Thursday, January 21, 2010

A real hair reflex: the "cap n' twist".

"Real hair reflex" isn't quite the best description for what we have here in Bill Shatner's appearance in 1982's Airplane II: The Sequel - rather it's more of a "toup protection reflex". But before we get into that, let's examine Shats' performance as lunar base commander Buck Murdoch in this comedy movie, which we're assuming most of you out there have seen.

We would argue that Bill Shatner is at his absolute best when playing crazed and insane characters (1961's The Intruder, Star Trek's "The Enemy Within" and "Turnabout Intruder" and 1974's Impulse come to mind) and in this case, the actor hams it up considerably. Bill Shatner's acting style is unique - but those critics that have occasionally suggested he can't act are flat wrong. A performer must principally command the viewer's attention, and in Airplane II, Bill Shatner demonstrates his comic timing to perfection with strange lines such as "I guess irony can be pretty ironic sometimes" while also sending up Star Trek in the process.

Now to the "cap n' twist". Not a new dance craze, alas (but hey, it could catch on) but rather a protective toup reflex that turns a simple twist of the cap into a carefully orchestrated maneuver.

Bill Shatner twists his cap twice in the movie. The first time, the maneuver, executed so as to keep the toup in place, is carried out flawlessly - but the second time, things don't quite go as smoothly.

Watch these two moments in slow-motion:

Things go just a little wrong during the second twist, with a tiny bit of the toup knocked out of place. But ever the consummate professional, Bill Shatner quickly smooths over the situation and continues in his performance. Brilliant!

A collection of Bill Shatner's scenes from Airplane II can be found on YouTube:


  1. The "hair" under the cap is a glorious TJ curly, isn´t?

  2. My Lord, I'm watching and rewatching that ten-second clip like it's the finale of the Zapruder Film!!!