As a nod to Martin Luther King Day, The View hosted Nichelle Nichols, who in 1966 was the first black woman on television to play a major role, the part of a lieutenant in Star Trek. Unfortunately, it was almost like pulling teeth for Barbara Walters, who was seeking both a controversial and inspiring story from Nichol’s past to push Nichol’s away from fond Star Trek memories.
It was necessary for Walters to actually interrupt, and repeatedly lead Ms. Nichols away from the Star Trek story. First Barbara interrupted Nichols mentioning there was some “controversy” about getting Nichols fired because she was black.
Although Nichols had some vague memories of that happening on an earlier show, she pointed out that she wasn’t fired nor did it happen on Star Trek. In fact, on Star Trek, it was Ms. Nichols, herself, who wanted to leave – for her first love, broadway. Sorry, Barbara, no controversy there – nothing racial about it.
An exasperated Barbara Walters then interrupted once again,forcefully saying ,”What I’m getting at, is that Martin Luther King…”. Hint, hint.
By that time, Nichols’ response was a bit testy, after having been repeatedly interrupted and reminded that she was there as a token nod to Martin Luther King, not on her own merit, and she responded pointedly, “That’s where I was going. “
Finally, Nichols told the relevant Martin Luther King story – to the the immense relief of everyone on The View. Following is an excerpt from that very brief story,
I went to this event the next night, on a Saturday, and the promoter came and said Ms. Nichols there is someone who wants to meet you – he says he is your greatest fan. And I said, oh, and I’m thinking of a little trucker, you know. There were quite a few there and I turned and there wa the face of Martin Luther King, smiling and walking up to me, laughing and he said, “Yes, Ms. Nichols, I am your greatest fan.”
Nichols goes on to explain that even though she was considering leaving for broadway, Martin Luther King’s pep speech was responsible for talking her out of the move. At that point, Nichol’s had “done her duty”, someone mentioned she was Whoopie Goldberg’s inspiration thanked Nichol’s for her appearance and sent her on her way.
The View video may be seen here of that Martin Luther King Day interview. Unfortunately, though the other interviews are featured as single videos, this video is not and it’s necessary to watch the full episode of The View to see it.
Alas, the best laid plans… I’m sure that next year, on Martin Luther King’s Day, the producers will screen their MLK Day token guest to make sure the guest fully grasps that the show is only interested in their Martin Luther King story – none of that personal stuff, please.