Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Happy holidays - your Shatner toupee stories.

Quiz picture - what is this image from?

Firstly, all of us at the William Shatner School of Toupological Studies, and in particular the staff of Shatner's Toupee would like to wish our readers a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year - or just a happy holidays depending on where in the world you are reading this. We have readers not just across the US, Canada and Europe, but also in Russia, Japan, Hong Kong, Brazil, Australia and New Zealand and beyond - so to all of you, our sincere thanks for visiting our blog and also for your largely insightful, intelligent and polite contributions during these last months.

Over the holiday period, we thought we'd ask for your Shatner toupee stories. When did you first begin to suspect that Bill Shatner wore a toupee? Was it while watching the original Star Trek series? Or was it that thick curly hair in the Trek movies or T.J. Hooker? Perhaps it was a comedy sketch, or review or an interview with a Shatner-bashing co-star. Or was it this blog - surely not!!??! We'd really love to read your "When I first learned that Bill Shatner wore a toupee" stories in the comments section!

Our posting will be a little light until the New Year. By the way, we've erected and decorated a giant festive toupee in the main lobby of the William Shatner School of Toupological Studies - we'll try to post a photo at some point! Thanks again, everyone!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Turnabout toupee.

A while back, we looked at a "real hair reflex" in the last ever Star Trek original series episode "Turnabaout Intruder". But there is one more noteworthy event in this installment that no self-respecting toupologist can or should overlook. Towards the end of the episode, Bill Shatner does a spin that lifts the back of his toup up like the Elytra of a ladybird about to go into flight:

Perhaps there is a metaphor there. The show was ending, and this ladybird-esque spin was Bill Shatner's subtle farewell not just to Star Trek and its fans, but to a toupee style that had served the actor for around a decade.

Let's have a closer look at an enhanced version of the scene:

At around frame 313, this enhanced "Intruder" film clearly shows a - back...and to the left, back...and to the left - motion. Indeed, this video is credited with beginning the investigations that led to the unveiling of Bill Shatner's toupee use. Or was Bill Shatner trying to alert us to something? JFK, Nixon - had there been a cover-up?

Season 3 of Star Trek, with its notorious fall in production quality, meant that the toupee wasn't as closely attended to as previously. See these stills from "The Empath" here for more toupee lid-flipping.

Also of note is the pivot angle of the toupee. We've often suggested the possibility that Bill Shatner's toupee was a two-piece unit: a frontal section glued to the forehead and a rear piece layed cap-like over the crown. Examining this scene would appear to lend at least some credence to that - the pivot angle of the cap-like toup is at the top of the head, not at the front, suggesting a rear toup pinned down near the cross point between the parietal and frontal bones. Of course, we can't be sure about this.

Friday, December 18, 2009

"Coming from a man sporting that facial hair!"

"What did he just say about my hair?!?"

Back in December 2005, Bill Shatner appeared as Lucifer himself in Comedy Central's Last Laugh '05 (basically a comedic look back at the year). As the Lucifer skit was still being rehearsed, Bill Shatner was interviewed by a Comedy Central reporter. During the interview, Shats ended up making a serious point about his prognosis for humanity and the need to act on environmental issues:

"I think we have a generation...of the...growing toxicity - unless we do something about it. That's the clarion call: do something about it and maybe we have longer."

To which the reporter responded:

"That's very ominous coming from a man sporting that facial hair!"

Watch the exchange below:

Last Laugh
Backstage - William Shatner
Joke of the DayStand-Up ComedyFree Online Games

Now, this is likely one of those cases of unwitting and inadvertent irony. And it genuinely appears that the reporter was one of the few that had no knowledge of Bill Shatner's hair and the various broad taboos that apply to the subject, lest a moment like this one come about. Or perhaps it was a momentary lapse. Of course the subject was facial hair, but the interviewer was standing next to a man covered in more glued-on prosthetics than is considered wise for any man. By the way, we have been studying if it's something in the glue that has given Bill Shatner his age-defying endurance (he's currently learning to fly a helicopter).

Bill Shatner is evidently somewhat surprised by the interviewer's comment. Perhaps he is merely taken by the tangent from environmentel issues to mocking Shats' glued-on facial hair. But can there be much doubt that Bill Shatner also senses the irony of the situation? If only one word - the word "facial" - was missing from that interviewer's comment, he would have said "This coming from a man sporting that hair!" You get the sense that Bill Shatner did a slight double-take, making sure he heard it right, before turning just a little bit bashful.

