5 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Star Trek

On September 8, 1966, the TV series Star Trek premiered on NBC. What started as a little space adventure show ballooned into a cultural phenomenon and some of the most beloved characters in television and movie history. Here are five things you probably didn't know about Star Trek...


It Had The First Interracial KIiss On U.S. Television The series will forever go down in history for having the first interracial kiss on American television in 1968. The kiss was between Captain Kirk and Lt. Uhura, but originally the kiss was supposed to be with Spock! But once William Shatner got a whiff that history was going to be made without him, he immediately got the scene changed so the first interracial kiss was with Lieutenant Uhura and Captain Kirk.

James "Scotty" Doohan Created The Klingon Language The show is notorious for creating an entire language for its fictional Klingon alien species. The seeds of Klingon grammar and vocabulary for the language were created by James Doohan, who played Scotty. He then brought in a linguist Mark Okrand to finish up the language. Okrand took the few lines and analyzed their sounds and syntax, and built an entire, logical artificial language that now appears in Bing's translator software.


Neither William Shatner Nor Zachary Quinto Could Do a Proper Vulcan Salute How many of you reading this had to teach yourselves to do the Vulcan salute, where your fingers form a V shape with two fingers on each side? Consider yourselves lucky if you trained yourself to make this hand signal easily; neither William Shatner (Kirk) nor Zachary Quinto (Spock in the rebooted timeline) were able to do so. Shatner had to tie fishing line around his fingers to get them to stay in place for the salute, and Quinto had to use a form of superglue typically used in hospitals on skin. 

Stephen Hawking is The Only Person To Play Himself on Star Trek To this day, Stephen Hawking is the only person to play himself in the Star Trek universe.  The appearance happened in the episode, “Descent” where the famous scientist sits down with Data, Albert Einstein, and Sir Isaac Newton for a game of poker. Like Einstein and Newton, Hawking was rendered as a hologram. Notably, Hawking wins the game by bluffing Einstein. When Hawking visited the set of Star Trek, and saw the warp core that allows starships to travel at impossible speeds and traverse the galaxy, he joked “I’m working on that.” 

William Shatner Has Never Watched The Series It’s not that uncommon for actors to not watch their own work. But this could be very heartbreaking to devoted Trekkies. The star of the hit show hasn’t bothered to watch one episode of his work. “I never watched Star Trek,“ the actor said in an interview. “I have not even seen any of the Star Trek movies. I don’t watch myself. When I direct and have to look at filmed scenes of myself, I suck.”