A bit late in the day to post this, but better late than never. I’ll be brief…
Today in history, September 8th, 1966… Star Trek, the sci-fi tv series that spawned a media franchise that continues through today, premiered on NBC.
You’ve likely all heard the story of how Martin Luther King Jr. persuaded Nichelle Nichols to remain on the original series as Lt. Uhura when she almost left the show after its first season, to pursue her Broadway dreams. ‘
Nichelle has previously detailed the story of how she landed the role, with the show’s creator, Gene Roddenberry, on her heels, plus her meeting with MLK, and his words of wisdom that resonated with, and influenced her.
The true story summary goes… halfway through the second year of the series, Nichols was offered a show on Broadway, something she always dreamed of. On a Friday in the fall of 1967, Nichols went to Roddenberry, and submitted her resignation. The following day she was invited to speak by the NAACP at UCLA. After the discussion, an aide informed Nichols that there was a huge fan in the audience who asked to meet her. She agreed to meet with the fan, whom she expected to be a “Trekkie,” but who actually turned out to be MLK, who then convinced her of the significance of her role as a black woman on this science fiction TV series, and how important it was that she stay.
And the rest, as they say, is history.
Thankfully, she stayed put! After all, if she did leave for Broadway, we may never have had the now notorious kiss “heard” around the world, which happened during the show’s 3rd season, in 1968.
Watch and enjoy all 3 videos below…
First, the kiss, which doesn’t come until the tail-end of the clip (although, was it really a kiss…?):
And this has to be one of my favorite Uhura moments, for what should be fairly obvious reasons:
But I’ll tell ya this, if you want to see Nichelle Nichols completely shed her Uhura mask, you’ve got to watch her in Truck Turner with Isaac Hayes. She’s quite the super, sexy, slick fox in that one. Here’s a sample (by the way, in 2010, it was reported that Queen Latifah was working on a remake of the 1974 blaxploitation classic; no word on whether that’s still coming) :