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!"


  1. I don't' think its fair to lump the 1960 Jim Kirk Lace with the 1966-69 JKL. While similar, they are two different toupees. The 1960 has lightness, a fluffness that is indicative of youth. The 66 is a thinner more serious toupe that would befit a starship captain. My toupological analysis is that Shat was on the right track in the 60's. He went from a youthful early 60's piece to a mature style while still staying in the same "toup family" I'd like Shattoup to make this distinction when cataloging these two different yet wonderful pieces.

  2. does anyone have (or had) their hair styled in the JK Lace style?

    i used to be able to do it great in my teens/early 20s and my confidence was sky high as a result - i sometimes even had the forelock hanging down season 2 green tunic fact (seems stupid to think this now) i remember feeling slightly annoyed my hairline wasnt ever so slightly receeded like Shats in Season 1/2 - had no idea it was a toup!...i also dabbled in a TJ Curly style at times as my hair was/is naturally abit wavy and very thick and if i let it dry natural after washing itd go into that TJ style - but when i set the blow dryer on it and maybe a little gel it was JK Lace time)

    However since the onset of a receeding hairline in my 20s its been more and more difficult to style it without looking as though i need a JK lace for real! in fact its near impossible now, temples all gone - just the 'island' in the middle (although everything behind the hairline is still very thick)- pretty much Jude Lawed (another guy who had a JK lace style a few years ago in stuff like Mr Ripley) by way of Bill Murray... only gonna get worse too i wonder Shats resorted to a toup - balding SUCKS!! even when its abit of hairline recession at the front (Shats pretty much owes his fame and fortune to his toup - without it - no leading man roles..)

  3. i also noticed that Leonardo DiCaprio seems to be wearing his hair in abit of a JK lace style lately in stuff like Inception....hes a lucky guy.i bet Shats must see him in stuff and think 'wows thats what my hair was like in the 60s' (or 'thats what my toup was like' - like Kirk, Shatner didnt believe in the no win scenario of not having a great head of hair - so cheated just like Kirk with the Kobiashi Maru test)

  4. yeah me again(3rd post) - this thread has got me thinking maybe there could be a future thread on actors possibly influnced by the JK lace in tv and films and wearing their own REAL hair in that TOS Jim Kirk style - Jude Law and Dicaprio come to mind - also Roy Thinnes in 'The Invaders' and Jonathon Frakes in TNG (inverted - although i believe in season 5 he switched to a JK lace 'way' for a brief period) and (of course) Chris Pine in 2009s Star Trek (lately i noticed hes been showing some early signs of a receeding hairline - and believe me i KNOW the signs!!- which could actually begin to tie in with the REAL kirk of TOS season 1/2/3 as Shats JK lace was always a bit receeded looking)

  5. btw its funny but i always thought of the JK lace whenever i saw Jack Klugman in Quincy - i thought 'thats what Shatners hair shouldve looked like in the ST movies and TJ Hooker' (man can you imagine how different a viewing expieance something like Star Trek II or III would be if Shatner had never done away with the JK lace?!)

  6. When I was younger and was toupee watching (I lost my hair while I was in my early teens) Shatner and Klugman were my top two role models. I can manage a Jim Kirk lace look when I have a new toup, but as it ages I need to let that style go. Contrary to popular thought, one toupee can have many styles; it's all about how it's cut in the first place.

  7. I wonder how Shatner came with the JKL. I mean, it was the late fifties, why not an Elvis pompadour? Too rebel? As for Klugman, a fine gentleman and a great toupee wearer

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  9. what would people say the piece Shatner wore in season 3 was? - imo it was a hybrid of the season 1/2 classic 'JK Lace' and the 'TJ curly'...

    i think the one he wore in Trek VI was veering close to that too...

  10. Shatner's own nickname for the toupee he wore in seasons one and two of Star Trek was "The Candy Kiss". The toupee in season three was nicknamed "Dulce de Leche".
    You're welcome.

  11. Always loved the JK lace too, as well as the Jack Klugman lace. Even tried to style my hair the same before I realized they were both toupees.

  12. if i had a full head of hair again first thing id do is head down the barbers with a publicity photo of Shatner from TOS season 1 or 2 and tell the hairdresser - 'make it look exactly like that please'

    after (feeling a million dollars) id head to the nearest bar to celebrate and party

    itd be even better if i had a face that looked imagine walking into a bar or down the street looking like Shatner in the mid 1960s...EVERYONE would turn their heads - men, women, children, dogs...

  13. Not even Shatner looked much like Capt. Kirk back in the 1960's. First, the hairpiece was needed. Second, they seemed to use a huge amount of makeup on him. His out of control weight was an issue more times than not. He had man boobs by the second season and he needed lifts in his shoes just to bring him to 5'10'. No, I'd say that what made Shatner irresistible to those who were susceptible to his charms was his personality and studio special effects wizardry.

  14. what is wrong with a man making the most of his looks with a hairpeice when girls have done it for years if my man had a hairpeice and he looked good in it I would be proud to be with him why keep it a secret the ladies don't I thought Jack Klugman and William Shatner looked really sexy does not change them jut gives them more confidence as we feel more glam.

  15. Am I mistaken or wasn’t the toupee Jack Klugman wore on the Odd Couple a Jim Kirk lace too?