Tuesday, November 24, 2009

"Don't let it end this way..."

"Captain, before I die..."

"Grant me this one dying wish..."

"Allow me to run my hands..."

"Through your toupee..."

There are many ways to interpret the above pivotal scene in the 1991 movie Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. But first a very quick plot summary: basically, in the midst of preparations for Federation-Klingon peace talks, mysterious forces (cold warriors essentially addicted to the status quo) decide to take out the Klingon Chancellor Gorkon played by David Warner. Cue Kirk and McCoy being wrongly accused of murder...

Since Bill Shatner knew that this movie would likely be the final voyage for the original Star Trek cast, perhaps the above scene, in which Gorkon runs his hands through Kirk's hair, was designed as a gift to the fans - a farewell not just to Kirk, but to the toupee that had been there every step of the way.

Or was there a metaphor here? A dying wish of sorts. A vision of Bill Shatner talking to God - "Don't let it end this way. In order for there to be real peace on Earth, you must tell the world about your toupee and its powers."

Or was there a transfer of powers taking place? From the dying Gorkon's hand to Shatner's toupee?

Or was David Warner just trying to find out where real ended and toup began?

Whatever the explanation, the above scene is a very, very rare example of someone actually running their hands through Bill Shatner's hair on-screen - and in close-up too! Perhaps the last time something similar happened was in the third season Star Trek episode "Whom Gods Destroy".

However, actress Yvonne Craig's experiences during those interactions were hardly positive. Could this have been Bill Shatner's way of making up for this? Whatever the reason, the Star Trek VI toupee scene contributed to a fine movie and a fitting swansong for the original cast.


  1. Shatner's self portrait
    I wish the picure was a little bigger so we could see how much hair he gave himself.

    "Jay Leno said that your self-portrait 'looks like someone with bad hair implants, singing into a potato.'"

  2. Bill is looking more like an impersonator in this movie. but I wonder if this guy bellow wears a toupee ou has some hair plugs:

  3. I actually think TUD was a dud - the weakest from TOS films. It was very predictable (Who would betray Spock? His new girlfriend who hasn't been in any other film?), and the cast had seen better days as far as acting. The earlier films (TMP, TWOF, and TSFS) are better than the later ones.

    The worst of all was Christopher Plummer. I've read somewhere that he was one of William Shatner's idols, and he turns in a very overdone theater performance here.

    At least they don't make Plummer wear a toupee, but a bald cap instead.

  4. Shatner was Christopher Plummer's understudy at Stratford. What a thrill it must have been for Bill to finally act alongside him in Star Trek VI and prove he was worthy of being on the same stage at the same time as Mr. Christopher Plummer.

  5. Perhaps Bill used a hair stunt double for that close-up.

  6. In the fourth photo I have a Robin Curtis moment: I have the feeling I can see the line between the Toupee and Shat's real hair. I request a toupological analysis.

    Great blog by the way!