Monday, August 30, 2010

"Does my toupee bother you?"

Recently, reader "Toup-Eh?" posted a tip related to an autobiographical book that former Star Trek "Wolf in the Wold" guest star Tanya Lemani had written called Have Belly, Will Travel. The tip noted that the Bill Shatner fansite "Look at His Butt!" (Shatner's toupee, Shatner's butt - aren't there any normal Bill Shatner websites out there!?!) had previously looked into this book and found an interesting story about Bill Shatner's toupee. We contacted the young ladies at LAHB and they very kindly sent us a scan of the relevant page from the book for purposes of verification.

Lemani relates the story of a tryst she claims to have had with Bill Shatner around the time of her guest appearance on Star Trek:

"Bill called me and invited me to dinner a few days later. I wanted to impress him so I had pulled my hair up to give myself a different look from the exotic Belly dancer and got all dressed up. I was anxious to go out as it was my night off from Greek Village. The door bell rang and I rushed to the door. I was expecting Bill but I saw a balding man who I had never seen before. He pushed the door open and took me into his arms.

'Tanya, it's so good to see you. I rushed here as soon as they took my make up off.' It was Bill's voice but he had no hair on top. Looking at my expression he must have realized that I didn't know that he was balding and was wearing a hair piece. He started giggling with his little boy laugh.

'You've never seen me like this?' He pointed to his head. I was stunned and just shook my head. 'I get tired of wearing this all day long.' He said and I saw that he was somewhat uncomfortable.

Our artist's impression of a toup-less Bill Shatner

'Oh, this looks fine but...well...I just don't know.' I tried to make light of it.

'Does it bother you?' He went on.

'No, it's different, that's all.' To make him feel better I pulled him by his hand to the living room.

'Would you like some wine?' I went toward my fridge and took out a cold bottle.

'Sure, yes, that's sound
[sic] good.' While I was getting the glasses and the wine together, Bill lit a joint.

'Here, would you like a hit?' He handed me the joint. At that point I thought I needed it just to break the tense moment and to relax. I took a puff."

Later, after Lemani recounts the pair's love-making, the subject again returns to hair as the couple prepare to go out for a meal:

" 'Go? How like this?' I pointed to my hair and my make up which looked like a hurricane hit it.

'Well, comb your hair and let's go...' "

Click on the below image for a scan of the above page:

Firsthand accounts of Bill Shatner without his toupee are very rare and have largely come from disgruntled Star Trek cast and crew-members. For example, in producer Bob Justman's book Inside Star Trek: The Real Story, actor James Doohan (a man almost consumed with often irrational contempt for Bill Shatner - interestingly Lemani's Trek character was supposed to be a Scotty love interest! ) is quoted describing his co-star as having "little odd tufts of hair". Justman too, perhaps angry at apparent inaccuracies in Bill Shatner's Star Trek Memories, also mentions the toupee a couple of times, including an alleged act of toup theft by the actor. Then there is Star Trek guest star Yvonne Craig, who really didn't get on with Shats at all; she also mentioned a toupee incident in her book.

"Er, Jimmy, you know that chick that your character is interested in..."

Converesly, along with a story told by Trek guest star William Campbell, Lemani's description is a rare example of a Bill Shatner toupee/baldness story not colored or motivated by negative emotions. In that sense, one can view it as being potentially more accurate - although a profit motive (wanting to get your book sold by mentioning Shatner toupee stories) could also theoretically color or influence actual recollections.

Nonetheless, the portrait that is painted by the author is in line with a picture that we've observed in which Bill Shatner started out being pretty easygoing (still no bald photos, though) about his toupee escapades, before dramatically shifting (no doubt motivated by a disintegrating marriage and career) towards a far more fundamentalist denialist approach by Star Trek's third season - one that has only eased up again in recent years.

Perhaps the most interesting line in Lemani's account is Bill Shatner saying "Does it bother you?" about his baldness. The implication being that if it does, he might be willing to run out and quickly paste his toup back on for her. "You've never seen me like this?" indicates a very carefree approach (or at least the affectation of one) to the toupee, as does the suggestion that the pair might dine together in public with the actor potentially risking his image, not to mention his marriage by going out toup-less (or in a hat?) with another woman. That part, we have to say, seems a little odd and out of character, but then the paparazzi of that time was nothing like today's...

