Anyone Hear From The Toni Twins?

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.

43 Comments

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

  3. 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.

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

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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!

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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,

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. 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.

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

  18. 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.

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

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

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

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

  25. 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.

  26. 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.

  27. 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.

  28. 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.

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

  30. 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.

  31. 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

  32. 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?

  33. My mother Janet Leigh Figg died December 20th 2016. On December 1, 2017 she was placed in the Columbarium at Arlington National Cemetery along side her husband James Alfred Figg Jr. Not only was she beautiful on the inside and out, she was a wonderful wife and mother. She will be missed!

  34. My mother, Margaret Hovland and her twin sister Marilyn Hovland were from Seattle, Washington. They were selected as Toni Twins, but I’m not sure what year, and flown to Kansas City for the filming. It was an event neither of them ever forgot. Both have since passed away, Lynn in 2012 and my mother Margaret (or Margie as she was known to her friends) in 2014.

  35. I’m with the original Toni twin right now
    Her sister is alive and well too

  36. Our father’s cousins, Kathleene (Ring) Golden and Katherine (Ring) Carlson were born 1926 in Centralia, Illinois. Their mother Johnny was my grandmother Margaret’s sister. They ring twins were the original Toni Twins. See grandaughter, Sarah Golden’s post above. When I met them in Debary, Florida, the twins explained they were selected to model with the Toni Company of Chicago when it was originally a soft water shampoo campaign. Then, it evolved into the Toni Home Permenant Advertisement Campaign where they chose the Anderson twins. The girls traveled with six sets of Toni twins abroad to Europe for 4+ weeks; England, Scotland, Ireland, France and Belgium. Both Ring girls were finalists in several Miss Photo Flash contests in Chicago, as well. They attended Vogue Dress Design School in Chicago and went on to design dresses. They retired to Florida. They have both sadly passed away; Kathleene, 74 years old (2001) and Katherine, 81 (2007). When I interviewed them circa 1996, they were funny, charming and beautiful inside and out. If related, contact me. I have newspaper articles & photos.

    1. Author

      This is a great bit of history Annalyn…. thank you for adding it.

  37. Hi Annalynn, My mother Bernadette Hanson and her sister Frances were on that trip through post war Europe and we have their photo albums of the trip. My mother spoke fondly of the “Ring Twins” when we’d travel down memory lane. Bernadette and Frances have passed. We treasure the stories of that trip, their red & white trimmed leather suitcases (that we had until at least the 80’s), the celebrities they met, photos of all the twins posed on giant tires of military airplanes, their introduction of powdered instant soup to the chef at the Connaught Hotel late one night in London and many other treasured moments. All the best to your family.
    Regards,
    Claudia

  38. My sister Sonia and I (diana) were the youngest (age 12) Toni twins in Australia
    Regards. Diana Lindsay. Was James !! We are now 81 and very well !!!

  39. My mother was also a Toni Twin – Frances and Bernadette Hanson, one of the original campaign sets. Europe/Cuba/USA.
    She wrote of their adventures everyday, “Dear Scrapbook”. I and my cousins would love to share pictures and stories.
    my email: jbart28671@yahoo.com.

    I started to put a book together for my family – pictorial history of their Toni adventure. you can look here and read about it. DON’t purchase but just wanted to share.

    https://www.mixbook.com/photo-books/interests/lifestyle-photo-sessions-copy-20671606?vk=rQHpOhV2CYVQtmMnkHSG

  40. re” the Toni name. I have a copy of the article where he talks about how he came up with the Toni Name.

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