A Letter From the Publisher: Dec. 21, 1987

Aug. 24, 1985. Three journalists are waiting in an airport lounge. The voice of an anchorman floats from a flickering television screen: "The Kremlin's new leader remains a mystery . . ." As his words fade, the three men, all TIME editors, board a flight for Moscow on their way to the first interview that Mikhail Gorbachev granted to any Western journalists.

Cut. Print. The editors were played by actors, but the scene was based on fact. It was re-enacted for a 30-second television commercial that will be launched this week in 20 cities. The first of three such TV spots,...

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