Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The first CGI toupee.

It's relatively well known that the "Genesis wave" scene in the movie Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan was one of the first ever major CGI (computer-generated imagery) sequences in motion picture history (a bald moon revived with lush foliage - more inspiration from Bill Shatner's toupee?).

"...life from lifelessness."

But perhaps less well known is the fact that a brief sequence in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home may contain the world's first ever CGI rendering of a toupee.

A risky time-travel slingshot around the sun propels the Trek team back in time, rendering them temporarily unconscious. Captain Kirk has a surreal dream where he sees the hairstyles of the entire crew. Last to emerge is a vision of Kirk himself with a thick "TJ curly" toupee:

We don't know just how many pioneering man hours were required to get the CGI toupee right. Were measurements taken, changes requested? We don't know, but what we do know is that the more we look, the more it is evident just how much credit the toupee must receive for some of Star Trek's most ambitious and inspiring moments and stories:

"I looked at Bill Shatner's head one day and realized that it was unfortunate how many of his real hair follicles were permanently extinct," recalled* Star Trek movie producer Harve Bennett shortly before his death. "But then I started thinking, what if there were a crisis and for some reason Bill needed his real hair? The only way he could get it would be to go back in time...and that's really where the Star Trek IV story was born."

You can read our analysis of Bill Shatner's underwater swimming in Star Trek IV here.

* not really


  1. I wonder if like Vulcans every seven years the maturing toups endured the terrible agonies of the "pong far" (scuse spelling) which could perhaps provide another explanation for the ever-evolving styles?

  2. A CGI Curly TJ? Oh, well..

  3. To be fair, it wouldn't just be Shatner. I think some of the other cast members were wearing toupees or wigs at this point -

    Koenig (toupee)
    Nichols (wig?)

    I always suspected Doohan and Kelley were wearing rugs in the TOS films.

  4. Great point. From what we understand: Walter Koenig wore a toupee in the movies (he still does) and he's actually very open about his toupological exploits; James Doohan possibly wore a small rear piece to cover a bald patch at the back; while conversely Nichelle Nichols showed off her real hair, whereas in TOS she had worn a wig. Nimoy, Kelley and Takei - all real hair. -ST

  5. ST - you are probably right.

    Though in Kelley's case, I'm pretty sure that's not his natural hair color onscreen.

  6. ST:

    I have the perfect idea for a post on this blog.

    You could examine how society(and this blog) would change if the full truth about shatner's hair came out, from shatner himself, and most importantly pics and vids.

  7. De Kelley wore a toupee from the first season of TOS onward. It was a small front piece (smaller than Shatner's), but by the time the movies were being made, Kelley was wearing a full toupee.

    Watch the old Westerns he was in - Kelley clearly had frontal hair loss before the series began.

    Koenig wore a wig during his first few episodes in TOS season 2, while his real hair was growing to the length required for a "Monkees-style" hair do. After those initial episodes, it was his real hair on screen. During the first movie, he had his real hair supplemented by strategic combing and sprays to cover his hair loss. From ST II onward, Koenig wore a full toupee, and it looks like he's had the same piece ever since. He does not care for it properly, and too often, it looks sloppily thrown on. Shatner should have offered him some lessons.

    Nichols wore a wig in ST VI. She hasn't suffered hair loss, but at the time, her hair was quite short and the producers didn't like the way it looked on film.

  8. "During the first movie, he had his real hair supplemented by strategic combing and sprays to cover his hair loss."

    No. He admitted he wore a toupee for the 1st ST film. It's obvious he wore a hairpiece in that film.

  9. also @ anonymous. your claim that kelley wore a hairpiece during TOS is indeed false.

  10. If you watch "City on the Edge of Forever" you'll see once McCoy freaks out on cordracene that Scotty is at the helm (taking an injured Sulu's post), and once Scotty turns around a pancake sized bald spot is in full evidence on the back of James Doohan's head. Watch it for yourself! No one has ever pointed this out, yet it's plain as day. Be sure to freeze frame the DVD for full enjoyment.