Friday, February 25, 2011
BREAKING: Walter Koenig interviewed without toupee in Shatner show.
As some of you will no doubt have heard, Bill Shatner recently conducted an interview with Star Trek co-star Walter Koenig for his show Shatner's Raw Nerve.
An image of the upcoming show has just been released (above) - confirming that Koenig appears without his toupee! A while back, we asked "Where Walter Koenig leads, will Bill Shatner follow?" - Koenig (or his staff) then upped the stakes by linking to our post on the actor's website (it's not there anymore) - very telling! Seemingly, Koenig is as eager as anyone else for Bill Shatner to at least admit he wears a toupee.
Two men: one who has recently ditched the toupee and one who has not. Will the interview touch on this subject? Will Bill Shatner ask about Koenig's hair? Will Koenig then make inevitable comparisons to Bill Shatner? Bill Shatner, being who he is, may well talk about Koenig's hair and yet still pretend that his own hair is nothing but 100% organic and home-grown. Will Koenig push? Will Shatner retreat? All things said, this could well be the biggest interview since Martin Bashir interviewed Princess Diana in 1995.
A little context: Walter Koenig has, along with the other members of Star Trek's "gang of four", previously expressed criticism of what he perceived as Bill Shatner's frequent ego-centric conduct on-set. But unlike James Doohan and George Takei, Koenig has, to our knowledge, always been measured, reflective and diplomatic in his critiques rather than resorting to pettiness and vitriol. Bill Shatner, for his part, has acknowledged that he may have unwittingly acted in an insensitive manner but has also occasionally underscored his view that Star Trek had three main stars (Shatner, Nimoy, Kelley) and was never an ensemble of seven characters. Certainly some tension between these two viewpoints remains.
But the two men have much in common too. Both have suffered an unimaginable and deeply tragic loss in their lives: Bill Shatner's third wife Nerine drowned after an alcohol overdose in 1999; last year, Walter Koenig's son Andrew committed suicide after suffering from severe depression. Koenig and Shatner are also both the children of Jewish immigrants from the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe (Lithuania and Ukraine, Poland and Austro-Hungaria respectively).
On a far lighter (or heavier) note, both men also share the common experience of the toupee. Koenig apparently turned to the toup in the early 1970s and only recently decided to ditch the rug. Unlike Bill Shatner, he's been open about his toupological exploits, mentioning his baldness (beginning to thin as far back as during the original Star Trek series) in his autobiography Warped Factors. Bill Shatner, of course, is nowhere near this stage yet.
We've dispatched staff to the White House,...
...Canadian parliament (Bill Shatner is a Canadian),...
...and the Kremlin (Koenig's Trek character Chekov was a Russian)...
...in order to monitor reactions to this breaking news. Stay tuned!
One note: Shatner's Raw Nerve is heavily edited in order to fit interviews into the show's short thirty-minute time-slot (including commercials). Unlike The Daily Show (as one example), Raw Nerve does not make available online extended uncut versions of its interviews (which can often be three or four times longer than the finished edited version). We think that this is not only a shame, but also a mistake from a publicity and marketing point-of-view. Could toupee discussions be edited out and locked away in a vault for fifty years? We hope not.
Anyway, we'll post a full analysis after the show airs - on the Biography Channel in the US March 14th - and keep our fingers crossed until then that matters of the toupee will be addressed by the two actors.
More info here. Thanks to several (very excited) readers for the tip.