Before the McCaugheys, the most famous multiple births--by far--were the Dionne quintuplets, five identical girls born to a French-Canadian farmer and his wife in Corbeil, Ont., on May 28, 1934. The media got wind of the event when the father called the local newspaper to ask whether a birth announcement for five babies would cost the same as one. An enterprising journalist filed a wire-service report, and the quints--Annette, Emilie, Yvonne, Cecile and Marie--became global celebrities. Three Hollywood movies were made of their lives; in the midst of the Depression, sales of Dionne dolls outstripped those of Shirley Temple.

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