Sunday, September 13, 2009

Star Trek toupee analogies.

One of the reasons that the first Star Trek pilot with Jeffrey Hunter did not sell was that its star wasn't wearing a hairpiece. Creator Gene Roddenberry soon realized that a toupeed star would allow for far more meaningful allegories to be told; it was the toupee that would allow Roddenberry to comment on our society in a way that could get past the network censors. One such example (okay, we are completely making all of this up) is the first season episode "Operation -- Annihilate!"

The creatures in this episode represent Bill Shatner's old discarded and now hairless toupees - what is left is merely a lace base desperately seeking to attach itself to a new human head. When the lace base accidentally attaches itself to Spock, he undergoes a transformation, gradually turning into Bill Shatner!

What is the solution? Sunlight, of course! If there is one thing that the base of a toupee is sensitive to, it is sunlight.

After the episode aired, Roddenberry said in an interview "The idea came from a question I asked myself: 'What happens to all of Shatner's old toupees?' Suddenly it occurred to me that I could write a story where they have fused with some of Bill Shatner's scalp cells and become sentient and they are now seeking their creator. That is why they prey on Kirk's brother Sam and nephew, because they have similar genes." He also added "The toupee really is a great unexplored means of storytelling and I was very proud of what we did with this episode."

Several unused ideas from this episode, such as calling the creatures "T'Pee" would later be used in the movie Star Trek: The Motion Picture, where the Voyager probe is called "V'Ger".

Just to repeat, none of what we have written here is true.


  1. Yes, and the planet-killer in the Doomsday Machine that looked like a giant marijuana cigarette was an allegory about the dangers of drug use. Star Trek was a topical show and these were important subjects to be explored during the turbulent decade of the 1960's.

  2. I thought the Doomsday Machine was meant to represent a large pooh?

  3. According to Gene Roddenberry's book "The Great Toupees of The Galaxy", The Doomsday Machine was a metaphor for a giant vacuum cleaner that could detach even the most strongly affixed toupees, that is why Kirk was so adamant that the thing must be destroyed. -ST

  4. of the resemblance to a pooh was unintentional after all??!

  5. Oh my goodness.
    I love you, toupologists.
    Thank you for enhancing my forced Vicodine high with your beautiful research results.

  6. Great analysis! And while what you have written isn't true* strictly speaking (*wink, wink), the head canon does make perfect sense. Plus, that's my favorite episode!