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!


  1. Some of my personal toupological research:

    ‘Generations: the story of two captains in the search for one good hairpiece’

    - Johnathan Frakes at DragonCon 2007 (3.50)

    ‘The doorbell 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 known that I did not know he was balding and was wearing a hairpiece. He started giggling with is little boy laugh.
    “You’ve never seen me like this?” I was stunned and just shook my head. “I get tired of wearing this all day long” he said.’

    Tanya Lemani, aka the bellydancer from Wolf in the Fold, in her autobiography Have Belly, Will Travel.
    The full tale of sex, drugs and toupees, can be heard at Look At His Butt! Episode #93 (starts around half-way)

  2. @Toup-eh? that is truly an incredible and laudable piece of toupological field work. Could we ask you to contact us at We'd certainly like to do a post on this find. Thanks! -ST

    PS if anyone has any interesting first suspicions stories, we'd love to read them here!

  3. 1966. I was eight years old. A letter in TV Guide asked whether it was true that William Shatner, "who is but 35", wears a wig. TV Guide answered: "William Shatner, who is but 35, wears a wig." The wording is indelibly imprinted upon my brain.

  4. For me it was TMP.

    This was because I only starting watching TOS in re-runs during the 70's. I was very young and wasn't familiar with Shatner's other work either before or after TOS.

    But when TMP came out, my older brother had a film poster in his room. When I asked him why Captain Kirk's hair looked curly and not like it did on TV, he told me the truth - it was a not real.

    I think we both thought Shatner's hair on TOS was real though. It wasn't until years later online (and through this site) that the truth has finally come out.

  5. even some of the one-time guest stars are joining in this conspiracy to say that Shatner's hair was never real. When it is obvious that it WAS real, but has not been real since 1962-63. This was the subtext behind the song "Real" on his 2004 album, Has-Been. Nowadays, Shat hair consists of transplanted pubes mixed with yak dung.

  6. Toup Sleuth Since 1984August 17, 2010 at 3:49 AM

    When Star Trek II was released I was 9 years old. After seeing it in the theater with my best friend and his family (we literally loaded up the station wagon), I remember, as soon as it was aired on ABC (1983?), watching it over and over with the same friend (his family had a VCR).

    As a kid, I thought the lines between Kirk and McCoy after Kirk and Saavik have their Kobayahsi Maru conversation in the turbolift were:

    Bones: You change your hairstyle?
    Kirk: Hadn't noticed.

    Instead of:

    Bones: She [Saavik] change her hairstyle?
    Kirk: Hadn't noticed.

    Now, my kid-brain realized that my interpretation was a real non-sequitur. However, in an attempt to harmonize the scenes, I even remember not being sure if Kirk was talking about Saavik letting her hair down or if their exchange was about Kirk's own hair -- I guess I was preoccupied that Kirk looked so different (ha!).

    Basically, so profound was the change in Kirk's appearance to my little-kid-eyes, that I had thought there was some quirky attempt in Star Trek II to address curly-hair-Kirk. (Note: I hadn't seen TMP yet.)

    It was circa 1984 that I heard somewhere (TV Guide article? Johnny Carson monologue?) that Shatner wore a toup. Hence, my "name" whenever I post here.

  7. unruly reports from the south side of the hemisphere surrounded the toupee's utopian ideals. Nevertheless, it was determined at a later time to be exaggerated as an alchemist's folly.

  8. Some truly moving and heart-wrenching stories. It's hard to decide which is more traumatic for a child: learning that there is no Santa Claus or learning that Bill Shatner's hair isn't real. Two formative moments in many of our lives! -ST

  9. Santa Claus knew the fear of the toupee when Rudolph with his nose so bright, set Shat's hair alight.

  10. like most of my age (30s) i was introduced to Star Trek via the occastional episode of TOS but mainly by the 80s my early age i was stunned by the difference of great looking the blondy brown quiff (which really suited shats) vs the thick black Columbo style afro of the movies (the Italian Kirk)...i couldnt understand why everyone else in the cast looked pretty much the same as they did in the tv show (just abit older) yet Kirk (and Scotty) looked entirly Scotty was easy to figure out as hed piled on the pounds and grown a moustace but Kirk had be scraching my head - how could it be straight light and fine in TOS and then thick black and curly in the movies? had he dyed it and had a perm? eventually my brother told me that the shat man was wearing a toup!...i felt genuninly shocked but it all began to make sense - esp when i saw Burt Renyolds wearing very similar hair in stuff like Smoky and teh Bandit- like some have described it was akin to finding out there was no Santa!

    i wasnt aware of any of Shats Lost Years output so i just assumed hed lost it inbetween TOS and the was years later when the truth about TOS JK Lace was revealed in the 'Inside Star Trek' book and also a hi res early publicity still of Shatner as Kirk where you could clearly see the frontal lace mesh blended in with make up:
    (although it was much larger and clearer than that link)

    looking back im suprised Shatner didnt just break out the JK lace for the ST movies as most people wouldnt have been aware of his Lost year output...imagine how awesome Shats wouldve looked stepping out the shuttle at the start of TMP with the JK lace looking 100% Classic Kirk (more so as he was in the best shape hed been in since season 1/2)....i can only imagine how jarring it mustve been for fans seeing Kirk step out of the shuttle looking as if he was just about to say 'er...just one more thing..'

