Many readers may remember intriguing readers' comments relating to an apparent "peeling" toupee on the back cover of Bill Shatner's 1995 (co-authored) novel The Ashes of Eden. Well, reader Neil has done some highly laudable investigative toupology of his very own and tracked down the book in question. He then very kindly sent us a scan and requested that we fire up our touposcopes.
We were happy to oblige and it wasn't long before our top toupologists ascertained that the image in question should be analyzed with our extremely powerful Quantum Toupmonic Oscillator, which came up with the following readouts...
But what did it all mean?
In the simplest possible terms, our toupologists deemed that this picture does indeed appear to show a somewhat shocking (and unfortunate) toup malfunction. By 1995, Bill Shatner was well into wearing a "Phase II TJ Curly" meaning a "weave" that better anchored the hair by extending all the way down the sides of the head too.
What appears to be happening here, is that the fine skin under the hair that attaches the sides of the piece to the scalp (odd though, that it is protruding, lace-style, off the hair in this way) has become detached leading to very revealing shadows.
What is most odd is how the makeup artist at the photo-shoot could have let this happen. Even more curious is why it wasn't then cleaned up by airbrushing the image (it would have been a pretty easy job) after the fact. So did no-one see it (possibly)? It's hard to believe that Bill Shatner would have ever allowed the image to go out knowing of the toupological slip-up that it contained. Especially so, since the thawing of Bill Shatner's outright toupee denial was still years away. Or was it a mischievous prank of sorts, artificially airbrushed into the picture after the fact?
Either way, the blunder undoubtedly merits adjectives like "awkward" and "embarrassing", but as many of you will know, our mission here at the WSSTS is not to simply point out such moments, but to try to understand their significance, both for Bill Shatner and humanity as a whole. "Study the Toupee" is our motto, after all. To this end, we consulted with one of our top socio-toupologists, who wrote:
"What if it was deliberate? With the recent death of Captain Kirk in Star Trek: Generations, Bill Shatner may have been attempting to convey to readers how torn he felt over agreeing to kill off this beloved character so dear to his heart."
Both William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy almost immediately regretted killing off their respective characters in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Star Trek: Generations.
The socio-toupologist continued:
" 'From a distance I may seem OK,' the actor may have been trying to say with his hair, 'But look a little closer. There is a yawning gap in my life and it is tearing me apart! Help, I really am coming apart at the seams!' The actor's smile, meanwhile, is punctuated with an unmistakable sense of grief and sadness, while the starry backdrop only accentuates the feeling of alienation of its subject. In a sense, the photograph may be one of the most subtle, yet powerful, searing and iconic statements of loss and grief since Princess Diana's Taj Mahal photo."
Alone at the Taj Mahal. This 1992 image of Princess Diana was viewed as highlighting that Lady Di's marriage was falling apart.
Moving stuff, indeed! On a separate note, our full movie and TV toupological analyses of Bill Shatner's work will be back in September. Some of you may be happy to learn that, by popular demand, we will finally be undertaking full analyses of the 6+1 Bill Shatner Trek movies...as to individual Trek episodes...who knows?