TIME Books

Emily Brontë Never Knew How Successful She’d Become

Painting of Emily Jane Bronte who was a femaile poet and romance writer.
Photo 12 / UIG / Getty Image Painting of Emily Jane Bronte

July 30, 1818: Emily Brontë is born

When she died of consumption at age 30, Emily Brontë believed her only novel had been a failure. Born on this day, July 30, in 1818, the middle of the three literary Brontë sisters only survived long enough to read the early, negative reviews of Wuthering Heights — of which there were many.

“How a human being could have attempted such a book as the present without committing suicide before he had finished a dozen chapters, is a mystery,” opined the Philadelphia-based Graham’s Magazine in 1948, the year after the novel’s publication. “It is a compound of vulgar depravity and unnatural horrors.”

“Read Jane Eyre is our advice, but burn Wuthering Heights,” suggested Paterson’s Magazine.

Of course, the tide of public opinion soon turned, and Wuthering Heights became a classic — one that has only grown more popular, it seems, as the years have passed. Here are a few of the gothic love story’s many adaptations that enjoyed the critical success Emily Brontë never knew:

The Film. Laurence Olivier was a reluctant Heathcliff in Samuel Goldwyn’s 1939 movie — although only because he preferred the purer art of theater. He complained during filming that “he dislikes working for the movies and only does it for money,” according to TIME. Begrudgingly, he pulled off a brilliant performance all the same: “a speaking tribute to the efficacy of the profit motive,” per TIME. Detailing Goldwyn’s efforts to achieve authenticity, TIME added that he:

…landscaped 540 California acres into a Yorkshire moor. He imported eight British actors, a dialect expert to see that their accents matched, 1,000 panes of hand-blown glass for interior shots and 1,000 heather plants for outdoors. He did not attempt to send for Emily Brontë. In spite of this oversight, there is not much she could have done to improve this screen translation of her masterpiece.

The Opera. While Carlisle Floyd had some criticism of his own for the novel — “I realized it’s very badly written; I could use almost no Brontë dialogue,” TIME quotes the composer as saying in 1958 — his operatic adaptation of Wuthering Heights in Santa Fe won over some influential critics, including a Metropolitan Opera Board Member, who said, “This puts the Met to shame.” (Not everyone shared his high opinion. Per TIME: “‘I liked the movie better,’ said one mink-draped woman.”)

The MTV Musical. Reviewers didn’t love this 2003 version, which turned the brooding Heathcliff into a literal rock star. Still, the critics went easier on MTV than they had on Emily Brontë two centuries earlier. “Teenage girls may get a kick out of it, but for a broader audience it could and should have been better,” the New York Times concluded diplomatically.

The Action Figures. One of the best Brontë remakes was never actually made. A YouTube video of a fake commercial for Transformers-like action figures of Emily and her sisters — produced in 1998 as one in a series of educational shorts, although it never actually aired — shows the Brontë figures confronting the patriarchy with fake mustaches and boomerang books. When outnumbered, the trio combine to form the Brontesaurus, an all-powerful dinosaur equipped with “barrier-breaking feminist vision.”

The Novel, Re-issued, with a Vampire Boost. All it took was a nod from Bella to resurrect Emily Brontë’s masterpiece from the dead. After the heroine of the Twilight saga compared her feelings for Edward to Catherine’s love for Heathcliff, Wuthering Heights attracted a new generation of readers. Sales of the novel quadrupled, according to the Telegraph, after HarperCollins reissued it in 2009 with the tagline “Bella and Edward’s favorite book.”

Read more about Brontë from the TIME archives: More News of the Dark Foundling

TIME animals

These Might Be the Smartest Animals in the World

A hamster on a trapeze, a chicken on a tightrope and a pig who can give himself a bath--anything is possible when there's food on the other side

A goat boxed with a young boy while a raccoon played the piano and two rabbits reenacted a scene from Romeo and Juliet. Though the I.Q. Zoo in Hot Springs, Ark., might have appeared to be a roadside gimmick, it was actually an important study in psychology and animal behavior. Husband-and-wife team Marian and Keller Breland were not circus showrunners, but rather the first-ever applied animal psychologists.

