Monday, August 31, 2009

More toup on toup...

"Toup on toup" is attempt to log instances where Bill Shatner has stunned audiences by wearing a wig or other hair appliance on top of his existing rug, thus ensuring two layers of trapped bodily heat - enough to keep an Eskimo very warm in winter. We've previously found an example here and now we have another one, also from the TV show Boston Legal. The image is sourced from here and fans of the series will hopefully be able to tell us just what was going on in this picture.

Is there an expression on Bill Shatner's face in the above picture which suggests that he appreciates the ridiculous nature of the toup on toup scenario?

UPDATE: A reader has very kindly and very quickly helped point out the episode (Season 3's "Guise 'n Dolls") and context related to the above picture. Click here for a transcript of the episode.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Poll result.

Thanks to those of you that voted. This was an interesting poll to watch in that the results changed significantly as voting progressed. While the "No, he knows we know" column won fifteen votes (the most), in total, 16 votes (or a 51.6% majority) were cast by those that either believe that Bill Shatner thinks we think his hair is real (7 votes) , or believe that he is in a strange constant fight to prove the toupee rumors wrong (9 votes). Either way, the poll suggests that people are quite split on this question.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Shatner's toupee lobotomy analogy.

There have only been a few instances where Bill Shatner has faced direct (non-comedic) point-blank questions about whether or not he wears a toupee. Thus far, we've had the MJ Kelli incident (we ruled on Shats' denial in that case with out Shat-no-meter here). There was also a clear toupee denial during a 2008 interview conducted by the British newspaper The Telegraph.

Well, it seems that the British press has been at it again. We've located a January 2006 story on Shats from The Times of London entitled "Man of Enterprise". The article contains the following nugget:

"Once asked whether he wore a hairpiece, [Shatner] replied: 'It’s a question that I find like asking somebody, "Did you have a breast implant?" or "When did you get your lobotomy?" ' "

This is a quote that has since been picked up by a variety of websites including Wikipedia and Sadly, not one, and that includes the Times story, has provided us with an original source. But since we very much doubt that the respectable Times is in the habit of making up quotes, we will accept that Bill Shatner did indeed say this - when and to whom, however, remains a mystery.

The quote is interesting in that Shats essentially compares apples and oranges with his second lobotomy analogy. Lobotomies were a particularly severe "treatment" for psychiatric disorders which left lasting results in patients. The entry in Wikipedia notes that "lobotomies fell out of common use and the procedure has since been characterized 'as one of the most barbaric mistakes ever perpetrated by mainstream medicine.' "

Meanwhile, breast implants, provided that they are cosmetic and not necessitated by, for example, a cancer-related mastectomy, are in quite a different league.

But in fairness to Shats, we understand that he is essentially trying to convey that in his mind, the toupee question is a deeply personal one; a private clinical matter in which a toupee might serve to correct what he sees as a natural defect, in this case baldness. Or perhaps, the inference is that the questioner should feel as uncomfortable asking Shats about his hair as they might feel asking a lobotomy patient about their operation.

Yet many celebrities, including Star Trek co-star Walter Koenig, aren't quite as sensitive about the matter. Below is Koenig talking to interviewer Justin Lee Collins in the May 2009 show Bring Back Star Trek. The actor not only pokes fun at his own hairpiece, both now and then, but relates that the hairpiece is something that both he and Shatner had in common in the 1960s series:

Ironically, Bill Shatner mentions his co-star's on-screen (not off-screen) toupee in his 1993 book Star Trek Memories:

" look at Chekov's first couple of episodes, and the rather bushy toupee he was forced to wear, will illustrate the Monkee mimicry beyond a shadow of a doubt." (page 225)

Anyway, since the Times quote was published, Shats has faced all kinds of in-your-face jokes about his toupee. He has even rhetorically asked "Do I wear a toupee?" in his autobiography Up Till Now. So, perhaps he doesn't see the issue quite as rigidly as he did only a few years ago - it really isn't like asking whether you have had a lobotomy, Bill, because in that case, you probably wouldn't have been able to give us a proper answer!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Before Bill Shatner's hair started to go...

A commenter at the blog "More Shat, Less Shame" (which seems almost entirely dedicated towards sexual lust directed at Bill Shatner - and let's be fair, that's no less crazy an idea than a blog entirely dedicated to Shatner's hair!) has posted some early pictures of Shats. The postee writes that images are mainly from a Biography Channel special on Shatner (which can be bought here). What the pictures show is that Shats started off with a very thick head of hair, thus the resulting severe thinning in his late twenties must have been a very painful experience, particularly for someone who wanted so badly to be a movie star. A description of those emotions might have made for a particularly compelling chapter in Bill Shatner's autobiography Up Till Now - but alas, that wasn't to be. More pictures here.

