Spotlight – Dionne Quintuplets Make Sales

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Ever hear of the Dionne Quintuplets? My searches for OTR information takes me all over the planet. I found the following article and just had to have it for you guys. So, I decided to reprint here on Ron’s Amazing Stories. Normally, I would give credit to whomever wrote it, but I could not find out who originally did that. I found this article on an obscure site and the website owner had no idea where it came from. So, for better or worse here it is (with no edits by me). If you know it’s origin please let me know. I would love to give them my thanks and of course credit.


Dionne Quintuplets Make Sales – by Unknown

With the “Great Depression” gripping the lives of the American people, the decade of the 1930’s was a dark period in American history. Jobs were scarce; dust storms raised havoc in the Midwest, and the morale was at an all time low. It was a time the people needed something anything to get them out of their despair. That miracle took place in 1934 at Callander, Ontario (Canada) with the birth of the Dionne Quintuplets (Yvonne, Marie, Annette, Emilie, and Cecile).The fascination of the babies spread like wildfire. The small Ontario town quickly became a tourist attraction, and the Dionne Quintuplets were instant celebrities. Sharing the spotlight with the children was Dr. Allan Roy Dafoe, who delivered the babies on that historical day and later became their guardian.

Dionne QuintupletsWith the interest at a fever pitch, advertising agencies sought Dafoe to feature the babies in the advertising of their respective products. In no time, the Dionne Quintuplets and Dafoe became the 1930’s answer to Arthur Godfrey for effective advertising. In magazine ads, they all had their pictures taken for the products they were selling. However, advertising on the radio proved to be a challenge. Simply put, the children were much too young to say the words about the products they were selling on the air. To get around this small problem, the announcer simply mentioned that Dafoe “selected” the products for them. For example, he selected Colgate Dental Cream, because it cleaned the children’s teeth thoroughly, yet gently, and Palmolive Soap because of its gentle olive oil content. Both Colgate Dental Cream and Palmolive Soap were already top selling brands and with Dafoe and the quins in their corners, both products were more popular than ever .

In 1937, Palmolive Soap combined the people’s interest in the quins with their interest in radio premiums. On Columbia’s PALMOLIVE BEAUTY BOX THEATER, announcer Jean Paul King described an offer that would “Thrill Your Children”— and maybe thrill a few adults as well. The premium was A Day With The Quins, a cut out book with natural color pictures of the Dionne Quintuplets. There were 4 pages with 63 different outfits the children could cut out and dress the quins. Although the premium was designed for the children, their parents also had a gift. The cutout book cover was a copy of a full color oil painting of the Dionne Quins saying goodnight to Dafoe. It could be placed in a frame and hung on the wall. In order to receive this premium, the listeners sent in the black bands from 3 Palmolive Soap wrappers (no money was required). To the surprise of absolutely no one, the response for this premium was overwhelming. If any copies of this premium survive today, it would be a valuable collector’s item. As the 1940’s began, the public’s interest in the Dionne Quintuplets started to decline. They continued to have their names mentioned in radio commercials, and their faces pictured in magazine ads well into the decade. Noticeably missing from the 1940’s advertising was Dr. Dafoe, who died in 1943.

The Dionne Quintuplets Today

Dionne QuintupletsMy mother and her family visited the quins in late 1930s. She said they had them set-up behind glass windows, so you could view them. How very strange that seems to me today. The quintuplets left the family home upon turning 18 years old in 1952. Three went on to marry and have children. Annette and Cécile, are the only two remaining sisters of the Dionne quintuplets. They appeared for pictures early this month in 2017.

This Week’s Podcast:

On the podcast this week we will have two stories from Tom who is a listener from Berlin Germany. Also, our OTR story just might be one of the best ever on the program and of course we will continue with the next Five Minute Mystery. You can listen to this podcast on Thursday at Ron’s Amazing Stories, download it from iTunes, stream it on TuneIn Radio or listen to it on your radio Saturday night at 6pm Eastern time. Check your local listing or find the station closest to you at this link.

The Calendar:

March 30 – The Horror Express #15
April 06 – The Ghost of Berlin, NV.  – (RAS #281)
April 13 – The Kaleidoscope – (RAS #282)
April 20 – Tune-In Radio Special – (RAS #283)
April 27 – RAS Spring Break

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