Thursday, August 6, 2009

"M" is for mismatch.

During the second season of Star Trek, Bill Shatner's toupee was noticeably lighter than his own brown hair, resulting in an easily detectable mismatch. Toupologists are often fascinated to see where real and fake meet in the world of Shatner's hair. This particular mismatch makes that quest very easy. We can see that the toupee actually reaches slightly down to the sides of the hair in order to blend in better, rather than being attached at the natural hair parting, which would be far more awkward. Here are some images from the episode "The Immunity Syndrome":

If we enhance (thanks to NASA scientists - not really) the above images, the mismatch is even more pronounced:

Conversely, if we color-correct the toupee, we see a match far closer to Shatner's own hair.

Color-corrected toupee.

By the third season, this disparity was fixed and Shatner's toupee was made darker and thus closer to his real hair.

Star Trek Season 3 publicity photo.

PS: Thanks for all your comments. We love reading them, so don't be shy!


  1. The comments on Andre's toupee video mentioning Shat. Imagine someone wearing a toupee and not even knowing of Shatner!

  2. That's very interesting! Actually, I think the lighter contrast works better! I always wondered why Shatner did not look as good in the 3rd season, and I think you've nailed it : his hair on top now matches his hair on the side, and I think the lighter on top really brings out something in him.

    Say, have you or anyone used photoshop to edit out the toupe to give us a look of how Shatner must have looked without it even back in the Old Series days? Has he been SUBSTANTIALLY bald for a long time, or only little patches?

  3. I disagree with the 2nd Anon commenter.

    I thought he looked his best in TOS/1.

    At the beginning of TOS/2, his look was pretty much the same as the end of TOS/2.

    Midway through, he started donning this blonde look. I thought it looked terrible. Check out the kissing scene in "Mirror, Mirror" and the entire episode of "Obsession". His hair looks really bad. As a kid watching the re-runs in the 70's, this was one of the clear signs for me that Shatner was wearing a toupee for the entire run of TOS.

    In TOS/3, he wore a darker toupee, but it was longer and more wavy. Sometimes it worked, and sometimes it looked like a full wig. I suspect he also grew his own hair out as well. It made his whole head look huge.

  4. That second pic is really bad. The wisp of hair at his left temple looks especially out of place. As I recall, in that episode The Immunity Syndrome, the crew was overworked & exhausted. Same goes for Shat's toupee at the time.

  5. Huh, I guess it's true then, no accounting for taste; I think Shat looked great blonder, and particularly so in Mirror Mirror...
    And actually, almost everyone in the mid-range of brown is noticeably lighter on top.
    Then again, since that's typically from exposure to the sun topside, I guess there would be no good explanation for JTK having a sun wash.