Leonard Nemoy created the Vulcan salute based off an unforgettable childhood experience

“Live long, and prosper.”

It’s one of the most famous phrases in the history of entertainment, and most certainly the collection of words that come to mind when you think of science fiction’s beloved Mister Spock.

The world lost Leonard Nimoy on Friday at the age of 83.

The character Spock was, of course, half Vulcan. And along with that famous phrase came a famous Vulcan salute.

It looks like this:

Leonard NimoyReuters/Fred ProuserLeonard Nimoy, cast member of the new film ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’, poses as he arrives at the film’s premiere in Hollywood May 14, 2013.

But where did it come from? It turns out it came from Nimoy himself and has very personal origins.

He says in his autobiography that it is a priestly blessing that forms the Hebrew letter Shin.

He spoke to the Hebrew Book Center about encountering this blessing as a child: He was watching a ceremony with 4 or 5 men, and then his father told him not to look.

“I hear this strange sound coming from them, they’re not singers, they were shouters, and dissonant, it was all discordant,” he said.

“It was chilling, like whoa! Something major is happening here. So I peeked, and I saw them with their hands stuck out.”

“I had no idea what was going on but the sound of it and the look of it was magical.”
Nimoy also invented the famous Vulcan nerve pinch. As he told StarTrek.com: “The episode was “The Enemy Within”. Kirk was split into two personalities and his evil side was attempting to kill his good side. Spock was supposed to sneak up behind the bad guy and hit him on the back of the head with a phaser… Not very Vulcan. So I invented the nerve pinch. The mind meld was a Gene Roddenberry creation, and I added the Vulcan hand salute from my own background.”
The Vulcan salute first appeared in “Star Trek” in 1967 with the episode “Amok Time,” according to Wikipedia.
 
You can see the whole interview segment here:

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