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Four of a Kind Win Air Trip to College (1933)

The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

No Sound on Film | 1933

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  •  Quadruplets exit plane 
  •  Roberta Torn-Keys, the oldest sister, told The Houston Chronicle in 2005 that any visitor from the state of Oklahoma was welcome to drop by her family home in Hollis unannounced. “My folks were gracious enough to say, ‘Someone is coming to see you,’” she said, “and we would all have to line up out in the yard.”  
 
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Born in Hollis, Oklahoma, in 1915, the Keys Quadruplets (Roberta, Mona, Mary, and Leota) surprised everyone at their birth. The family received gifts from all over the country. According to the Canadian Broadcasting Company, the four sisters were the first all-female quadruplets to survive past infancy and into adulthood. The girls were immediate and constant celebrities, appearing at state fairs across Texas and Oklahoma, where visitors could watch them play in a glassed-off room. If visitors paid 25 cents, they could watch the girls practice sewing and/or have tea parties. According to National Public Radio, their mother took the girls to Hollywood, but decided against signing them to any interested studio. This film features the quads the day they arrived in Waco to attend Baylor University. On full scholarship, the Keys were the first quads to graduate from college. The sisters continued to perform together until 1940, when Mona married and sent the quad on separate paths. Roberta married an FBI agent, Roland "Rip" Torn—the uncle of Hollywood actor, Rip Torn—and moved to Houston, where she started a nonprofit organization to help cancer patients find long-term care.