm

    My twin sister and I were born on New Year’s Day in 1956. We were the only twin girls born on New Year’s Day in the state of Ohio. My parents won the Toni Home Perm Contest, which you had to have twin girl’s born within the hours of 12:00 am and 8:00 am on New year’s day. There were 23 sets in the US born on that day. As far as I know, we still are the only set born on NYD in Ohio since 1956. I would like to hear from Toni Home Perm Co. .. We will be turning 55 yrs young, this New Years Day 2011.

  • 8 Nancy Miller // Nov 9, 2010 at 10:04 pm

    This is not about the twins, but there was an obituary in today’s Contra Costa Times (Walnut Creek, CA, Bay Area News Group) for Toni Laurance Finger. The obituary claims that Toni was named after her “after the inventor met the young Toni at a family dinner.” This was probably near Milwaukee WI, based on the information in the obituary about her hometown. I have absolutely no idea if the above is true or just a charming family story.

    http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/contracostatimes/obituary.aspx?n=toni-finger&pid=146521896

  • 9 Garland Pollard // Feb 1, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    A note from a BrandlandUSA Reader:

    I was looking at Toni Twins on the ‘net, and came across your question as to the Ring twins, Kathleen and katheren(?)
    I think that I worked with their father, Leonard Ring who was the roundhouse clerk for the Illinois Central RR in Cherokee, iowa about that time. He had two very beautiful daughters and I do believe that their names were Kathleen and Katherine (?), and I do know that he was very proud of them and the fact that they were Toni Twins.
    Just thought I would answer a part of your request.
    C. J. Lyman

  • 10 Tracy Runko // Mar 2, 2011 at 7:36 am

    My mom and her twin sister (Pat and Mary Donovan) were the Toni Twins from Elizabeth, NJ back in the early 50’s. They looked great back then and look just as great today!

  • 11 Jennifer N // Mar 26, 2011 at 5:38 pm

    I was told that my grandmother and her twin sister were the first Toni twins. Their names are Beverly and Barbara Dahm. They even had their own comic strip.

  • 12 Lynn K // Jun 2, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    My mom and my aunt (Camille & Dolores) were the Toni Twins from San Francisco in the 40’s. They are both still healthy and we talk about this from time to time. They haven’t changed a bit.

  • 13 george. // Nov 21, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    my wife and I meet one of the Toni twins once a week in Dartford UK, This week both turned up, They are very good friends,

  • 14 Catherine // Dec 9, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    My Mother, Jeanne Fulstone Corfee, and my Aunt, Eleanor Fulstone Killebrew, were the original Toni Twins! They still look fab and are doing great. I would like to post a pic of them!!! They both exercise, play tennis, bridge, are social and so fun!!!! Someone really needs to do a follow up on them. They are 82 and gorgeous!!!!!

    We do not have ads and creative contests like we use to. What a historic marketing event, and so unique!!!

    Two cowgirls from the tiniest ranching community of Smith, Nevada…make it big. A friend of their parents submitted their picture!!! They did not even know!!!

    Catherine Corfee

  • 15 Forrest // Dec 23, 2011 at 3:32 pm

    I have interviewed a gentleman who says that his doctor was Mary Fulstone and her twin daughters were the original Toni Twins. His senior citizen story will appear in the Humboldt Sun newspaper of Winnemucca, NV on Jan. 20, 2012.

  • 16 irvso // Feb 11, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    i married lucille dubin half of toni twin ad sister wasw fran dsookenwhen i went out on a date each one on my arm evetone called them my book ends lucille wasw voted one of the best looking girls in he model industries my grand daughter is growing up with her looks but wants to be a scietist both twins passed but the memories linger on

  • 17 Karen Steinhaus // Apr 5, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    My mother (still living) and her sister were Toni Twins right after WWII. Bernadette and Francis Hanson. Put Toni Twins into google and you’ll find more information. They toured with several other original twins including the Anderson and Ring twins.

  • 18 Rick // Jun 9, 2012 at 7:00 pm

    I am the personal hairdresser of the “Toni Twins”.
    I have current photos and info.
    Rick

  • 19 janet kelly // Apr 6, 2013 at 9:55 pm

    My mother Janet Leigh Figg and my aunt Jane Leigh Bayne Bodell celebrated their 85th birthdays on March 5th and 6th. Janet was born just before midnight on March 5th and Jane a few mins after midnight on March 6th.

