Sunday, January 22, 2012

2012: the year of the Toupee Spring?

Could 2012 turn out to be the year of the Toupee Spring? A recent interview with Roger Perry, who played Captain Christopher in the first season Star Trek episode "Tomorrow is Yesterday" suggests that it may well be.

First, what exactly do we mean by Toupee Spring? The "Spring" that has been dominating headlines since last year is obviously the Arab Spring. One of the interesting and pertinent dynamics in those events is seeing the fall of a firmly established, yet rather warped, set of prejudices and black-and-white assumptions. The desperate and deluded dictatorial regimes have tried their best to suggest that you're either with them or you are with potential terrorists, rats, drug-dealing gangs, foreign agents etc.

Similarly, what we may be witnessing in 2012 is a significant weakening of the "Takei effect" - meaning that numerous figures who have crucial knowledge of the toupee and have yet to add this to the official record are beginning to no longer fear that discussion of the toupee equates to hating Bill Shatner or wanting to publically hurt or belittle him, as many believe George Takei did at the Comedy Central Roast of William Shatner (assuming the mantle from Trek co-star James Doohan: "Bill's hairpiece was being applied. The top of his head was a lot of skin and a few little odd tufts of hair. The mirrors in the makeup room walls were arranged so that we could all see the laying on of his rug").

The events of 08/20/06 led to many toupologists being unfairly compared to George Takei.

In this post-Toupee Spring world, to want to talk about the toupee does not automatically make you a George Takei-like Bill Shatner hater with "a scary glint" in your eyes.

Of course, several figures have in the past already discussed their first-hand experiences with Bill Shatner's toupee in a factual, non-Takei-like manner, for example Star Trek guest star William Campbell. While others have sought to create a friendly climate in which the toupee can openly and even comedically be referenced. But somehow these efforts were always, and rather unfortunately, overshadowed by those who sought to use a warped version of toupology to pursue an extremist agenda, for example attempting an ambush on Bill Shatner. Those events would invariably be the ones making headlines, and, as a result, other figures with crucial knowledge of the toupee would choose silence out of a fear of also being labelled as toupological extremists.

Thus, the Perry comments perhaps represent a significant evolution.

Roger Perry today (left).

Here's the crucial segment in the actor's recent interview with

Q: What do you remember of the ["Tomorrow is Yesterday"] shoot? Any great anecdote that people may not know?

Perry: The unusual thing, but I have to say this because I remember it… The very first day going into makeup I was in the makeup room and (William) Shatner was a couple of chairs down. I remember looking over and I was very shocked because they were putting his toupee on. I said, “Wait a minute. He’s a young man.” At that time he was very young and I thought, “Well, that’s interesting.” I didn’t know at that time whether they were doing it because of the character. Then I heard later on that he’d been wearing a toupee for a long, long time.

Painting glue over the lace line (more here).

It's a common gripe at journalism that interviewers frequently fail to ask decent follow-up questions of their subjects, and here too, sadly, the subject switches to something new with the next question (perhaps the old fears were present in the interviewer). What was the toupee like? What about the details of the application process? How did Bill Shatner act during the application? Was he a different person with the toupee on than off? What did he look like without it? So many important questions left unanswered...

Nonetheless, the fact that Roger Perry volunteered to tell this anecdote without specifically being asked is a highly welcome development. If 2012 is indeed to be the year of the Toupee Spring, then this interview may be remembered as a watershed moment.

Are there images of a toup-less Bill Shatner locked in a vault somewhere?

Our thanks to several of you for emailing us the tip!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

We're back!

Famous statue outside Archive Building 1A of the William Shatner School of Toupological Studies.

We're back after our brief break and hope that our readers too enjoyed a rest from the eternally challenging, but hopefully boundlessly rewarding subject of William Shatner's toupee-wearing! But now a new year is upon us and, as Captain Kirk once said: "There's still so much of their work to be done in the galaxy..."

First, our latest poll in which we asked our readers for your take on the question of why Bill Shatner chose to make another very explicit hair reference in his newest book Shatner Rules.

16% said that it was another small step towards the actor admitting that his hair isn't real; 29% said that mentioning it would make people believe that Bill Shatner is not hiding anything and that his hair is real; 53%, a majority, suggested that it was a clever nod to those in the know, while hoping that others wouldn't really notice. In political parlance, was Bill Shatner firing up his base?

Thanks for voting!

Next, we turn to a newly discovered "Real Hair Reflex" from a parody of the movie Se7en (1995). The short clip was made for the 1996 MTV movie awards and has Bill Shatner playing all the main roles in character as T.J. Hooker, the host of Rescue 911 and a sort-of out-of-costume Captain Kirk:

"Who are you? Who are you really?" asks Kirk perhaps hinting at the interesting duality (or triality) that presents itself in Bill Shatner's wearing of a toupee.

"What do you mean? I am the host of the hit series Rescue 911," responds the prisoner at the back of the car.

But the other Shatner, T.J. Hooker, evidently better understands the subtext and undertakes a rather prolonged scratch of the rear of the toupee. Is it conscious or subconscious that hearing the question "Who are you really?" causes this Pavlovian response?

Here's the moment in slow-motion:

Finally, there's also a fourth Bill Shatner, the one in the box (so as to not spoil the movie for those of you that haven't seen Se7en, we'll leave it at that). Interestingly, we see the "TJ Curly" modified here somewhat with the hair combed down at the front.

It's almost mop-top-like in a way...

A shame that Bill Shatner didn't more fully try this style with the "TJ Curly".

And finally (there's more still that you've very kindly sent us in terms of tips, which we'll get to in our next post) an interesting picture tweeted to us by a reader (yes, we're on Twitter!) of a whale interacting with Bill Shatner.

Whale to Bill Shatner: "Where I come from, size, shape, or color makes no difference, and nobody has hair..."

Looking at the picture, you may be asking yourselves this question. Is the whale part of an underwater Shatner toupee community and is it trying to get some close-up proof? Or is it confused by sensing a fellow smooth-skinned brethren but then seeing a full head of hair?

There's a funny caption contest in there too, we feel, so any ideas, please let us know in the comments section...