Thursday, March 29, 2012

To err is human...



An interesting set of photographs (sourced here and here) of Bill Shatner visiting the US Tennis Open with his then wife Marcy Lafferty in September 1987. Interesting because they show a rare noticeable flaw in the "TJ Curly" exposing an area of scalp that hitherto toupologists (and philosophers) have only dreamed of being able to see.


Perhaps one of the most common critiques of Bill Shatner's last three major toupee designs (the "Lost Years", "TJ Curly" and "Denny Katz") is that the very thickness and perfection of follicular distribution presented by Bill Shatner (the subject) negates the possibility that they can truly be taken as real by us (the objects).

This presents something of a inverse and even paradoxical relationship. The subject assumes that the degree to which the toupee is taken as being real is directly tied to its perceived perfection. While for the object, the converse is true - it is that very perfection and excessive thickness which actually detracts from the believability of the toupee.

So what happens when there's a flaw?


Again, an inverse and contradictory relationship appears to present itself. For the subject there is probably alarm and dread - the very imperfection of the toupee could lead to the illusion being shattered. But for the objects, the reverse is true. The presence of a visual flaw actually increases the believability factor - the hair ends up looking more, not less like real hair instead of a toupee.


As to what exactly went wrong here, it is difficult to say. Or might it have been deliberate? Our staff are currently studying the position of the Sun relative to Bill Shatner's seat on that day. Could the actor have been deliberately blinding one of the players by tilting down and reflecting the Sun off this smooth, hairless piece of deliberately exposed scalp? Note this section of a report on the play that took place on September 12th 1987:

"Mecir broke Wilander's service seven times. But the usually consistent Czech made an incomprehensible 69 unforced errors to just 17 by Wilander." [emphasis ours]

Artist's impression of Czechoslovakian (now Slovak) tennis player Miloslav Mecir blinded by an unknown reflection.

Clearly there is so much more to study here...

Bill Shatner - looking guilty?

UPDATE:

Extreme close-up of the patch.

Two additional pictures of the same occasion via Getty (sourced here and here) show a rather famous celebrity - Johnny Carson - sitting to Bill Shatner's left. But perhaps more importantly, they appear to confirm that Bill Shatner's "hair" was indeed suffering from dampness on this day (perhaps sweat, perhaps rain...).


But do these images - showing the toup in a rare moment of excessive and prolonged public exertion - perhaps reveal even more? Notice what appears to be a real hair line at the sides covered by the toup:



Is the same "glue line" phenomenon perhaps visible at the top too (exacerbated by the damp conditions)?


As to the question of whether this is still a toup, we believe the styling of the hair at the top sides in the above image is pretty strong evidence that it is. We also examined Getty's previous April 1987 image of Bill Shatner and compared it with a subsequent image of Bill Shatner from Jan 1988. Both, we would argue, show very strong signs that the "TJ Curly" era continued pretty unabated here (with obvious room for some stylistic variations).

But we always try to be strictly scientific rather than dogmatic here and warmly embrace evidence that may suggest different conclusions...

Bill Shatner in January 1988.

34 comments:

  1. james toupeerius kirkMarch 29, 2012 at 2:58 PM

    great pics...i think, it was a deliberate action!!clearly an attempted deception...

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  2. All I can say is "Wow" Just when you thought there was order in the toupological universe a picture like this comes in turns everything upside down. Regardless of the toup style the one constant over the years was full coverage. This photo is well before 2000, the common accepted date in the toup cannon of when a possible transplant might have occurred. I'd also like to point out that the small strip of hairline between this new bald spot and the forehead is very narrow. My home toupascope gives a reading of about 1/4 inch for this strip. Notice how well the hair on the sides blend in so perfectly with the top hair. All this combined with less then confident look on Shat's face suggests he's trying something new. ShatToup, I submit to you that this may in fact be a very early transplant picture. I realize this statement will cause upheaval in some toupological circles and some may even consider it blasphemy. We must consider all possibilities. If you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.