  • 20 Elizabeth Bayne Curtis // Jan 6, 2014 at 9:59 am

    My mother is Jane Leigh Bayne Bodell….Aunt Janet and Mom will be turning 86 this march and still look the same !!!

  • 21 wondering // Feb 7, 2014 at 6:07 am

    I knew Pamela and Patricia Morelli who were Toni Twin’s around 1970. Any then and now pics?

  • 22 Elizabeth Bayne Curtis // Mar 5, 2014 at 10:41 am

    Happy 86th Birthday to Jane and Janet Leigh!!! Still beautiful after all these years !!

  • 23 Sarah Kathleene Golden // Apr 28, 2014 at 1:39 am

    My Grandmother was Kathleen Ring. I was also told Terry, that she was of the original Toni twins. Here is an article I found about it that may be of interest to you. http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/1997-03-21/news/9703201506_1_mirror-twins-katherine-carlson-twin-lives

  • 24 Garland Pollard // Jun 23, 2014 at 2:34 pm

    A reader Joan Roylanc sent this in:

    I came from Paterson, New Jersey

    My Doctor at the time, late 40’s to mid 60’s was Dr. Fred James Crescente. He always mentioned that his twin daughters were the original Toni Twins. His wife’s name was Helene, but I don’t remember the names of the twins. Dr. Crescente was co owner of the NY Titans, football team, along with Harry Wismer. Wismer died first.

    Dr. Crescente passed away in 1979 from Cancer.

  • 25 Marilyn Hogan // Sep 18, 2014 at 8:13 pm

    Sarah and Terry, I knew Kathleen. I bought her home in Illinois before she moved to Florida in 1996. I will never forget her and her husband, Edward. Kathleen gave me a newspaper clipping of the Toni Ad she and her sister were in.

  • 26 Lori Hoffman // Oct 4, 2014 at 5:49 pm

    My mother Margaret Anne Hovland and her twin sister, Marilyn Anne Hovland- Cochran were both Toni twins, I believe in the 1940’s. From Seattle, they were flown back to Kansas City for the shoot. However, I was never clear on whether it was for television advertising, or print advertising or both. Unfortunately, they have both since passed on; My aunt a year ago last June and my mother just this last August.

  • 27 Lori Hoffman // Oct 4, 2014 at 5:50 pm

    I’d love to see an ad with them in it as I am putting together a multi-media presentation for my mother’s memorial in a few weeks.

  • 28 Sarah Carlson // Feb 8, 2015 at 11:00 am

    I was told that my grandmother, Katherine Ring, along with her twin sister Kathleene were the original Toni Twins. However I also have heard about a story about several other sets of twins claiming to be the original Toni Twins themselves.

  • 29 Janet Kelly // Mar 11, 2015 at 7:52 pm

    My Mother & Aunt, Janet & Jane Leigh were Toni Twins. They just celebrated their 87th Birthdays on March 5th &6th 2015.
    Unfortunately they both have Alzheimers .
    So sad. They are still so beautiful.

  • 30 L. Nichols // Sep 19, 2015 at 2:16 pm

    Norma and Marge were the original Toni Twins. They are both still enjoying life, one owns the Snow Queen Lodge in Aspen and the other living in Honolulu.
    Their mother had them on stage when they were quite young, singing and dancing.

  • 31 Patricia // Dec 7, 2015 at 2:19 am

    What are the names of the twins on the magazine cover?

  • 32 Betty Lucas Ficke // Jan 11, 2016 at 10:04 pm

    My sister and I were Hawaii’s Toni Twins in 1946. We were employees of Sears at that time. My sister lives in Colorado and I live in Ohio. A lot of people don’t know about Toni Twins nowadays.

  • 33 Bob Burchfield // Sep 29, 2016 at 7:14 pm

    My teacher and her sister were Toni twins The williams sisters. Gwen and Gail. Gwen was my 7 th grade teacher.
    Bob Burchfield Grand Rapids Mi

  • 34 Ali // Feb 2, 2017 at 8:26 pm

    I’m the daughter of the 1949 toni twins Helene and Kathy. Yes, they have both passed. Their last names were not mevo, that’s my aunt kathys married name.

    The person who wrote the comment above, Gina, hi! How are you related?

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