Sunday, September 21, 2014

But is it Jim...?



Back in 1980, music legend Paul McCartney released a song on his McCartney II album called "Coming Up". The video featured the singer dressing up as a variety of characters, one of whom was a kind of "Beatlemania Paul" throwback.


 Paul McCartney in 1980, dressed up as his 1964 Beatles self.

McCartney adopted the suit, mannerisms (lots of laughing and smiling), and also the hairstyle of his younger self, circa 1964.



It's very rare for celebrities of an iconic caliber to do this kind of thing for a variety of reasons - after all, no-one wants to risk cheapening past achievements, or blurring the lines between what was and what is. But there's probably a big difference between the likes of a McCartney or a Shatner going retro (fun), and some washed-up celebrity doing it because they haven't done anything since (a bit sad).

And so when Bill Shatner has donned his Captain Kirk costume a number of times outside of official Trek canon, we would say it too is better categorized as fun, rather than sad.


But unlike McCartney's eerily perfect recreation, something has almost always been amiss with Bill Shatner's retro-Trek moments. A kind of cognitive toupological dissonance stemming from a notable mismatch between the era of the Kirk costume he has worn and the era of the toup.


In February 2013, the actor made an appearance, via video (he was also in the audience), for a comedy sketch at the 85th Academy Awards. Bill Shatner was dressed up as the movie-era Kirk (unmistakably associated with the "TJ Curly" era of toupee), apparently coming from the future to warn host Seth Macfarlane about his "disastrous" upcoming performance.

Given the Oscars folks ultra-protectiveness of their videos, we present only the very briefest of clips:


We may be wrong, but we think this is only the second time Bill Shatner has donned his movie-era Star Trek costume since his final performance as Captain Kirk in the 1994 movie Star Trek: Generations.


The first, in 2006, was a DirecTV commercial that combined new footage with that taken from 1991's Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. Given that in this case footage from past and present was being blended, an attempt had to be made to "TJ-up" the "Denny Katz" - at least as much as modern technology and the actor himself might permit.

A 2006 commercial for DirecTV.

But in 2013, the toup was not changed at all - it was an unabashed, unadulterated "Denny Katz", causing shock-waves to reverberate throughout the audience - and beyond.


 Stunned - guests left speechless at the 2013 Oscars.

Even "Jimming-up" the toup a little with a slight frontal quiff (or "swoosh") - something the "Denny Katz" could easily accomodate...


...was rejected. For many Star Trek fans, it appeared to be a devastating act of "tough love" on the part of their idol.

The key question regards this latest "Kirk" appearance is: has the long-absent character successfully been brought to life? Or does the fact that there is a toupological mismatch really thwart viewers' ability to experience a complete immersion in this retro-recreation?


Our resident Professor of Shatnero-Folicular Interpretative Sciences explains:

"Star Trek fans have always had an uneasy relationship with the 'Denny Katz' toupee [worn since around 2000]. On the one hand, most of them accept that this is the perhaps final major hair choice that Bill Shatner will make - and that it is is not at all a bad one. But they also have no frame of reference for this toupee as regards to it relating to the world of Star Trek. They almost feel a sense of alienation; that this toup represents the definitive ending of an era, and that so long as Bill Shatner wears it, the original Captain Kirk cannot and will not return. Smaller, more militant factions even blame the toupee for preventing a viable Bill Shatner cameo in the new Trek movies."

Toupological distrust? - Bill Shatner and Star Trek fans.

Is such an assessment fair? Via a very crude "Touposhop", several staff at the William Shatner School of Toupological Studies' "Division of Toupological Approximations" decided to see what would happen if a "TJ Curly" era toup replaced the "Denny Katz" in the 2013 Oscars appearance. Would the real Captain Kirk, absent for twenty years now, suddenly come alive?


Surprisingly, we would say that the answer is yes!


He looks a little more squashed (shorter and wider) than since we last saw him properly - but is this not the Captain Kirk we know and love?