You can watch Bill Shatner's performance at Last Laugh '05 here. Somewhere out there there is a cool photo of Shatner's Lucifer surrounded by a load of very attractive women - if anyone out there can locate it, please let us know.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Toupee application pictures?

Ok, that is a deliberately misleading headline! What we actually have here are pictures from a somewhat tongue-in-cheek August 1967 feature for Movie Stars magazine showing Bill Shatner having a mold of his body made by the Star Trek costume department. Considering Bill Shatner's fluctuating waist-line, this must have been quite a frequent occurrence!

Normally, Bill Shatner would not have worn a toupee during such a procedure, as who wants to get plaster on it, right? But with the cameras there, it's an entirely different story.

Sourced from eBay.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Poll result and more on the lace.

Thanks for voting. One factor that would be very different today would be the press. Were a young William Shatner, star of the ratings hit (today, Star Trek with the very same ratings would be considered a huge hit, in particular because of the way that audience demographics are now factored-in, rather than just straight viewing figures. Back in the 60s, Star Trek had one of the most appealing demographics out there to advertisers - but they hadn't yet switched to using a mechanism that measured this.) known as Star Trek, to be a secret toupee user, the press would have gone out of their way to reveal this. Up until at least the first year of Trek, Bill Shatner was sometimes still going around toup-less when not in the public arena. Today, a young Shatner today would face some very different choices in light of the ever-relentless paparazzi.


On a separate note, we welcome some of our newest readers and commenters. One particular issue that commenter "Al" mentioned was that of the frontal lace - arguing that perhaps Bill Shatner's frontal hairline was real during the early phases of toup. We try to be very careful with what and how we assert certain toupee points (for example the current plugs or no plugs debate) but in the case of the frontal lace, we can say with absolute confidence that there is a large body of strong evidence out there that on-screen, Bill Shatner's frontal hairline permanently disappeared behind a toupee around 1958 and has not been seen since (on-stage, it was about a year or so later). While Bill Shatner went bald from the back first, it wasn't long before the front gave out too.

Here's Bill Shatner in 1959 wearing his beloved frontal lace, with its characteristic thick swoosh:

Bill Shatner in CBS's The Story of a Gunfighter (1959)

In the book Inside Star Trek: The Real Story, the lace line was described by Star Trek producer Bob Justman thus (see here for more on this book):

"My gaze shifted to his (Shatner's) hairline. Examining balding actors' hairlines was a habit I'd picked up over the years. The 'lace' that anchored the front of his toupee glistened. I made a mental note of it to tell the makeup man about it before we filmed again."

A gust of upward wind highlights the frontal toupee, which was anchored by a v-shaped very thin lace "skin" (visible in high-quality remastered prints) that protruded slightly down along the forehead.

Interestingly, Bill Shatner still had a frontal hairline as late as 1958-1959's New York stage production of The World of Suzie Wong. Indeed, we believe that this may have been the last ever public appearance of Bill Shatner sans toupee - by this time, he was already wearing a toupee on-screen and on-stage touping-up soon followed, perhaps even during the play's (often stressful) two-year run.

Bill Shatner in The World of Suzie Wong late 1958 - early 1959. Still no frontal toup.

Spray, combing or a brief undocumented period of using a rear-only toup? See this clip from Cheers to see how they work.

So, on-screen Bill Shatner started wearing a frontal lace a little earlier than he absolutely needed to. While his hair at the back thinned, the frontal hairline likely remained in some form through to the early 1960s.

If there is one famous person who's pattern of balding appears to match Bill Shatner's, then it is perhaps Britain's Prince William who at 27 actually appears to be about three years more severe in pace than Bill Shatner:

This would probably match Bill Shatner, circa 1960.

This would probably match Bill Shatner circa 1962.

Anyway, we've examined this issue many times at this site - over the festive season, when we won't be posting as much, we'll try to take some time to improve our listing and indexing of old posts in order to make them easier to locate.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Studio One: "The Defender" - a toupological analysis.

A while back, based on a few clips and stills from 1957's courtroom drama Studio One: "The Defender" we acknowledged uncertainty about whether a 26-year-old Bill Shatner was wearing a toupee in this television drama. This made a full toupological analysis an inevitability - and that detailed analysis has now been completed. We have to say that at first this was a very difficult call to make. In most shots, it looked as if Bill Shatner was not yet wearing a toupee - but in others it looked as though his hair appeared a little too thick. Since the two-parter was filmed and broadcast live, we knew that only one of these two options was possible.

