• On Dec. 4, 1872, a British ship spots the Mary Celeste, a 100-foot American brig, sailing erratically but at full sail near the Azores Islands with not a soul on board. The last entry in the captain’s log was dated 11 days earlier, showing that the Mary Celeste had been drifting since then with no one at the wheel. The fate of the crew remains a mystery to this day.
• On Dec. 6, 1884, in Washington, D.C., workers place a 9-inch aluminum pyramid atop a tower of white marble, completing construction of a monument to the city’s namesake and the nation’s first president, George Washington.
• On Dec. 5, 1933, the 21st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is ratified, repealing the 18th Amendment and bringing an end to the era of national prohibition of alcohol in America. Utah became the 36th state to ratify the amendment, achieving the requisite three-fourths majority of states’ approval.
• On Dec. 3, 1947, Marlon Brando’s famous cry of “STELLA!” first booms across a Broadway stage, electrifying the audience at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre during the first-ever performance of Tennessee Williams’ play “A Streetcar Named Desire.”
• On Dec. 9, 1950, Harry Gold — who had confessed to serving as a courier of top-secret information on the atomic bomb — is sentenced to 30 years in jail for his crime. Gold implicated his brother-in-law and sister, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, who were later convicted and executed for espionage.
(c) 2012 King Features Syndicate, Inc.