After determining punishment to be an ineffective motivator, even though it was then a common method in animal training, the Brelands focused their training on the provision of rewards for successfully completed tasks. Both had studied under the eminent behavioral psychologist B.F. Skinner, but abandoned graduate study to test the commercial potential of their work. They formed a company, Animal Behavior Enterprises, and later the I.Q. Zoo, to apply principles of human behavior to animals and make an income from that work.

Together, the Brelands appeared on television, traveled to fairs and theme parks, and published an influential article on animal behavior, “The Misbehavior of Organisms.” The paper’s title was both a reference and, controversially, a challenge to Skinner’s earlier article, “The Behavior of Organisms.”

Though LIFE introduced them in 1955 as “Psychologist Keller Breland and his wife,” Marian was the one who would go on to a long career, after Keller’s was cut short by a fatal heart attack in 1965. She went on finish her Ph.D., become a professor at the University of Arkansas and marry Robert E. Bailey, who had served as the Director of Training for the Navy’s Marine Animal Program and with whom she would continue to train animals and offer workshops.

Different animals at the I.Q. Zoo, which remained open into the 1990s, performed differently under pressure. “Despite apparent stupidity,” LIFE wrote, “chickens are among the easiest creatures to train.” As for the trapeze-swinging hamster, “He occasionally falls but remains undaunted.” But perhaps the hardest worker was the pig, who, after being trained to clean up a messy room, was so eager to please that he tried to drag the photographer’s light stand to the trash.

Trainers Marian and Dr. Keller Breland with their pet hamster, 1955.
Joseph Scherschel—The LIFE Picture CollectionTrainers Marian and Dr. Keller Breland with their pet hamster.

 

Liz Ronk, who edited this gallery, is the Photo Editor for LIFE.com. Follow her on Twitter @lizabethronk.

TIME politics

How Medicare Came Into Existence

Aug. 6, 1965
Cover Credit: BORIS CHALIAPIN The Aug. 6, 1965, cover of TIME

TIME said the bill—signed on July 30, 1965—created a "welfare state beyond Roosevelt's wildest dreams"

It was 50 years ago Thursday, on July 30, 1965, that President Lyndon Johnson signed the Medicare bill, turning the national social security healthcare program for older Americans into law. But, despite Johnson’s legendary powers of legislative persuasion, the celebratory signing event—complete with the enrollment of the first Medicare beneficiary, former President Harry S. Truman—could have looked very different.

After all, the idea of helping American seniors afford health care took time to gain traction: The idea came up not long after Franklin Roosevelt initiated the modern social-security system in the 1930s. When the coinage “Medicare” first came on the American scene, the program it described was not the one we think of today. In 1960, the term referred to an opposing program proposed by the Eisenhower administration. The big fear at the time was that tying any kind of health aid to social security would quickly deplete the funds available for that then-30-year-old system; Eisenhower’s version, overseen by then-Vice President Richard Nixon, would have been both voluntary and state-funded.

In that year’s Presidential campaign, however, Nixon lost to challenger John F. Kennedy—who, as TIME put it a few years later, “vowed without qualification that his Administration would persuade a Democratic Congress to pass a medicare bill, to be financed under the social security system.” Kennedy died, however, before he could make good on that promise—which is where Johnson comes in. Benefiting from his 1964 election victory, Johnson made it happen. But what exactly it would look like remained to be settled.

By April of 1965, as TIME reported, there were three options in the running: Johnson’s social-security-linked compulsory program; an Eisenhower-esque voluntary program with no link to social security; or an American Medical Association-backed plan called “eldercare,” which prioritized patient choice and was need-based. The solution came, surprisingly, in the form of House Ways and Mean Committee chair Wilbur Mills, who had been a staunch opponent of Medicare. He combined elements of the three plans into one that would succeed. The basics of the plan were compulsory and funded by increasing social-security taxes, while extras were voluntary. The program we now know as Medicaid, for those in need, would also be expanded.

