Nickel City Con set up me with a set of cool interviews ahead of the Nickel City Con in May, including published interviews with Billie Dee Williams and William Shatner that can be found at DailyPublic.com.
This interview with Nichelle Nichols, who played Lieutenant Uhura on the Star Trek TV series and original movies, was finished a little late and was never published.
For the first time, check out this exclusive interview with TV legend Nichelle Nichols!
Of all the groundbreaking performers appearing at Nickel City Con, Nichelle Nichols, 84, may hold the most significant place in history. As Lieutenant Uhura on Star Trek, Nichols was among the first African American actresses to not play a servant in a recurring role on television. She was also part of the first televised interracial kiss with William Shatner, which the two actors plotted to make certain was aired, Nichols said.
Nichols will be on hand May 19-21 at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center for the Nickel City Con.
William Shatner will be in town for the Nickel City Con as well. People remember the groundbreaking interracial kiss between Captain Kirk and Lieutenant Uhura as an important cornerstone in television. Looking back, do you remember feeling the historic gravity of the moment, or were you more worried about shooting a potentially awkward scene?
We weren’t so worried about it being awkward, we were worried that the higher-ups at the studio were going to throw a fit. To be safe, the producers wanted us to shoot two versions of the scene, with and without the kiss. We had a secret agreement, where we’d flub every take except the one where we did the kiss. Some people were pulling hair by the end but at the end of the day the kiss was the only take they had!
What’s your favorite part of being part of the convention scene? What are some of the strangest items people have brought for your to sign?
My favorite part is always the fans. Hearing their stories, being able to see their enthusiasm, it always lifts my spirits. That’s why I’ve kept traveling all these years, they energize me.
You’ve long been a supporter and advocate for NASA and space exploration. What are some of the developments in space travel and space discovery that fascinate you now?
There is so much that excites me. One is the research into new propulsion technology, like the LightSail being tested by my good friends at the Planetary Society. The other is the manned mission to Mars. I hope I live to see it, but I’m delighted that it finally seems to be a priority again.
By taking a role in Young and the Restless last year, you can now say that you’ve been a part of two of the most iconic TV series of all-time. Can you compare and contrast the experience of being on set at a modern soap opera as compared to working on Star Trek in the 1960s?
I can tell you one thing, they sure do have a lot more of a budget than we did back then! Very professional cast and crew, and it is always funny being treated like a ‘guest star’. On Star Trek, the original and the movies, we were all just part of the cast. On (the Young and the Restless) set we were treated like royalty!