• On March 6, 1899, the Imperial Patent Office in Berlin registers Aspirin, the brand name for acetylsalicylic acid, on behalf of the German pharmaceutical company Friedrich Bayer & Co. In its primitive form, the active ingredient, salicin, had been used for centuries in folk medicine.
• On March 9, 1913, writer Virginia Woolf delivers the manuscript of her first novel, “The Voyage Out,” to her publisher. In 1941, fearful for her own mental state and afraid of the coming world war, she filled her pockets with rocks and drowned herself.
• On March 3, 1931, President Herbert Hoover signs a congressional act making “The Star- Spangled Banner” the official national anthem of the United States. Francis Scott Key composed the lyrics to “The Star- Spangled Banner” in 1814.
• On March 7, 1946, actress Joan Crawford, born Lucille Fay Le Sueur in 1905 in Texas, is awarded the Oscar for her performance in “Mildred Pierce.” Crawford made some of the finest films of her career after age 40.
• On March 4, 1952, Ernest Hemingway completes his short novel “The Old Man and the Sea.” He wrote his publisher the same day, saying he had finished the book and that it was the best writing he had ever done. The critics agreed, and the book won the Pulitzer Prize in 1953.
• On March 5, 1963, the Hula- Hoop, a hip-swiveling toy that became a huge fad across America when it was first marketed by Wham-O in 1958, is patented by the company’s cofounder, Arthur “Spud” Melin. An estimated 25 million Hula- Hoops were sold in its first four months of production alone.
• On March 8, 1986, “Mask,” starring Eric Stoltz and Cher, opens. Cher, who had launched a serious acting career with her appearance in Robert Altman’s “Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean” in 1982, received the Best Actress prize at the Cannes Film Festival for her role in “Mask.”
(c) 2008 King Features Synd., Inc.