Is some thinning already taking place in this undated photo?

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Shatner's toupee in pop-culture: Robot Chicken.

In 2005, Robot Chicken, a stop-motion comedy sketch show airing on the US cable channel Adult Swim, did an episode called "Toy Meets Girl". The episode featured a segment called "Warp Speed Wig" featuring William Shatner's toupee, which in this case sneaks off its host's head during the night and has a series of adventures all of its own! BE...low... IS...the seg-MENT!:

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The William Shatner baldness estimation challenge.

We've never really undertaken a serious attempt to create a realistic approximation of what 1960s Bill Shatner might have looked like sans toupee. So we had a go, using the evidence we have accumulated here at this blog as a guide. Above is a bald Captain Kirk. He doesn't look too bad, does he?

And finally we have Shats in a nonexistent and invented rare un-toupeed appearance in some 1960s TV show. He might have made a fine character actor as we think he looks very good here - certainly far, far better than this...

UPDATE: A reader writes: "Shatner was wise to stick (obsessively) with the toupee. Without it, he wouldn't have stood a chance in Hollywood back then."

That is certainly true for an aspiring leading man during the 50s and 60s, but one wonders if the often silly-looking toups didn't hurt Shats' career during the lean years in the early 1970s. Perhaps that is a question for our next poll...

UPDATE 2: Yes indeed it is Harry Mudd's head as many of you have suggested.

New toup-less photo?

We've managed to find an unusual photo of Bill Shatner at the mysterious website The picture is from an article chronicling Shats' marriage difficulties relating to his first wife Gloria Rand. That would likely date it at late 1968- early 1969. The pair eventually divorced.

But what is with the picture? The first question is: did Bill have his own thin frontal swoosh that he grew long in order to cover up his otherwise very acutely receding hair? We've seen this effect before in two photographs from the book Captain Quirk: An Unauthorized Biography:

Yet it appears that Shats is wearing some kind of hairpiece in these pics, but could they merely be to cover a bald crown? Something that would create an effect similar to this?:

Such hairpieces would be far easier to wear, eliminating the need for the frontal lace being glued to the forehead.

And yet, other pictures appear to tell a somewhat different story of more uniform thinning:

Could Captain Kirk's famous frontal swoosh be nested upon a far thinner real swoosh? Were the two somehow integrated?

Despite appearances, the above picture is indeed of Shats with his usual frontal toupee glued in place.

So just what is going on?

In this case, we have so many questions and so few answers. But if we had to guess, we would say that the mysterious picture is either a toupee so worn out (or ruffled by rain?) that it is simply looks very bad or it is indeed a toup-less or semi-toup-less picture (meaning that the frontal hairline, if not the rest, is real). And would Bill, sensitive about appearances, really smile like this for a photo if he wasn't wearing a toupee? That is why we are inclined towards the first, badly ruffled toup theory.

Let us know your thoughts.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Toupee all the way down.

Sometime between the 1982 movie Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and the 1984 movie Star Trek II: The Search for Spock, Bill Shatner's toupee underwent a somewhat drastic change that isn't immediately noticeable. Whereas up to and including The Wrath of Khan, Shats wore a weave that simply sat on the top of his head, by The Search for Spock, the toupee went all the way down to the sides of the ears.

Star Trek II toup.

Why the change? Did Shats go bald at the sides too? Probably not. The change was likely brought on by Bill Shatner's other big 1980s project T.J. Hooker, which ran from 1982 to 1986. This series was heavily action-based, with Shatner running and jumping and fighting in almost every scene. The top-of-the-head weave was apparently just not strong enough for the task, and was likely far too unruly and difficult to style amidst all the action. Although Shats started the series with the old weave style, he soon changed. T.J. fans might be able to help us spot the exact episode when that change took place.

A weave is tied to existing hair. In Shats' case, that meant to the back and sides. But, as we've learned by a bit of reading out there on the web, such weaves place a strain on the existing hair and can actually cause further baldness because the real hair that serves as the anchor is constantly under stress.

Star Trek III toup.

So, the solution is to widen the surface area that the weave is attached to. By extending it down to the sides, Shats' toupee became far more resilient in the face of all that T.J. Hooker (and Kirk too) had to endure. The old toupee would never have been able to take that kind of a pounding!

Below is an early photo from T.J. Hooker showing the "curly look - phase I".

And here is the later and far sturdier "curly look - phase II"

Monday, August 24, 2009

Shatner: "How's the hair?"

"How's the hair?"

George Takei's "outing" of William Shatner's toupee wearing wasn't the only reference made to Shatner's hair during 2006's Comedy Central Roast of William Shatner.

