Friday, July 2, 2021

Bill Shatner's Really Bad Decision

 

A truly appalling and misguided decision by Bill Shatner to star in a TV show on Russian state-TV channel RT. Hopefully, with some close associates whispering in his ear, he will rapidly reverse course and the space-time continuum will be restored.


Update: In a recent interview with NBC, Bill Shatner addressed a question about Russia Today being a propaganda network by stating: "Is it a propaganda network? I don’t know. Is it any more than the BBC or the CBC or the French network or the Japanese network? I don’t know."

And so the self-compromising begins. The old "I don't know...is it?" trick. No, the BBC and CBC are not propaganda networks; they are public service broadcasters with rigorous mechanisms in place to ensure impartiality and fairness, especially in their news divisions. They are among the most cherished  institutions of their kind in the world. Russia Today is a propaganda network, whose sole function is to create a so-called "counter-narrative" to advance the interests of the Putin regime. 

It is really very, very sad to hear such words from Bill Shatner. Being "apolitical" is one thing, but this is certainly not that. Regimes hurt people. That's what they have to do to stay in power. Even if Bill Shatner's show is in itself not political, it may serve to draw in viewers, who then absorb the desired "counter-narrative" (i.e. Western democracy is rotten and maybe authoritarianism has a point?) and that will end up hurting people. We're sure that Bill Shatner, all things being equal, would not want to do that. 

Note: Information on Japan's public service broadcaster NHK can be found here and information on France's public service broadcaster France Télévisions can be found here.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Something new...

 

We're briefly emerging from retirement: a reader emailed us this picture, and we couldn't resist posting it for you. Toupless? Or just squashed or oddly placed? What year? Public or private? What's going on...? 

-ST

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

That's all Folks!


It's been a great pleasure writing this blog over the years. But we feel the time is now right to move on - and to let Bill Shatner settle in to his autumn years with a lasting, secure toupee free from the prying rays of our all-powerful touposcopes.

This blog and it's collection of articles will remain online for readers to continue to discuss Bill Shatner's hair, or lack thereof. After all, in our complex world, we know sometimes Bill Shatner's toupee is the only thing that seems to make sense. So please do continue the heated debates that have fueled this site over the years.


 Scientists continue to learn of the crucial role played by glue in holding together the original Star Trek series. Source.

Thanks so much to all our readers, including those who contributed in various ways since we started back in 2009. We've greatly enjoyed analyzing not only Bill Shatner's hairline, but his various works stretching back to the 1950s.

Recently released (click for larger) production memo from Star Trek. Source.

Permit us to end with a hopeful call to arms: TV series and movies shot on celluloid are being remastered and restored thanks to the advent of high-definition video. But largely left behind in all this have been an array of TV movies shot on film, in particular during the 1970s. We sincerely hope that weird and wonderful gems such as Bill Shatner's 1973 The Horror at 37,000 Feet  (perhaps as a double-bill with Murder on Flight 502), or 1971's epic mini-serial Vanished, or the 1968 oddity Perilous Voyage, or the thrilling Disaster on the Coastliner (1979), also get a shot at being preserved and reissued on Blu-ray. Here's hoping...


Thank you and farewell!


-ST
 

The rest is history...

Friday, October 23, 2015

The Apprentice?

 

We've covered Bill Shatner's 1958-60 stint performing in the theatrical play The World of Suzie Wong a number of times. But it turns out that far more photographs exist from this time - ones of significant toupological interest. For example, while perusing Marc Cushman's These Are The Voyages books we came across a publicity still from 1958 or '59 featuring Bill Shatner and co-star France Nuyen:


The picture is of a very low resolution, but nonetheless we'd say it is pretty certain Bill Shatner is toupless here - combing, spraying and creating a shell that could still pass as a full head of hair if photographed correctly. Perusing a couple of Internet photo-sharing sites and message boards, we also came across another picture from the same shoot - apparently taken by photographer Milton H. Greene on October 14, 1958:


Here, the thinning is more evident. Indeed, the sides of Bill Shatner's hair appear noticeably fuller and of a greater volume than the hair atop the scalp.

 
Let's quickly refresh our memories about the play in question: according to the IBDB, The World of Suzie Wong had two separate runs on Broadway, New York. The first was at the Broadhurst Theatre from October 14, 1958 to November 7, 1959; the second run, at the George Abbott Theatre, ran from November 9, 1959 to January 2, 1960. 


The story, set in Hong Kong, sees serviceman Robert Lomax (Shatner) falling for a local prostitute (Nuyen). In his autobiography, Up Till Now, Bill Shatner relates how, following initial disastrous reviews, he altered his acting style and helped re-imagine the play as a satire - which then became a hit (more in our toupological analysis)!

