Back in 1958, two actors - a young, balding Jack Klugman and a younger, yet far-more-balding William Shatner - had an historic on-screen meeting in an episode of a show called Suspicion, episode title "The Protégé" - an ironic title considering what would transpire in the ensuing years between these two actors.
We'll examine this episode with a full toupological analysis in the near future, but, for now, suffice to say that the two stars of this episode may have developed a bond based on hair loss. "The Protégé" (rhymes with toupée) was likely one of the very first on-screen appearances of the "Jim Kirk lace" on Bill Shatner's head.
Bill Shatner wearing his "Jim Kirk lace" in a 1960 episode of The Twilight Zone.
Meanwhile, Jack Klugman, noticeably thinning, was likely still simply combing-over at this point. The seeds of two very different approaches that would only grow further apart as the years went by. Did Klugman offer toupological advice to the young Bill Shatner, or was it the other way around? Were these words heeded or ignored?
In 1968, just as Bill Shatner was growing increasingly sensitive and secretive about his toupee use, Jack Klugman appeared toup-less in The Detective.
As his baldness increased, Klugman would come to treat the toupee as a useful tool - one to be worn when a role demanded - but the relationship was not absolute, the scalp would not become permanently concealed. At times it would be worn, but at other very public events, he would appear without it. No worries at all.
Jack Klugman in The Odd Couple.
In fact, it seems that Klugman would actually often rather wear a hat on-screen than a damn toup...
Bill Shatner, on the other hand, and in typical all-or-nothing style, embraced the toupee completely.
For him, there was no middle ground; as far as everyone would/should/must be concerned, his thick and ever-thickening hair was absolutely 100% real. The scalp must remain concealed at all costs.
Bill Shatner appearing in rival detective show Columbo in 1976.
And then the rift between these two men grew even further. Just as Bill Shatner had managed to ditch the unfortunate "Lost Years" look in favor of the "TJ Curly", Klugman thrust the knife even further into their already frayed relationship.
The year was 1976. Jack Klugman is starring in a new TV series called Quincy, M.E. - and what is he wearing on his head?!?!? A "Jim Kirk lace"!!! And not only that, but he's not even making much of an effort to conceal the lace line on the forehead.
Whatever vestiges of friendship may have still existed between these two actors was now officially dead. Bill Shatner likely took Klugman's new hairstyle and the way it was presented to be a personal dig at his own ever-changing hair.
Klugman's tough message to Bill Shatner? Image sourced here.
But was Klugman actually trying to serve as an older brother/ father figure to Bill Shatner? Was Quincy's hairstyle a subtle message to Bill Shatner that there are always possibilities? Was he saying that the "Lost Years" and the new "TJ Curly" were mistakes and instead offering a way forward that was rooted in the past? Or was he simply telling his colleague not to take the toup so seriously?
Bill Shatner's "Lost Years" look in 1973's Impulse.
So many questions... Thankfully, the now 88 year-old Jack Klugman is also still with us, and still fighting Quincy-style battles (is there something in toupee glue that provides this youthful energy?!?!). As for the hair, Klugman continues to do what he has been doing for years now: occasionally appearing bald...
...and occasionally still wearing his, yes his "Jim Kirk lace"!
Neither man has ever openly discussed this decades long Shatner-Klugman toupological feud. Yet, it may be one of the most fascinating, complex and moving untold chapters in the history of motion picture entertainment. It's not too late to start...