90 Years Ago
Time and Again
Congress enacts daylight saving time on March 19, 1918. Backers herald benefits, from increased production of war materials to improved worker health and morals. But farmers cry foul, and with World War I's end, national DST is repealed in 1919. Implemented locally, DST makes scheduling—of buses to broadcasts—confusing until uniform start and end dates are declared in 1966. In 2008, all states but Arizona and Hawaii spring forward March 9.
75 Years Ago
King Kong takes on New York City at its première there, March 2, 1933. The film's special effects—including stop action photography, miniaturization and rear projection—turn an 18-inch rabbit-fur-covered model into a "menace extraordinary" and set a new standard for animation. While provoking, according to one reviewer, "many a giggle to cover up fright," Kong grosses $90,000 its opening weekend—a new record.
50 Years Ago
Out in the Cold
After two years of preparation and a 99- day, 2,158-mile journey, 12 men (led by British explorer Vivian Fuchs, far right), make the first crossing of Antarctica, March 2, 1958. The Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition, driving Sno-cats—which they must keep extracting from crevasses—is aided by a team (led by Sir Edmund Hillary) coming from the opposite direction laying in supplies. The feat will not be repeated until 1981. Fuchs dies in 1999, Hillary in 2008.
90 Years Ago
Army cook Albert Gitchell falls ill at Fort Riley, Kansas, March 11, 1918, with the first case of an influenza that quickly spreads worldwide (precautions in Seattle). By the pandemic's end in 1919, more than 50 million people die. In 2005 scientists discover the flu strain may have been avian; its source remains unknown.
70 Years Ago
Saudi Arabia strikes it rich when large quantities of accessible oil are discovered March 4, 1938. More than 1,500 barrels of oil gush that day into the 4,727-foot-deep Dammam No. 7 well, dug by American wildcatters working in the area since 1934. Today, at more than eight million barrels a day, Saudi Arabia is a top world producer of oil; each day the country ships 1.5 million barrels to the U.S., the world's largest consumer.
75 Years Ago
It's Off to Work We Go
On March 31, 1933, President Roosevelt signs the Civilian Conservation Corps into being. The CCC hires some three million unemployed men (ages 17 to 28) over nine years for public works. They plant 3 billion trees, lay 97,000 miles of road and drain 84 million acres of farmland before World War II ends the job shortage.