We also know that on November 16, 1958, Bill Shatner and France Nuyen performed an extract from the play (presumably still the "bad" version) on live television, on the Ed Sullivan Show. No footage of this has ever been seen publicly since the original transmission (but certainly such a performance would have been cause to take numerous publicity stills). 
 

The Suzie Wong era is of particular interest because it serves as a unique example of us seemingly having pictures of Bill Shatner both toupless and wearing a very early approximation of a "Jim Kirk Lace". A common reference point! Over the span of the play's almost 15 month run, it appears that Bill Shatner's real hair became increasingly thin to the point that - at least for certain (perhaps later) publicity stills - a toupee began to be viewed as essential. So we have what is, we think, almost certainly a toup: 




...also this quintessentially "Jim Kirk lace" 1959 television interview on the The Dick Clark Saturday Night Beechnut Show:



And also likely not toup:


closer...



See also here for a Life magazine feature published on October 8, 1958 (thus prior to the premiere) which appears to show that at this point, Bill Shatner was still toupless, but using heavy thickening spray of some kind:

 

Finally, with greater certainty, almost certainly no toup:


But wait, there's more! - as they say in infomercials.


What if there was a brief intermediary phase, considered, but soon discarded? We've never encountered a Bill Shatner photograph that appears to be a comb-over before. But this is what we appear to have in another Wong publicity picture we came across (the date it was taken is not known by us). Something akin to "The Donald's" solution (we believe him when he says it's not a toup):

Source: Daily Mail

Could it be that Bill Shatner briefly attempted this method too? Clever combing forward of long hair from the back?

 

The hair just doesn't appear to be following a natural growth/combing pattern here. Rather, it appears to have been swept forward. The frontal hairline also appears to be showing signs of severe thinning. Perhaps the hair was squashed by a since-removed toup. Or perhaps it really is some sort of comb-over attempt. There do appear to be bald patches visible through the carefully placed strands in places rarely seen by the general public. 


Just when you start to think that all the toupological stones have been uncovered something like this comes along...

Thursday, August 27, 2015

What a tangled web we weave...


Almost daily, the Mars exploration rover known as Curiosity sends back pictures and scientific data from the Red Planet.



But imagine if one day, rather than yet another image resembling the above, the Rover sent back something like this:


It would be game over, right? You could pretty much forget about carbon isotopes and gas chromatographs and particle induced X-ray emissions, or the host of other complex experiments that seek out trace signatures of potential life-sustaining processes. Suddenly that would all be rendered meaningless. A minor detail. The big picture would be screaming out at humanity from across the Solar System. 


About a year ago, a reader alerted us to this 2009 publicity picture of Bill Shatner (credit: "www.imagemakr.com-copyright-20091"). It was an image that threatened to become a proverbial cactus on Mars. Sub-toupular particles were irrelevant. For this, even a touposcope would temporarily prove unnecessary (unbelievable though it seems - though, of course, still useful for closer examination). 


All that was required was to zoom in, and observe with one's own eyes...


Closer...


Upon examining this image, the William Shatner School of Toupological Studies decided upon an extremely rare step. It convened a full sitting of its Grand Toupular Assembly (GTA), attended by the heads of all 2,143 departments at our research facility.

 
The major find was announced: what appeared to be an extremely rare malfunction of the usually extremely reliable "Denny Katz" toupee.

After basic examinations were complete, our toupologists finally fired up their touposcopes:



Somehow, the Denny Katz toup had failed. A thinned-out patch had emerged revealing the base netting attached to the head.


The pattern was unmistakable. A classic mesh. Oddly uniform for a toupee that prides itself on looking so natural.


Indeed, the toup also appeared to be moulting profusely.


Was Ed Katz letting standards slip? Or was this a rare defective toup? Or had Bill Shatner simply kept the thing on for too long? Even odder is that this image is from the controlled environment of a publicity shoot - the place where you'd least expect a toup malfunction to find its way out.

But, then again, this isn't the first time that such a lapse has occurred:

 
Back cover of the 1995 Bill Shatner book Ashes of Eden

How could a professionally created publicity photo feature a shirt littered with toup-particles (note the harsh cut edges on either side, unlike the more tapered look of natural hair), and even more shockingly a bare patch in the Denny Katz toup?

Toup-particle on shirt.

Perhaps even more curious is that this publicity image is still being used to this day - for example to publicize the upcoming January 2017 Star Trek Cruise, at which Bill Shatner is the star guest:

 
Of course, from a distance the picture can actually look quite natural - imperfections such as the visibility of the scalp and lack of follicular uniformity serving to make the toupee look more realistic.


But up close - yikes!!!


BONUS UPDATE:

A reader sent in some up-close pics they managed to take of the lifts inside Bill Shatner's costume from Star Trek: The Motion Picture. On a related note, the book Return to Tomorrow: The Filming of Star Trek: The Motion Picture is available for purchase here. We're happy to give it a plug...