TIME History

Archaeologists Believe They Found Dracula’s Dungeon

Circa 1450, Portrait of Vlad Tepes 'Vlad the Impaler'(c 1431-1476), from a painting in Castle Ambras in the Tyrol.
Circa 1450, portrait of Vlad Tepes or Vlad the Impaler, from a painting in Castle Ambras in the Tyrol Stock Montage/Getty Images

The dungeon believed to have held Vlad the Impaler, the inspiration for the blood-thirsty character, was recently discovered in Turkey

Archeologists in Turkey have reportedly made a spooky discovery, just in time for the start of Halloween season: the dungeon where the real-life basis for Count Dracula was held.

The cell where history’s Dracula, the Romanian prince Vlad III (nicknamed Vlad the Impaler for his gruesome tendency to impale his foes), was recently discovered during a restoration project, the Turkey-based Hurriyet Daily News reports.

Researchers are reportedly restoring the ancient Tokat Castle, where the Ottomans imprisoned the infamously cruel figure, in the mid 1400s. The team there evidently discovered a tunnel leading to two dungeons — one of which is likely to have housed Bad Old Vlad.

TIME India

See the History of U.S.-India Relations in 12 Photos

The United States and India have had a tumultuous relationship over the past six decades. As India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi continues his first visit to the U.S. as head of state, take a look back at the relationship between two of the world's largest nations. 

TIME White House

Behind the Scenes: The Complete Kennedy Assassination Story in 9 Pages

Oct. 2, 1964, cover
The Oct. 2, 1964, cover of TIME TIME

Looking back on the Warren Commission Report, 50 years after its findings on the Kennedy assassination were released

Only a week had passed since President John F. Kennedy’s assassination when his successor in the White House, Lyndon B. Johnson, appointed the Warren Commission to investigate the crime. The nation and its government wanted answers about what had happened, and the Commission was given the task of finding them, releasing their report 50 years ago Wednesday on Sept. 24, 1964.

In the form in which it was delivered to Johnson, the Warren Commission Report was 888 pages long, including photos and diagrams and, by TIME’s count, 706 pages of text.

For the reporters and writers at TIME, that length meant that efficiency was of the essence to publish a response ahead of the magazine’s weekly deadline. As recounted in the publisher’s note from the Oct. 2, 1964, issue, the staff was given a small head start:

While printing presses ran day and night to reprint the full document in various editions, our job was different: we went to work to excerpt the report, cull its most significant detail, and summarize its meaning in a special nine-page section.

The task began on Friday morning, 54 hours before the report’s official release and less than 36 hours before this issue was to go to press. In the Indian Treaty Room of Washington’s old Executive Office Building, advance copies were being handed out to the press from three pushcarts. Near the head of the line that had formed was John Brown, a messenger working for TIME’S Washington Bureau. He placed ten copies in a suitcase and headed for the airport. Less than two hours later, copies were turned over to a team assigned to prepare the special section—Nation Editor Champ Clark, Writers Marshall Loeb and William Johnson, Researchers Harriet Heck and Pat Gordon. They closed their doors and started reading the nearly 300,000 words.

About seven hours later, they were ready for a dinner conference with TIME’S managing editor. The entire section was written, edited, checked and in type not long after our usual press time on Saturday night.

“We worked through the night and into a second night,” recalls Marshall Loeb, now 85. “The mood was one of determination to get the story done.”

In addition to recounting the events that surrounded the assassination, the Commission’s report debunked the major conspiracy theories that had emerged in the year after that day. Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. He and Jack Ruby had no connection. There was no foreign conspiracy, nor was there a domestic one.

But what the report lacked in scandal it made up for in detail. “Its great value comes from the thoroughness with which the Commission carried out its investigation, from its laying to rest many malignant rumors and speculations, and from its fascinating wealth of detail by which future historians can abide,” noted TIME’s story on the report.

Among those details were many that Loeb and his colleagues decided were worth highlighting for TIME’s readers. There was the clear plastic bubble that could have covered the convertible in which the President was driving, had it not been such a nice day. The fact that the plastic wasn’t actually bulletproof in the first place. The “chilling re-enactment of the assassination” that the Commission staged in order to make sure the car would have been visible from the Book Depository window. The list of characteristics of Oswald’s home life: an unusual attachment to his mother, delusions of grandeur, insistence that his wife could not smoke or drink or wear make-up. The Secret Service agents who were out drinking the night before. The failure to secure the buildings along the motorcade route.

