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This Month In YesterYear History - March

It's time for the March 2023 edition of "This Month in YesterYear History!"  
In this series, we take a brief look back at the "best" or "top" of popular culture from the past 20 (2003), 25 (1998), and 30 (1993) years ago!   

Below, you'll find a little time capsule of what was significant in our lives during those days.  Hopefully, as you read these brief synopses of the past, you'll begin to remember the who, when, and where of your memories from that time.  

That's why I post to this site, after all!  

So, let's get into those time machines, my friends!  We're headed back to Twenty, Twenty-Five, and Thirty years ago!


2003:  On the 1st, U.S. Customs Service and the Secret Service moved under the newly formed Department of Homeland Security.  Elvis Costello, AC/DC, The Clash, and several others were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on March 10.  On the 12th, Elizabeth Smart is found after having gone missing for 9 months.  March 14 marks the start of a week-long protest at the White House against the War in Iraq.  Two days later, a global worldwide vigil protested the War in Iraq.  On the 18th, the FBI raided HealthSouth in Birmingham, Alabama, on suspicion of massive corporate fraud.  On the 19th, airstrikes by American and British forces started the launch of the invasion of Iraq, followed by the United States-led ground invasion the next day.  "Chicago" won Best Picture at the Oscars on March 23.  On March 30, Brock Lesnar defeated Kurt Angle to become WWE World Champion at Wrestlemania 19.

1998:  Mark Martin won the first NASCAR Winston Cup Race in Las Vegas on March 1, 1998.  Miami Heat coach Pat Riley became the 5th NBA coach to record 900 career wins on March 2.  That same day, the Galileo spacecraft sent back data that says Jupiter's moon "Europa" has a liquid ocean under a thick crust of ice.  On the 5th, Mariah Carey divorces music producer Tommy Mottola.  On the 9th, Dr. Dre's Aftermath Entertainment signs the then-unknown Eminem.  On the 23rd, "Titanic" wins Best Picture at the Academy Awards.  The "Jonesboro Massacre" occurred on the 24th, when two children, aged 13 and 11, fired upon teachers and students, killing 5.  On March 29, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin won his first WWF World Heavyweight Title by defeating Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania 14 in Boston.  Baseball's two expansion teams lost badly in their first outing on March 31, with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays losing 11-6 and the Arizona Diamondbacks falling 9-2.  Also, in baseball on that day, the Milwaukee Brewers become the first team to switch leagues, moving from the American League to the National League.

1993:  The NHL expansion team in Anaheim, owned by Disney, is given the name "Mighty Ducks," based on the film franchise, on the 1st.  On the 2nd, Mario Lemieux undergoes his 22nd and final radiation treatment for Hodgkin Lymphoma and then rejoins the Penguins and scores a goal and an assist later that night.  Also, on the 2nd, the "Rock for the Rainforest" concert at Carnegie Hall occurs, with performers like Sting, James Taylor, Tom Jones, and Herb Alpert.  On March 4, ESPN hosted the ESPY Awards for the first time.  On the 7th, Diff'rent Strokes actor Todd Bridges is arrested for stabbing a tenant in a rental building he owned.  On the 9th, the Pittsburgh Penguins go on a 17-game winning streak.  The "Blizzard of '93," also known as "The Storm of the Century," brings as much as 13 inches of snow to Alabama, 20 inches in Boston, and a record 56 inches of snow in Mount LeConte, Tennessee on March 13.  On the 17th, American actress Helen Hayes dies at 92.  On the 22nd, Andre the Giant became the first wrestler inducted into the WWF Hall of Fame.  "Unforgiven" won Best Picture at the Oscars on March 29.  


2003: "Bringing Down the House" -  This romantic comedy starring Steve Martin and Queen Latifah features Martin as Peter Sanderson, a lonely lawyer who meets a woman on the Internet, only to learn she has escaped prison to prove her innocence.  She then wreaks havoc on his upper-class life.  