The subject came up during several segments, including when comedian Jeffrey Ross said to Shatner: "I was told not to bring this up; I know that it's a sensitive subject, but I can't help myself. On behalf of your fans all over the world, we want to know: what the f*#k is on your head right now? It just growled at me. Have mercy, Shatner - hang up the hairpiece! Or at least set it free in the park before [comedian] Andy Dick tries to f*@k it."

Bill Shatner confronted with hair jokes.

In a pre-recorded segment, actor Clint Howard reprised his role as Balok from the Star Trek episode "The Corbomite Maneuver" and jokingly told Shatner:

"I'm not ashamed of this [points to bald head]. At least I don't try to cover it up with a Wookie snatch."

And in the final segment, Shatner briefly acknowledged the jokes directed at his hair, asking "How's the hair? Is it...? Hair's good? Hair's good?" Of course, this could really be interpreted in an number of ways. Perhaps Shatner was merely saying, "Yes, my real hair has often looked so bad, that it looks like a toupee." You can tell us what you think Shatner thinks we think by voting in our poll!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Shatner admits to hair loss (in an oblique way)!

We've previously looked at some rare and oblique references by Shats to his lack of (real) hair. Thus far, these have consisted of two passages from his autobiography Up Till Now - one in which Shats talked about not wanting his "makeup secrets" to be revealed and the other, the very final line of his book, where Shats asks rhetorically "Do I wear a toupee?" Click through the above link for more on these.

But we have managed to find a fresh one - and one that kind of blows these two previous oblique references out of the water. Seriously, this is quite a big one as far as our chronicles go! In 2005, William Shatner was a surprise performer at a glamorous bash entitled AFI Life Achievement Award: A Tribute to George Lucas - the title is pretty self-explanatory. During his comedic skit, Shatner contrasted Lucas' still thick hair with his own, shall we say, hair dilemma:

"I envy you. I really envy you. The hair. I just envy the hair. Is it a dominant gene?" Shatner told Lucas from the stage.

Below is a video of this brief, but earth-shattering moment.

Interestingly, this took place a year before Star Trek castmate George Takei's somewhat spiteful "outing" of Shatner's toupee usage during the 2006 Comedy Central Roast of William Shatner. We had always assumed that this was what prompted Shats to ease up a little on his toupee denials in his autobiography. Not so. So credit where credit is due: hats off to Shatner for this moment of undeniable candor in 2005.

And, just to place the moment in context, below is a video of the entire segment, which is very, very funny. We honestly think that this clip alone demonstrates in a nutshell just why William Shatner should be treasured as a true living legend! Who else could crash the apparent pomposity of Lucas in such an entertaining way?

Very realistic eyebrows!

A reader has alerted us to some pictures found here in which so little of Shatner's hair seems real that we can only really appaud the great way he has styled his eyebrows! The grabs are from the 1973 TV movie Incident on a Dark Street and it does indeed appear that not only is the hair on his head of the fake variety, but also the mustache and possibly the sideburns too. Bill must have a high tolerance for itchiness!

And staying on the subject of facial hair, below we have a still from a December 2002 appearance on the UK TV show Richard & Judy in which Shats is wearing a beard - something quite rare indeed. In this case, we will assume that the goatee is real. But with Shats' proclivity for all things toup, one never knows!

As proof of this proclivity, there is a particularly ironic story in the Shatner-Kreski book Star Trek Movie Memories (buy here) relating to Shats' work on the 1994 film Star Trek: Generations. It is the kind of story that would be entirely innocuous were it not for the fact that Shatner is so secretive about own his toupee wearing:

"I was driving with my daughter on the Sunday evening before our Monday morning shooting, and she looked over at me and asked, 'Dad, where're your Kirk sideburns?' and immediately my gut turned over, as if I'd forgotten to do my homework. I clasped my hands to the sides of my head and I realized that in all the weeks that I'd been preparing to do this film, the script consulting, the wardrobe fittings, nobody had mentioned my sideburns. Everyone just assumed that I must know the routine by now, and that I would have the intelligence to grow them myself, which is overestimating any actor, I feel. It's a lesson I want everybody to learn about actors. Never trust us, not for a minute.

"The following morning, with my head hanging low in embarrassment, I walked into the makeup room and said to Brian McManus, our makeup man, 'What am I going to do? I forgot to grow my sideburns.' - at which point he sighed, rolled his eyes and said 'Sit down.' He then took out a mustache, cut in in half, pasted the pieces on either side of my head, and proceeded to create instant pointy sideburns. They were a little thick, a little bushy, a little different color at first (so don't be surprised if Kirk looks vaguely reminiscent of Edgar Allen Poe throughout this film's opening scenes), but they passed. Luckily, because there were going to be almost eight weeks between the end of my scenes aboard the Enterprise B and the beginning of my scenes with Patrick Stewart, I was able to grow back my own organic sideburns."