“The medicare bill will not solve all the problems of growing old—but it will certainly make the process much less costly to the elderly,” TIME noted. And that wasn’t all it did, the magazine continued. The medicare bill represented a fundamental change to American political norms:

Almost 30 years ago, Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed into law the Social Security Act. At the moment of signing, he issued a statement that, in retrospect, sounds almost apologetic: “We have tried to frame a law which will give some measure of protection to the average citizen and his family against the loss of a job and against poverty-ridden old age. This law, too, represents a cornerstone in a structure which is being built but is by no means complete. It is a structure intended to lessen the force of possible future depressions.”

Social security was mostly an emergency act in a nation still struggling out of the depths of a depression in which, in F.D.R.’s famed phrase, more than one-third of the nation was “ill-housed, ill-clad, ill-nourished.” The change since then in American life has never been more apparent than last week, when Congress acted on two bills that projected a new sort of welfare state beyond Roosevelt’s wildest dreams. First, the House of Representatives passed and sent to the Senate, where it faces certain swift approval, the Johnson Administration’s $6 billion-a-year medicare bill…

Action on both bills came not in time of depression but in the midst of the most prosperous year that the affluent society has ever known. There were a few squawks about presidential pressure, but it was widely accepted that both measures would achieve great good in making the U.S. even more affluent without turning it into a socialistic society. It was generally conceded that both bills, despite the vastness of their scope, were aimed not at increasing the power of the Federal Government, but at eradicating some remaining blemishes in the Great Society.

Read the full story, here in the TIME Vault: The New Welfare State

TIME space

The Sadly Familiar Reason NASA Was Created

Dwight D.  Eisenhower, T. Keith Glennan
AP President Dwight Eisenhower and Dr. T. Keith Glennan, the first head of NASA, discuss photos received from the satellite Tires I in Washington on April 1, 1960,

The act that created the space agency was signed on July 29, 1958

NASA may be devoted to exploring the universe, but the agency owes its existence to a far more earthly concern: office politics.

The National Aeronautics and Space Act, which was signed into law on July 29, 1958, was intended to “provide for research into problems of flight within and outside the earth’s atmosphere, and for other purposes.” One of those other purposes, as TIME noted shortly after the act was signed, was “to overcome the interservice rivalries that had confused the U.S. missile and space programs.”

Before NASA, various branches of the military were conducting research into aspects of space exploration like jet propulsion and satellites, and each wanted a key role in the exciting new field. Giving a single branch agency over all space exploration would alienate the others. Moreover, it could signal that the universe was a battleground as much as a place of inquiry. As the NASA act noted, activities in space “should be devoted to peaceful purposes.”

With the establishment of an agency specifically dedicated to space—and its counterpoint, the military research agency now known as DARPA, which was created at the same time—that bureaucratic nightmare was thought solved.

Or not. As TIME reported that autumn, NASA’s authority to take over peaceful space-centric mission didn’t exactly go down easy:

Energetic Dr. T. Keith Glennan, chief of the newly created National Aeronautics and Space Administration, made his way into the Pentagon office of Army Secretary Wilber Brucker last fortnight with a message: civilian-run NASA, operating under Congressional authority, intended to take over the Army’s missile-making Redstone Arsenal, 2,100 scientists from its missile team, the Army-backed Caltech Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Los Angeles and various other installations.

Brucker lost no time hustling down to the office of Deputy Defense Secretary Donald Quarles to protest. In Chicago Major General John Medaris, Redstone commander, dramatically got aboard a plane for Washington to fight off NASA capture—while a news leak rallied press reinforcements.

President Eisenhower tried to stop the kerfuffle by saying that he hadn’t yet decided who would run the Arsenal and Laboratory in the long run. The Army implied that they’d be fine splitting the difference and giving everything except Redstone to NASA.

A version of that plan is what ended up happening, and before the end of the year NASA’s preeminence in American space exploration was settled. And, TIME reported, there was no sign of future in-fighting—at least not that NASA’s Glennan would be involved with. “I doubt,” he said, “that I can go through this again.”

