Monday, November 9, 2009

The toupee BLT.

Sounds like a gross sandwich that would have you spitting out tufts of hair, right? But in this case, BLT stands for "Bill's Layered Toup".

In 2006, Bill Shatner did a commercial for DirecTV that integrated new footage of himself as Captain Kirk into existing Star Trek footage filmed for Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country in 1991. You can watch the commercial below:

By this period of his life, Bill Shatner was many years into his "Denny Crane" [later referred to as "Denny Katz"] hair phase (see here for our toupological analysis on the shift). What we therefore have in this commercial is an example of Bill Shatner (heavily caked in all sorts of makeup) creating a faux "TJ Curly" style toupee. Rather like a solar eclipse, this is a rare concurrence of stages of hairstyle that only happens once in a good number of years. For a brief moment, the scalp becomes entirely invisible as it is completely concealed by a passing toupee.

Schoolchildren visiting the William Shatner School of Toupological Studies watch a projection of a full Shatner toupclipse.

However, even though such a convergence of toupee styles is very rare indeed, far more common is for Bill Shatner to resort to various light hairpieces when his plugs apparently need some fine-tuning, or perhaps even for entirely stylistic reasons. More on that soon...

Finally, for those of you that believe that Bill Shatner stores away his old toups (perhaps for a future exhibition in the Smithsonian Institute) , the DirecTV ad would appear to suggest that this isn't the case. The toupee he wears in it is far less curly than the one he wore in Star Trek VI. It's more of a transition toup. More on that soon too...

Bill Shatner with director Nicholas Meyer in 1991 (sourced here).


  1. The real reason Shatner didn't re-use his old hairpiece is that it went home to Canada, where it got its big break headlining in this movie:

    ...which can be downloaded here (provided you have a Cinemageddon account:)

  2. Thanks "Helmet Head",

    We've covered (pardon the pun) "William Shatner Lent Me His Hairpiece" at this post:


    The movie is embedded there for all to view.


  3. I read that they used some CGI to narrow BillShat's head so that he would appear more in sync with his look in ST 6. Nowadays, his head is more pumpkin-shaped.

  4. I wonder how Bill must have felt putting on a toupee (fake hair) above the "real hair" that he has now

  5. I remember an interview with Shat in which he said that when he shaved his sideburns pointy-style to prepare for his role as Kirk he felt like he was "removing his sword from the scabbard." So I imagine that's what he felt like in putting the toup back on again.

  6. Despite the heavy makeup, it seems quite apparent from that commercial that Bill's had a facelift since Star Trek VI - his face looks pretty pulled back in comparison to his kirk look.

    Maybe he had the facelift at the same time as the transplant!

  7. I had always wondered how they managed to make the 2006 Shatner look consistent with footage from 15 years earlier. And how expensive was it to get permission to use Nimoy and Koenig's likenesses in this ad? Don't get me wrong - it's a great ad, all things considered, but I wonder if it was a lot more work than the return was worth.

  8. DirecTV was forbidden to air this particular ad anymore due to infringement violations. They never got Paramount's permission (and they are the party that owns Star Trek). I doubt they ever bothered with Koenig or Nimoy. It was a very quick hit and run type of deal, where they had to have known they would get hit with a cease and desist order.

  9. CORRECTION - it was Time Warner that filed suit against DirecTV and got the Shatner ad shut down. It was due to false claims in the commercial that DirecTV had superior picture quality when compared to cable. So, for this reason, they probably didn't get their money's worth on the expense of the TV ad.