In the TV series, Kirk was the "Jim Kirk lace" and vice versa. Eventually, fans reluctantly adjusted to the "TJ Curly" for the James T. Kirk of the movies. But perhaps the professor we quoted above is right: the "Denny Katz" and Captain Kirk are simply of different worlds...

UPDATE: Rather coincidentally, shortly after we published this story, media reports came out regarding Bill Shatner possibly appearing in the next Star Trek movie. So let's talk toup: just to be clear, no-one has contacted us regarding what kind of toupee we think Bill Shatner should wear if he does appear in this movie.

***

Finally, a sincere thanks for all your very warm welcome back messages (and tips)! We weren't really going to "waste" a post explaining where the hell we've been. But for those of you who are interested: one of the key staff members at Shatner's Toupee (which serves as the public information service of the "William Shatner School of Toupological Studies") apparently seemed to so enjoy writing our two annual Christmastime stories and much of the other content here at this site, that he decided to disappear and go write a novel.

For some reason that may not be entirely efficient (we are undertaking an internal review), our overwhelming loyalty to this one staff member, publishing his book under the name "Dominik James" (which we suspect is a pseudonym) led to the thousands of other staff at the WSSTS insisting that we would wait till he was done. No pressure, right?

Writing and self-publishing a novel is a bit like taking a wee into a lake. You either need a lot of wee or a very small lake. Not convinced that either of these is the case here, but either way, two years later his debut tome Eryll and the Arbutus is now avaliable a downloadable e-book and is also available as an e-book at outlets such as Amazon and iTunes. We're told it has nothing at all to do with Bill Shatner and toupees, and in fact is a kind of political-psychological allegorical tale set in modern day America (though there is one mention of Star Trek).

We thought we would mention this to our readers here just this once (maybe we'll allow the author a small link at the side column of the site), and then leave it at that. If any of you do take the plunge, do let us know (even if it was not liked), and if any of you reviewers/bloggers out there who are into fiction, politics etc. would like a free copy, just email us...

Our next post will not be entitled: "Where the hell have you been?"

30 comments:

  1. The TJ Curly with the golden shirt is the most bizarre thing I've seen in a long while, far more bizarre than the Danny in the movie uniform..

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  2. Great post! That touposhopped photo was a bit startling, like I see the movie jim kirk in there, but he would need butt load of surgery to play jim kirk again. I'm happy that the reason that shatners toupee was gone so long was because of a book, and not do to shattoup forgetting about us and giving up on the blog. A small minority of us kept the faith that you would return, and I'm happy that the only blog I ever liked on the web is back, and I wish all the best for the success of the book. And as far as this blog is concerned, I know you will have all of your fans back in short order, and many new ones!

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  3. shats own real syrupSeptember 23, 2014 at 10:31 AM

    I really dont see anything wrong, with the current toup! Esp when, he trys to "jim it up" then you get at least 85% jim kirk! Anyway, I could never ever stand, that curly teacosy, stuck on his noggins. (Sorry for some, of the words, I have used as I am from London)

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  4. The only consistent part of Kirk Hair was the pointed sideburns. As long as he can grow those sideburns, he should be accepted as Jim Kirk, no matter what toupstyle he chooses.

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  5. The discrepancy beetwen the toupees and the uniforms always wracked my brain. But the Katz toupee is totally un-trek IMHO

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  6. Shatner wearing a toupee in 1960 in Julius Caesar, as Mark Antony. BTW, the acting by Shatner in this clip has to be seen to be believed. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=__mnDDk464M

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  7. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LNxkrzNJqnA - clearly coming unstuck on the left side

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    1. Anonymous: That was a really a shocking vid. the left side was flapping around while the right side was picture perfect.

