Sunday, May 21, 2006

The Ladies of Star Trek

I love Star Trek, the original series. The son of a die-hard trekkie, I watched Sunday morning reruns on CBC, all throughout my childhood, with my mom.

Star Trek came about in the mid 1960's, when there was great interest in space travel and exploration. It was a time where people thought we would one day live on the moon. The most popular national pavilions at Expo 67 were ones that boasted space exhibits.

The shows were very well written, as their enduring appeal will attest.

The best part of Star Trek, for me, is the retro-futuristic aesthetic. The Starfleet Command uniform for ladies included a miniskirt and knee high boots! (nothing could be more practical, or comfortable, in outer space...!) Captain Kirk was always falling in love with some scantily-clad alien woman with sky-high hair! And the close-up shots of all these beautiful women were always in soft focus...

Yeoman Janice Rand deserves an honorable mention, here. As a kid, I was always intrigued by her blonde, basket-weave beehive!

Lieutenant Uhura, played by Nichelle Nichols, was one of my favorites. In the 60's, a beautiful black woman playing an important role in a television series was ahead of its time. The name Uhura means "freedom" in Swahili.

By the end Star Trek's first season, Nichelle Nichols wanted to leave the show. A chance meeting with Martin Luther King, himself, changed her mind. He told her not to give up, that she was a great role model for young black women everywhere.

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