“The Warren Commission Report piece was to be the definitive piece for TIME on the Kennedy assassination,” Loeb says, and everyone working on it knew so.

After the special issue was published, Loeb, who had first joined TIME in 1956, would end up spending 30 more years at Time Inc., retiring in 1994 from his job as managing editor of Fortune magazine. Following his retirement, he became editor of the Columbia Journalism Review. So it’s only fitting that, when he looks back on the Warren Commission Report piece, it’s with an editor’s eye that he sees the way those 36 hours of work have stood the test of 50 years.

“I think it was a well-done job — one, to focus the material and, two, picking out which areas of the report to focus on. To this very day, if someone picks up the Warren Commission Report, which is like a big book, and picks up one of our stories about the report, it will look very good,” Loeb says. “There were no huge errors discovered afterward — I mean years afterward, when there was plenty of time to examine it.”

Read TIME’s special section on the Warren Commission Report, free of charge, here in the archives: The Warren Commission Report

Watch a video report on how LIFE acquired Abraham Zapruder’s film of the JFK assassination: How LIFE Brought the Zapruder Film to Light

TIME Scotland

Why Scotland Wanted to Break Up With England

The two countries fought for centuries before being united as part of the U.K.

It turns out that Scotland will be staying in the United Kingdom, but why did Scotland want to break away in the first place? Partially, it had to do with Scotland’s long-standing rivalry with England.

Before the neighboring countries were joined together by the Acts of Union in 1707, their history was marked by a slew of battles. Although the wars ended, their rivalry continued into to the modern era. Even with a “No” vote against independence winning, Scotland’s general distaste for the English is unlikely to fade.

TIME Opinion

How I Got Out of the Vietnam Draft — And Why That Still Matters

amnesty: Sept. 9, 1974
The Sept. 9, 1974, issue of TIME reports on the amnesty proposal, which was issued on Sept. 16, 1974. TIME

The Vietnam draft dodgers were offered amnesty 40 years ago today, but their story isn't over

My ’60s high-school experience was close to the stereotype — smoking pot, trying LSD, seeing the world in a new way, and questioning authority: If the government lied about drugs, why not about other things?

It turned out that the Gulf of Tonkin Incident, the justification for the Vietnam War, was one of those lies — as have been the justifications for most of our wars, I believe — but I didn’t find that out until later. Still, even before I knew that war was based on a lie, I could see that our nation was divided and confused about it. No one could give me a good, clear, convincing explanation of what was going on. Wasn’t that uncertainty a sufficient reason to refrain from killing millions of people? That’s how I felt at the time, though I couldn’t have articulated it so well back then.

I didn’t figure that out all by myself. I had the good fortune to fall in with some other teenagers who were also figuring it out. We spent many hot summer afternoons in someone’s cool basement, playing peace music and reading counterculture comic books. We listened to the sound track of Hair over and over. Clear Light’s cover of “Mr. Blue” was a stunning indictment of authoritarianism, though I didn’t learn the word “authoritarianism” until years later.

We felt that the war and the draft were bad, but I didn’t fully understand what my friends were going through; my own experience was too different. I was good at math, so I knew I’d be going to college, and I’d automatically get a draft deferment. Also, I felt less nationalism than most people. For me it would be just an inconvenience, not a great hardship, to flee to Canada, at that time a safe haven for draft dodgers. I knew that I would never wear a uniform.

Then, in November 1969, after I’d been in college for a year, the rules changed. A lottery began phasing out student deferments. My roommates and I started thinking and talking more about the draft. It occurred to me that the people on the draft board were human beings who deserved a friendly hello as much as anyone did, so I wrote them a letter.

The letter was very brief. I don’t remember the exact words, but they were something like this: “Dear Draft Board, I feel sorry for President Nixon. He must have had a terrible childhood. Why else would he be bombing all those Cambodians?”

It wasn’t just ink on paper. I thought anyone on a draft board must have a terribly drab life and deserved some cheering up – so, when my breakfast cereal box was empty, I cut out the front panel, which included a colorful cartoon character. I flipped it over to the blank cardboard that had faced the inside of the box. In crayon, with the great innocence that can come from LSD, I wrote the letter that I sent to my draft board.

