Happy Anniversary to TV’s First Inter-Racial Kiss

“On this day, November 22, 1968, television’s first inter-racial kiss appeared on Star Trek and opened the door to racial equality for generations.

In the Star Trek episode “Plato’s Stepchildren” the crew is forced to do the bidding of “gods” who force Captain Kirk (William Shatner) and Uhura (Nichelle Nichols) to kiss.

One critic said, “The underlying message was, ‘If I have to kiss you to save my ship and crew, by God, I’ll do it.'”

The moment was so ground-breaking the studio shot two versions of the scene: One with them kissing and one without in case they changed their mind.

In her autobiography, Beyond Uhura, Star Trek and Other Memories, Nichols says she got a letter from a White Southerner who said: “I am totally opposed to the mixing of the races. However, any time a red-blooded American boy like Captain Kirk gets a beautiful dame in his arms that looks like Uhura, he ain’t gonna fight it.

Happy Anniversary Kirk and Uhura’s kiss, thanks for opening the door to racial equality. I speak for many when I say I wouldn’t mind trading places with you.”

Credit to http://www.thegeektwins.com/2011/11/happy-anniversary-ground-breaking-kirk.html#.VG_xtYvF-0U

HorizLaser01

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2 comments

  1. Tracy Poff · November 23, 2014

    There’s more to the story than this, too: Shatner and Nichols intentionally flubbed every take of the non-kissing version. According to Nichols’s Beyond Uhura (as quoted by Memory Alpha–I don’t own this book): “The next day they screened the dailies, and although I rarely attended them, I couldn’t miss this one. Everyone watched as Kirk and Uhura kissed and kissed and kissed. And I’d like to set the record straight: Although Kirk and Uhura fought it, they did kiss in every single scene. When the non-kissing scene came on, everyone in the room cracked up. The last shot, which looked okay on the set, actually had Bill wildly crossing his eyes. It was so corny and just plain bad it was unusable. The only alternative was to cut out the scene altogether, but that was impossible to do without ruining the entire episode. Finally, the guys in charge relented: “To hell with it. Let’s go with the kiss.” I guess they figured we were going to be canceled in a few months anyway. And so the kiss stayed.”

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