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.


  1. Elytra?
    Why don't you just say wings? You trying to be Mr. Fancypants or something?
    Alert us to a JFK, Nixon cover up? Yeah, right. AS IF.

  2. This is really head spinning..
    Season 3 was the worst as far as toupee were concerned. Shaggier, sloppier, bad adjusted... I think that each episode deserves a special investigation. In this holiday, I will take time to watch season 3 again and will be paying more attention to toupee malfunction.

  3. A flying toupee...?

  4. That was a such a beautifully executed pirouette by Shatner, who could blame his toupee for being inspired to take flight?

  5. Man, I am shocked. A very bad toupee moment by Mr Shatner.
    As Maxwell Smart would say.. "Missed it by that much".

  6. @Paulo

    No I disagree. The middle of season 2 was the worst toupee look as far as I'm concerned. Shatner's toupees were longer in season 3 for a couple of reasons -

    1) the entire cast sported longer hairstyles in that season (if there is one thing about season 3 to dislike was the sideburns. Shatner's and Doohan's seemed at times to go down to their uniforms).

    2) Also I suspect they needed to be longer because his bald spots were much larger.

    But the middle of season 2 (and those blonde highlights and waves) were really bad. He looked better with a straighter look, than a curly/wavy one.

  7. Hey, MVPisOnline
    I will be paying more attention to ST0S 2. There must be a lot of bad toupees, really. I wonder if the series had survived into the seventies. Bill would leave the lace behind and get into the lost years rug...?

  8. @Paulo

    This isn't to say Season 3 was all good. In 'The Savage Curtain' Shatner looks like he's wearing a full wig.

    My guess is if the series continued, his Jim Kirk look would've evolved to be slightly more wavy. Definitely more shaggier.

    Some good season 2 looks (I think) include some of the early ones like 'Who Mourns for Adonais?', 'The Doomsday Machine', 'The Challenging', 'Metamorphosis'.

    Some bad season 2 looks (again, I think) are 'Obesssion', 'Mirror, Mirror', 'The Immunity Syndrome', 'By Any Other Name'.

  9. Annual Shatner beach photos and snarky journalism

  10. oh dear! This is a very clear shout, that bill has had, a toupee for years, having said, that some will say, "oh it's a trick of the light, bill has a great head of hair" yep, well his been going bald from 1956! So get over it. And this site has, the prove for that....having said all this, you have to give it to bill, his one heck of a good actor!

  11. This is a powerful pirouette by Mr Shatner, vaguely reminiscent of Rudolf Nureyev in his pomp. Under the strain of keeping up with Bill's poetry in motion it's no wonder the toup struggled to keep up.