Read more from 1958, here in the TIME Vault: Fight for Space

TIME Music

The Long History of the ‘Happy Birthday’ Song—And Its Copyright

Irving Berlin
American Stock Archive—Getty Images circa 1920: Portrait of American composer Irving Berlin (1888-1989)

An ongoing case has drawn attention to the song's ownership. This wouldn't be the first time the tune's fate could be changed by a lawsuit

The strange tale of “Happy Birthday to You” took a new twist this week, when lawyers told the New York Times that they had submitted new evidence in an ongoing case about the song’s copyright. The music publishing company Warner/Chappell has long claimed ownership of the rights to the song, but a filmmaker working on a movie about the song claims to have found proof that the song belongs in the public domain.

Though the lawsuit’s results have yet to be determined, this won’t be the first time the song’s fate has been changed by a lawsuit.

The saga began back in 1893, in Louisville, Ky. Patty Smith Hill was a kindergarten teacher with a musically inclined sister, Mildred. When Mildred wrote a little tune and Patty put some child-friendly words with it—”Good morning, dear children / Good morning to all”—it was loved by the students, who helped it spread to schoolrooms throughout Kentucky and beyond. The verse about birthdays was added after the fact, and it spread even faster.

Years later, after Hill had become a recognized expert in childhood education stationed at Columbia in New York City, a new Irving Berlin musical revue called As Thousands Cheer opened on Broadway. One of the comedy sketches in the show was set at a birthday party for John D. Rockefeller Sr. during which, as the Great Depression continued in the real world, his children gave him Rockefeller Center as a token of their affection. Though the rest of the show featured music by Berlin, that scene relied on the birthday song, without the “Good Morning” verse. As TIME reported in 1934, while the case was still ongoing, the producer of As Thousands Cheer was sued for plagiarism, to the tune of $250 in payment per performance. Though Patty Hill said that she had “long ago resigned herself to the fact that her ditty had become common property of the nation,” those who had paid to use the tune in the past—like Fox, which had used it in Baby Take a Bow, a Shirley Temple film released that same year—didn’t feel so easygoing about it, and neither did Hill’s family.

It was in 1935, after the As Thousands Cheer lawsuit (which was settled), that the Hills officially registered the copyright of the birthday-centric lyrics of the song, in order to avoid future disputes.

But, ironically, it was that very show that helped make the copyright so difficult to enforce: As Thousands Cheer was a hit, and the birthday scene was influential in spreading the ritual of singing the song at every birthday party. As George Washington University law professor Bob Brauneis described on an episode of On the Media about the song, the timing was also appropriate on a world-historical level: the very idea of a regular birthday party wasn’t really widespread before the era during which the Hill sisters wrote the song. The song and the occasion at which to sing it came up together.

In 1988, the Birch Tree Group music publishers sold the copyright to Warner for an estimated $25 million. Back then, TIME reported that it would pass into the public domain in 2010. A law extending copyright terms, however, was passed in the late 1990s, and now the the “Happy Birthday” copyright should hold until no sooner than 2030—unless the current lawsuit changes that.

TIME movies

What TIME Got Really Wrong About the Beatles Movie Help!

Help!
Movie Poster Image Art / Getty Images A poster for Richard Lester's 1965 musical film 'Help!' starring The Beatles.

A last-ditch effort 'before their long love affair with the squealers dies out'

It was 50 years ago—on July 29, 1965—that the Beatles movie Help! was released in the U.K., and TIME’s critic had a very cynical guess as to why. “Help! is the Beatles‘ all-out try at carving a new career as a screen team before their long love affair with the squealers dies out,” the magazine surmised shortly after its U.S. release later that summer. “As such, it is a failure, for as actors they are still nothing but Beatles, without enough characterization—or even caricaturization—to play anything but sight gags.”

The second half of that paragraph was pretty accurate: even while playing characters, the Beatles were still unmistakably the Beatles. They never quite managed (with the possible exception of Ringo Starr’s turn on Shining Time Station) to fully take on roles other than their own. But the idea that the band needed Help! to boost a dimming star is, in hindsight, dead wrong. Today, decades after their run ended, there are plenty of “squealers” who still love the Beatles.

And, for that matter, who still love Help!

