Monday, November 23, 2009

An early toup reflex.

William Shatner with Larry Hagman in 1959.

The "Real Hair Reflex" is an entire category (see here for other examples) where Bill Shatner, apparently unconsciously, pats down his toup to make sure that it hasn't been dislodged or performs some other hair-saving or hair-protecting reflex act.

Our latest example, perhaps one of the earliest, is in a television appearance so rare that it isn't even listed on It's a live December 1959 CBS broadcast of a program called A Tribute to American Theater, episode title "Home of the Brave".

In this drama, Bill Shatner plays a Jewish soldier (although Bill Shatner himself is Jewish, this is a rare example in which the actor overtly portrayed a Jewish character on-screen) who suffers prejudice from his commanding officer. The action takes place during WWII - the military unit is in the midst of a reconnaissance mission. Actor Larry Hagman plays a soldier who befriends Shatner's character.

"Home of the Brave" also qualifies as an example of an outlier toupee, in that the "Jim Kirk lace" (1958-1969) has been somewhat modified into a more appropriate military crop cut style. This is particularly noteworthy as Bill Shatner rarely altered his toupee style according to the particular idiosyncratic requirements of a character (although there are plenty of examples where he did, for example a bowl-shaped wig when he played a monk in the 1958 movie The Brothers Karamazov).

Watch a segment from "Home of the Brave" below:

Materials sourced: here, here and from I Dream of Larry - A Larry Hagman Fan Site.


On a separate note, we got a link from the good folks at, so our thanks to them and here's returning the favor.

Is there anything
Zen-like about Bill Shatner's toupee or is it Shats' slow journey towards public toupee acceptance that is the real Zen lesson? Sounds like a university paper question, doesn't it? In that case, we should end with one word - "discuss".


  1. And Larry Hagman is a notorious toupee wearer, too. But Hagman went without a wig in a couple of movies and now has abandoned the rug. See:

    So far, Bill didn´t gave us this opportunity..

  2. Love this site! Shatner's hair changed so often, especially in the 1970s, I can't see how anyone could think it was real! is my site. Thanks for the credit. I knew those photos looked familiar :) That's Hagman's real hair in those 1959 screen shots. His hair started receding when he was in his 20s. He resorted to a combover on I Dream of Jeannie, but often showed his bald head in the 1970s. Larry wore some HORRIBLE toupees on Dallas before getting decent ones towards the end of the series. He abandoned the fake hair in the 1990s, but still wears that cowboy hat!

    Bald is far more attractive than a bad toupee! It cracks me up that Bill has never admitted to being bald. Imagine being afraid to leave your house without your rug!

  3. His hair didn’t recede until his 50’s. Stop Lyin...
    When he played Soanky, Elvis, The Big Bopper, and Richie Valenze he kept his own hair. When he played Kenny Rogers, Antonin Scalia, and Renee Angilil he changed the CRANIUM up a bit.

    1. It should say Spanky... from Little Rascals. He was a child actor.