Released on March 7, 2003, Bringing Down the House received primarily poor reviews from critics and mixed reviews from viewers.   

On a budget of $35 million, Bringing Down the House was a surprise hit, spending three weeks at number 1 in the United States, earning $132.6 million.  

1998: "Titanic" -  This 1997 romance and disaster film was directed, written, produced, and co-edited by James Cameron.  Incorporating both historical and fictionalized aspects, it is based on accounts of the sinking of the RMS Titanic, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet.  The two members of different social classes fall in love aboard the ship during its ill-fated maiden voyage began on September 1, 1995, when Cameron shot footage of the actual Titanic wreck.  Scale models, computer-generated imagery, and a reconstruction of the Titanic built at Baja Studios were used to re-create the sinking.  The film was co-financed by Paramount Pictures and 20th Century Fox; the former handled distribution in North America, while the latter released the film internationally.  It was the most expensive film ever made at the time, with a production budget of $200 million.

Upon its release on December 19, 1997, Titanic achieved significant critical and commercial success and received numerous accolades.  It was nominated for 14 Academy Awards and tied All About Eve (1950) for the most Oscar nominations.  It won 11, including Best Picture and Best Director awards, tying Ben-Hur (1959) for the most Oscars won by a single film. 

With an initial worldwide gross of over $1.84 billion, Titanic was the first film to reach the billion-dollar mark.  It remained the highest-grossing film until another Cameron film, Avatar, surpassed it in 2010. 

1993: "Falling Down" -  This action film directed by Joel Schumacher was released by Warner Bros. Pictures on February 26, 1993.  The film stars Michael Douglas in the lead role of William Foster, a divorced and unemployed former defense engineer.  The film centers on Foster as he treks on foot across the city of Los Angeles, trying to reach the house of his estranged ex-wife in time for his daughter's birthday.  Along the way, a series of trivial and provocative encounters cause him to react with increasing violence and make sardonic observations on life, poverty, and the economy.  Robert Duvall co-stars as Martin Prendergast, an aging Los Angeles Police Department sergeant on the day of his retirement, who faces his own frustrations even as he tracks down Foster.

The film grossed $96 million against a $25 million budget and took the top spot at the box office during the final week of February and the first two weeks of March.

The film received mostly positive critical reviews and is still received well by fans, holding a 75% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.   


2003:  "All I Have" by Jennifer Lopez featuring LL Cool J

1998:  "Gettin' Jiggy Wit It" by Will Smith

1993:  "Informer" by Snow


2003:  On the 21st, Farscape's series finale aired on the Sci-Fi Channel.  

On the 27th, C-SPAN aired a press conference from the White House in which President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair spoke about the Invasion of Iraq, which had begun a few days earlier.  According to Neilsen ratings, the event was one of the most-watched C-SPAN broadcasts.  A similar broadcast a month later was similarly widely viewed. 

1998:  On the 10th, Showtime launches a new multiplex channel, Showtime Extreme, to air action and adventure, thriller, and gangster films, as well as sporting events.  

On the 18th, a wanted child molester named Matthew Fenwick appeared on Wheel of Fortune and won $4,400.  When the episode aired, Matthew was on the run after being accused of molesting two underage girls.  He was arrested two days after his appearance on the game show and subsequently pled guilty in July of 1998 to two counts of aggravated indecent liberties with a child.  

On the 29th, BBC America debuts.  On the same day, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin won his first WWF World Heavyweight Championship at Wrestlemania 14, often cited as the dawning of the "Attitude Era."  

1993:  On the 2nd, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade makes its network television premiere on CBS.  

On the 4th, ESPN holds the first-ever ESPY Awards.

On the 8th, Beavis and Butthead debuts on MTV.  

On the 13th, Harrison Ford appears as Indiana Jones in the bookend scenes on an episode of The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles on ABC.

On the 26, CBS broadcast the last episode of Family Feud with host Ray Combs.

On the 28th, ABC begins the first year of a two-year deal with the National Hockey League to televise six regional Sunday afternoon games.