After a painstaking study by our entire team, we are ready to make a call: Bill Shatner is not wearing a toupee in either of the two episodes of Studio One: "The Defender". We'll get to our reasoning in a moment, but first a little about this drama.

Westinghouse Studio One (Westinghouse Electric Corporation was the sponsor) ran on CBS television from 1948-1958. Each week, a unique drama was produced; an array of future stars featured in Studio One including James Dean and Robert Mitchum. Bill Shatner made five appearances in Studio One - the first and second in the two-part episode "The Defender"(broadcast Feb-March 1957), the third in an episode entitled "The Deaf Heart" (broadcast October 1957) and the fourth and fifth in the two-part episode "No Deadly Medicine" (broadcast December 1957).

Ralph Bellamy, William Shatner and Steve McQueen in Studio One: "The Defender".

In "The Defender" Bill Shatner plays Kenneth Preston, a young lawyer working in his father's law firm. The two spar when Shatner's character tries to persuade his father Walter (played by Ralph Bellamy) that their client Joseph Gordon (played by Steve McQueen) may actually be innocent of murder. Despite offering a competent defense at Gordon's trial, Walter Preston believes his young client is probably guilty of the crime he has been charged with. Kenneth has a trick up his sleeve that could help free the man - will he persuade his father to use it?

Even the most ardent Bill Shatner fan would have to admit that throughout his career, the actor has made his fair share of crap. This show is definitely not an example of that. The extraordinary thing about "The Defender" is that this courtroom drama was performed and broadcast live. That means that every camera-move, every focus pull, every picture edit and every lighting set-up had to be meticulously planned and rehearsed in advance. There was simply no room for error - no ability to redo anything should there be the slightest mistake either by the actors or the behind-the-scenes team during the broadcast.

The show doesn't just take place in the courtroom either, but rather unfolds in the corridors and in several rooms beyond too. That means that the transition from one set to another also had to be perfectly co-ordinated: characters leave one set, we focus on other characters in the same set, while those that have left quickly position themselves elswhere for the next scene. The logistical nightmare that such a live broadcast represents is almost impossible to fathom today and watching the show unfold, one definitely gets a sense of a bygone era of quality theatrical drama.

What is surprising is just how smooth the entire production is. Despite the above, you would be forgiven for thinking that the entire thing was a single-camera movie-shoot that had taken weeks to film.

"We don't think alike, you and I...I don't really know you," Walter Preston tells his son. "Nor I you..." Kenneth replies in a very rare moment of on-screen vulnerability for actor Shatner. The scene echoes Bill Shatner's complicated relationship with his own father.

Bill Shatner gives a solid performance surrounded by top-notch actors such as Bellamy and McQueen. The latter displays such raw visceral energy as a performer that stardom seems inevitable. Do McQueen and Bellamy outshine Bill Shatner? Yes. But then the overall standard is very, very high.

"The Defender" was preserved by means of a kinescope (more here too) recording of the original broadcast. This means that a film camera recorded a cathode ray tube (CRT) monitor playing back the show. Due to the rounded shapes of period CRTs versus flat celluloid, this led to a relatively strong amount of distortion in the image around the edges, which will be obvious to you as you examine the stills presented here.

Look at Bill Shatner's head - distortion caused not only by a backcombed hairstyle but also by the kinescope transfer.

Now, to the hair. After some analysis, it appeared pretty clear to us that Bill Shatner was not wearing a toup in "The Defender".

One important key to understanding the hair in "The Defender" is understanding what Bill Shatner's hair was doing at this particular time. The show was filmed during a brief period in 1957 when Bill Shatner grew his hair long. Witness two images from an appearance in Alfred Hitchcock Presents: "The Glass Eye" (more here and see here for more on the overall toupee timeline):

At this point, Bill Shatner's hair was thinning fast, but he still had a full frontal hairline, while a patch of sparseness at the back was still concealable with combing and sprays.

Bill Shatner dons pretty much exactly the same hairstyle in "The Defender" albeit one that is bulked upwards and absolutely soaked in hairspray and/or thickener. This turns Bill Shatner's hair into a fragile, yet rigidly immobile eggshell; a carefully constructed illusion of plenty, which the slightest disruption could shatter.

