Nichelle Nichols Interview

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by Smellincoffee, Aug 12, 2011.

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  1. Mr_Homn

    Mr_Homn Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Why thank you Doug. I didn't want to come off as some sort of obsessed Nichelle Nichols apologist. She's just an actress to me, and although she was lovely on the show, she wasn't really all that integral to the show's success. I just wanted to promote objectivity. I agree human memory is very faulty, and that's why eye-witness testimonies carry very little weight in the court of law.

    CorporalCaptain said that people have been working on digging up information, but apparently without much success, due to the difficulty of tracking down pre-internet sources. So it may take some time, but I'd bet that one way or another, the indisputable facts will come out.
     
  2. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Let's try something simple. Does anyone have Shatner's Star Trek Memories books, and is there an index? Is that story in there someplace?
     
  3. Captain Robert April

    Captain Robert April Vice Admiral Admiral

    Shatner's book is a relatively recent account, so he only quotes Nichelle's "MLK told me to stay" version.

    Maybe an old back issue of "Ebony" could solve this...
     
  4. A beaker full of death

    A beaker full of death Vice Admiral Admiral

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  5. A beaker full of death

    A beaker full of death Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Still is.
     
  6. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The book was published 17 years ago, so that's not "recent", now if anyone can confirm that the story is in there and what version it was, it sets a minimum baseline, meaning you'd have to seek interviews prior to 1994. That's what I'm trying to establish: how far back can we document the "met MLK version".
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2011
  7. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    What about Nichols' own autobiography? That was also published in 1994.
     
  8. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Nichols recollects that during a promotional trip to Memphis, an assistant told her that a fan wanted to meet her.
    Listverse: 10 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Star Trek

    The chance encounter occurred at an NAACP fund-raiser held the day after Nichols…turned in her resignation.
    Times Daily/Friday, Dec. 13, 1996

    At one of her regular meetings with with civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. -- she helped at fund raisers and he was her mentor--she told him she was thinking of quitting.
    Anchorage Daily News - Aug 17, 1989, p. 21

    "[MLK] was a close friend, and he happened to be a big Star Trek fan," she says…
    The Afro American, Dec. 8, 1979

    Did some searching via Google News and Archives and hit the stories above. They're not consistent in their details ("chance encounter" vs. "regular meetings"), but they do all claim she met him, going back to at least 1979. If there are indeed printed stories in which she says it was a phone call or something else, I suspect it'd be pre-TMP.
     
  9. Crisp Crinkle

    Crisp Crinkle Admiral Admiral

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    Good finds. :techman:

    I must say that the variation in the details is consistent with there having been embellishment, but on the other hand one of those versions could be the literal truth.
     
  10. Captain Robert April

    Captain Robert April Vice Admiral Admiral

    Note that in the '79 version, there isn't even a mention of her wanting to quit, or MLK talking her out of it.
     
  11. Takeru

    Takeru Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Wasn't she a dayplayer? Why would she hand in her resignation, she never had a contract. What's the point in resigning and ensuring they never ask you back, when she could have been unavailable for as many episodes as she liked. The producers might have decided to get rid of the character, but maybe she could have returned to the show later.
    She had no obligations to Star Trek, she could try to get every job she wanted and if it had worked out she could have left the show without further notice.

    I don't know and don't care if she met MLK or not, but I don't truly believe that she wanted to quit in the first place, she may have dreamed about getting storylines or finding a better job, but it makes almost no sense that she thought NOT making money while she pursued other opportunities was better than making money and having regular appearances on a network show on her resume while she's doing it.
     
  12. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    According to Nichols in her autobiography, Roddenberry wouldn't let her out of her commitment to Star Trek in order to play a key role on Mannix. I don't have the book on hand, though, so someone else would have to check the details.

    Another book -- I believe it's Inside Star Trek: The Real Story -- says Nichols was paid so little per episode that she had a "no quote" agreement, meaning that she was paid so little the production company agreed not to publicize the amount. That in mind, I see no reason why she wouldn't want to go on to greener pastures.
     
  13. Doug Otte

    Doug Otte Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Well done! Thanks for the research. However, the Afro American interview from 1979 doesn't state that MLK told her face-to-face. All we know from that interview is that he "told" her. I guess we can assume, because she claimed he was "a close friend," that the conversation was in person.

    Doug
     
  14. Doug Otte

    Doug Otte Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    On pp. 164-165 of the hardcover version, she claimed it was at the NAACP event.

    Doug
     
  15. Doug Otte

    Doug Otte Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I have the original hardcover, and it's not indexed. I'll flip through it and see if I can find anything.

    Edit: Found it!

    On pp. 212-214, she recounts the NAACP story, where someone tapped her shoulder and said a fan wanted to meet her...etc. I think this is just like the 2011 story.

    Doug
     
  16. Captain Robert April

    Captain Robert April Vice Admiral Admiral

    In fact, all of "the other four" got gigs on other shows while Star Trek was still on the air.

    I suspect Nichelle was up for the part of Peggy, Mannix's secretary. That definitely would've precluded any more appearances as Uhura, or at least a substantial number of them.

    Who knows, we have wound up praising Elizabeth Rogers for those hundred or so appearances as Lt. Palmer, instead of just the two.
     
  17. Crisp Crinkle

    Crisp Crinkle Admiral Admiral

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    I would have praised Elizabeth Rogers. I thought Lt. Palmer was, you know, hot.
     
  18. CoveTom

    CoveTom Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I thought that Paramount secured a waiver from the Screen Extras Guild (at the time separate from SAG) allowing them to make use of the fans in that scene.
     
  19. Captain Robert April

    Captain Robert April Vice Admiral Admiral

    The initial idea was to bring in a bunch of fans, as a "thank you" for keeping the faith.

    THEN the SEG through a hissyfit, demanding that at least a certain percentage of the extras in the Rec Deck scene be union members.

    Made for some interesting encounters between fans who were overjoyed just to be there and jaded, cynical extras who barely even knew which production they were on, and who really didn't appreciate all these amateurs running around taking the jobs of other hardworking union members.
     
  20. CoveTom

    CoveTom Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Which is yet another example of why I have such disdain for SAG. It's not like we're talking about a situation where the studio was really trying to avoid hiring union members. We're talking about some producers trying to do something nice for a group of extremely loyal and dedicated fans for one day.
     
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