Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Animated toupee liberation.



As has often been observed, one of the best features about the short-lived Star Trek animated series was that it enabled a level of production design and scope (despite also having a very low budget) that would have been impossible in the live-action series on which it was based. Gene Roddenberry once put it thus: "During the original series, budget considerations meant that there were severe limits as to what we could do with Bill Shatner's toupee. Sure, there was wind and the occasional fall or fight, but that was about it. We knew the fans wanted more, so when we had the chance to do the animated series, one of the first things I instructed the writers to do was to really push the toupee to the limit."


And so they did. During the run of the series, the animated Captain Kirk, based of course on the visage of Bill Shatner, got to do all manner of new and exciting things - and so did his curiously orange hair. These included swimming underwater, exposure to severe winds, fire and much, much more!

"The Ambergris Element"

An example of this new found toupee liberation can be found in the episode "The Magicks of Megas-tu". In one sequence, within a matter of seconds, Bill Shatner's animated toupee is exposed to fire, smoke, rain, explosions, beams of magical light and very, very strong gusts (the character becomes a kind of Touperman with super-toupular powers) - the kind that the real-lace could not have withstood on the live-action Star Trek's paltry hairstyling budget. Watch below:



Star Trek: TAS is often dissed for its low-budget animation, which put recycling on the map long before the environmental movement. However, the series has a particular aesthetic charm all of its own, managing to be even more "far out" than the original live-action series; also, some of the stories are surprisingly well written - we think that it is well worth watching. Star Trek: The Animated Series is available on DVD.

Note: Gene Roddenberry never actually said the above quote.

10 comments:

  1. An animated toupee with godly powers! That's something!!!

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  2. It would be funnier if the toupee were the lost ratty years variety. Well, the cartoon was produced in the seventies!

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  3. Ratty Lost Years PieceMarch 3, 2010 at 11:51 PM

    The fat pilgrim bears an uncanny resemblance to Denny Crane-era Shatner. Notice he wears a hat...perhaps to cover up a recent hair transplant?

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  4. A heroic epic built around Kirk's hairpiece.
    http://www.michaelsteinmacher.com/star%20trek%20mock%20epic.pdf

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  5. Roddenberry actually *did* say that quote in an alternate, lens-flare-oriented timeline where he was played by a much younger and prettier actor.

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  6. Cartoon hair is fake hair, anyway

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  7. Spy Trek
    If all cartoon hair is "fake" does that mean all of characters are wearing toupees?

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  8. Uh, good question. But Bill Shatner's hair looks fake even in a cartoon.

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  9. I would argue that his cartoon hair looks more believable than some of his live-action hair.

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  10. It's much better than the ratty ones that he was forced to wear at the game shows

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