It wasn’t a conscious attempt to get out of the draft. That payoff hadn’t even occurred to me. But my draft board promptly decided I was crazy, and classified me 4F, unfit for military service. They even phoned my parents to offer condolences. I got off lucky; a more authoritarian board would have drafted my sorry ass right then and there.

Perhaps I was crazy, but not as crazy as war. At any rate, I was safe, and home free, and no longer affected by the draft. I hardly noticed the draft-related events of the next few years: In 1973 the draft ended, in 1974 President Ford offered conditional amnesty to the draft dodgers — 40 years ago today — and in 1975 the war ended. But by then the draft had already done great damage to the U.S. military and its image. I’ve heard many stories of soldiers who didn’t like what they were forced to do.

During my college years, at first I joined in a few antiwar marches. But I found political arguments frustrating, so after a while I put them aside; I left the world in the hands of people who claimed to know what they were doing. I grew into a middle-class life, with spouse, house, two kids, and a tenured mathematics professorship at a prestigious university. I didn’t think about political ideas again for decades. Then, in 2006, a number of changes in my life gave me time to think, and I woke up. I realized the world was a mess, and taking care of it is the responsibility of all of us; it seems to me that the people in whose hands I’d left it did not know what they were doing. Since then I’ve been marching for many causes, and reading and writing about politics. Among other things, I’ve formed much stronger opinions about war and the draft.

It turned out that the Vietnam War never really ended — it changed its name and location, but as far as I can see, the questionable justifications have not changed. Politicians tell us that the people “over there” are different from us, but really those people are our cousins. I think we need politicians who will try harder to make diplomacy work.

And the draft never really ended either — now it’s a poverty draft. I hear stories all the time about people joining the military because they can’t find a decent job. Forty years after the draft dodgers were offered pardon, their message still matters: being able to choose what you’ll fight for is a freedom worth fighting for.

Eric Schechter is Professor Emeritus of Mathematics at Vanderbilt University. Since his retirement in 2013, he has devoted his time to political causes.

Read 1974 coverage of President Ford’s decision to grant amnesty to draft evaders here, in TIME’s archives: Choices on Amnesty

TIME History

FDR’s Polio: The Steel in His Soul

Jeffrey Kluger is Editor at Large for TIME.

Disease can break a lot of people. As a new film by Ken Burns and an exclusive video clip show, it helped make Franklin Roosevelt

No one will ever know the name of the boy scout who changed the world. Odds are even he never knew he had so great an impact on history. It’s a certainty that he was carrying the poliovirus—but he may not have known that either since only one in every 200 infected people ever comes down with the paralytic disease. And it’s a certainty too that he had it in late July of 1921 when he and a raucous gathering of other scouts had gathered on Bear Mountain in New York for a summer jamboree. So important was the event in the scouting world that it even attracted a visit by the former Assistant Secretary of the Navy and 1920 Democratic Vice Presidential nominee, Franklin Roosevelt.

This much is painfully certain too: somehow, the virus that inhabited the boy found its way to the man, settling first in his mucus membranes, and later in his gut and lymph system, where it multiplied explosively, finally migrating to the anterior horn cells of his spinal cord. On the evening of August 10, a feverish Roosevelt climbed into bed in his summer cottage on Campobello Island in Canada’s Bay of Fundy. It was the last time he would ever stand unassisted again.

Roosevelt’s polio, which struck him down just as his political star was rising, was supposed to be the end of him. The fact that it wasn’t is a self-evident matter of history. Just why it wasn’t has been the subject of unending study by historians and other academics for generations. This year, Roosevelt and his polio are getting a fresh look—for a few reasons.

October 28 will be the 100th birthday of Jonas Salk, whose work developing the first polio vaccine was backed by the March of Dimes, which was then known as the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis and which itself grew out of the annual President’s Birthday Balls, nationwide events to raise funds for polio research, the first of which was held on FDR’s 52nd birthday, on January 30, 1934, early in his presidency. That initial birthday ball raised a then-unimaginable $1 million in a single evening, a sum so staggering Roosevelt took to the radio that night to thank the nation.

“As the representative of hundreds of thousands of crippled children,” he said, “I accept this tribute. I thank you and bid you goodnight on what to me is the happiest birthday I have ever known.”

