Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Ask the question...

In 2004, US radio hosting team Greg Hughes and Anthony Cumia, known as "Opie and Anthony" conducted a live telephone interview with Bill Shatner. Perhaps inspired by the toupological tensions of the notorious MJ Kelli incident, at one point, applauding the actor's performance in the 1960 Twilight Zone episode "Nick of Time" (see our toupological analysis here) one of the DJs, noted "...and your hair looks fantastic in it!" Therein followed a brief pause, after which Bill Shatner asked "Say that again?" Sadly, the issue was not followed up and a potentially important moment of toupological discussion was missed. Listen to the clip below:

The compliment seems genuine (our toupological analysis also applauded Bill Shatner's hair in this installment) but also appears to be just a little provocative, hoping to broach a subject that has struck a paralyzing terror into even the most seasoned and probing interviewer. Hughes and Cumia do not pursue the matter, perhaps afraid of being crushed by the weight of Bill Shatner's personality.

Truth is, the entire interview (which can be heard in two parts on YouTube) is a little odd. Bill Shatner evidently can take all manner of banter directed at him (half of his career is built on that!), including banter levelled at his toupee (see the Comedy Central Roast), but what is clear from this interview is that if you show just a little obsequiousness or uncertainty or amateurishness or a dark undertones that seek mere mockery (as one of the DJs evidently does), he will destroy you.

A better example of this can be heard here, in which a director in a sound recording studio evidently does not know what he wants from Bill Shatner. The actor, quite rightly in our view, tears the wimpy director a new one. The guy ends up apologizing for even trying to do his job while Bill Shatner, very calmly, even makes the humiliated director admit that he does not know what he is doing - Shats really does shred the guy to pieces and it is a joy to behold!

But back to the above clip. Did Bill Shatner really not hear the question? Or did he hear it, but go into a kind of shock at the audacity of toup? Or did he hear the question and simply pretend that he didn't? Let us know what you think...

UPDATE: In January 2010, Bill Shatner was again interviewed, this time in the studio, by Opie and Anthony - listen here.


  1. He heard it, but didn't want to acknowledge it and open himself up to any more comments along those lines. I wonder if those guys knew that wasn't his real hair in that episode.

    To some extent, I'd thought that Shat always liked obsequious, fawning hosts who would toss him softball questions while letting him promote whatever it was he was hawking at the time. I remember his first appearance on Letterman's show in 1986 to promote Star Trek IV where he was very uneasy and defensive. He was more in his element when he appeared on a Merv Griffin-type show.


  2. Helvetius Findus IIIApril 6, 2010 at 5:30 PM

    Remember Orson Welles' tension-fraught sessions for those frozen pea ads? Don't waste the time of these people.

  3. Selective hearing...

  4. Shatner dosnt suffer fools gladly - he has no time for them:

    see here too

    LOL the guys lucky Mr Thatcher even bothered to reply to him..what a scared lille pussy

  5. We have been trying to encourage non-registered commenters to select the "Name/ URL" option and type in a username (anything at all). This eliminates the "anonymous" tag and helps other commenters to know who is saying what. Thanks! -ST

  6. Shats seems a little quiet and reserved in this one - maybe he was going through a divorce or something? or maybe the burden of knowing he was going to have to direct Trek V?

    i like the way he says thank you to the guy at the end when the guy says 'you one of my favourites..in fact damn it you ARE my favourite!'


  7. Hey I just found an article from 1968 where Shatner admits to wearing a wig in White Comanche!! He says:

    "One brother had to be blond and I couldn't bleach my hair because of the series. So I had to wear a full wig."

    Full wig as opposed to what?!? Maybe the Shat was less sensitive about his toupee back then!

    Here is the link:


    (The article is on p. 56 of the newspaper.)

  8. Thanks "ttttttttt" - a great find! We'll do a post on it. -ST