Star Trek and “The Kiss”
Star Trek is an immensely popular American science fiction franchise created by the legendary Gene Roddenberry. The original Star Trek started airing on September 6th, 1966, on Canada’s CTV network. It ran it’s last episode on June 3rd, 1969. Since it’s creation, Roddenberry’s idea has generated 5 separate series including The Animated Series, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and Enterprise, all resulting in more than 720 episodes spanning over 30 seasons. On top of the shows, Star Trek also branched out into film as well with 13 feature films and another on the way between now and 2018. Star Trek was so far ahead of its time, it tackled so many social and political themes that would still be considered hot button issues in some parts of the world today.
Star Trek even predicted a large amount of the technology we take for granted like big screen televisions, cell phones, intelligent personal assistants like Siri, replicators (3D printers), universal translators, tablet computers, eyeglass computers, video calling, bionic eyes, personal computers, and communicator badges. Oh, and the societal acceptance of interracial relations in the media because there was a time when even the implication of an interracial relationship was taboo and the idea of such things actually happening on screen was a no-no.
“History” was made in an episode titled “Plato’s Stepchildren” that originally aired on November 22, 1968. The famous interracial lip lock between Captain Kirk played by William Shatner and Lieutenant Uhura played by Nichelle Nichols became legendary. Over the years, this has been a popular talking point for fans of the show and the general public alike. Let’s get something out of the way first – facts prove this wasn’t actually the first.
Yep, it had happened a handful of times before already. The first time was a teleplay that aired in Britain in 1959 called Hot Summer Night. Ok, now some of you may be saying, “Hey, but the Star Trek kiss was the first on US television right?” Nope, that honor goes to a 1960 episode of Adventures in Paradise titled Makaha Surfing. Next up, in June of 1962, another teleplay this time from Granada called You In Your Small Corner had an interracial kiss. Then it happened again on an episode of a British soap opera called Emergency – Ward 10 in 1964.
What the Star Trek “kiss” turned out to be, was a statement, and it was made by a wildly popular show, backed by a big network that helped challenge what society deemed acceptable. It came at a time when it was really needed the most – not too long after segregation was abolished. In interviews, Nichelle claims the kiss happened, but they didn’t use the take in the show. In the aired version, full lip contact never happens and the actors turn their heads only giving the impression of a kiss. If you really look at the clip, you can tell what’s going on.