It’s a moment that has lived long and prospered.
On Thanksgiving, 50 years ago to the date, “Star Trek” boldly went where no US TV show had gone before when it featured the small screen’s first interracial kiss.
Now a piece of that history is up for grabs — with the costume worn by William Shatner in that famous scene about to go up for auction.
The red, Grecian-style robe (below left) that Shatner’s Captain Kirk wore while locking lips with Nichelle Nichols’ Lieutenant Uhura in the episode “Plato’s Stepchildren” is expected to be beamed up for as much as $60,000 when the hammer falls at Propstore.com on Dec. 1.
The green outfit (below right) worn by Leonard Nimoy’s Spock in that episode is also up for auction.
The episode aired on Nov. 22, 1968, just a year after the Supreme Court’s landmark Loving v. Virginia decision ended state laws banning interracial marriage.
It didn’t have a particularly high-brow premise — the crew of the Enterprise encounters a Greek-culture-obsessed alien race with telekinetic powers.
While under the aliens’ mind control, Kirk and Uhura are forced into a passionate smooch.
NBC originally wanted to shoot two versions of the scene — one where they kiss, and one where they just embrace — to avoid upsetting affiliates in the Jim Crow South, Nichols said in a 2010 interview with the Archive of American Television.
But Shatner deliberately messed up the kiss-free take by crossing his eyes, she says, and the network went with the taboo-shattering version.
“We got to the day — you know, the Great Day. And all of a sudden, there was this buzz around the studio. They were concerned how the South was going to take it,” Nichols recalled in a 2001 radio interview.
But the response was overwhelmingly positive.
“The mail poured in. We had more mail on that episode than any other episode in all of the time of ‘Star Trek,’ ” she said.
The most “negative” letter that show creator Gene Roddenberry shared with her was hardly scathing.
“It was from a man in the South who said, ‘I don’t believe in the integration of races and the fraternization of the races, but anytime a red-blooded American boy like Captain Kirk gets a girl in his arms that looks like Lieutenant Uhura, he ain’t gonna fight it,’ ” Nichols told Trek Today.
“So so much for the worries and the concerns about whether people can handle it.”
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