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  3. Not really any different than the bald patch in the denny katz toupee that was visible when Shatner and Zack Wylde were rehearsing Iron Man. Sometimes the hair just clumps together weird.

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  4. shats own real syrupMarch 31, 2012 at 9:16 AM

    I really don't think, that this is a toupee. Toups would show, an all round higher forehead, not a missing bit, if it's was wrongly placed on. This would mean he may have, stopped wearing toups either late 86 or very early 87. I could be wrong, and know, it's a hot potato, but hey!

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  5. This is a serious find, guys and needs full consideration inside the touptimeline - what else was going on back in 87? Would shats have waited until TJ Hooker was cancelled before going for a first transplant trial? Personally I believe it's some sort of deliberate "scalpshow" for increased believability - we're not too far after ST IV and the infamous underwater scalp show, are we? Great find.

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  6. I don't think this is a curly toupee, it involves a part on the left side of his head. Around this time, he started experimenting with different looks, including a straight-gelled look.

    In a lot of ways, if kind of reminds me of an updated version of the TOS look.

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  7. this is a difference bewtween Shat wife #1 and Shat wife #2. #1 would have pulled the hair on the toup to cover over the bare area. #2 just can't be bothered.

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  8. It would be interesting to view hi-res photos of Shat's toupee here.

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  9. It doesn't look like a TJ Curly. Very strange

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  10. I have been thinking of the Mayan prediction for 2012. I am starting to think with the latest revalations about shatner's toupee that this could all be related. Perhaps end of the world, Aliens and Shatner's toupee could all be revealed this year?

    It seems like too much of a coincidence for me.

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  11. The same style toup from 1987: http://tinyurl.com/87e74hh

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  12. shats own real toupApril 1, 2012 at 6:33 PM

    It's appears to be missing hair, you don't get that, on a toupee, even a miscombed one! The hair he has now, maybe a shorter, cut but a couple of times recently he has been, spotted with longer locks, so this picture can be the end, of the toupee the start of the transplant, 13 to 14 years before we thought. There's no real easy answer, just more questions..we do know, that he had been wearing toups for around 30 years at this point.

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  13. Of course you can get missing hair - deliberately - on a toup. That's what made them look more realistic. He's obviously wearing a toupee in those pics, and the toupee is covering most of his head including the sides - if you look at the side of his head, above his ears, his hairline there is very different from what it looked like earlier - like in the Jim Kirk lace era. That area right above the ears is not often a place where men go bald, nor do they harvest hair for transplants from the hairline above your ears, so he's wearing something to cover that area up.

    The TJ curly toup usually had a bald spot on the top frontal area of his head - you can see it in other pics too. He's just styled it differently here which emphasizes that bald spot more.

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  14. In the '50s, and '60s, when he only wore a toupee that covered the top of his head, his real hairline at the sides had a strong curve coming to a point - you can clearly see that in the black and white toupless pics in the sidebar of this site.

    Now - and in the late 80's - that hairline hsa been covered up - it goes straight down, with no curve or point.

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  15. how ironic that the fellow in the background of the 1st pic had a hairline that was probably identical to Shatner's.

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  16. It's great to see such heated toupological debate happening around these images. Perhaps one additional interesting observation that may be of relevance. The hair in these pics appears to be a little damp (see this picture), which tends to take a lot of the body out of the toup (we do think it's a toup - especially considering the telltale styling of the hair at the sides). -ST

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  17. shats own real syrupApril 1, 2012 at 9:46 PM

    Sorry tmk and Shat toup blog, I stand corrected, he could have been sweating, and this could have deledged some of the toup glue, not the first time, that has happen, in the world of toupland! Oh if it's could have gone back, another inch or two. And how the heck, did these pics, make the light of day, his so protective about the hair.

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  18. shats own real syrupApril 1, 2012 at 10:04 PM

    Sorry tmk and shat toup blog, I stand corrected. Shat would not go out, in the sight, of the public, unless, the toup looked right, its rather smart to show a bit of receding if you like to say your hair, is real, he was 56 then and to show a bit more receding, then his jkl days, smart shat hey!