After all, even though the acting was deemed questionable, TIME’s critic found plenty to admire: “The charm and experimental spontaneity of A Hard Day’s Night has here been replaced by highly professional, carefully calculated camera work and cutting,” the review gushed, “plus a story line made out of finely wrought jack-in-the-boxes.”

Read the full review, here in the TIME Vault: Chase & Superchase

TIME Great Places

How Yellowstone Became the World’s First National Park

It's always been crowded, but there's a reason for that

There is an origin story about Yellowstone National Park that involves weary explorers sitting around a campfire, extolling the beauty of the land they’ve just seen and vowing to ensure it becomes a public park for all to enjoy. It’s a vision of altruism and environmentalism that suits the founding of the world’s first national park—only it’s not entirely true.

The members of the 1870 Washburn-Doane Expedition did likely gather for campfires as they explored the region’s geysers and rivers and waterfalls, and they did likely discuss the best use of the land they were exploring. But, as with so much of American history, there were significant corporate interests at play. Yellowstone might never have become the public parkland it is today if not for the Northern Pacific Railroad Company.

Before the explorers set out on their expedition, Northern Pacific was strategizing to expand across the Montana Territory. An influx of tourism in the region would be a boon to business, so a railroad financier, Jay Cooke, began lobbying for an expedition. To drum up excitement back east, one member of the expedition, a politician named Nathanial P. Langford, toured the country giving lectures about the beauty of Yellowstone. Meanwhile, Northern Pacific subsidized an artist to sketch images of the park for display in Washington, D.C.

In March of 1872, less than two years after the expedition, Congress enacted the Yellowstone Park Act, ensuring that the land would remain under the purview of the Department of the Interior rather than being divvied up among private individuals—an arrangement that would attract visitors to the area, which would be sure to benefit big business like the railroad company.

Seventy years into the park’s existence, LIFE dispatched Alfred Eisenstaedt to photograph its geographic features, during a summer that was shaping up to be its biggest yet for tourism. In that record year, 1946, the park saw more than 800,000 visitors. In 2014, it saw 3.5 million. Though the idea might seem incongruous, all 167 million visitors who have encountered its bison and watched Old Faithful blow (since recordkeeping began in 1904) have corporate interests to thank for one of America’s greatest natural wonders.

August 19, 1946 cover of LIFE magazine
Alfred Eisenstaedt—LIFE Magazine

Liz Ronk, who edited this gallery, is the Photo Editor for LIFE.com. Follow her on Twitter @lizabethronk.

TIME Transportation

See Incredible Photos of Vintage Airplanes

A new book offers a look into Boeing's photo archives

It was only about a decade after the Wright Brothers’ first flight that Bill Boeing, who was in the timber business in Seattle, decided to learn how to fly planes. After he ordered a plane of his own, Boeing decided the design left room for to be improved upon. So he did. In 1934, TIME called him “a hard-headed industrialist who turned to flying as a hobby, began making airplanes as a whim and ended up by giving the world a new standard of aircraft performance.”

The eponymous company he founded in 1916 has been part of nearly every step of the aviation industry’s evolution, from wood-and-canvas contraptions to the jets of the modern age.

100 Years of Boeing

In a new book, Higher: 100 Years of Boeing, by Russ Banham (available Aug. 4), 200 photos—mostly from Boeing’s company archives—are used to trace that history, and all of the pit-stops in between.

TIME Science

Scientists Identify Long-Lost Remains of Early Virginia Settlers

A stone cross marking the grave of a 17t
Mladen Antonov—AFP/Getty Images A stone cross marking the grave of a 17th-century British settler is seen at the archaeological site of Jamestown, Va., on November 22, 2011.

The bodies were buried in the 17th century

Scientists used technology to identify the remains of four early residents of Jamestown, Va., the first permanent English settlement in what would become the United States.

The Jamestown Rediscovery Foundation at Historic Jamestowne and the Smithsonian’s Museum of Natural History announced on Tuesday that the settlers lived—and held high positions—in early English America as far back at 1608. About 100 people settled along the James River in what would become the first English settlement in 1607. The colony, however, was nearly wiped out due to conflict—with Native Americans in the area and with each other—as well as famine and disease. Among the identified remains were those of Rev. Robert Hunt, Jamestown’s first Anglican minister, and Captain Gabriel Archer, a leader among the early settlers and a rival of Captain John Smith. The remaining two, Sir Ferdinando Wainman and Captian William West, were relatives of the governor Lorde De La Warr.

