The First Interracial Kiss on (American) Television

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by Maurice, Apr 7, 2011.

  1. Maurice

    Maurice Fact Trekker Premium Member

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    This topic's been batted around here now and then, but I was reading up on it so I thought I'd share:
    July 1964
    ITV's British prime time soap Emergency Ward 10 shows a kiss between black and white actors (a photo of which appears on this site).

    December 11, 1967
    NBC airs the TV special Movin' With Nancy, in which she shares a kiss with Sammy David Jr., albeit it looks like a cheek kiss next to the mouth (go to about 4:50 in this clip to see Nancy and Sammy smooch).

    Sept. 29, 1968
    CBS airs the 1st episode of season 3 of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, in which the Bonanzarosa sketch features black football star Rosie Grier, in drag, planting a smooch on the forehead of Harry Bellafonte, and then on Cass Elliott (dressed as a man). (Go to 8:20 in this clip to see those smooches.)

    November 22, 1968
    NBC airs the Star Trek episode "Plato's Stepchildren", in which Captain Kirk is forced to kiss Uhura (see 3:13 in this clip).
    So, Britain beats Trek to it by almost 4.5 years. Discounting that, we have at least two kisses, albeit not on the lips, on US TV prior to Kirk and Uhura were portrayed kissing on the lips. But then it appears it's a fake kiss, like a fake punch (and Shatner says it is). So, what's the real first interracial kiss on US TV? I guess it's all a matter of opinion.
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2018
  2. SonicRanger

    SonicRanger Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Kirk and Uhura weren't even the first "interracial" kiss in Star Trek.
     
  3. Merky

    Merky Captain Captain

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  4. Robert D. Robot

    Robert D. Robot Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Of course, there is the classic "All in the Family" episode when Sammy Davis, Jr. kisses Archie, but that came a few years later in the 70s!.....
     
  5. indranee

    indranee Vice Admiral Admiral

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    which one was, then? I forget...
     
  6. lurok

    lurok Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Barbara Luna (Mirror Mirror) and France Nuyen (Elaan of Troyius) both of mixed ethnic heritages, so I think that's the case ? :vulcan: Not sure, but someone will correct if wrong :) Personally I wish the Kirk/Uhura kiss myth could be consigned to history's trashcan but it's so established now I guess we just have to live with it.
     
  7. indranee

    indranee Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Oh okay, gotcha. :)
     
  8. Merky

    Merky Captain Captain

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    Actually, Ricardo Montalban and the Girl of the Week from Space Seed would constitute more as the first interracial kiss on ST.
     
  9. lurok

    lurok Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Girl of The Week? :eek: That's no way to talk about Marla :weep: But yes, you're right. I was just thinking about Kirk's babes...:borg:
     
  10. ssosmcin

    ssosmcin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I don't know if Barbara Luna counts. Her background is listed as Italian, Hungarian, Spanish, Portuguese, and Filipino, but I think she still qualifies as "white." And that was all that mattered then: white or not-white. Or to be more accurate, black or not-black. The networks didn't seem to have as much of an issue with white kissing "off white" shall we say. They objected strenuously to a white person kissing a black person. This would exclude Montalban as well, as he had "white skin." As an example, in my last job, one of my best friends was a Cuban man. He very much considered himself white. Why? Because he had the same skin tone as the average caucasian person. Appearance was key for his judgment and probably was for the networks.

    Speaking of France Nuyen, Robert Culp had no problems kissing her, his future wife, on I Spy. But the heavens would have fallen if Cosby was seen in a clinch with anyone not his color. Either way, whenever someone says "interracial kiss" in regards to Trek, they mean white/black. I Love Lucy doesn't count. Desi was "not black" and the couple were actually married. She had his babies. Was this a show with passionate kisses between them? And would it have mattered because of the pre-existing, real-life relationship? The show never would have made it to air if Desi was considered objectionable.

    I was born in that day! Anyway, it wasn't a passionate embrace, it was a friendly, affectionate kiss from Nancy to a friend of the family. Splitting hairs, but I think the distinction makes a difference.