A toupee produced a far smoother, more rounded and thicker contour at the back of the head than is evident here. The lighter color of the hair on top, rather than evidence of a toupee, is an indication of thinning hair.

The deleniation line between thick hair at the back and sides and the thinning hair (meaning follicle thickness as well as the per-square inch hair count) on top that will soon fall out is evident in numerous shots when the lighting strikes it in a particular way.

The times when Bill Shatner's hair looks thicker (this had initially confused us) corresponds directly to more flattering lighting and the high contrast of black-and-white photography:

And again here (the kinescope distortion is also a factor below):

We should note that Bill Shatner's other two appearances on Studio One are unavailable for commercial viewing. We would very much like to see them - particularly "No Deadly Medicine" which we believe was one of Bill Shatner's last ever on-screen toup-less performances.

Studio One: "No Deadly Medicine" - a must-see for Shatner hair students - remains unreleased.

You can buy the very enjoyable and entertaining Studio One: "The Defender" here. Dear readers, please feel free to contact distributors KochVision to politely suggest that they release on DVD Bill Shatner's other two Studio One appearances. Thanks!

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Department of External Inter-Toupular Activity.

Still from the DVD trailer for The Kingdom of the Spiders (1977).

"The Department of External Inter-Toupular Activity" is one of the smaller departments of The William Shatner School of Toupological Studies, with only a few hundred staff. Its remit is to study incidences of toupular interaction by various external objects such as leaves, snow, dust...and spiders!

On January 19th 2010, a new remastered DVD of the 1977 horror movie The Kingdom of the Spiders will be released. "The Department of External Inter-Toupular Activity" is stepping up for a full-blown toupological analysis, as the film features all sorts of external disruption to Bill Shatner's toupee, including from spiders.

Watch both the DVD and original trailers below:

Interestingly, Bill Shatner appears to be wearing a hybrid toupee that is about 80% "TJ Curly" (1976-2000) era and 20% "Lost Years" (1969-1976) - which pretty much underlines where Bill Shatner's career was at this particular time. By the way, we'll have a full toupological analysis of something else for you next week, so stay tuned!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

"William F*#@ing Shatner!"

Star Trek: The Next Generation actor Wil Wheaton's first ever encounter with William Shatner wasn't a particularly pleasant one. The two have since made up as Wheaton notes in a footnote in his 2004 memoir Dancing Barefoot (he also mentions the toupee, which we'll get to in a moment):

"In 2002, Bill and I played together on a special Star Trek edition of the game show Weakest Link. He was warm and friendly towards me the entire time. Several months later, I asked him on Slashdot, 'Are we cool or what? I mean I always thought you didn't like me...' " According to Wheaton, Shatner replied " 'We are so cool, we are beyond cool. We are in orbit man.' "

Wheaton is also one of only a few people that Bill Shatner follows on his Twitter page.

Excuse me? Why does the Enterprise need a 14-year-old ensign piloting the ship?

But back in 1989, Wheaton was so affronted by Bill Shatner's reaction to him that he coined the phrase "William Fucking Shatner" to describe the actor. Wheaton had popped over to the Star Trek V: The Final Frontier soundstage during a break in filming Star Trek: The Next Generation. Nervous, Wheaton was about to meet a legend:

" 'Well?' [Shatner] asked.'

Oh no. He'd asked me a question, and I'd missed it.
'Excuse me?' I replied.

'I said, what do you do over there?' he asked. There was a challenge in his voice.

'Oh, uh, well, I'm an acting ensign, and I sometimes pilot the ship.' Maybe he'd be impressed that I'd already logged several hours at the helm of the Enterprise D, all before the age of 16.

'Well, I'd never let a kid come on to my bridge.' He said and walked away."

Embarrassed, angered, devastated and humiliated, Wheaton returned to the TNG makeup room, sharing his angst with the makeup lady. Later on the set, Brent Spiner (alias Data) tried to comfort the young actor:

" 'I heard about Shatner,' Brent Said. Jesus, was this on the news or something?

'Yeah,' I said.

'You know he wears a toupee, right?'

I giggled. 'I didn't know that.'

'Yep. He's balder than old baldy up there.' He tossed a gold thumb over his shoulder at Patrick [Stewart].
I giggled some more, as the stored up adrenaline coursed through my veins.

