September 15, 2011

On today’s date, the Vulcan blessing “Live long and prosper” became part of our Earthly language…

You don’t have to be a full-fledged Trekkie to be familiar with the famous “Vulcan blessing” from Star Trek “Live long and prosper” — or with the splay-fingered “Vulcan salute” that is generally used when this saying is spoken.

If you’re a fan of the original Star Trek television series, you’re undoubtedly know the episode that introduced the Vulcan blessing and salute.

It’s titled “Amok Time” and today is its anniversary.

It was first aired on September 15, 1967 (as Episode 1 of Season 2).

I remember watching “Amok Time” that night in ‘67 as a teenager and working to make my fingers split apart in proper Vulcan fashion.

Today, like many Trek fans, I consider it one of the best episodes of the original series.

The script for “Amok Time” was written by the legendary science fiction author Theodore Sturgeon.

It’s one of three scripts he wrote for Star Trek. Sturgeon also penned the script for the humorous “Shore Leave” episode from Season 1 and a script titled “Joy Machine” that was never produced.

In addition to being the first Trek episode to feature the Vulcan blessing and salute, “Amok Time” is the only episode of the original Trek series that includes scenes set on Vulcan, the home planet of Mr. Spock (actor Leonard Nimoy).

Many key elements of Vulcan culture created by this episode were used throughout the rest of the original series — and in the following Trek spin-off TV series and movies.

The most memorable initial use of the Vulcan blessing and salute comes near the end of the “Amok Time” episode.

As Spock prepares to leave the planet, he says to the female Vulcan leader, T’Pau: “Live long, T’Pau, and prosper.”

T’Pau responds: “Live long and prosper, Spock.”

As they speak, they give each other the Vulcan salute.

According to Nimoy, he invented the hand gesture himself and adapted it from one used by Jewish priests while giving a blessing.

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Comments? Corrections? Post them on the Famous Quotations Facebook group.

Further reading…

In his autobography, I Am Not Spock (1977), Leonard Nimoy revealed that he invented the Vulcan salute for the Star Trek episode “Amok Time” — and that he based it on a traditional hand gesture used by Jewish priests.

For true Trekkies, this book is required reading.

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