    Same thing with Smothers: it was a comedy skit with very chaste, non romantic, and comedic kisses. Trek was the first series in the US to have a (forced and fake but still) passionate kiss between two extrememly racially diverse characters. I still grant the show that much, but as far as it shattering racial taboos, I still award a shitload more credit to I Spy. Trek would have gone on just as well with or without Uhura. I Spy without Cosby? You kidding? The entire purpose of the show was to demonstrate racial equality. Today, right now, not in 200 years.

    I said this before, but I Spy claimed that black and white can be brothers "today" (meaning 1965). Star Trek said "in 200 years, black people will be respected and valued by their white bosses." Only Commodore Stone really made a statement by being black. Yet nobody mentions him. Maybe because he didn't father MLK's love child.
     
  11. Merky

    Merky Captain Captain

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    I already said that,
    I have a major pet peeve when it comes to TOS and race relations/human rights. The show gets way too much praise for only throwing a bone and pulling the "token black character" card, having misogyny that was shooting through the roof and Spock, the poster child of "biracial offspring" being a joke when it came with dealing with that struggle throughout the show's initial run. It was like, " Yeah, people marry outside their race but the kid still will have a shitty life and ultimately will have to choose one or the other. He can't be both "



    .... Maaaannnnn... as a biracial woman of color, TOS had some episodes that made me scream inside.
     
  12. lurok

    lurok Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    That was clearly the issue for the time - and we all know why - but not for today. If viewed in current context, the Kirk/Uhura 'non-kiss' is still not first interracial kiss. But the mythos survives. Maybe if OP original title had been: first black/white kiss: then maybe have a more interesting springboard. But interracial...no.
     
  13. Merky

    Merky Captain Captain

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    Exactly. If the term " interracial " is going to be used then has to be taken into account every relationship on television at that time that dealt with two individuals of different race, regardless of skin color as skin color does not equal race.

    Star Trek had the first fake kiss between a white man and a black woman but did it break racial barriers? No, it was done a decade or so prior.
     
  14. Happy Xmas (War Is Over)

    Happy Xmas (War Is Over) If You Want It Premium Member

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    Montalban is from Mexico but his parents were from Spain. So unless "Spanish" is a different "race" than other Europeans, I dont think that counts. If it did, then Shatner (or Nimoy) kissing any non Jewish woman does.
     
  15. ssosmcin

    ssosmcin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Indeed you did. Well, consider that backing up your point. :)

    Yup, I agree with that too. I admit what they did was not "common" but it was also not "earth shattering" either. I still give them credit for not paring Kirk with Chapel and letting it go at that. It was a conscious decision on somebody's part; the writer, Freiberger, or Justman, but not Roddenberry - he wasn't around. Although he was assigned and happily took credit. But generally, Trek was still a predominently white man's universe at that time. Check out The Cage: the Enterprise was lily white aside from one mute Asian.

    It's a lot more common now, and I would hope easier on the kids than before. But there's a bigot in every group, or just a mean spirited bully who isn't aware of the power of words.

    :) I can imagine!
     
  16. lurok

    lurok Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Can't speak for Montalban, but Spanish people do have infusion of genetic material from non-European (Nordic?) races. I wouldn't say Spanish are different race per se, but peoples with a varied race mixture. But let's face it, the whole race/genes/ethnicity issue is so confusing :) And I'm no geneticist. Spock's heritage suddenly becomes so much simpler :lol:
     
  17. Hambone

    Hambone Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Aren't Shatner and Nichols of the same race? The human race?

    The first interracial kiss on TV was when Lassie kissed Timmy. Or would that be interspecies?
     
  18. lurok

    lurok Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    species :lol: But right on first. Still, even in this day and age, race/racism/xenophobia/etc, etc could be regarded as a major issue...
     
  19. Pauln6

    Pauln6 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    There is a lot of arabic dna in Spain due to Moorish occupation. The dark latin complexion of European ethnicity is attributable to this.
     
  20. Happy Xmas (War Is Over)

    Happy Xmas (War Is Over) If You Want It Premium Member

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    Thats probably true of most areas of Europe that were once part of the Roman Empire, the various Muslim Caliphates or located near Asia or Africa. Shatner and Nimoy certainly have "Non-European" ancestry.