  11. Star Trek II opened my eyes. It was worst than TJ Curly. Kirk´s perm was no way

  12. I'm 42 and grew up on re runs of TOS in the 70's. When the movie came out in 79 I was confused. He looks like Kirk but something is different. Is this a new actor? I didn't' know about toups at this tender young age and just brushed it off. A few years later a man in NYC starting putting up posters on lampposts claiming certain celebrities wore toups. One of them was Shat. I started to put together the pieces and realized this he was wearing a toup but always thought TOS was his real hair. I think the real revelation of this blog was learning about "the lost years" I didn't know that there were so many toup styles. But to this day I wonder how he went from Jim Kirk lace to Lost Years while all the time denying toup usage.

  13. @MostJerk This poster campaign was likely by the "Bald Urban Liberation Brigade" see


    for more details -ST

  14. i wonder how much $ a photo of Shatner sans wig would fetch? - untouched by any photo manip or CG, 100% genuine.

    say if it was of him in his ST movie days (when the image of a bald shat would be at its most powerful)- in the dressing room of say Star Trek II dressed up in full Admiral Kirk regalia only without the toup (either for a laugh or caught unawares) full blown Norwood 7 with the horseshoe pattern

    what would that be worth you think? thousands? hundreds of thousands? a million?

    and would it be world wide news? or would it barely garner a post on a fan site (Walter Konig)

    I guess if something like that was revealed in the mid/late 80s itd be all the more powerful and potentially damaging to the shat…maybe today not so…maybe even Shatner has got photos of himself dressed as Kirk but without the toup (say for each season and movie of star trek) that he plans on putting in another autobio in order to gain even more publicity...

    to this site i guess something like that would be the holy grail

  15. I just did a search on the word "Toupee" No comments, no faq's, nothing one the toup except a passing reference to his statement in a book and two wiseguy user accounts. (Once of which is mine and no I can't tell you which one otherwise it wouldn't be secret). Funny with thousands of fans around the globe not one overt statement from anyone regarding the toup. Shat Toup- I hope you consider this a minor toupological find.

    Comments: 1 results

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    I received my copy of your book on the 13th. I haven't been able to put it down. I was even reading it during the commercia...

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  16. My bald dad was a big Trek fan and also expert toupee spotter. He loved to point out rugs on various actors or even people in restaurants and on the street.

    I remember we were watching "The Kidnapping of the President" made for TV movie, and my dad said that that guy used to be Captain Kirk, and that he went bald.

    As I got older, I always remembered that statement, but since I myself had become a big Star Trek fan, I went into a sort of denial. Besides, I was now a teenager, and therefore anything my dad said was suspect. The underwater scenes in Trek IV seemed to validate my disbelief.

    Like many others, I thought that TV Trek Shat had full hair and that he had lost it between 1969 and 1978. It was only when reading a Starlog interview in the late 80s that a guest actor mentioned that it had been a rug even then. (It was the girl who played the green Orion woman on the one in the insane asylum.)

    Dammit, old dad was right after all, bless his bald heart.

  17. Toup Sleuth Since 1984August 18, 2010 at 8:08 AM

    What is it with us? The power of the Shat hair is amazing.

    To clarify, for quite a number of years I pay attention to Kirstie Alley in the turbolift, not Shatner.

    Had no idea she was so hot when I was 9 and preoccupied with why Kirk looked different.

    I'm waiting for this site to get picked up in the popular press as a sort of catharsis therapy or something.

    Thanks, everyone.

  18. Catharsis theraphy? Yes, that's exactly what it is. When I was a kid, I watched TOS and later T.J. Hooker on German TV, I had not seen the ST movies then. T.J. Hooker was a shocker, I was paralysed and yet fascinated. And I felt a little ashamed, because I still liked him even though he looked so ridiculous.

  19. Hi! First posting here.

    I remember seeing and old color publicity shot of Bill Shatner in a magazine from the late '70s (so it had to be around the time of ST:TMP); the shot was close enough that I couldn't help but notice evidence of a hair appliance. Maybe it was an untouched shot that slipped out from Paramount, I don't know, but I do recall it was a nice repro of the shot, so the details to be seen were great!

    Fortunately, the Talosians have yet to erase this out of my memory!

    Jump ahead to the present, those Blu-ray sets of Star Trek show the limits of Shatner's thin hair clearer than ever!
    If the computer artists who added the new special effects had also spent the time to restore his hairline in all the episodes, not only would the sets cost more than they do now, we'd still be waiting for the release of Season One!

  20. Thanks for your comment and a warm welcome! -ST

  21. where did you get that rugSeptember 9, 2010 at 10:07 PM

    My first suspicions were actually as an 8 year old watching re-runs of TOS in the 1970s. I distinctly remember thinking that there was something odd going on during the third season and asked my mum why Captain Kirk had dyed his hair. However it is only this blog that opened my eyes to full reality of his slap-headedness during TOS and completely shattered the illusion.........sigh

  22. Thanks to this site, I have finally come to terms with my denial... It's truly fascinating how many people actually care about this and it's been a lot of fun wasting time reading some of these stories and comments. I will most likely use some of your stuff on the blog I contribute to a little (, so check it out sometime and maybe you'll see something familiar. I will of course give your site credit and link back to you.

  23. Ratty Lost Years PieceNovember 2, 2010 at 12:20 AM

    Late addition to the "First Suspicions" post, but here goes:

    The Jim Davis cartoon U.S. Acres was the first instance in which I recognized something was not quite right with Shatner's big curly toup. The episode "Swine Trek" lampooned TOS and the film, taking the proportions of the TJ Curly to monstrous extremes. Orson the Pig played Kirk, and the animators had the toupee slide around on his head with each Shat-Pause. During the intro sequence, we see the toupee blasted off of Orson's head by the contents of an exploding Thermos bottle. After watching this, I was ruined and never again believe the TJ was real.

  24. Thanks Ratty Lost Years Piece, that's a great tip. We'll try to find a better quality clip.