This year too marks one more step in what is the hoped-for end game for the poliovirus, as field-workers from the World Health Organization, Rotary International, UNICEF and others work to vaccinate the disease into extinction, focusing their efforts particularly on Pakistan, one of only three countries in the world where polio remains endemic.

Then too there is the much-anticipated, 14-hr. Ken Burns film, The Roosevelts: An Intimate History, which begins airing on Sept. 14. It is by no means the first Roosevelt documentary, but it is the first to gather together all three legendary Roosevelts—Franklin, Theodore and Eleanor—and explore them as historical co-equals. It’s the segments about FDR and his polio that are perhaps the most moving, however—and certainly the most surprising, saying what they do about the genteel way a presidential disability was treated by the media and by other politicians in an era so very different from our own.

“We think we’re better today because we know so much more,” Burns told TIME in a recent conversation. “But FDR couldn’t have gotten out of the Iowa caucuses because of his infirmity. CNN and Fox would have been vying for shots of him sweating and looking uncomfortable in those braces.”

That’s not a hard tableau to imagine—the competing cameras and multiple angles, shown live and streamed wide. And what Americans would have seen would not have been pretty, because never mind how jolly Roosevelt tried to appear, his life involved far, far more pain and struggle than the public ever knew, as a special feature from the film, titled “Able-Bodied,” makes clear. That segment, which is not part of the broadcast and is included only on the film’s DVD and Blu-Ray versions, which are being released almost contemporaneously with the film, was made available exclusively to TIME (top).

Concealing—or at least minimizing—the president’s paralysis was nothing short of subterfuge, the kind of popular manipulation that wouldn’t be countenanced today. But it’s worth considering what would have been lost by exposing the masquerade that allowed FDR to achieve and hold onto power. Roosevelt, as the Burns film makes clear, was a man whose ambition and native brilliance far exceeded his focus and patience. It was a restlessness that afflicted cousin Teddy too, causing him to make sometimes impulsive decisions, like pledging in 1904 that he wouldn’t run again in 1908—an act he regretted for the rest of his life and tried to undo with his failed third-party presidential bid in 1912.

“Who knows what would have happened if Teddy had had the great crises Franklin had—the Depression and World War II?” Burns says. “I do know he was unstable and always had to be in motion. It fell to FDR, who could not move, to figure out a way to outrun his demons.”

George Will, in an artful turn in the “Able-Bodied” clip, observes that when the steel went onto Roosevelt’s legs it also went into his soul. That may have been true in FDR’s case, but it’s true too that suffering is not ennobling for everyone. Some people are broken by it; some are embittered by it. As polio nears the end of its long and terrible run, the things FDR achieved despite—even partly because of—his affliction remain nothing short of remarkable.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Music

Ringo Starr’s Sad Tambourine Moment

Feb. 21, 1964
From the Feb. 21, 1964, issue of TIME TIME

Sept. 11, 1962: The Beatles record their first single

On the Beatles’ first single, Ringo was relegated to the tambourine.

It was on this day in 1962 that the band recorded “Love Me Do,” which hit number 17 on the British pop charts when it was released in October of that year, then topped the U.S. charts upon its American release two years later.

But, when they showed up to record the track at EMI Studios on London’s Abbey Road, Beatles producer George Martin asked Ringo Starr to hand his sticks over to a session drummer. Starr had only joined the group a few weeks earlier and Martin wasn’t sold on his sound. He asked Starr to play tambourine on “Love Me Do” and maracas on “P.S. I Love You,” the single’s B-side. Starr, insulted, was cool toward Martin for years, although the producer later apologized. In 1968, praising Starr’s work on the band’s eighth album, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Martin said he was “probably the finest rock drummer in the world.”

Legions of screaming girls had come to this conclusion within a year of the single’s release, by which time Beatlemania was in full force and no session drummer could unseat Starr. Even the Queen Mother seemed taken with the quartet, although some in the older generation were less enthralled. A 1963 TIME story was snarkily disparaging, noting that, “Although no Beatle can read music, two of them dream up half the Beatles’ repertory.”

“Love Me Do” was one of the pieces John Lennon and Paul McCartney dreamed up when they were just teenagers themselves, with lyrics Rolling Stone says were scribbled into a school notebook under the heading “Another Lennon-McCartney Original.”

