Wednesday, August 12, 2009

More toupee madness.

A reader alerted us to a third season episode of Star Trek called "The Cloud Minders" in which some major Shatner toupee displacement (followed by an amazing act of self-re-combing) is visible.

Self-recombing parodied - see here for more...

The "post-fight re-arranged and fixed but still made to appear ruffled" hair look.

Since we're not here to just point and laugh, let's try to explore the context of this particular toupee calamity. As fans will know, the third season of Star Trek was notable for a major drop in quality compared to previous years. While the focus has often been on what happened to the character of Spock or the sets, this decline is equally evident with Captain Kirk's character - as well as with Bill Shatner's toupee.

In the first season, our main protagonist Captain James T. Kirk was photographed as a handsome leading man, with "baby spots" picking out his eyes and intricate camera moves following each emotional turn. But by the third season, budget constraints had changed things considerably.

First season leading man Shatner. Beautifully photographed like a 1940s movie star; the actor loved every minute of it.

Now, the (somewhat pudgy) star was carrying a show that had gone from heavily stylized melodrama to an increasingly crummy cheapo TV show heading towards inevitable cancellation. And rarely in Shats' career is more unflattering toup displacement visible. Toupee rules that would never have been broken during the first season were suddenly cast aside for the sake of expediency. Hence "The Cloud Minders" fight scene.

In this episode, we can also see a contrast between the lighter toupee of the first season, which mostly just covered the top and front of the head, to one that now increasingly extended to the sides as well. Seemingly, the hair-loss had intensified throughout those years. Shats' hair is also longer - presumably this made attaching a hairpiece easier, as anchoring a toupee to existing hair adds to its resilience in the face of the elements - that is also behind the principle of the "weave" that Shats started to wear around 1976, which was actually knotted to his real hair at the back and sides.

The lighter toupee worn during the second Star Trek pilot - see here for more.

In general, the Star Trek years back in the late 1960s are some of the most fascinating for many Shatner toupee watchers. Whereas in later years, the toups were far more rigid and difficult to ruffle, Star Trek, guided by creator Gene Roddenberry's vision, presented a kind of eternal wonderment as to the "infinite diversity in infinite combinations" of Captain Kirk's hair. As long as certain rules were respected, and sometimes bent but not broken, the viewer could enjoy the many facets of Shatner's toupee. However, by the third season, the rules were often broken, leading to some less-than-pleasant toupee moments.


  1. Shat looks like a mad scientist in this frame

  2. I watched this yesterday on YouTube. Hilarious fight scene. Shat's toupee was victorious, though seriously wounded.

  3. I also do the same when finding an old wallet or bag I've shoved to the back of the wardrobe..I found $5 once my RA drugs make my hair thin..I dye it darker,somehow it looks I don't look in the mirror much.. I forget to, I always get a scock when I do...who the hell is that??? It wasnt really a safari,the truck is a prop. It was taken in Bali last Oct, at the Bali Safari and Marin Park.Awesome day out.