Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Toup Throat.

Many of you will have seen the classic 1976 Alan J. Pakula movie All the President's Men. Based on the book of the same name, the movie covers the investigations of Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein into the Watergate burglary of 1972 and its connections with the then US president Richard Nixon.

In the movie, Woodward and Bernstein pursue numerous leads, search hundreds of sources, and gradually piece together a chain of events, which connects a simple hotel burglary to a cover-up instigated within the highest office in the country.

As part of his investigations, Bob Woodward had frequent meetings with a mysterious figure identified as "Deep Throat" (revealed in 2005 to be FBI associate director W. Mark Felt). "Follow the money..." is perhaps his most iconic phrase.

Much of the kind of work depicted in this movie mirrors the efforts of the William Shatner School of Toupological Studies - one of the world's foremost scientific and research institutions.

Which brings us to reader "tmk" - or "Toup Throat" as we have labeled him (or her). Before the days of the Internet, "Toup Throat" would possibly have met in person with one of the staff of the WSSTS, much in the style of All the President's Men. Today, the comments sections of Shatner's Toupee can serve a similar purpose (but unlike Woodward and "Deep Throat", we don't know who "Toup Throat" is - inside contacts or good detective work?).

On November 7th 2010 "Toup Throat" posted a message in one of our articles that, although speculative, appeared to at least suggest potential revelations akin to Watergate. He too had followed the money.

-The first claim made by "Toup Throat" was that Bill Shatner's toupee (the argument is that the post-2000 "Denny" is still a toup, albeit one not necessarily removed at night) is provided by a company called "Edward Katz Hair Design" based in California. We should note that this company writes on its website of its "many celebrity clients" that can be "perfectly confident on a set, even under the unrelenting glare of lights." It naturally also promises discretion to its clients.

-The second claim attempts to underscore the first: hair expert Edward Katz (a self-confessed sufferer of male pattern baldness) openly wears a toupee that is essentially identical to Bill Shatner's own "hair".

Sourced from the "Edward Katz Hair Design" website.

-For his third and final claim, "Toup Throat" offers some hard evidence, circumstantial, but evidence nonetheless. On the company's website, listed amongst Edward Katz's philanthropic efforts is a donation/donations to William Shatner's "Hollywood Charity Horseshow" (a show that raises money for "Ahead With Horses" - a charity which helps provide therapy, education and recreation to disabled children through the use of horses. The show also helps several other children's charities - please donate if you can here). What's the reason for this connection? How did Katz come to make such a donation? Via his friendship with Bill Shatner, which grew from the latter's toupological visits?

Screengrab from the aforementioned website - emphasis added to image by us.

-To this, we can add a fourth piece of - again entirely circumstantial - evidence: "Edward Katz Hair Design" is located in northern Los Angeles (marked with the red "A" label in the below image):

It is literally just a few minutes drive from a certain legendary celebrity toupee-wearer's home (which we haven't identified). Very convenient. A toupological fitting and tuning station just minutes from your home.

So what to make of all this?

Firstly, the above, though fascinating and highly plausible, is entirely speculative - were it a newspaper article, the editor would simply tell his reporters that they couldn't write a story asserting that this was Bill Shatner's toupee station because they lacked conclusive proof. Woodward and Bernstein's initial Watergate stories were constrained in the same way; their initial stories were about the affiliations of the burglars to the Republican Party and the CIA and a CREEP slush fund - the "big" conclusions would only come later. In this sense, a viable headline could read "Top Toup Maker Tied to Shatner Charity".

Bill Shatner in 2002 - was the beard a tribute to his new good friend Katz?

Secondly, do we really want to know? Despite the fact that Bill Shatner has never admitted it directly, the actor's toupee-wearing has become as legendary as the man himself. But does it help to know where he gets his toupees made? Doesn't that get a little to close to spoiling at least some of the magic and wonder associated with the toupee? It may well be that Bill Shatner's toupees (if that is indeed what is on his head) are made here, and while we've mentioned All the President's Men in this post, a scene from another movie comes to mind as perhaps being more appropriate. That scene is from the 1985 children's adventure movie The Goonies.

Transposing the story in the movie to our own search for information about Bill Shatner's toupee: Mikey and the other Goonies have just met Bill Shatner, bald in his secret toupee den, surrounded by hairpieces and a wealth of toupee-related information.

Mikey is overwhelmed not just by this treasure trove, but also by respect for his toupee-wearing hero, whom he calls Toupeed Billy.

While his friends are mesmerized by the value of the hoard of old laces, wigs, hairpieces etc., Mikey wants to make a symbolic tribute.