Archeologists with Jamestown Rediscovery have been working to identify the remains since they were found in November of 2013. Scientists from both the Smithsonian and the Rediscovery Foundation examined artifacts from the graves, forensic evidence and technology like CT scans to determine who they were. (There’s a video explaining how here, on their website.) The discovery of the burial site, however, dates back to 2010 when Jamestown Rediscovery uncovered what the organization says is the earliest known Protestant Church in North America. Within that church— in the chancel, considered the holiest part of the building—scientists found the four burial sites that held the remains of these early settlers.

“This is an extraordinary discovery, one of the most important of recent times,” said James Horn, President of the Jamestown Rediscovery Foundation, in a press release. “These men were among the first founders of English America. They lived and died at a critical time in the history of the settlement — when Jamestown was on the brink of failure owing to food shortages, disease, and conflict with powerful local Indian peoples, the Powhatans.”

The church they were buried in is significant, too. According to Jamestown Rediscovery, Pocahontas and John Rolfe were married there.

TIME Law

When Spousal Rape First Became a Crime in the U.S.

A statement by Donald Trump's lawyer has highlighted continued misunderstanding about the concept

Donald Trump lawyer Michael Cohen quickly apologized on Tuesday after he said—in response to an old allegation against Trump—that it’s impossible to rape one’s spouse. Cohen said that he did not actually believe what he had said.

His original statement also happens to be inaccurate—spousal rape is a crime in the U.S. today—but that wasn’t always so.

English common law, the source of much traditional law in the U.S., had long held that it wasn’t legally possible for a man to rape his wife. It was in 1736 that Sir Matthew Hale—the same jurist who said that it was hard to prove a rape accusation from a woman whose personal life wasn’t entirely “innocent,” setting the standard that a woman’s past sexual experiences could be used by the defense in a rape case—explained that marriage constituted permanent consent that could not be retracted.

That idea stood for centuries. Then, in 1979, a pair of cases highlighted changing legal attitudes about the concept.

Until then, most state criminal codes had rape definitions that explicitly excluded spouses. (In fact, as TIME later pointed out, it wasn’t just the case that saying “no” to one’s husband didn’t make the act that followed rape; in addition, saying “no” to one’s husband was usually grounds for him to get a divorce.) As the year opened, a man in Salem, Ore., was found not guilty of raping his wife, though they both stated that they had fought before having sex. But, even as the verdict was returned, a National Organization for Women spokesperson told TIME that “the very fact that there has been such a case” meant that change was in the air—and she was quickly proved right.

The case believed to be the first-ever American conviction for spousal rape came that fall, when a Salem, Mass., bartender drunkenly burst into the home he used to share with his estranged wife and raped her. It’s not hard to see how this case was the one that made the possibility of rape between a married couple clear to the public: they were in the middle of a divorce, and the crime involved house invasion and violence. As TIME noted, several other states had also adopted laws making it possible to pursue such a case, though they had not yet been put to the test.

By 1983, when TIME devoted an issue to “private violence,” 17 states had gotten rid of the rules that made spousal rape impossible to prosecute. In 1991, as part of another cover-story package about rape, the question came up again, revealing another change in attitudes that had yet to occur: A governmental committee the previous year had estimated that about 15% of married women would experience marital rape, and yet few of those rapes would be reported. Though the oft-cited joke about spousal rape—”But if you can’t rape your wife, who can you rape?”—no longer described mainstream opinion, an activist told TIME that many people still thought that marital rape was not real abuse but rather “she has a headache and doesn’t want to have sex and she gives in.”

And yet, when incidents were pursued, the charges tended to stick: the vast majority of cases brought in the first years after 1979 led to a conviction.

Today, spousal rape is illegal throughout the U.S.

Your browser is out of date. Please update your browser at http://update.microsoft.com