Geek Trivia

Captain Kirk’s Uniform Top In Star Trek Appeared Gold On Screen, But Was Actually?

Which Of These Early Game Consoles Eschewed Raster Graphics For An Authentic Arcade Display?

Answer: Green

There are certain undeniable and comfortable truths in the Star Trek: TOS universe. Humanity exists in a peaceful and united federation that engages in deep space exploration. Alien species are almost always bipedal and Vulcans, especially, are level-headed and logical. Aboard the federation starships that meet these aliens, engineering and communication officers wear red, science and medical officers wear blue, and commanding officers wear gold, like the fearless and charming Captain James T. Kirk.

Except, Kirk didn’t, despite our collective understanding and recollection of the matter, wear gold. In fact, the gold tint of his uniform top and those of his lieutenants was a trick of the filming process and stage lighting. The actual uniform fabric was, by design and actual implementation, green. The color scheme that Gene Roddenberry had originally intended was green for command, red for engineering and communications, and blue for medical and science, but alas, thwarted by the lighting, the film, and the particular fabric the main uniform tops were made from, the end result was gold.

If you’re really curious to see what the green shade should have looked like, you can actually take a peek at some old Star Trek footage to find out. In a select few episodes, Kirk is seen wearing an alternative uniform top that is constructed from a different fabric. According to the cast and crew, the fabrics of the secondary and primary uniform tops looked absolutely identical in person, but they appeared very differently on film. If you check out the iconic episode “The Trouble with Tribbles”, you’ll see Kirk wearing one of the alternative uniform tops that comes across loud and clear as a 1960s-era avocado green.

Image courtesy Paramount Pictures.