William Shatner on Star Trek's Historic Interracial Kiss: "A Silly Fuss About Nothing"

shatner-interracial-kissIn 1968, the country was still reeling from the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy when Star Trek gave fans Uhura (Nichelle Nichols) and Captain Kirk (William Shatner) locking lips on the air -- the first time a black character and a white character had done so on television.

There had, actually, been previous instances of interracial kisses on television -- but never one that so self-consciously drew a line in the sand and never one that was so widely discussed.

In a conference call with reporters earlier today, though, in support of the one-night-only theatrical release of his one-man show Shatner's World, William Shatner said that ultimately society is better for having grown to a point where such things are no longer treated like a scandal.

"Now, it seems like a silly fuss about nothing," Shatner said. "Here's this beautiful woman, and the script had it on the page for me to kiss her. Not only not a hardship, it was a great pleasure. The fact that at that time there was some rumblings in some of the Southern states and certain cities and towns didn't play the show because of an interracial kiss -- times have changed completely and that no longer is thought of as anythign unusual so that's a really good reading of how far we've come."

It's  still a career-defining moment for both he and Nichols, frequently discussed as part of the small-screen legacy left behind by Star Trek -- a series that's surprisingly short-lived when you consider everything it accomplished in that time. Nichols later recalled that the network had insisted on shooting a kiss-free version of the scene to give themselves options in editing, but that the pair had deliberately sabotaged those versions of the scene to ensure it went out. Years later, at a Comed