He believes that there are some things that must be left alone.

"Take all this toupological information," he tells the others, before pointing to a pot full of receipts paid by Bill Shatner to his hairstylist, "but not this - that's Billy's".

They agree, some things must be left alone...

Edward Katz could very well be Bill Shatner's own personal hair replacement guru (read a fascinating and detailed interview with Katz here - laces are mentioned, as is Jack Klugman). But the relationship between a hair artist and his client is like that of a priest and confessor, or therapist and patient. That being the case, unless Bill Shatner decides to talk (as Nixon did to Frost), we'll likely never know the truth and the bond of confidentiality will remain intact, just as it should - trying to breach that from the outside would, we think, be a step too far. "Everything else, but not that..." as Mikey said.

"Second star to the right, and straight on till morning..."


  1. Toup Sleuth Since 1984November 9, 2010 at 7:47 AM


    That's pretty compelling... right down to the slightly darker ring beneath the hair at the frontal hairline.

    It doesn't completely explain some of the patchy photos. Of course, some of it could be grow-out...

    Let the debate begin!

  2. Thought provoking, going a touch beyond the speculation that Leonard Nimoy would be In Search Of...!

    When do you plan to send off G. Gordon Liddy to sneak into Shatner's house? ;o)

  3. Excellent detective work by WSSTS!!!!BRAVO!!!Bravo also for not revealing the identity of a "certain legendary celebrity toupee-wearer's home"..Great show of sensitivity and class.....
    Personally after seeing Katz's toup I tend to believe the "Toup throat"..His evidence and your compeling analysis made a believer out of me.Keep up the toup-notch work !!!!

  4. A piece of advice to the reporters of WSSTS and the "Toup throat".BE CAREFUL in your fearless and relentless search of truth.There are sinister conspiratory forces out there that don't want the toup truth to come out...Be brave but take precautions,and always know The Truth Is Out There!!!

  5. I read tmk's comment the other day and followed his/her link. I was convinced the very moment Katz's picture appeared on screen. :)

  6. it still could be that both are true. Shatner has had hair transplants, but the vast majority of his public appearances still have him wearing hairpieces. Then again, maybe the prospect of transplants was a Talosian illusion and a toupee has been in use continuously.

  7. We need a 24hr stakeout of the Salon.

  8. @RM - maybe that is true, but according to my uncle who got a toup from Katz, every person who gets a toup from Katz has to shave the parts of his head that are under the toup. That gives the illusion that the toup is real hair, b/c you can see the scalp through the toup. One of Katz's big selling points is that his toups are extremely light and thin.

    BTW thanks so much for this post about my info -- was very entertaining to read! I also do not have any personal connection to Shat -- just know someone who got a toup from Katz.

  9. Also, as Katz says on his site under his bio - his toups are more like lifestyle choices -- you can't just take them on and off very easily; they are stuck on your head and you wear them 24/7. Katz himself said he didn't want to be two people, one person with hair and one person without.

  10. Thanks again for your great contribution "TMK" - could we possibly ask you to email us at shattoupblog@gmail.com? Thanks!

    On a more humorous note, wouldn't it be amusing if Bill Shatner's toup visits looked like this?: -ST

  11. Katz himself said he didn't want to be two people, one person with hair and one person without.

    Yeah, but in Bill's case, the toup has a life of his own

  12. Marc, what makes you say the toup has a life of HIS own? Is it a male? How would you know?

  13. At the very least TMK a.k.a "Toup Throat"should be given a teaching chair at WSSTS and be made an honourary member of this post.We all owe him our deepest gratidude for his contributions in toupology.

  14. Hair Transplants NOT delivering the coverage you though?

    Now we know the truth
    A rug that looks like a plug

  15. The head shaving and gluing is nothing new though. What does seem new is that he uses synthetic hair, not real, making the toupee lighter, thinner and more durable.

  16. the new Kirk talks of his fear of losing his thick bushy almost TJ curly like hair when Leno shows a picture of his old man:

    also heres a recent photo showing Pine sporting a very JK lace style do (perhaps in preperation for the forthcoming sequel shoot?):

  17. Reading the interview with Katz seals the deal - it's clear this is the Shat's toup system. The visible scalp, the "bedhead" in his YouTube interviews, the "I'm not just the owner, I'm a client" copycat toup - it all fits. I never could get used to the idea of the plugs, only because he didn't have enough natural hair to move around.

  18. The more I read this post and browse Katz's website, I become convinced that the plugs were just an illusion. It's a toupee, fellows...

