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Series cast summary:
 Himself (2 episodes, 1950)
 Himself / ... (2 episodes, 1950)


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Release Date:

5 April 1950 (USA)  »

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This live CBS variety show (it was 30 minutes, not 15 as reported elsewhere) debuted on 5 April 1950 and was hosted by a then utterly unknown 'Jack Lemmon'. It was basically a talent show that habitually promoted Toni home permanents using guest sets of twins, one of whom would demonstrate the advantages of a home perm ("which twin has the Toni?"). The Toni Twins (Arlene and Ardelle) acted as hostesses. This show appeared on alternating Wednesday nights (swapping slots with What's My Line? (1950)) at 9:00-9:30. It ended its run on 20 September 1950. See more »

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This Toni wasn't permanent
22 January 2003 | by (Minffordd, North Wales) – See all my reviews

'Toni Twin Time' was a very low-budget variety show, sponsored by a hair-care product called Toni Home Permanent. The most significant fact about this programme is that it was hosted by Jack Lemmon, early in his career when he was still trying to develop a name for himself.

At the beginning of each edition, Jack would introduce the Toni Twins: attractive twin sisters wearing identical outfits and fairly elaborate hairstyles. Jack would then explain to the studio audience (and the viewers at home) that one twin had gone to the beauty parlour for an expensive and time-consuming permanent wave, done by a professional beautician, whilst the other twin had given herself a quick 'n' easy Toni Home Permanent. The twins would strike poses and flaunt their dimples, allowing us to see that their hairstyles were absolutely identical.

The rest of the show was devoted to (simple) comedy sketches and musical numbers, in which the Toni Twins would sometimes interact with Jack Lemmon or a guest star. At the end of the show, one twin's hairdo was looking a mite bedraggled, whilst the other twin's permanent wave was still in perfect shape. Jack Lemmon would then challenge the studio audience to guess which twin had the Toni Home Permanent. Of course, the twin with unrumpled hair was the one with the Toni. Twin sisters Ardelle and Arlene took it in turns to be the one with the Toni.

This short-lived TV series spawned a catchphrase that was briefly popular: 'Which twin has the Toni?' When Harvey Kurtzman's MAD comic book became extremely popular a few years later, Kurtzman's publisher William Gaines launched a rip-off of his own magazine, called PANIC (same artists, different editor). Basil Wolverton drew a parody ad for PANIC, depicting two grotesque twin sisters, absolutely identical in their extreme ugliness, except that one twin is holding a copy of MAD and the other is holding a copy of PANIC. The caption read 'Which twin has the phony?'

'Toni Twin Time' is not deserving of resurrection, as it produced nothing of significance beyond that catchphrase. Still, at least this gig paid the rent for Jack Lemmon until something better came along.

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