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"


  1. This is my favorite toupee moment in all the Star Trek Movies.

  2. What factors other than traction alopoecia could have caused this momentous shift in toupees?

    maybe the hair on the sides started to look too thin when compared to the curly monstrosity that was perched above. Also, he probably had to dye the hair on the sides (which was going gray) to match the dark brown of the toupees. This way, with one toupee covering 90% of his cranium, it all becomes much easier and more uniform in appearance.

    As for when this change occurred, I've got it pinpointed:

  3. Assuming this change to be accurate - given how much of his head is covered, wouldn't it be fair to call it a wig, rather than a toupee?

    Or rather a wig-like toupee, as opposed to the lace-front toupees from TOS or his own personal ones from before TOS?

  4. If Shatner is in the film version of TJ Hooker, will he go back to those curly monstrosities he wore on the television show?

  5. Toup Sleuth Since 1984April 17, 2010 at 7:02 AM

    OK, I know this is an old thread, but here's my two cents.

    I think the ST II toup actually may not go down the back as far as illustrated (note the little hump).

    Secondly, a lot of balding men do lose the "curvy" portion of hair between the sideburns and the temples. That's why a lot of parted-on-the-side toups that sit on the top of the head have a funny little short portion that's combed down on the sides. So, Shatner may have begun to thin there, which would create a weird(er) "what is this thing on top of his head" look.

    The sturdiness argument is also well taken, thought. :)

  6. I think some people need to get a life!

  7. There can be no greater life than the search for Shatner toupee truth, which unravels the mysteries of existence and reality.