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.

Bill Shatner previously interviewed Trek co-star Leonard Nimoy on Raw Nerve.

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.

Where Bill Shatner hasn't gone before...

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.

27 comments:

  1. I met WK one time here in Brazil. A fine gentleman, and the toupee looked like a dead squirrel. But as a perfect gentleman, Walt won't touch on this torny subject. That's my guess.

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  2. "unwittingly"?

    No, Shatner knew what he was doing and why. I think it was ingrained into his head when he signed on that Captain Kirk was supposed to be the star of the show.

    And when it became clear that Spock and not Kirk was clearly the dominant character and subsequent show focal point, Shatner became very jealous and threatened. He took that out on other actors and members of the production crew.

    You may not like it, but from what I’ve read, Doohan’s, Takei’s and Nichelle Nichols’ accounts appear to match up in that it’s clear Shatner was largely an a-hole to deal with during the show’s remaining time in production . This is also confirmed by the Justman/Solow recollections in their book.

    And … things like mispronouncing someone’s name incorrectly for 30 years I would not chock up as ‘pettiness’. I think it says a lot about how Shatner continually viewed people over the years, that he cannot be bothered to even get that right. Frankly I’m amazed Takei didn’t walk up to the Shat and slap his Danny Katz toupee right off his head during that roast.

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    1. In what universe was Spock the dominate character and focal point of the show?

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    2. Spock was mysterious, intriguing, other-worldly, and alien...he was played with great skill by Nimoy and many, many viewers agreed they felt he was the most interesting of all the characters because of his alien nature and his stoic and mysterious demeanor. Early on, he became established as something of an alter-ego of the brash, headstrong, and sometimes overbearing Kirk... their on-screen personalities were constantly balancing each other towards an equilibrium point...they were "good" for one another, thus the deep bond and friendship.

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  3. Well MVP, perhaps it was this mix of tension and jealousy that resulted in a great show being produced. Just sayin' ...

    Judging by the advanced state of Koenig's hairloss, and the fact that he wasn't fooling anybody (at least myself) with that thing on his head, I doubt he only started wearing it in the 70's. He obviously was already suffering from premature hairloss during the original series' run. I mean, look at some of those old episodes. He was growing the back of his hair real long and "swooping" it way over from the back of his head, and in close-ups you can see his thinning hairline where the hair isn't quite long enough to reach over from behind and cover. That was no wig.

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  4. Koening and Shatner has the same age and have been wearing pieces for ages. I wonder... when Bill takes off the Katz piece, does he looks like ol Walt?

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  5. There's an interesting clip of the interview here:

    http://www.biography.com/video.do?name=shatner&bcpid=2226550001&bckey=AQ~~,AAAAAELG4_Y~,hNBsn_JrLlQnvymAcYr2pYbY9CfETHMJ&bclid=767905952001&bctid=793928453001

    On the same page, you can also access other clips from past interviews. Interesting is the fact that the Shat has conducted interviews with several who currently or have worn toups in the past like Scott Bakula(?), Kevin Pollack, Kevin Nealon, and Carl Reiner. It's safe to say that if he didn't mention it then, he is unlikely to now. One has to wonder if he subconciously sought these people out intentionally, in order to rub it in their faces that he had editing control over any possible mention of mutual toupee use.

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  6. OK, Koenig won't say a word about toupees or something like that. But facing Shatner "unplugged" is some kind of provocation, right?

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  7. James Toupeerius KirkFebruary 27, 2011 at 12:11 PM

    I watched Shatner's Raw Nerve just a minute ago and made a scrrenshot of a moment from the opening!have a look ;-)

    http://www.bilder-hochladen.net/files/87c2-j-png.html

    ...looking forward to your review on the Walter Koenig episode!!
    great work dudes!!

    greetings

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  8. @James Toupeerius Kirk

    Yes, this is a not-so-hidden message! :-)

    BTW. Are you from Germany?

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  9. Hahahaha. Not so real!

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  10. Thanks, James Toupeerius Kirk. A very amusing juxtaposition. -ST

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  11. Such a lost opportunity. It would've been cool to see both Koenig and Shatner swap toupees. Ratings Gold!