TIME’s reviewer found it less original. “Though Americans might find the Beatles achingly familiar (their songs consist mainly of ‘Yeh!’ screamed to the accompaniment of three guitars and a thunderous drum), they are apparently irresistible to the English,” proclaims the un-bylined dispatch.

By 1964, however, when “Love Me Do” crossed the Atlantic, the magazine had developed some fondness for the Beatles — and for Starr in particular:

What recommends the Beatles more than anything else is their bright and highly irreverent attitude toward themselves and their international magnitude. Reporters toss ticking questions at them, but it is generally the replies that explode.

“Why do you wear so many rings, Ringo?” demanded one reporter.

“Because I can’t fit them all through my nose.”

“What do you think of Beethoven, Ringo?”

“I love his poems.”

Their music was beside the point in any case, the critic adds: “They are adulated singers whose swarming fans scream so steadily through each song that they cannot possibly hear what is being sung.”

Read TIME’s full 1964 report on the Beatles here, in TIME’s archives: The Unbarbershopped Quartet

TIME History

The Most Anticipated Babies of All Time

We list 'em all, from the Royal Baby to "Fetus King" Shapur II.

Britain's Prince William and Kate Duchess of Cambridge and the Prince
John Stillwell—AP

“Royal Baby” mania carries on today as the British monarchy announced that Kate Middleton and Prince William are expecting a second child — who will become fourth in the line to the throne— just a little more than a year after Prince George was born on July 22, 2013. Here, we look back at other famous offspring who attracted a lot of media attention.

  • North West

    Singer Kanye West and reality tv actress Kim Kardashian arrive at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Benefit celebrating the opening of "PUNK: Chaos to Couture" in New York
    Lucas Jackson—Reuters

    b. June 15, 2013. Daughter of Kanye West and Kim Kardashian

    Tabloid speculation—about the Kim’s weight, Kanye’s commitment, and, of course, the baby’s sex—ran rampant for months. And when Kim went into early labor (5 weeks before her due date), some fans went so far as to claim her baby was the messiah.

  • Blue Ivy Carter

    People Beyonce Jay-Z
    Courtesy of the Carter Family—AP Photo

    b. January 7, 2012. Daughter of Beyoncé and Jay-Z

    Her existence was announced at the end of Beyoncé’s 2011 Video Music Awards performance of “Love on Top” (side note: the best part of this video is Kanye trying to get in on the announcement), and when she was born, her parents reportedly rented out the hospital’s entire fourth floor—for $1.3 million.
  • Shiloh Jolie-Pitt

    PEOPLE PITT JOLIE
    People Magazine—AP Photo/Getty Images
    b. May 27, 2006. Daughter of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie
    Though the much-lauded “world’s most beautiful couple” had previously adopted, Shiloh was their first biological child. In an attempt to avoid the media circus, the family traveled to Namibia for the birth. Her first public photo was on the cover of People, which reportedly bought the images for $4.1 million. (Profits were donated to charities serving African children.)
  • Suri Cruise

    Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes pre wedding dinner at Nino's restaurant in Rome
    Alessandra Benedetti

    b. April 18, 2006. Daughter of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes

    She was amid a flood of rumors that the TomKat marriage was a publicity stunt—the couple began dating in April in 2005 and were married by November—and her first public photo graced the cover of the second-best-selling issue of Vanity Fair ever.
  • Prince William

    Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Diana, Princess of Wales
    Tim Graham—Getty Images

    b. June 21, 1982. Son of Charles, Prince of Wales, and Diana, Princess of Wales

    His mother, then 20 years old, was already a global obsession, and William’s birth marked the continued reign of the Windsor monarchy.

  • Louise Brown

    PREMIER BEBE-EPROUVETTE EN 1978
    Gamma-Keystone—Getty Images

    b. July 25, 1978. Daughter of Lesley and John Brown

    She was the first baby born via in vitro fertilization—after doctors spent 12 years honing their methods—and was heralded as a medial miracle. Robert Edwards, one of the IVF pioneers, received the 2010 Nobel Prize in medicine for his work. Louise’s birth also spotlighted the controversy surrounding “test tube babies.”

  • John F. Kennedy, Jr.