UPDATE: Reader "MVPisOnline" wonders if we're being fair describing James Doohan as "a man almost consumed with often irrational contempt for Bill Shatner." While we're not seeking to lessen Bill Shatner's famous insensitivity and ego-maniacal, self-centered conduct, we found a couple of Doohan quotes (sourced in this book) that we think underline the point:

"There really is one person on the show that nobody can stand...[Shatner] can't even act. He doesn't act. He makes faces. He'll wrinkle his nose like a rabbit and that's supposed to mean 'Oh look, I'm about to cry'."

A fair critique or a petty expression of deep bitterness?

Doohan also blamed Bill Shatner for a scene that involved his nephew being cut from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. "Was it the studio or was it Bill Shatner?" he asked. The scene in question can be seen in an extended cut of the film and we understand why it was cut - likely by the director or producers. In our view, blaming Bill Shatner for this seems irrational. Truth is, extended sequences focusing on the emotions of the supporting characters could very easily have been seen as slowing down the pace of a given Trek movie.

We should also add that fortunately, the two actors did at least partially repair their relationship before James Doohan's death in 2005.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Klugman and Shatner: worlds apart.

William Shatner and Jack Klugman in 1958's "The Protégé".

Back in 1958, two actors - a young, balding Jack Klugman and a younger, yet far-more-balding William Shatner - had an historic on-screen meeting in an episode of a show called Suspicion, episode title "The Protégé" - an ironic title considering what would transpire in the ensuing years between these two actors.

We'll examine this episode with a full toupological analysis in the near future, but, for now, suffice to say that the two stars of this episode may have developed a bond based on hair loss. "The Protégé" (rhymes with toupée) was likely one of the very first on-screen appearances of the "Jim Kirk lace" on Bill Shatner's head.

Bill Shatner wearing his "Jim Kirk lace" in a 1960 episode of The Twilight Zone.

Meanwhile, Jack Klugman, noticeably thinning, was likely still simply combing-over at this point. The seeds of two very different approaches that would only grow further apart as the years went by. Did Klugman offer toupological advice to the young Bill Shatner, or was it the other way around? Were these words heeded or ignored?

In 1968, just as Bill Shatner was growing increasingly sensitive and secretive about his toupee use, Jack Klugman appeared toup-less in The Detective.

As his baldness increased, Klugman would come to treat the toupee as a useful tool - one to be worn when a role demanded - but the relationship was not absolute, the scalp would not become permanently concealed. At times it would be worn, but at other very public events, he would appear without it. No worries at all.

Jack Klugman in The Odd Couple.

In fact, it seems that Klugman would actually often rather wear a hat on-screen than a damn toup...

Bill Shatner, on the other hand, and in typical all-or-nothing style, embraced the toupee completely.

For him, there was no middle ground; as far as everyone would/should/must be concerned, his thick and ever-thickening hair was absolutely 100% real. The scalp must remain concealed at all costs.

Bill Shatner appearing in rival detective show Columbo in 1976.

And then the rift between these two men grew even further. Just as Bill Shatner had managed to ditch the unfortunate "Lost Years" look in favor of the "TJ Curly", Klugman thrust the knife even further into their already frayed relationship.

The year was 1976. Jack Klugman is starring in a new TV series called Quincy, M.E. - and what is he wearing on his head?!?!? A "Jim Kirk lace"!!! And not only that, but he's not even making much of an effort to conceal the lace line on the forehead.

Jack Klugman as Quincy, M.E.

Whatever vestiges of friendship may have still existed between these two actors was now officially dead. Bill Shatner likely took Klugman's new hairstyle and the way it was presented to be a personal dig at his own ever-changing hair.

Klugman's tough message to Bill Shatner? Image sourced here.

But was Klugman actually trying to serve as an older brother/ father figure to Bill Shatner? Was Quincy's hairstyle a subtle message to Bill Shatner that there are always possibilities? Was he saying that the "Lost Years" and the new "TJ Curly" were mistakes and instead offering a way forward that was rooted in the past? Or was he simply telling his colleague not to take the toup so seriously?

Bill Shatner's "Lost Years" look in 1973's Impulse.

So many questions... Thankfully, the now 88 year-old Jack Klugman is also still with us, and still fighting Quincy-style battles (is there something in toupee glue that provides this youthful energy?!?!). As for the hair, Klugman continues to do what he has been doing for years now: occasionally appearing bald...

...and occasionally still wearing his, yes his "Jim Kirk lace"!

Is Klugman taunting Bill Shatner or keeping alive the spirit of the "Jim Kirk lace"?

