Tuesday, November 3, 2009

David Gerrold lays to rest the Tribble-as-toupee theory...

A while back, we examined the potential toupee-related subtext of the Tribble creatures from the classic Star Trek episode "The Trouble with Tribbles". In one of the most famous images from the episode, Captain Kirk is buried deep in a pile of Tribbles. Ever since that episode aired back in December 1967, many fans have wondered whether the seemingly inescapable toupee imagery (Bill Shatner buried in a pile of his own toupees) was in some way intentional. As we also pointed out, the aforementioned image has been comically exploited to that effect over and over again on the Internet...

So, in an effort to determine whether this subtext was consciously intended or exists merely in the minds of numerous (warped?) Star Trek fans, we decided to contact the writer of "The Trouble with Tribbles" David Gerrold and ask him directly.

David Gerrold

Gerrold insisted to Shatner's Toupee that as far as the writing was concerned, no such dual meaning was ever intended by him when he came up with the fluffy Tribbles:

"At the time 'The Trouble With Tribbles' was written, I didn't even know that Shatner wore a rug. While the fans have had a great time speculating about subtext in the decades since then, there was no deliberate intention to mock him in any way when the show was in production."

Mock? Poke fun? Jest? Our sincere thanks to David Gerrold for that clarification. Will that stop all those photoshoppers? Somehow, we doubt it!


David Gerrold wrote the
Star Trek episode "The Trouble with Tribbles", the Star Trek: Animated Series episodes "More Tribbles, More Troubles" and "Bem" as well as several other Star Trek-related books and scripts.

He has also written numerous non-
Trek works, including the semi-autobiographical and Hugo Award-winning novelette (later expanded into both a novel and a movie) The Martian Child. Gerrold's science-fiction novels include "The Man Who Folded Himself" (1973) and also "The War Against the Chtorr" and "Star Wolf" series.

David Gerrold's website is www.gerrold.com.


  1. At the time the episode was filmed, was Shatner oblivious to the toup/tribble similarities? I wish he'd discussed this in one of his books. If he was aware of the parallels, he might have tried to walk away with a few tribs and have them converted into hairpieces.

  2. Those tribbles are better looking than the lost years toupees..

  3. There's a big difference between what's on the printed page and what the production chooses to do with it. The writer was likely oblivious, but whoever was in charge of making real tribbles had to recognize the connection.

  4. Shat's toups breed like tribbles it seems - his own fault for overfeeding them!