    KENNEDY
    AP Photo

    b. November 25, 1960. Son of President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy

    He was born at the Georgetown University Hospital sixteen days after his father was elected president—the first-ever child born under those circumstances. Frank Sinatra and Queen Elizabeth were among those who sent gifts to the Kennedys when “John-John” was born.
  • Princess Caroline

    GRACE DE MONACO CONSOLANT SA FILLE CAROLINE BEBE 1957
    Gamma-Keystone/Getty Images

    b. January 23, 1957. Daughter of Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier III of Monaco

    Her mom touted around a now-famous Hermes bag to hide her pregnancy from the paparazzi, who followed her every move.

  • Desi Arnaz Jr.

    The Arnaz Family
    KM Archive/Getty Images

    b. January 19, 1953. Son of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz

    His mom’s pregnancy was written into the plot of I Love Lucy, which was a daring move for a TV show at the time. The same day that she gave birth to Desi Jr., her fictional counterpart, Lucy Ricardo, gave birth to Little Ricky on the show (though the baby was not played by Desi Jr. ). His photo eventually graced the first ever TV Guide in April 1953, accompanied by the title “Lucy’s $50,000,000 baby.”

  • Charles Lindbergh Jr.

    LE FILS DE CHARLES LINDBERGH AGE DE DEUX SEMAINES EN 1930
    Keystone-France/Getty Images

    b. June 22, 1930. Son of famous aviator Charles Lindbergh and Anne Morrow

    Perhaps the first celebrity baby, the press had dubbed him “Little Eaglet” before he was born, and reporters waited en masse at the gate of the Morrow estate during and after his birth. Meanwhile, a song based on his arrival played on broadcasting stations. Sadly, the baby became infamous 20 months later, when he was kidnapped and killed.

  • Esther Cleveland

    Harris Ewing—Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

    b. September 9, 1893. Daughter of President Grover Cleveland and First Lady Frances Folsom Cleveland

    She was born during her dad’s second term, becoming the first and only child of a president to be born in the White House.
  • Alfonso XIII

    Alfonso XIII
    Hulton-Deutsch Collection/Corbis

    b. May 17, 1886. Son of Alfonso XII and Maria Christina of Austria

    He became king of Spain the day he was born (his father had died the previous year), prompting French newspaper Le Figaro to dub him “the happiest and best-loved of all the rulers of the earth.” Alas, Alfonso did not prove to be a particularly successful king. During his rule, Spain lost the last of its colonies, and Alfonso lost the monarchy to military dictator Francisco Franco.

  • Henry VI

    Henry VI
    Hulton Archive/Getty Images

    b. December 6, 1421. Son of King Henry V and Catherine of Valois

    He became England’s youngest king at eight months old after his father’s death. Upon his grandfather’s death two months later, he was crowned the King of France, as well. Eventually, Henry went insane and was locked away in the tower of London.
  • Shapur II the Great

    Silver plate, partially gilded, representing king, probably Shapur II hunting deer
    De Agostini/Getty Images

    b. 309. Son of King Hormizd II, the eighth king of the Sassanid Empire

    When his father died, according to legend, Persian nobles dispatched of his three living sons—killing the eldest, blinding the second, and imprisoning the third. The throne was then reserved for the unborn child of one of Hormizd’s wives, making Shapur II the first and possibly only king in history ever to be crowned in utero: the crown was literally placed upon the mother’s belly.
    This article was originally published on June 21, 2013.
TIME Television

Original Star Trek Reviewers Just Didn’t Get It

Sept. 9, 1966 Star Trek listing
From the Sept. 9, 1966, issue of TIME TIME

Sept. 8, 1966: 'Star Trek' debuts

Correction appended, Sept. 10, 2014

The gadgets were cool but the plot was a bust, reviewers tended to agree. When the U.S.S. Enterprise made its maiden voyage into American living rooms on this evening in 1966, it met with ambivalent reactions from an audience fascinated with space travel but skeptical of schlock. Star Trek, in which “a cruiser-size rocket ship… investigates new worlds and unimagined civilizations in deep space,” according to TIME’s 1966 TV listing, had plenty of both.

In the debut episode, Captain Kirk was attacked by a vampiric shape-shifting alien. Some critics may have been rooting for the alien; few had kind words for the show. Jack Gould at the New York Times called it “astronautical soap opera that suffers from interminable flight drag.” The Boston Globe’s Percy Shain found it “too clumsily conceived and poorly developed to rate as an A-1 effort.”