  19. Well I think it's still plausible that Shatner looked into or perhaps tried plugs at some points in the late '90s or early 00's, only to have discovered Katz.

    My thinking is that he looked into plugs, but was told there wasn't enough donor hair available for the areas he wanted covered, and while that was going on, he found this system more suitable.

  20. Heck, based on what Baldkirk365 says, we can call his current look the 'plugged rug'!

  21. "On the company's website, listed amongst Edward Katz's philanthropic efforts is a donation/donations to William Shatner's "Hollywood Charity Horseshow"

    The words "gun" and "smoking" spring to mind ...

  22. LOL @ all of you! "Toupthroat", LOL! I think the WSSTS is really onto something here. Great work, ladies and gentlemen!

  23. Congratulations! This blog has reached another landmark.
    Now, the timeline
    JK LACE – Late fifties to late sixties – Stylish, good looking, smooth, perfect for the Kennedy era and the mod sixties. The lace made Bill Shatner a star as the intrepid Captain James T. Kirk.
    THE LOST YEARS TOUPEE – Early seventies to the late seventies – Shaggy, cheap, ill fitting, ideal for bad TV movies and game shows. Almost destroyed Bill Shatner’s reputation as a leading man.
    THE TJ CURLY – Late seventies to the late nineties – Kinky and fake, but so camp that had its charm. It was the real star of the TJ Hooker TV series and the ST Movies. In the nineties, by the time Shatner had became and undisputed cultural icon, it became smoother, trying to recover some of the old JK charm.
    THE DENNY CRANE LOOK aka THE KATZ TOUP – Late nineties to the present. Shorter and discreet, it fitted like a glove to the middle aged Shatner. A toupee that looks like a transplant, it has been confounding punters for ages.

  24. I hate to say I told you so, but, I told you so! (for the toup non-believers).

  25. I'm glad the issue is finally settled! I started reading this blog believing that Shat wore toupees 100% of the time for public appearances, then became persuaded that he had hair plugs and occasionally wore hairpieces, and now have gone back to thinking it is indeed toupees that have been in use.
    I still believe this blog was correct in conjecturing that Shatner has had transplant work done. It's just that the results were not robust enough for TV and film work.

  26. I agree with RM. I too had my doubts for a while almost believing it was "plugs" due to the nature of the "ratty, patchy and thin" look of his hair in the high res photos. It is very possible that he contemplated plugs at one time, however, his hair loss in his youth was so severe that any remaining hair did not lend itself to a transplant procedure later in life. Having said that, even though his hair is "not real" , he looks very good with a full head of hair.

  27. Now we know the reason taht the hair is so "full" in publicity pics and thinner in real live. A toup for every occasion, for sure. But I have to admit. Katz's work is outsanding.

  28. This stuff is fascinating. If I were Toup Throat, whoever he is, I'd be looking over my shoulder from now on.

  29. And if Shatner reads this blog, he must be scratching his head...ops!

  30. I think it's just simply that the toup has been overused past its sell by date in the recent ratty look pics referred to, at $3k a "head" and the time needed each fitting it's probably tempting!

  31. Fascinating picture here - very recent. If I am not deceived it actually shows the Katz sitting on Shatner's head clearly. Do please take a look


  32. Thanks for your comments. We have been trying to encourage non-registered readers to select the "Name/ URL" option in the "comment as" tab and type in a username (anything at all). This eliminates the "anonymous" tag and helps other commenters to know who is saying what. Thanks! -ST

  33. About 10 years ago, Shat appearted on Larry King with a crew-cut style toup, and it looked amazingly real. I remember sitting there marveling at it, in all it's glory, on my tv screen. Thing is, you could see his scalp through the top of it. It could've very easily been an early Katz. I wish I could find a clip

  34. Interesting update to this - I was wasting time checking out the Edward Katz website, and if you click on 'Virtual Tour' they have pictures of the toupees being made! The colours look similar to Shat's 'hair'.

  35. I couldn't resist and had to look at Katz's website and yes that is definately the Denny Crane toup. As I was scanning down the left side of Katz's website there is said "...the 6000 mile trek..". TREK! I found that amusing. I wished Bill would just come out about the toup. A man with confidence is so much more attractive...bald or not.

  36. Looking at the pic of The Shatmeister looking down in bright sunlight, possibly signing an autograph, I see a possibility heretofore undiscussed. I think I see the Y shaped scar from a scalp reduction. This and transplants in the areas not possible to fill with the reduction would account for the thin scruffy salt and pepper look he has.. He probably wears a toupee over the real hair if the part demands it. So maybe Denny Crane wore a toupee but Bill Shatner no longer does.