OT half-century prospective

Nichelle Nichols, who played Uhura in ‘Star Trek’ franchise, dies at 89.
As Uhura: the first interracial kiss on American prime-time television,

“Come quick, come quick. There’s a Black lady on television and she ain’t no maid!”
adolescent Whoopi Goldberg

9 Likes

A beautiful lady, a good long life with plenty of honors.

Wendy

5 Likes

“Come quick, come quick. There’s a Black lady on television and she ain’t no maid!”

Most of the time, she answered the phone. iirc, in the first few eps, she had a gold dress, denoting a line officer. Then they transitioned her to a red dress, denoting engineering staff, not on the command track.

I remember the reporting at the time on her being bored with the part. There was an article in “TV Guide” titled “let me off at the next planet”, because she wasn’t being given anything substantive to do.

“I Spy” debuted in September of 65, a year before “Star Trek”, with Cosby and Bob Culp interacting as equals, not the commander/low ranking subordinate relationship of Kirk and Uhura. Some southern US stations refused to air “I Spy” because it showed a black and white interacting as equals.

Diahann Carroll starred as “Julia”, which premiered in September 68, and Cosby followed “I Spy” with “The Bill Cosby Show”, in September 69.

Nichols’ part was akin to that of Ivan Dixon’s on “Hogan’s Heroes”, but “Heroes” debuted a year earlier, September 65.

I watched all these shows when they were new. I have heard that narrative, for decades, that Nichols was a “game changer”, or “ground breaker”, but she was neither the first African American in a position of responsibility on a series, nor was she treated as an equal, and she certainly was not the first lead in a series. I don’t know where that “ground breaker” narrative comes from.

Steve

2 Likes

I don’t know where that “ground breaker” narrative comes from.

First inter-racial kiss.

4 Likes

First inter-racial kiss.

“Plato’s Stepchildren” was a horrible ep, in the third season that abounded with clunkers. And, the characters were forced to kiss by their captors. Kirk could have as easily been forced to kiss Spock.

Steve

1 Like

I Spy" debuted in September of 65, a year before “Star Trek”, with Cosby…

First Black Female that wasn’t a maid…

2 Likes

Back in the 1950’s the TV comedy “Amos and Andy” had an all Black cast. Ruby was the feisty fiancée of Andrew Brown, second half of the Amos 'n Andy comedy team. It was a very funny series and quite popular with Blacks (a designation which would be assigned more than a decade later) but many of the characters were so stereotyped that the show would not be considered politically correct today.

Jeff

3 Likes