Our thanks to reader Adam, who recently emailed us an interesting link we wanted to share with you. The email carried the subject heading "Shatner touches his toup", which in toupological parlance we label as a "Real hair reflex".
The moment comes 5m 40s into this video of a December 1974 appearance of Bill Shatner in the game show "Tattletales". The actor's then wife Marcy Lafferty is the woman in the TV partnering with her husband:
Late 1974 and throughout 1975 is the era of the Bill Shatner toupee that is perhaps the least discussed and least understood of all. Not because of its oddness, but rather the opposite - because it looked so good compared to the previous "Lost Years" style.
The "Lost Years" style as seen in 1974's Impulse.
We're not even sure we have an official nomenclature for it other than the not-entirely-satisfactory "Retro Jim" - perhaps "Jim Thy Image", as around this time, Bill Shatner was likely getting the first strong inklings that his own personal lost years would be coming to an end thanks to incessant talk of the return of Star Trek (Gene Roddenberry was working on a script called "The God Thing", which would later be reworked as "In Thy Image" and ultimately become Star Trek: The Motion Picture).
The rare and mysterious retro-Jim style as seen in 1975's The Tenth Level.
We've speculated here before that this may have led the actor to slim down and get this strongly Jim Kirk-like toup by way of preparing for a return to center stage. A couple years later, when, conversely, it seemed that Trek might remain in development hell, Bill Shatner may have tossed the new toup into a river in an angry rage.
After that, did Bill Shatner decisively turn to the un-Kirk-like "TJ Curly" by way of distancing himself from the shattered hopes of the past?
Underscoring the abilities of this rare gem of a toup is the particular "Real hair reflex" itself. It's a carefree brush, with no evident restraint or concern visible from Bill Shatner in how he handles this toup. Simply put, if you didn't know it was a toup, you'd never know...
Later in the clip, Bill Shatner - ever the tease - asks fellow panelist and Columbo villain alumni George Hamilton "How does he get his mustache like that?".
We should also add that this particular toup is a little longer than the other examples of the "Jim Thy Image" (does that name work?). It's as if it still has 10% of the "Lost Years" in it. Perhaps at this time, Bill Shatner was still unsure about whether he was fully in the right mindset to once again play Captain Kirk - in a very real sense, his hair was serving to express these complex emotions.
Anyway, getting a definitive answer on why Bill Shatner parted ways with such a great-looking toup is one of the tougher challenges of toupology. Perhaps one day we will find the answers...