Scientist and prolific science fiction writer Isaac Asimov took issue with the show’s astronomical inaccuracies, which he pointed out in his 1966 TV Guide article, “What Are a Few Galaxies Among Friends?”

Critics may not have been surprised that the show was canceled after only three seasons. They certainly didn’t predict its profound and enduring cultural impact. The twelve Star Trek movies have so far grossed roughly $2 billion at the box office, and a new film is slated for release in 2016. The original show spawned five additional series, including an animated one. Star Trek: The Next Generation, ran for seven seasons and, in its heyday, was the highest-rated syndicated show in TV history.

In recent years, Star Trek has gotten more respect. Apart from the diehard Trekkies who dress up for conventions and master the Klingon language, a number of prominent public figures have outed themselves as fans, including Mel Brooks, Colin Powell and the physicist Stephen Hawking, who made a cameo on an episode of The Next Generation, appearing as a holograph alongside Albert Einstein and Isaac Newton.

There was more to the show than schlock, a new wave of critics attest. TIME’s Richard Zoglin defended the show in 1994, arguing:

In all its incarnations, Star Trek conveys Roddenberry’s optimistic view of the future. Sinister forces and evil aliens might lurk behind every star cluster, but on the bridge of the Enterprise, people of various races, cultures and planets work in utopian harmony. Their adventures, in the early days, were often allegories for earthbound problems like race relations and Vietnam — problems that were solved with reason.

Even Asimov eventually came around. He told TIME in 1967 that his writing schedule kept him confined to his attic office most of the time. He emerged only occasionally, he said, to watch his favorite TV show: Star Trek.

Read Richard Zoglin’s full story about the enduring appeal of Star Trek here, in TIME’s archives: Trekking Onward

CORRECTION: The original version of this post misstated the number of Star Trek spin-offs. There have been five, including the animated version.

TIME Sports

Remembering Fred Perry’s Reign of Dominance at the U.S. Open

Fred Perry: Sept. 3, 1934
Fred Perry on the Sept. 3, 1934, cover of TIME Keystone / TIME

The English star won three U.S. Open championships in four years to cement his status amongst tennis' all-time greats

In 2012, Andy Murray became just the third British man in history to win the U.S. Open title. The first was Lawrence Doherty in 1903. Neither repeated as champion and neither was the greatest British tennis player of all time. That distinction belongs to Fred Perry, who captured the U.S. championship three times in four years (1933, 1934 and 1936) to go along with three Wimbledon titles and one each at the Australian and French Opens. Each British star to gain some degree of prominence in that last 80 years has lived in his shadow — one that somehow seems to grow with each successive year.

But in 1933, Perry was no legend. When the 24-year-old arrived in Forest Hills, N.Y. — then the site of the National Singles Championship, as the event now called the U.S. Open was known until the 1960s — he had no Grand Slam titles to his name. He was simply trying to do what no British man had done in 30 years: win a U.S. title. He had come close in previous years, reaching the fourth round twice and the semifinals once, but had yet to make so much as a major final. That changed in September 1933, when he defeated Australian Jack Crawford, who had already completed three legs of the Grand Slam that year. It was no easy task for Perry, who had to come back from being down two sets to one to claim the championship. Here’s how TIME described the action after the third set was completed:

With judicial composure [Crawford] strolled to the marquee where his plump wife was smiling, chatted for ten minutes, while Perry went to change his flannels for ducks that would flap less in the wind. With a crowd to watch him, Perry, like Borotra, gives an impression of being debonair, lighthearted, only incidentally concerned with winning. In reality, even more than most crack players, he is deadly serious about tennis. Determined to win one important championship in 1933, he had trained a whole year for last week’s final.

Perry did win that championship, claiming the final two sets — ensuring that, though Crawford had been the tennis star to make TIME’s cover on the occasion of the 1933 Open, Perry was cover material in 1934. He lost just one more match at Forest Hills (in the 1935 semifinals) over the course of his amateur career. His five-set victory over Don Budge in 1936 was his last major victory before turning pro near the end of that year.

Though a Brit will not be winning this year’s U.S. Open (Murray was eliminated by top-seeded Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals), there’s still ample hope that the finals live up to some of Perry’s more epic matches on America’s grandest tennis stage.

Read TIME’s 1934 cover story about Fred Perry here, in TIME’s archives: Tennists to Forest Hills

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