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  12. James Toupeerius KirkFebruary 28, 2011 at 8:40 PM

    @ tintorera: yes, I'm from Germany! You suppose it because of the name of the url?! "bilder-hochladen..." ?! ;-)

    @ ShatToupBlog: keep on toupologizing! (or hows the verb for your studies? :-) )

    greets

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  13. Dr. Clayton ForresterMarch 4, 2011 at 3:44 AM

    All of the pictures of Shat with higher hairlines, or bald patches, bring to mind an idea: What if NASA, in partnership with the WSSTS, created a "clear-scalp" composite image of Shatner's head, showing all the combined scalp surface area which has actually been exposed over the years? It would be roughly like a clear-sky composite satellite image of the Earth:

    http://www.nasa.gov/vision/earth/lookingatearth/Detective_Work.html

    The remaining covered area, while still formidable, would be smaller than any single toup he's worn over the years.

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  14. @James Toupeerius Kirk

    Sure I did. Happy to see a fellow countryman here. :)

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  15. "You may not like it, but from what I’ve read, Doohan’s, Takei’s and Nichelle Nichols’ accounts appear to match up in that it’s clear Shatner was largely an a-hole to deal with during the show’s remaining time in production ."

    This.

    I think it must have been especially galling for Takei and Nichols. Part of the reason William Shatner is famous is because of Star Trek. Part of the reason Star Trek has such an enduring legacy was because of its groundbreaking treatment of race. And yet the ACTUAL Asian guy and black woman who helped make it so groundbreaking were treated like poop by its white male star.

    I'm not calling Shatner racist since he seems to have been pretty equal-opportunity in his jerkishness. But I can still see where it would sting particularly badly from Takei or Nichols' perspective. Takei and Nichols already had a hard enough time finding non-stereotypical acting work, and then Shatner went and kneecapped them by cutting their scenes and lines on Star Trek. If they're both still kind of pissed off at Shatner, well, I can't say I'd feel any differently if I were in their shoes.

    Having said all that, I don't really have any personal rage against Shatner, and in fact I've always admired Walter Koenig's class where he is concerned. Koenig really seems like one of the most down-to-earth celebrities ever.

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    1. I had the chance of meeting Walter Koenig at a convention a couple years ago. He was really sweet, and treated me a lot better than some of the other stars there. Him and Nichelle Nichols were both really fun to talk to.

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  16. The link to the "Where Walter Koenig leads, will Bill Shatner follow" is still on Walter's site.. it's just moved to "links" because it's not new any longer!

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  17. Shat, however, did push the envelope with the scene where he kissed Uhura. The network people wanted them not to kiss, for fear of offending social mores. Shatner deliberately flubbed all those takes, so the only usable takes had a kiss. He might have been a jerk at one time, for any number of reasons, but there's no indication he was a racist. And he and Nimoy sat together at a recent event and had a very amusing exchange. Public, certainly, but they had no need to and chose to.

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  18. I wish he gave more credit to his toupees (he always denied wearing them) and to his fellow actors.

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  19. I've watched Shatner for years...even got a little caught up into who he was. I realized...leave him alone....so what if he has a toupee...if it makes him happy...so be it.

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  20. I do have to agree with Willam Shatner, the core group of Star Trek (TOS) stars: Shatner, Nimoy, Kelley. Although I would also include Doohan. George Takei will just have to live with that.

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  21. Ditto. TOS and the movies centered around the big three. Scotty did have a bigger role than the other three minor stars. However, I would suggest their dreams of lost glory are without foundation. All of the other Star Trek series were more true ensembles than the TOS, giving more screen time to the minor players but with most of the attention given to the stars like Picard, data, 7, the doctor, etc. Yet, not one of the minor ensemble actors in any of the other series "broke out," just as the minor stars in TOS failed to break out. Thus, i believe it is petty for them to continue to blame shatner for them not having "bigger careers."

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  22. He (Spock) was THE character most viewers tuned in to watch on each episode of Star Trek.

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  23. Shatner doesn not wear a toupee anymore. It is obvious in recent pictures that he had hair transplants done a few years ago.

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  24. Can the people here really be this shallow, that the best you can dredge up about William Shatner and Walter Koenig is the fact they both wear toupees? Can Koenig be so petty that every time he's around Shatner the only thing he can think of is whether Shatner will ever ditch his "rug"? Please, folks! These 2 men are not that one-dimensional, but I think you are.

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