Neither man has ever openly discussed this decades long Shatner-Klugman toupological feud. Yet, it may be one of the most fascinating, complex and moving untold chapters in the history of motion picture entertainment. It's not too late to start...

"Damn it, Sam, I need to talk to a toupolgist, I mean toxicologist!"

Monday, August 23, 2010

Ouch! (aka The Ashes of Toupdon)

Many readers may remember intriguing readers' comments relating to an apparent "peeling" toupee on the back cover of Bill Shatner's 1995 (co-authored) novel The Ashes of Eden. Well, reader Neil has done some highly laudable investigative toupology of his very own and tracked down the book in question. He then very kindly sent us a scan and requested that we fire up our touposcopes.

We were happy to oblige and it wasn't long before our top toupologists ascertained that the image in question should be analyzed with our extremely powerful Quantum Toupmonic Oscillator, which came up with the following readouts...

But what did it all mean?

In the simplest possible terms, our toupologists deemed that this picture does indeed appear to show a somewhat shocking (and unfortunate) toup malfunction. By 1995, Bill Shatner was well into wearing a "Phase II TJ Curly" meaning a "weave" that better anchored the hair by extending all the way down the sides of the head too.

What appears to be happening here, is that the fine skin under the hair that attaches the sides of the piece to the scalp (odd though, that it is protruding, lace-style, off the hair in this way) has become detached leading to very revealing shadows.

What is most odd is how the makeup artist at the photo-shoot could have let this happen. Even more curious is why it wasn't then cleaned up by airbrushing the image (it would have been a pretty easy job) after the fact. So did no-one see it (possibly)? It's hard to believe that Bill Shatner would have ever allowed the image to go out knowing of the toupological slip-up that it contained. Especially so, since the thawing of Bill Shatner's outright toupee denial was still years away. Or was it a mischievous prank of sorts, artificially airbrushed into the picture after the fact?

Either way, the blunder undoubtedly merits adjectives like "awkward" and "embarrassing", but as many of you will know, our mission here at the WSSTS is not to simply point out such moments, but to try to understand their significance, both for Bill Shatner and humanity as a whole. "Study the Toupee" is our motto, after all. To this end, we consulted with one of our top socio-toupologists, who wrote:

"What if it was deliberate? With the recent death of Captain Kirk in Star Trek: Generations, Bill Shatner may have been attempting to convey to readers how torn he felt over agreeing to kill off this beloved character so dear to his heart."

Both William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy almost immediately regretted killing off their respective characters in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Star Trek: Generations.

The socio-toupologist continued:

" 'From a distance I may seem OK,' the actor may have been trying to say with his hair
, 'But look a little closer. There is a yawning gap in my life and it is tearing me apart! Help, I really am coming apart at the seams!' The actor's smile, meanwhile, is punctuated with an unmistakable sense of grief and sadness, while the starry backdrop only accentuates the feeling of alienation of its subject. In a sense, the photograph may be one of the most subtle, yet powerful, searing and iconic statements of loss and grief since Princess Diana's Taj Mahal photo."

Alone at the Taj Mahal. This 1992 image of Princess Diana was viewed as highlighting that Lady Di's marriage was falling apart.

Moving stuff, indeed! On a separate note, our full movie and TV toupological analyses of Bill Shatner's work will be back in September. Some of you may be happy to learn that, by popular demand, we will finally be undertaking full analyses of the 6+1 Bill Shatner Trek to individual Trek episodes...who knows?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Shatner's toupee in pop-culture: Mad magazine.

A 1994 issue of Mad magazine published around the time of the release of the movie Star Trek: Generations. Two bald captains, one captain's chair and one toupee that Patrick Stewart, alias Captain Jean-Luc Picard, is apparently attempting to tear off his predecessor's head!

On a related note, reader "Toup-eh?" pointed to this YouTube clip, in which, at around 3:55, actor Jonathan Frakes describes Generations as "The story of two captains in search of one good hairpiece."

Monday, August 16, 2010

Poll result and a "my first suspicions" story.

A rather even spread of results for our latest poll, which sought to gauge readers' views on the importance that Bill Shatner places not on the wearing of toups, but on their styling. A fifth of voters thought that Bill Shatner didn't care as long as there was some kind of toup up there, another fifth believed that the various toup styles represented genuine fashion statements. A quarter of voters believed that the bad toups suggested at least some degree of self-delusion (meaning he thought they looked good even when they didn't) on the part of Bill Shatner.

Thanks for voting!

