Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The amazing world of Shatner's self-repairing toupee.

A parody of a post-fight "shot mis-match" from the cult 1982 comedy series Police Squad.

William Shatner in "Spectre of the Gun" - perhaps the most ruffled Shatner's hair ever was in Star Trek. Fortunately for his hair stylist, in this case, the next shot was a new freshly-combed scene.

One of the fun things about Shatner's toup is watching how far it can get ruffled in fight scenes and how once the fight is over, the hair often seems to have miraculously re-combed itself. Bill Shatner's hair would have required constant attention between shots from a hairstylist, much the same way a make-up artist had to keep a constant eye on Nimoy's latex ears.

The problem with fight scenes was that they were inherently dangerous to the toup - a fight could dislodge the hairpiece or expose a lace line. That is why it was better, once the fight had finished to fix the toup and then fake a slightly ruffled look from scratch in the next post-fight shot. And even after each shot during a fight scene, the hairstylist would likely check in case the toup had become dislodged in any way. There probably are out-takes, since destroyed, in which the toup fell off or became unfilmable during a fight scene.

An interesting trick developed by Bill Shatner to protect the toup involved falling in just the right way that would put the least pressure on the top of the head. This trick is visible during many Kirk fight scenes, where Kirk rolls across the floor, his hairstyle protected at all times.


  1. DeForest Kelley wore a toupee on Star Trek, but not the kind that was anchored in front like Shatner's. While Kelley's hairpiece is still obvious to those who know how to spot them, it looks better in the higher def age than Shatner's does.

  2. DeForest Kelley didn't wear a toup. His hair was all natural, as was and is Nimoy's. Doohan wore a small toup to cover his balding crown in the movies. Takei has his own hair, Nichols wore a wig in the TV series and Koenig wore a wig at the start of the TV show before he grew his hair longer and now in later life is very open about wearing a Chekov-style wig.

  3. Hmmm... Take a look at this pic of a younger De Kelley

    Now take a look at an older De Kelley

    How many men get thicker hair as they grow older? That is definitely a toupee he is wearing in the second pic

  4. Or maybe not. Could be just some unusual styling to make it look thicker and come down more over the forehead so as to look younger.

  5. I think it is more that the early "thin hair" had some grease in it, the later Trek hair was longer and fanned. De really wasn't a toup wearer - he just wasn't that kind of guy and definitely not off the set.

  6. I'm thinking the Kelley's hair was real during TOS. If you look in some scenes, you can see a small bald spot at the very top of his head.

    Check out the scene when he gets the special surgical skills in "Spock's Brain".

    I do think that wasn't his natural hair color though.

    However, with the movies, I'm not so sure.

  7. This story has nothing to do with possible toupee wearing by Mr. Kelley, but may be relevant. My parents worked with De at a convention in the mid-seventies and while they thought he was a lovely man and enjoyed the time they spent with him, they did mention that he was very picky (almost vain) about his appearance. They took several polaroid pictures of and with him, but with the condition that he would confiscate any picture he deemed unflattering. If memory serves he was about to get a face lift and didn't like the way he looked at the time.