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OK, I hope this question doesn't seem prurient, but I happened upon the image and literally couldn't decide what I'm looking at.

In the TOS episode "Who Mourns for Adonais?" we learn that the Greek Gods of Earth were actually powerful aliens, and Apollo is the only one remaining.

Thing is, if you look at this image

enter image description here

or this image

enter image description here

or this image

enter image description here

you will see that it's really difficult to distinguish Apollo's nipple. (I've scaled them to medium size to approximate the broadcast quality of the time -- don't forget how bad SD quality over the airwaves would look.)

What's going on?

  • Is the intent in-universe that the Greek gods lack nipples? (Why?)
  • Did the sensibilities of the time for 60s TV preclude too much male nipple display?
  • Is the actor wearing makeup on his chest? (He is obviously shaved)
  • Does this actor just have particularly pale nipples?
  • Comments moved to chat. – user1027 Sep 17 '15 at 3:09
  • Why does a God need a nipple? – Edmund Dantes Feb 20 '18 at 13:54
  • I have no doubt that there are whole subgenres of fanfic dealing with ToS male nipples in one way or another. – Paul Feb 20 '18 at 14:04
49

First, let's establish that at least some male characters do have nipples in The Original Series :

enter image description here

Given what we see above, it's certainly not a general policy on TOS to have no nipples. With that out of the way, we can focus on the appearance of the Greek god Apollo.

Here he is in a larger, better screen capture:

enter image description here

There are nipples here; they are just especially pale and small.

Here is another, just for good measure — the nipple, while small, is clearly visible in the lower half of the image:

enter image description here

So now one can ask: are his nipples naturally pale and small or was something done to them? The answer is the latter. Commenting on the controversy over the idea of having the character of Carolyn discover that she is pregnant at the end of the episode, actor Michael Forest (Apollo) said:

I don’t know. It’s so long ago. I suppose it would have been OK, but you have to remember that in those days, the idea of that sort of thing happening in film, and certainly on television… you couldn’t even talk about it, really. To give you an idea, they had to put tape on my nipples for that episode. Can you imagine? They put tape on a guy, on a guy’s nipples. I mean, come on. But that’s what they did, and then they put makeup over that. I thought at the time, “I can’t believe what they’re doing.”

(Source — thanks @ThePopMachine)

So it seems that makeup tape had been placed over his nipple, and then his nipple was remodelled with makeup, possibly to do with taboos at the time, as implied by the actor himself.

One could ask why the same policy didn't apply to Sulu (or Kirk). Possibilities:

  • Perhaps the Apollo actor's nipples were quite pronounced and edging on "indecent" (by the standards of the show's producers and/or personnel at the time) while Takei's and Shatner's were not.

  • Perhaps the actor believes that taboos were the reason, but actually had quite off-putting nipples that were not seen to be fitting of a Greek deity. (No offence intended to the actor.)

  • Perhaps Takei and Shatner were given the same tape/makeup treatment, but theirs came out with better definition in the end.

Regarding the third possibility, the following two images (taken from different episodes) suggest that Shatner had nipple treatment at least some of the time. Kirk's nipples are more natural and ample in the first, while in the second they are almost non-existent:

enter image description here enter image description here

If his nipples were also treated in the first still, then the results of the process were inconsistent, either intentionally or unintentionally depending on the personnel involved and the costuming decisions surrounding those episodes.

  • 9
    I was expecting a shirtless Kirk picture but I guess that's just too pedestrian for this site. – mu is too short Sep 16 '15 at 6:17
  • 7
    Do we need a size matters tag? – Major Stackings Sep 16 '15 at 8:12
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    @ThePopMachine: I'd say the most likely explanation for why Apollo would be treated differently than Kirk or Sulu percentage of screen-time - Apollo's partially bare chest is part of his costume, his nipple-area would be visible 100% of the time he's on screen. – Jason Sep 16 '15 at 12:05
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    +1 There are nipples here; they are just especially pale and small. – Dpeif Sep 16 '15 at 18:11
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    @ThePopMachine : I've seen countless topless men in the last 24 hours...all because of you. ;-) – Praxis Sep 17 '15 at 1:09

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