This Episode From ‘Star Trek’ Showed TV’s First Interracial Kiss

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Plato’s Stepchildren is the tenth episode on the third season of the Star Trek: The Original Series, following The Tholian Web episode. The popular show was written by Meyer Dolinsky and directed by David Alexander. In this episode, the Starship Enterprise crew meets a humanoid race; they are ageless and sadistic. Many episodes from this season involving these people were not aired in multiple places, including by the BBC because of the torturous scenes episodes include “The Empath“,  “Miri,” and “Whom Gods Destroy.” Another famous scene that made history was the first interracial kiss on television.

“Plato’s Stepchildren”

The plot of the “Plato’s stepchildren” episode of the science fiction show begins with First Officer Spock (Leonard Nimoy), Dr. McCoy (DeForest Kelley,) and Captain Kirk (William Shatner) responding to a distress call on a planet. There, they are treated by alexander, a dwarf. His people have followed the classic greek culture and named themselves after Greek philosopher Plato, with the name platonists. The Platonians, save for Alexander, all have telekinetic powers. And because of them, they have become heavy practices of sadism, believing they can do as they please.

Parmen claims that they have ultimate justice and the most democratic society. Better federation, the enterprise crew members are told they were lured to the planet because Parmen, their leader, needs medical help. After being assisting, Parmen demands that Dr. McCoy stays on the planet to heal others. When they refuse, Parmen hurts and humiliates the men. The Platonians force Nurse Chapel and Communications Officer Lt. Uhura onto their planet as well. To get off the planet, McCoy must gain a blood sample from Parmen to determine what gives them psychokinetic powers. When McCoy determines the basis of the Platonian’s telekinetic abilities by using a medial tricorder and discovers their power lie in kironide to replicate them and free his team from the planet.

The Kiss That Changed History

This Star Trek episode shows Lt. Uhura and James T. Kirk (Nichelle Nichols and William Shatner) in a passionate kiss. This was a big deal for the conservative television of the 1960s. The scene was filmed many times, with NBC insisting that the actors not actually kiss, worried it would upset the south. Naysayers like the claim the kiss wasn’t real and that it wasn’t really the first scripted kiss between black and white individuals. However, many of the other alleged kisses were merely cheek to cheek or instances. The kiss was received well by many Trekkies.

According to Nichelle Nichols, they “received a huge response. We received one of the largest fan mail batches ever, all of it very positive, with many addressed to me from girls wondering how it felt to kiss Captain Kirk and many to him from guys wondering the same thing about me. However, almost no one found the kiss offensive.” A negative letter, however, still said something similar. It read: “I am totally opposed to the mixing of the races. “However, any time a red-blooded American boy like Captain Kirk gets a beautiful dame in his arms that looks like Uhura, he ain’t gonna fight it.”

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