'Boy, that's pretty bald.'

'Yep.' Brent put his hands up on the console.

Humiliation turned to comfort as Wheaton learned about Bill Shatner's toupee.

There are a number of things that we can try to analyze from the above. The first, is that this is another example of Bill Shatner's occasional insensitivity to others, particularly to "lesser" actors. Yet, as much as Bill Shatner probably should have expressed this particular thought in a more diplomatic way (or just have kept it to himself), the substance of the remarks represent a perfectly valid observation. Bill Shatner certainly wasn't the only one to question the idea of a child effectively piloting the USS Enterprise in TNG. It was, arguably, a dumb idea and one that demonstrated Gene Roddenberry at his weakest - sacrificing dramatic integrity in favor of sickly utopianism (a process which began with 1979's Star Trek: The Motion Picture and cost him control of the entire movie franchise).

Now that the dust has settled, it is pretty evident that Star Trek: The Next Generation has not withstood the test of time the way that the original Trek has. And it certainly has not attained the same kind of iconic status (Voyager and Enterprise likely will be remembered even less, while DS9, we feel, has often been unfairly overlooked).

The kid on the bridge (yes, Shatner had a point - Kirk would not have tolerated this); the first officer who seems redundant sitting next to the captain, selectively echoing his orders and the empathic counselor ruining dramatic integrity by overtly revealing character motivations rather than allowing both the audience and the on-screen characters to discover them - TNG's character dynamics are riddled with dramatic non-sequiturs. Many of these can be directly attributed to Gene Roddenberry, who created the show. Adding to these issues was replacement guardian-producer Rick Berman, who essentially took full control of the show during its third season. Thereafter, Berman fired a cinematographer (Edward R. Brown) for lighting the emotions that a given scene suggested (precisely what TOS did). A few years later, Berman fired a talented, albeit temperamental composer (Ron Jones) for writing melodic music. Despite some excellent installments, a slow descent into blandness arguably followed in a climate that increasingly stifled bold aesthetics - the very antithesis of the insane, brightly colored, dynamically scored melodrama that Shatner's Star Trek embodied.

Bill Shatner makes it pretty clear what he thinks of the character of Deanna Troi in the 2005 documentary How William Shatner Changed the World (more here).

Bill Shatner, as an old-school kind of guy, has expressed similar thoughts about the "lesser" original cast too. Again, it has often caused offense, but yet again his arguments are valid. He believes (as do many) that the show had three main stars (Shatner, Nimoy and Kelley), not seven. "Who are these people? What do they want?" those were the kind of meaningless lines spoken by Takei's Sulu during Star Trek's run - did we really want more lines from the gang of four's largely two-dimensional characters? How much fake Russian or Scottish accents could we have withstood? And to be blunt, Sulu really was an incredibly dull character. Today, George Takei has made a career of unfairly dissing Shatner, as if he were somehow responsible for the former's tepid post-Trek career.

George "I hate Shatner" Takei

Finally, Brent Spiner's comments about Bill Shatner's toupee may have some wondering just how much he knew (was Shatner really Patrick Stewart bald?). We think that Spiner was probably just speculating. But it is interesting how the toupee, as an obvious example of a personal conceit, was the first "attack point" that Spiner found. And as Wil Wheaton notes, he was unaware of the toupee until the above encounter. Could this incident have been Shatner's Mr Miyagi "sand the floor" moment? Did he diss Wheaton in order for the young kid to finally learn (knowing that anger at Shatner often produces toupee revelations) about the secrets and power of Shatner's toupee? One thing is clear, Wil Wheaton will never forget the first time he learned that Bill Shatner wore a toup.

You can buy Dancing Barefoot here, read several extracts here and visit Will Wheaton's website here. Feel free to disagree with anything or everything we've written!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Imbalance of Terror

Amateur toupology.

Some time before the William Shatner School of Toupological Studies launched Shatner's Toupee, an amateur toupologist called "Nite Trek" was conducting toupological research and posting it on the "Trek BBS" Star Trek message board (see picture above). We certainly applaud and encourage such research, though we hope that if a touposcope was used, that adequate protection against toup-particle emissions was ensured.