Back in December of '09, we asked our readers to share with us the moment when they first began to suspect that Bill Shatner's hair wasn't as real as they had once thought, which led to some very interesting stories. And that brings us to an email we received from a young reader named Jason. He wanted to share his first suspicions story (actually more of a crushing revelation!):

"Funnily enough, I still remember the first time I found out [about Bill Shatner's] toupee use. I was watching Star Trek II for the first time as a seven-year-old, and I commented to my mother about how William Shatner's new curly hair looked like my fathers. It was then she let out the huge bombshell that my beloved Captain Kirk was indeed wearing a toup, and had been for some time.

"I don't know if any other person reacted similarly to hearing this for the first time but I burst out into tears! I guess something about realizing that your hero is a mere mortal after all...

Not Jason

A truly moving story indeed! See here and here for two versions of another story to do with children, cruelty and Bill Shatner's toupee.

Jason also had a "Shatner's toupee in pop-culture" tip, the clip of which we'll try to track down:

"I saw Adam Sandler's new movie 'Grown Ups' the other night (horrendous) and in a scene Rob Schneider's character admits to his use of a toupee. Adam Sandler promptly makes fun of his situation by referring to him as 'William Shatner.'"

So there we have it - a truly reader-inspired interactive post!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Amazing lace.

So an eager young toupologist working at the WSSTS' "Department of Toupological Approximology" calls us up and says he has an interesting image for us to see - it's gonna be worth it, he adds, excitedly. "What is it?" we ask. "It's an image of Bill Shatner today but what he would look like in a 'Jim Kirk Lace'." What else could we say but: "Send it over."

Truth is though, we didn't expect much. Bill Shatner today with a "Jim Kirk Lace"? Let's be honest, it's just gonna look silly. Might be good for a laugh, we thought in all honesty, but little more. I mean, come on!......But boy were we wrong!

Click on above image for full size.

We take a look at the image and are instantly rendered speechless...shocked...stunned! The guy actually looks friggin awesome!

"It's him! It's Kirk!" shouts one of our female members of staff, barely able to contain herself. Cooler heads eventually prevail and our toupologists finally begin to calmly and methodically assess the true import of this extraordinary image. One of our top toupular psychologists later puts it thus:

"Because Bill Shatner changed toupee styles so significantly at key points in his life and career, it partially disrupted, at least sub-consciously, the cognitive semiotics of our centers of recognition in the brain. Of course we always knew it was really Bill Shatner, but the shift in toupee styles made what would be an automatic association have to become a slightly willful one. This was particularly true for many people when they were reintroduced to Bill Shatner after some years in Star Trek: The Motion Picture in 1979."

Bill Shatner replaced by a different Bill Shatner?

The psychologist continued:

"The composite image represents a far more natural thread to a well-known mental association we have of the actor from the original Star Trek series that bypasses the jarring re-recognition needed to overcome toupee styles like the 'TJ Curly'. In a sense, looking at this image is like looking at an older version of the actor who played Kirk for the first time. That can't help but create a powerful reaction for those who have positive associations to that show and the Kirk character. Thus, 'It's him! It's Kirk!' really is an entirely natural reaction."

More on this image here.

Asides from the above psychological analysis, we actually have to add that we think the lace genuinely looks good on present-day Shats. It elongates his head a little, which counters the slight "pumpkin head" effect of his increasing years and actually seems more realistic (in a weird way) than the current "Denny Crane" look.

So, and we never thought we'd say this until we saw this image: Bill Shatner has our full blessing to return to the lace at any time should he so choose!

Agree? Disagree with our psychobabble? We're eager to read your thoughts!

On an unrelated note, a Facebook user seems to have mistakenly put our website down as his personal contact info - it's not us (we're on Lacebook)! -ST

Monday, August 9, 2010

A global "Code 145T"!

At 0614 CET on 6th August 2010, the following message was sent out by the William Shatner School of Toupological Studies to all staff across the globe:

WSSTS--0614CET-08/06/2010--VER:453FKBCC001--IMMEDIATE ATT:---P1---ALL STAFF-CODE 145T/RHR-//AYS-829-FIND--SS!

Now, we're not allowed to reveal all of the details of the above message, but "CODE145T/RHR" basically means that a significant "Real Hair Reflex" has been found. "AYS-829-FIND--SS" is an instruction to all of our toupologists that an urgent analysis is required and they should report to a toupological sub-station as soon as possible.

One of hundreds of WSSTS sub-stations located around the globe.

