Why I Love Robert Tonner, Joe Petrollese and Crush on Jack Kralik

by Alison Rasmussen

Charmed Tyler

Everyone has his or her favorite doll line or character. Take for instance, my fellow bloggers: for Alison it's Peakswoods BJDs; Kathie & Valerie are Poppy Parker crazy; and Shuga, well, she’s an Integrity girl. But for me, it's Tonner & Wilde Imagination, pretty much all the way.

Recently I was counting my dolls on display, by company (I'm a counter, who knows why, a bit of OCD perhaps?) and here's what I came up with: BJDs - 1, contemporary Barbie - 3, vintage Barbie - 6, Madame Alexander - 2, Integrity - 7, Wilde Imagination - 10, Tonner - 31. And trust me, there are many more Tonners and WIs currently in storage that used to reside in my second bedroom, before my son moved home after graduating from college. It was a tough call there for awhile, but flesh and blood won over hard plastic and vinyl.

Which got me to thinking; why Tonner? What is it about his dolls that call to me so much? The other dolls pretty much come and go around here, but every time I think I'm going to let some of my Tonners or Ellowynes go, it doesn't happen.

So why do I love Robert Tonner? Two words: Tyler and Imagination. Tyler is by far my favorite sculpt. There is something so sweet about her face, she looks like the type of woman you'd like to have as a best friend (lucky Sydney!). She can also look so different and versatile from wicked & naughty (Charmed), to sweet & classy (Nights in White Satin), fun (It’s My Party, Harlequin, Look of the Season), whimsical (Believe) and elegant & stunning (Fire Opal, Casino Jade, Autumn Gold). And her clothes are to die for.

Fire Opal and Autumn Gold
Fire Opal Tyler and Autumn Gold Tyler
Blue Skies and Basic Witch
Blues Skies Glinda in Winter Forest and Basic Witch in Griffin Splendor
Robert's imagination seems inexhaustible! The Oz line (think Blue Skies Glinda, Witchcraft), Alice in Wonderland (Alice Through the Looking Glass, Wonderland Costume Ball, Blushing Queen), Cinderella, Reimagination, Sinister Circus, Fashion Zombies, and on and on. The dolls are beautiful, the costumes divine and the quality is unsurpassed. I've always wondered how he comes up with all of his ideas. Does he dream dolls?

And let's not forget Ellowyne. She has her own Yahoo Group and Doll Board. I know many who have pretty much quit collecting anything else.

As for Joe: the man who created Evangeline Ghastly and Amelia Thimble (I recently saw my first Amelia in person and could she be any cuter? The Halloween gift set was quickly added to my Grail list.) Evangeline is just fabulous! Everything about her from her story, her armoire, her pets and her incredible outfits. Joe is also responsible for many of Tonner's fabulous outfits: The Devereaux Sisters, many, if not all, of the Oz costumes. So loving Robert and Joe, you may ask why the "crush" on Jack? First off; he's pretty cute and sexy. And secondly and more importantly; I have a fairly strong suspicion that Jack is one of the reasons Tonner Doll Company is so successful. Every good company needs a good businessperson. And unless Robert is one of those rare individuals who is a great Artist and a good businessman (as an Art Major, my experience has been that the two don't go together very often) Jack probably fulfills a much needed dose of reality. Without Jack, it might be a little shaky. And did I mention he's cute? :)

And finally, the Tonner Doll Company does a lot for various charities. I work for a non-profit in South San Diego that shelters battered women (and men) and their children. Every year we hold a fundraiser with a silent auction. Since I first wrote requests letters for donated items for those auctions, both Tonner and Wilde Imagination have sent one or two items, every year. The rest of the doll companies; MA sent a doll once, and we've never heard back from the others.

So for Robert, Joe and Jack; my heartfelt love and admiration. Keep up the good work, Gentlemen. (And for Debra & Michelle too!)