The unusual image is from the first season Star Trek episode "Balance of Terror". The particular close-up shot of Captain Kirk represents, we believe, perhaps the single greatest lace malfunction in the entire series. Close attention to makeup and lighting would usually ensure that the lace line that anchored the front of (or frontal) toupee to Bill Shatner's head remained all but invisible. If we enhance an image from the scene, the line becomes even more prominent:

We have a description of this line from Star Trek producer Bob Justman in the book Inside Star Trek: The Real Story (see here for more):

"My gaze shifted to his (Shatner's) hairline. Examining balding actors' hairlines was a habit I'd picked up over the years. The 'lace' that anchored the front of his toupee glistened. I made a mental note of it to tell the makeup man about it before we filmed again."

One thing that Bill Shatner evidently soon learned after this incident was to avoid scrunching his forehead, which only helped to dislodge the fragile flap. As to why in this case the lace line was so low, we can only speculate. Perhaps this was the first appearance of a new toupee - Bill Shatner had two toupees on Star Trek as Bob Justman also noted in the aforementioned book:

"We had begun the first season with two new toupees for Bill because his own 'personal' ones were too ratty-looking. He would wear one toupee while the other piece was being cleaned in the makeup department...Each hairpiece cost $200, a pricely sum in those days."

Perhaps following this shot, the skin was cut back a little, while lighting and makeup likely did their best to make sure that such an incident never occurred again. As to why such a protruding skin was required at all, that likely has something to do with finding a smooth surface to paste the toupee on to. Bill Shatner evidently had a little hair on the front of his scalp that he may have been reluctant to shave off to provide such a surface directly under the toup.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Too close to call? - A contrarian view.

We were going to move on to other areas of toupology today, but we feel that the debate that raged in the previous post is difficult to ignore. Previously, we stated our belief (we attempt to be scientific here and try our best to avoid stating as fact things we don't know beyond a reasonable doubt - though in this case erred on that front on several occasions) that Bill Shatner had had a hair transplant in 2000. But there is a convincing contrarian view - and one that merits closer attention. This view is that in 2000, Bill Shatner, rather than getting plugs, merely switched to a different kind of hairpiece or hair system - the phrasing is unimportant.

One anonymous poster (we really do plead for you to use usernames, which are just as anonymous but merely give you a name so we don't have to call people "anonymous") wrote:

"I am very familiar with the hair piece Mr. Shatner is wearing. It is designed to be worn only once. They call it the "Saturday Night Special" The hair strands are inserted (no knots) into a very fine membrane which requires glue to adhere to the scalp. The membrane is as fine as a fly's wings. Transparent to the eye. Once the hair piece is removed, it must be discarded. Lasts approximately 3-4 weeks."

From a purely juristic sense, we have to ignore the first sentence. But the rest is very interesting.

Here is the main overriding argument for a toupee: There is simply too much hair on Bill Shatner's head to have come from his own head.

This remains a valid argument. In our previous post, we argued that a transplant could overcome that. However, upon closer examination of numerous Shatner images, we noticed that the hair on Bill Shatner's head remains suspiciously thick far more often than it is as thin as this:

The contrarian argument would suggest that the above was a rare ratty toupee.

Yet, there is also something unusual going on at the back - evidence of a patch of slightly longer hair. This would again point to the transplant theory - a harvesting area in which the hair is grown a little longer to hide the patches.

Or could it be both? A third option? Does Bill Shatner wear a toupee that is made from his own hair? This would (kind of) enable him to claim that he doesn't wear a toupee anymore.

We posted this extract as an update in our last post, and are interested in your thoughts:

" 'And no, it isn't a toupée,' [Shatner] says, tugging his hair." See here for more from this interview.

If it is a toup, then Bill Shatner was simply lying point-blank. Or was he parsing words like hair piece with hair system? Yet, so much of Bill Shatner's public and increasingly confident toupee jocularity (for example this and this) has seemed to stem from the post-2000 era in which the toupee was but a thing of the past. Could it all be an illusion? Is it just another toupee? Is Bill Shatner screwing with our minds?

There is another issue too. The times that we know that Bill Shatner is wearing a piece:

Is there really room up there to place a piece over plugs (yes)? That would likely make the scalp invisible.

Truth is, we don't really know - we find arguments from both sides to be persuasive on many points. Yet, we have decided that there is now enough reasonable doubt about the plugs to avoid stating them as being fact.

We do know that post-2000 Bill Shatner still wears a piece. But the real question is and remains, whether he has also had surgery. Like you, we are eager to solve this mystery.

UPDATE: See out Katz story for more info.