Monday, April 19, 2010

"The greatest hairpiece of the twentieth century."

Bill Shatner as T.J. Hooker. Image sourced here.

A must-read GQ profile which does a great job of trying to explain the nature of Bill Shatner's iconic status and complex personality. Featured within the piece is the following:

"...Of course, Shatner refers here to T. J. Hooker, the early-1980s television show that served as a vehicle for the Caligulan feast of a toupee that The Washington Post once dismissed as a 'goony rug' but that is now universally acclaimed as the greatest hairpiece of the twentieth century."

In a literal sense, the opposite would appear to be true - that very few people see Bill Shatner's hairpieces (particularly those from the 1980s) as the greatest of the twentieth century. However, in a far broader sense, it's arguably the combination of Bill Shatner the man and Bill Shatner the toupee-wearer that have made his pieces the "greatest". Together, they are more than the sum of their parts.

Over the years the toup has done everything from subtly pointing to the emotional complexities of on-screen characters, to inspiring Star Trek's writers, to commenting on global political events. In that sense, Bill Shatner's toupees really are the greatest of the twentieth century...and here's to the twenty-first!


  1. Well, the toupee of the pic above is bigger than life, just like Shatner!

  2. Nothing better than starting the week with a monster toupee!!

  3. At Caribou Coffee, they have trivia questions where you get a 10 cent discount if answered correctly. Today's question at the store I visited was "What was the name of the bald captain of the USS Enterprise?"

    I felt terrible having to say "Picard".
    I knew they wouldn't understand it was actually Kirk.

  4. @RM: Shatner would be pleased at your answer! hehe Kirk is not bald!

  5. I'm struggling here. I can't decide which toupee is my favorite. The first Trek movie or the T.J. The T.J is very bushy and over the top style, but at least it looks "new". To me the first Trek has the true ratty feel to it, it looks even slightly permed on top contributing to the sleazeball affect. Can a trained Toupologist help me?

  6. The TJ years: a lethal combination of bushy
    toupees and a tight corset

  7. hmm I would say between the T.J. and the first Trek movie, I would go with T.J.

    The first Trek is ya, too ratty, and also you can so clearly see the line between the toup and his real hair.

  8. Ratty Lost Years PieceApril 22, 2010 at 8:25 PM

    That T.J. Curly is a MONSTER!
    The sheer audacity of the thing...and to think that Shatner portrayed a police officer, who was likely to be shot at, wearing on his head what looks to be a crazed woodland creature - it boggles the mind.

    That toupee crosses the boundaries of taste and restraint that separate "toupee" from "rug." The late Dennis Wolfberg once described such an appliance as "...a dead cat, with a chin strap!"

    Still, I must give the edge to the first Trek movie "system." Not only does it look like it was run through a dishwasher, but it also makes no attempt to match Shatner's own hair color or texture. It's basically a hat.

    My own armchair toupology has unearthed an example of the Shat-Toup Separation Matrix on 1:14 of the following video, submitted for your consideration:

    Sorry I got carried away with such a long post!

  9. TJ Hooker's greatest crime is that the entire series isn't on DVD, only seasons one and two. Booooo!

  10. At 1:50 into this mini-episode, the staggeringly awesome qualities of the TJ Curly toupee are obvious: protection against armor-piercing bullets.