Asides from the main WSSTS facility, the institute also has established these so-called "sub-stations" at numerous locations across the globe. This enables our toupologists to have access to an array of basic toupological equipment at all times. For example, should a toupologist be on vacation and have a sudden new theory about William Shatner's toupee or should a toupologist be delivering a lecture on the other side of the globe and need access to a touposcope, then these sub-stations are designed to provide just that.

A remote toupological sub-station in Hatutu.

Which brings us back to the "Code 145T". Regardless of the time of year, a team of analysts at the WSSTS is constantly combing through (pardon the pun) a mountain of raw touptelligence. This can consist of reports, readers' tips (we're always thankful), anything really. These reports are then triaged according to a 1-5 scale of priority (the "P" code above); 5 represents a low level of urgency, while 1 denotes the highest level: all available toupologists are to report immediately to a toupological sub-station to analyze an urgent find.

In this case, the urgent find in question is a 1999 interview with Bill Shatner on The Daily Show (recently reported here) about the upcoming re-release on DVD of the cult Esperanto film Incubus.

During the interview, Bill Shatner engages is a rather long "Real Hair Reflex" - which we broadly define as "real hair or toupee interaction, which subconsciously or inadvertently reveals Bill Shatner's toupee wearing". Watch the full incident (at around 1m 30s) in the interview below:

The full 8,426 page preliminary report into this incident is now available to read at the usual location... (note: please don't all click to the report at once, as this may cause the ever busy WSSTS servers to overload)

But to summarize this particular moment from 1999, Bill Shatner, very much off guard, appears to start playing with his real hair at the back of his head, running his fingers through and tugging at it for a good while. And during this, he is careful to leave the toupee undisturbed. Interestingly, the incident occurs when correspondent Mo Rocca mentions the character of T.J. Hooker - a sub-conscious association to his own "TJ Curly"?

1999 represented the year when we all bid a teary farewell to the "TJ Curly". However, it appears that rather than a sudden jolt from the "TJ" to the "Denny" Bill Shatner orchestrated a subtle transition from one toupee style to the next - notice how the hair is straighter, grayer and shorter already, but still essentially a "TJ". Very crafty...

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Dr Toupll and Mr Bald.

We're not sure what the above image is from (any ideas?), but it must certainly be placed into that category of Bill Shatner images labeled "unintended irony". The nose, the mouth - there's a distinct similarity between Bill Shatner and his bald counterpart. Is it a kind of bald Mr Hyde to Bill Shatner's Dr Jekyll? The scar on the head - is it a hair transplant gone awry or the result of a bad toupbotomy? Is this Bill Shatner's way of finally letting us see him without a toupee?

Publicity image for "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet"

You'd think that Bill Shatner would avoid having images like these taken - and looking at them, you can't help but feel that he's messing with our minds, just a little...

Publicity still for the 2006 animated film Over the Hedge

Monday, August 2, 2010

Reference points and the four phases of the toup.

Finding common frames of reference is crucial in the field of toupology in that it enables the numerous scientists at the William Shatner School of Toupological Studies to measure and contrast changes in William Shatner's toupee against a fixed point. Which brings us to Bill Shatner's gold uniform from the original Star Trek series - or close approximations thereof - as a way to highlight the "four phases of the toupee" which, incidentally, closely mirror the concept of the classical elements Earth, Water, Air and Fire - though not necessarily in chronological order, or at all...

First, we have the "Jim Kirk Lace" (circa 1958-1969):

Then, we have the "Lost Years" (circa 1969-1976) from Pray for the Wildcats:

Then, we have an early "TJ Curly" (1976-2000) - though still in a state of transitional flux - from an appearance in 1976 on the game show Hollywood Squares:

Flash forward an entire decade and we have a true "TJ Curly" (likely still "Phase I") from Bill Shatner's infamous 1986 appearance on Saturday Night Live in which the actor donned a very close approximation of his original Star Trek costume.

The whole sketch can be viewed here:

Finally, the closest costume match we could find for the "Denny Crane" look era (2000-present day) - we're increasingly inclined to believe it's another hair system--a toup!--rather than plugs - is something called William Shatner's Spplat Attack. In this 2002 show, Bill Shatner dons a Star Trek-esque costume - but, probably at Paramount Pictures' insistence, the actor wears red so as to not be too closely identified with the franchise.

And that's how one simple Star Trek costume can prove so useful to the field of toupology! See here for some interesting retro-Kirk toup outliers.