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  8. Anon and BaldyB, I don't believe that video shows a follicular malfunction. The light source is high and towards the front of Shatner's left-hand side (the viewer's right). What we are seeing is a shadow. The side hair is combed forward slightly to break the line of the lace (assuming, as I do, that this is a Katz 3/4 cap synthetic system). There is no flapping- Shatner's head movement is altering the apparent shadowed area.

    Have another look, factoring-in the lighting.

    There's little chance that his assistants would allow him to appear on camera with his hair falling off nowadays. In the mid 1970s, though...

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  9. http://metro.co.uk/2014/03/07/william-shatner-doing-this-interview-is-scaring-me-4446178/

    “I can put on a nose, a beard, a wig but that doesn’t do any good. It all fails and they’ve just got good ol’ me”

    Seems to be untruthfully implying that he doesn't need to wear a wig in everyday life, but sometimes does so as part of being an actor

    In reality, I wonder if they'd recognise him without the wig

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    1. if you're a long time reader of this blog, you know that a wig and a toup are two different kinds of animals

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    2. I was always under the impression that “toupees” were for covering mainly the top part of the head, leaving a fair amount of real hair visible at the back and sides e.g. the Jim Kirk lace. Since the 80's Shatners fake hair has clearly been covering the majority of his head, like a “helmet”, thats what I always thought “wig” denoted, though could be mistaken, I'm no expert. Either way, I wonder if his grandchildren are granted the privilege of seeing him without whatever one chooses to call the current “hair”. And when he speaks of applying wigs, does he mean on top of the Katz “helmet”?! So many questions... Doesn't feel like Shattoup has truly returned full time. I think Id prefer more posts, but shorter ones, as in 2009. Frequent full length posts would obviously be ideal, but I'm sure Shattoup, unlike myself, has a life outside of obsessing over hair.

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    3. the problem is anonymous, even if he showed his bare scalp to his grand kids, he would just look like a dude with a shaved head due to the fact that the denny katz wig he wears now requires the wearer to shave all but a strip of hair at the nape of the neck. I would have loved to see shatner sans toupee from late 60's till about 1983. after that he was wearing a full wig, and probably shaved his head to accommodate it. Also some theorize that he switched to a full wig due to the fact he was losing hair on the sides and back as well due to the attachment methods of his toupees.

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  10. Saw Shat as a moderator on the TNG panel in NYC. I am beginning to understand the depths of the dislike that Takei and, before his death, Doohan, have for Shat. The guy is a totally self-absorbed douche bag. The toup is in crisis mode too. Katz needs to adjust the back as the separation is so clear it is hard to take your eyes off it. None one could possible mistake that for real hair.

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  11. What did he do, announce he'd never seen TNG? Or find subtler ways of denigrating the cast and fans? It is sad to hear news like this, and surprising because as soon as he has a press microphone in front of him he becomes the soul of grace. Surely this binary behavior can be traced to the toup! Katz variety have not only special adhesive but magic transformative powers! Shatner must have bought Denny "Jekyll" and Denny "Hyde" ...

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    1. That was meant as a reply to TouperUp.

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    2. To answer your question, Shat was displaying classical signs of narcissistic behavior. He just had to be the center of attention, all the focus had to be on him. His tone of voice and attitude were snide and downright condescending. I bet he thought he was being funny and cute (probably the same shtick he pulled in the 1960s during the TOS run). He often had absolutely no clue as to the questions being asked, and it was pretty clear he was as familiar with TNG as he was with nuclear physics. Also, due to problems with his hearing, he kept telling people asking questions to speak louder again and again (in his condescending manner) even though it was pretty clear that every member of the panel heard the questions. At one point, an audience member (himself not the most timid person), told Shat to “shut up” so that he could finish saying what he wanted to say. You could see Shat boil under his Denny Katz. He then quickly put a kibosh to the entire panel, ½ hour early.

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    3. ah, so if he's the focus of a conversation, he's comfortable, but if the purpose is to learn about or honor someone else, he can't deal! It's a wonder Shat has any friends.