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  19. @shats own real syrup -- what in the world are you on about? Shatner went out in public all the time with his "hair" looking like crap. It's one of the more likeable things about him.

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  20. What scares me the most are the red spots on the scalp. Well, Shatners's "hair"... the most you get, the least you know

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  21. Ratty Lost Years PieceApril 2, 2012 at 8:16 PM

    I think those red spots might be the knots where hair is woven into the lace. Note the even density and separation, similar to a doll's hair.

    The toupee and Shatner's relationship with it have always had larger implications for mankind. What does this apparent disruption of the toupee say about the world at large? On this day Ethiopia adopted its constitution. Perhaps Shatner's flashing of scalp represents the emergence of a new era in history?

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  22. @Ratty Lost Years Piece Interestingly, September 1987 also saw the signature by many nations of the Montreal Protocol, a major international agreement to tackle the hole in the ozone layer, which was a pressing issue at this time.

    Was Bill Shatner using his toupee to make a subtle visual sign (a hole) to show support for this treaty named after his home city? -ST

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  23. ShatToup, there's still a few of us out here that want to consider the possibility that this a early transplant. Not only have you drawn this toupee conclusion without activating the toupascope but you have also categorized it as as "TJ Curly". True it may be in the TJ Curly family of toupees but it deserves better than your slipshod categorization. Such a brazen lack of toupological research on your part leaves me no choice but elevate this to the 9 member Supreme Toupological Court. We can no longer be forced to "buy" an explanation because you say its Toupstatutional.

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  24. ... and no one still mentioned Bill's shirt!

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  25. what is the shirt, a keith haring knock-off?

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  26. Ratty Lost Years PieceApril 3, 2012 at 7:29 AM

    @ST: Brilliant observation. I did not recall the Montreal Protocol. What better metaphor than Shatner's Toupee to highlight this important "piece" of environmental legislation.

    This only proves once again that it's Shatner's world, we just pollute it.

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  27. @Most Jerk. Thanks for your comment! We've added an update to our post hopefully expanding our reasoning a little. -ST

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  28. ShatToup- Thank you for employing the scientific method is this very important toupological discovery. The subsequent side pictures prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that this is indeed a variation of the TJ curly. My toupascope suggests the yellow line on the side picture should jet out 45 degrees to the left indicating a slight difference in the line of demarcation. Since I only have a hobbyists scope, I will defer to yours. Thanks ShatToup!

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  29. i'm shocked at seeing that picture. this is irrefutable evidence, i have never seen such direct evidence for his baldness. it's a breakthrough.

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  30. shats own real syrupApril 6, 2012 at 12:50 AM

    This just gets, more and more interesting, the toup, is showing slight signs of stress here, I really did think the tj curl y, was unmovable but there you go! As you rightly said shattoup the toup seems a little damp, but being honest there was absolutely no danger of it falling off. I wonder of there's anymore public photos, of shats toup not quite right?

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  31. We should all look this good at 80.

    There"s people with their own hair who look worse.

    Two wods: Dnald Trump

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    Replies
    1. Agreed about the Trump's "hair" but, to be fair, Shats is a mere 56 in these pics! :)

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  32. This looks like styled thin hair, messed up by sweat/heat/whatever. Certainly a transplant.

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  33. First thing I noticed was the shirt! He always has worn the most delightfully horrendous clothing, always a perfect reflection of the fashion Zeitgeist. I keep coming back to your blog, @shat toup, but more for the expertly sourced general shatner-phenalia than the toup, per se. Beneath the hilariously unflattering toupological critique, I sense in you, yes you, @shat toup, a reverence for the godly caricature of himself that is the great Mr. Shatner. To me, shat toup blog is quite apparently a labor of love. But you could consider expanding to Shat Shirt analysis. Regardless, I will return.

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