Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Bill Shatner in 1967: "So I had to have a full wig"!

Utilizing Google's research tools (more here), reader "ttttttttt" has found a great little article from a May 19th 1967 issue of the now defunct Pittsburgh Press. The article (sourced here) reports on Bill Shatner's involvement with the movie White Comanche, which was filmed during the hiatus between Star Trek's first and second seasons (this gap in filming ran from February to May 1967 - more here). In the article, the actor mentions having to wear a wig:

"William (Star Trek) Shatner, who made a movie 'White Comanche,' in Spain, in which he played dual roles - brothers, one reared as an Indian and one as a cowboy:

He Had to Be Doctored

'One brother had to be blond and I couldn't bleach my hair because of the series. So I had to have a full wig. One character is light-eyed, and one dark, so I had to have contact lenses made.'"

Has Bill Shatner been caught in some sort of toupological fib? A closer inspection reveals layers of nuance and considerable room for maneuver:

"I couldn't bleach my hair because of the series" - Bill Shatner did have his own real hair at the back and sides, and bleaching that may indeed have presented a problem.

A closer inspection of the above image from White Comanche reveals that Bill Shatner's own hair at the very base of the wig is indeed darker and has not been intensively dyed.

"So I had to have a full wig."

This one is a little more tricky. Is Bill Shatner emphasizing the words "had to" or "full"? If the first is true, then he is essentially saying that he had to wear a wig, even though he need not have - not true: baldness meant Bill Shatner wore a toupee, irrespective of hair color issues. Although, here, the distinction could be between a toupee, hairpiece or wig - he had to wear a wig, instead of the toupee. If the emphasis is on the latter "full", then the meaning is somewhat different. "So I had to have a full wig" - meaning "a wig larger than the hairpiece I normally wear."

Since there is only clever parsing and no overt verifiable deception, our Shat-no-Meter rates this one as "Mostly True".

To hear Bill Shatner say the word "toupee" click here, and to hear him say the word "hairpiece" click here.


  1. Thanks for posting this! It's funny though - as you've mentioned before, during the 2nd season of Star Trek, the Shat started wearing a blond toupee that was lighter than his actual hair....

    So I wonder what the story was behind being blond / not bleaching his hair.

  2. Shats was one handsome dude. Imagine walking into a bar looking like 66-68 shat..Jeeze, women, men, kids, dogs would look at you in awe

    itd be the same kind of deal if you walked into a bar looking like 68 comeback Elvis...THAT kind of standard

  3. maybe shatner has always had (thinning) hair but just used various pieces throughout the years to get the desired perfect thick look (with TOS pieces blending into to his own) Christopher Reeve did in the superman films - he had a decent head of hair (although alledgedly suffered from Alopecia at various times - which isnt Male Pattern Baldness) but worse special wigs to get that ultra thick superman hair

  4. "You're still the best looker in outer space"

    That was probably meant for June Lockhart and not for Bill Shatner. Although our Shat would undoubtedly protest that judgment.

  5. Sure, he was trying to fool everybody... sort of "I wear a prop wig, but see, I still have my own hair!"

  6. @Anonymous 8:03pm -- Yeah, that's kind of what I think too.... That Shat's toupee's, especially in the 60's, were blended into his own hair, and that he was never completely bald.

    The main thing that goes against this argument though, is Shat's sensitivity to people asking him about his toupees. I would think that if he actually had a fairly full head of hair that he wouldn't be so sensitive.

  7. @RM - agreed, thanks. We've clipped that sentence out. -ST

  8. Slippery, Shat. Verrrry slippery.

  9. Like poor politician he keeps misleading the public!. Sure, words like wig have a different meaning technically than toupee but we all know they are used interchangeably. It all depends on what your definition of is, is