Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Shatner's Toupee is taking a brief two-week break! Thanks, as always, to our readers for your continued interest and contributions. We'll be back soon...

A visible lace line?

And just so we don't depart on a sane or rational note, we leave you with the above image of Bill Shatner wearing his famous "Jim Kirk lace" and a rather similar frontal swoosh on the legendary comic-book character Tintin.

US First Lady Michelle Obama in Ireland - has the "Shatner swoosh" become the new global fashion craze?

Monday, May 16, 2011

Poll result and more from the Weekly World News.

Our latest poll sought your views on the question of what kind of toupee Bill Shatner will be wearing ten or twenty years from now (if any).

More on this image here.

Only 3% of voters thought none - at that age, he'd realize the illusion no longer worked. 16% thought he'd be wearing the very same "Denny Katz" as now; 22% thought it'd be an updated version of the "Denny Katz" but perhaps a little whiter and thinner; 27% thought that Bill Shatner would be wearing something even darker and thicker than what he wears now.

29% of votes went to "Something that suggests some age-appropriate thinning, but certainly not baldness." In summary, not many of you believe that even a ninety-year-old Bill Shatner is going to be seen without his beloved toupee.

Thanks for voting!

Meanwhile, thanks to Google's efforts to scan all published materials in the universe (to look for mentions of Bill Shatner and his toupee, no doubt) we have another story from the legendary tabloid Weekly World News (previous entry here). In this case, it's from 2001 - completely invented of course - involving a stolen toupee:

Former Star Trek honcho William Shatner offers a $5,000 reward after a brazen robber steals his favorite toupee - snatching it right off his head as he dines at a sidewalk cafe. The toupee is later returned in the mail when the rug bandit apparently comes down with a bad case of cold feet.

In true Weekly World News style, the following story is "Elvis was Murdered!"

Finally, it is with mixed emotions that we bring you confirmation that the William Shatner sitcom $#*! My Dad Says has not been renewed by CBS for a second season. We've been pretty critical of the series, and aren't really sad to see it go, but are saddened that the idea of a Bill Shatner sitcom didn't work out. Will another chance like this come along?

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Cinefantastique and the two-piece toup.

If you type the words "Shatner" and "toupee" into Google's image search engine, the very top result you'll likely see is the following image from one of our earliest posts:

As to why that particular image has made its way to the top of Google, who knows? However, there is a story behind the "frontal hairpiece" and "rear main hairpiece" idea...

Early on in the existence of Shatner's Toupee, we speculated on the notion of the "Jim Kirk lace" perhaps being a two-piece toup, meaning that the front and rear sections might have been separate. Nonsense? Perhaps. It was admittedly just speculation - we had no real evidence to substantiate this idea (and subsequently have become rather skeptical). But there was one source making what can be construed as that claim - the now defunct science-fiction magazine Cinefantastique.

We've since obtained the text in question, from a 1996 Star Trek 30th anniversary edition of the magazine.

The issue contains reviews of all of Star Trek's 79 episodes - nothing amazing in that. But reviews of two episodes also contain what purports to be toupological information.

In Cinefantastique's review of the episode "The Deadly Years" (the one where the crew, including Kirk, age), the authors add a curious side-note: "Kirk reveals his age as 34 years and he [meaning Shatner] removes his frontal hairpiece during the aging process for this show".

The review for the third season show "The Enterprise Incident" makes a similar toupological claim:

"Notable in this show is William Shatner's surgically altered appearance. He is seen here without the hairpiece that was normally added to give him that 'fuller' look at the top of his forehead."

"I've tried the ears Leonard, it only follows that you should try the toupee..."

Firstly, the positive. We've been campaigning across the globe for years for Bill Shatner toupological trivia to be made a full and indivisible part of the pantheon of Star Trek behind-the-scenes information. So to that end, we certainly applaud Cinefantastique - imagine if your local TV guide did the same:

"Thursday at 10pm 'Spectre of the Gun'. The Enterprise crew find themselves in the Old West. Strong gusts of wind at the end of the episode: will Bill Shatner's toupee survive?" Wouldn't that be welcome?

But what of the claims made by the magazine? The first and most fundamental problem we have is that the toupological assertions are entirely unsourced (according to whom?), nor is any evidence whatsoever presented to support these claims. As one of the world's foremost scientific and research institutions, the WSSTS has rigorous standards for the evaluation of crucially important data on William Shatner's toupees. Simply put: stating something does not make it true.

Let's examine the specific claims: In "The Deadly Years" Bill Shatner "removes his frontal hairpiece during the aging process for this show". Upon a close examination of the episode in question, we believe this claim to be false.

HD screencaps via Trekcore.com.

In all stages of aging, (we believe) a lace line is visible on Bill Shatner's forehead. The image above, which shows the most "receding" stage, nonetheless still shows a lace hairpiece stuck to the center of the actor's forehead. Is Bill Shatner only wearing a "rear hairpiece"? Is that actually the actor's real hairline? It's possible and we don't rule it out entirely, but somehow, we doubt it. More toupological analysis of this episode here.

What of the claim that in "The Enterprise Incident" Bill Shatner is "without the hairpiece that was normally added to give him that 'fuller' look at the top of his forehead"?

Similarly, an analysis of this episode also suggests that the lace front toupee, though styled differently, is still firmly in place throughout. (The Cinefantastique claims also led to some speculative early analysis from us).

An unmistakable lace line.

Accordingly, we also rate this claim as false.

Is it possible that the authors confused the terminology? Having heard that Bill Shatner wore a "lace frontal hairpiece", did they confuse this to mean a hairpiece that only thickened up the front of the head?

As we know, the "Jim Kirk lace" also served the crucial function of covering up a large bald patch at the back of Bill Shatner's head - the toupee's characteristic smooth arch over the head is unmistakable!

In both "The Enterprise Incident" and "The Deadly Years" the characteristic "frontal swoosh" is somewhat subdued. Is it possible that this led the authors to conclude that this was Bill Shatner's real hairline and that the "frontal hairpiece" was simply a bulking up appliance not used in these two examples? Were they unaware of the rear toupee or did they view this as a separate cap-like piece? We just don't know and therein lies the problem of unsourced assertions - there's no way to evaluate them.

The lid flips in "The Empath" - more here.

So was the "Jim Kirk lace" comprised of a rear lid and a separate frontal fence-like bulking piece? We don't rule it out, but asides from the assertions in Cinemafantastique, we just don't have any evidence to support this theory.