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  12. If Shatner really wanted convince others that his “hair” was still growing from his follicles (transplanted or otherwise), I think he should wear pieces similar to the grey, threadbare one seen at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center a few years back. I was convinced for many months that it was a transplant, simply because it's the kind of hair you'd expect for an 83 year old, & matches the small amount remaining at the back in texture & colour. That particular hairpiece may have been an anomaly, but its the only remotely believable one for an octogenarian who suffered extensive hairloss in his 20s ie a surprisingly successful transplant

    Or if he continues wearing unbelievable hair it'd be better if he just went the full nine yards & chose toupees as outrageous & variable as possible, for the entertainment value ie an afro one week, a mohawk next... Overly thick & dark Katz pieces with an obvious rear mismatch are the worst of both worlds

    Why is there a rear mismatch only sometimes? Does the Katz sometimes reach down further than other times? Or is the remaining real hair sometimes dyed to match the synthetic? Or has the real hair only recently gone grey?

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  13. Thomas Jefferson CurlyOctober 19, 2014 at 12:08 AM

    First of all...a big WELCOME BACK to Shat Toup Blog!! ( when I saw a new story on the site with my disbelieving eyes I looked toward the heavens and mouthed two words .....'thank you...')

    moving swiftly to matters of hair...regarding Shats cameo (or more) in Trek 3 and what hair it should be. ive read rumours that he will be playing an older version of Pines Kirk (with Nimoy playing older Quinto)...if that's true then I believe Shat may opt to use his current 'Denny Katz' as intriguingly Pines real hair isn't unlike a DKatz piece (its one of the things I took not of when he was originally cast back in 08). However if they somehow bring back Kirk 'Prime' and CG deage him so as he appeared pre Generations then this offers a very interesting scenario - would Shatner break out a 'TJ Curly' (locked away in a secret room behind a secret door in his bedroom - a room that contains ALL pieces displayed in glass cabinats as a star trek collecter may display his most prized artifacts) or would it be up to ILM to faithfully recreate in CG an early 1990s era 'TJ'?

    I await to find out....as do we all....

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  14. Shattoup, can we touch for a moment on Sam Kirk? There's not much there but you'll notice a mustache and a very different toupe that has yet to be cataloged

    http://startrekchick.blogspot.com/

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    1. One would swear you and ST share a "Touplar radar". Check the tag cloud to the right: the "Sam Kirk" underwent touposcopy back in 2009.

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  15. Yeah I was thinking I found "The undiscovered Toupee" I was so smug thinking ST missed it. I do take credit for finding the line "Fear of losing my hair" on the Has Been album. ST did a full toupaexpose on that.

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  16. First off, the return of toupological analysis makes this a happy day for me! That having been said, I am disappointed that a group which prides itself on investigating and cataloging the minute details of Mr. Shatner's toupological pursuits, managed to confuse Seth McFarlane and Seth Myers! For shame! ;-)

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  17. toupee or not toupeeDecember 16, 2014 at 12:35 PM

    Jim Kirk lace series 1 rules! He'll never better that one for coulour and believability. It all went downhill thereafter! Why he thought having a thatched roof on his head was a good idea from Star Trek the motion picture onwards I will never fathom. But then we would never have had this blog to ponder the issue so perhaps Shatner is a genius and knows the power of the toupee.

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    1. If I remember rightly, from my past Shat Toupology reading. Shat's young real hair was curly. And he had his real receding locks straightened alot throughout the late 50's and early 60's and the Jim Kirk lace was an extension of this.

      By the time of TMP, his probably felt that he could unleash the TJ lace as an extension of what his real hair would have been like. Curly.

      However, we disn't buy it though. This makes no sense from the "lost years" of the 70's when his hair remained mostly straight.

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  18. The greatest news! You are back! We are back! The hair is back! Yay...!!! :D

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  19. http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20111020/ARTICLE/111029945

    Here is a photo of Bill and his son Peter (born 1956) whom he had with actress Kathy McNeil.

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