Nearly half a century after it was devised, the Vulcan salute endures (Photo: Getty/Inset: Everett)
The Vulcan salute was Spock actor Leonard Nimoy's idea and Nimoy's idea alone. The well-known gesture first appeared in the second-season premiere episode of "Star Trek" titled "Amok Time." In it, Spock returns to his home planet after having been away for a long time. "I suggested to the director there should be some Vulcan thing that Vulcans do when they greet — like humans shake hands or military people salute each other, Asian people bow to each other. We have rituals," Nimoy recalled during an extensive interview in 2000. He remembered throwing up his hand in the gesture rather quickly as an example of something to consider, "and the next thing you know it's in the script!" he recalled with a laugh, then acknowledged, "It caught on."
President Obama and 'Star Trek' star Nichelle Nichols in 2012 (Photo: @RealNichelle/Twitter)
Zachary Quinto, who took over the role of Spock in 2009 and reprises the role in "Star Trek Into Darkness" (opening Thursday), had trouble with the Vulcan salute at first. He would rubber band his ring finger and his pinky finger while driving around Los Angeles and do Vulcan-style hand exercises in the months leading up to shooting. The 35-year-old actor was so challenged by it, director J.J. Abrams had to glue his fingers into position.
Nimoy makes a pretty awesome appearance in the reboot as Spock's older counterpart in a parallel universe. The two Spock actors are friends on- and offscreen. "I see Leonard very often," Quinto told Yahoo! Movies during a recent interview. "Whenever we're in the same city we get together and we spend a lot of time together and speak often as well."
We'll assume that's given Quinto enough time with the originator of the Vulcan salute to learn from the master.
The Priestly Blessing performed by Jewish Kohanim (Photo from Wikimedia Commons)
As for the origins of Spock's legendary quote, "Live long and prosper" — that's a different story. But the famed line debuted in the same "Star Trek" episode as did the Vulcan salute.
Watch 'Star Trek Into Darkness' Clip: What Would Spock Do:
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