Oh, irony, thy name is Shatner!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

1973, the toupee nadir and more old meets new...

Impulse (1974).

We've previously tried to find examples where old toupee styles make a sudden reappearance. There aren't many of them, but we have managed to unearth a new great example from 1974 - the same year that Shatner reached a toupee low-point with the movie Impulse. More on the old styles making a comeback in a moment.

The book Encyclopedia Shatnerica lists the 1974 film Impulse as its choice of Shatner's worst ever toupee. We've been reluctant to get into this, as we try to be a little more detached (if you'll pardon the pun) here at Shatner'sToupee. But if we were pressed, we would have to choose the photos of Bill Shatner's wedding (to actress Marcy Lafferty) from just a year before for that honor. The toupee is so bad and the occasion so wanting of Bill not to be wearing a bad toup that we felt we had no choice here but to label it our own personal worst ever toupee moment.

Yet, Bill appears to have decidedly moved away from this toupee wedding-related and then Impulse nadir very quickly. Call it a toupee renaissance, if you will. The birth of better times. Very soon after, the old "Jim Kirk look" (or something very close to it) makes a sudden return. Here are two stills from Shatner's 1974 appearance on Good Night America (video uploaded to YouTube by "FilmsRreel").

Not only is the toupee better, but Bill is far leaner and far happier-looking.

He has a new wife and flattering Star Trek revival talk is reaching fever-pitch across America. Were the bad toupees a cry for help? Is toupee quality correlated to Bill Shatner's emotional state? Did the "Jim Kirk"-style toupee bring back good memories? Who knows? A year later, Bill was evidently still on a high, and still wearing his revived "Jim Kirk" toupee for the TV movie The Tenth Level. Was this a way to get Paramount to notice that Shatner was still in good shape should a new Star Trek film or TV series truly be considered?

The Tenth Level (1975).

This "Jim Kirk-Phase II" look even lasted through the 1975 feature-film The Devil's Rain, albeit somewhat more diluted (meaning more wig, less lace). This is evidently not the same toupee that Shatner wore in his 1974 appearance on Good Night America - that was likely his own expensive toupee bought as a result of some decent paycheck coming through from a recent project, maybe even the Star Trek animated series. But toupees wear out quickly and the "Jim Kirk" look is expensive and cumbersome to attach compared to hairpieces that obscure the hairline.

The Devil's Rain (1975).

The short-lived 1975 TV series Barbary Coast is yet another example of this "Jim Kirk-Phase II" look.

There are probably a few examples during this period of the dreadful toupees of the early 1970s making a return - possibly on some of the gameshow appearances Shats did during this time, but the "Jim Kirk-Phase II" (1974-1975) has emerged as a fresh subcategory in our toupee timeline.

Then, only a year later, the new "curly look" of the later Star Trek movies as well as T.J. Hooker was born, most notably in the Columbo episode "Fade in to Murder". Did Bill decide it was time to stop looking back? Did the rollercoaster ride of Star Trek's long and as yet still unrealized road to revival make the actor consciously decide to move on with a new hairstyle? We can only guess as to the many motivations at play in the world of Shatner's toupee.

Bill Shatner in the very entertaining and well worth watching 1976 Columbo episode "Fade in to Murder".

Poll result.

And the winner by a clear majority is the "Jim Kirk" look. Thanks to those who voted!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Shatner's toupee in pop-culture: The Simpsons.

In 1993, during the fourth season of the animated series The Simpsons, the Star Trek cast was rather mercilessly lampooned (mainly for their advancing years) in a brief segment in an episode entitled "Itchy & Scratchy: The Movie". The segment in question is an amusing fictional trailer for a wonderfully titled Star Trek XII: So Very Tired.

Among the many things the segment pokes fun at is Bill Shatner's toupee, which in this case sits thickly resplendent and richly colored on top of his mismatched real and very gray hair. Of course, Bill never had these kinds of severe mismatches in the later years as is depicted here - that actually tended to happen far more during the early years of Star Trek as you toupologists out there will know all to well!

The real Shatner, with some help from Photoshop!

One interesting note: Bill Shatner is perhaps one of the only celebrities of his stature never to have guest-voiced on The Simpsons. Could this segment have offended him? Who knows? However, Shatner later did famously appear in The Simpsons' sister-series Futurama in an episode entitled "Where No Fan Has Gone Before" - his hair in that episode was without any mismatched toupee line. Anyway, below is a video of the aforementioned sequence.