Saturday, May 7, 2011

Cinefantastique and the two-piece toup.

If you type the words "Shatner" and "toupee" into Google's image search engine, the very top result you'll likely see is the following image from one of our earliest posts:

As to why that particular image has made its way to the top of Google, who knows? However, there is a story behind the "frontal hairpiece" and "rear main hairpiece" idea...

Early on in the existence of Shatner's Toupee, we speculated on the notion of the "Jim Kirk lace" perhaps being a two-piece toup, meaning that the front and rear sections might have been separate. Nonsense? Perhaps. It was admittedly just speculation - we had no real evidence to substantiate this idea (and subsequently have become rather skeptical). But there was one source making what can be construed as that claim - the now defunct science-fiction magazine Cinefantastique.

We've since obtained the text in question, from a 1996 Star Trek 30th anniversary edition of the magazine.

The issue contains reviews of all of Star Trek's 79 episodes - nothing amazing in that. But reviews of two episodes also contain what purports to be toupological information.

In Cinefantastique's review of the episode "The Deadly Years" (the one where the crew, including Kirk, age), the authors add a curious side-note: "Kirk reveals his age as 34 years and he [meaning Shatner] removes his frontal hairpiece during the aging process for this show".

The review for the third season show "The Enterprise Incident" makes a similar toupological claim:

"Notable in this show is William Shatner's surgically altered appearance. He is seen here without the hairpiece that was normally added to give him that 'fuller' look at the top of his forehead."

"I've tried the ears Leonard, it only follows that you should try the toupee..."

Firstly, the positive. We've been campaigning across the globe for years for Bill Shatner toupological trivia to be made a full and indivisible part of the pantheon of Star Trek behind-the-scenes information. So to that end, we certainly applaud Cinefantastique - imagine if your local TV guide did the same:

"Thursday at 10pm 'Spectre of the Gun'. The Enterprise crew find themselves in the Old West. Strong gusts of wind at the end of the episode: will Bill Shatner's toupee survive?" Wouldn't that be welcome?

But what of the claims made by the magazine? The first and most fundamental problem we have is that the toupological assertions are entirely unsourced (according to whom?), nor is any evidence whatsoever presented to support these claims. As one of the world's foremost scientific and research institutions, the WSSTS has rigorous standards for the evaluation of crucially important data on William Shatner's toupees. Simply put: stating something does not make it true.

Let's examine the specific claims: In "The Deadly Years" Bill Shatner "removes his frontal hairpiece during the aging process for this show". Upon a close examination of the episode in question, we believe this claim to be false.

HD screencaps via

In all stages of aging, (we believe) a lace line is visible on Bill Shatner's forehead. The image above, which shows the most "receding" stage, nonetheless still shows a lace hairpiece stuck to the center of the actor's forehead. Is Bill Shatner only wearing a "rear hairpiece"? Is that actually the actor's real hairline? It's possible and we don't rule it out entirely, but somehow, we doubt it. More toupological analysis of this episode here.

What of the claim that in "The Enterprise Incident" Bill Shatner is "without the hairpiece that was normally added to give him that 'fuller' look at the top of his forehead"?

Similarly, an analysis of this episode also suggests that the lace front toupee, though styled differently, is still firmly in place throughout. (The Cinefantastique claims also led to some speculative early analysis from us).

An unmistakable lace line.

Accordingly, we also rate this claim as false.

Is it possible that the authors confused the terminology? Having heard that Bill Shatner wore a "lace frontal hairpiece", did they confuse this to mean a hairpiece that only thickened up the front of the head?

As we know, the "Jim Kirk lace" also served the crucial function of covering up a large bald patch at the back of Bill Shatner's head - the toupee's characteristic smooth arch over the head is unmistakable!

In both "The Enterprise Incident" and "The Deadly Years" the characteristic "frontal swoosh" is somewhat subdued. Is it possible that this led the authors to conclude that this was Bill Shatner's real hairline and that the "frontal hairpiece" was simply a bulking up appliance not used in these two examples? Were they unaware of the rear toupee or did they view this as a separate cap-like piece? We just don't know and therein lies the problem of unsourced assertions - there's no way to evaluate them.

The lid flips in "The Empath" - more here.

So was the "Jim Kirk lace" comprised of a rear lid and a separate frontal fence-like bulking piece? We don't rule it out, but asides from the assertions in Cinemafantastique, we just don't have any evidence to support this theory.


  1. Nicely done!

  2. Could it be, maybe, that Fred Phillips, had one-off toups made for Deadly and Incident...???

  3. its an interesting post , it is possible and i believe, that the frontal lace, is just one piece, i have seen it put on, it is one piece, never two. That maz, really got their facts wrong, 100 percent!. But then again, can someone explain, how when william shatner, brought a toupee, in feb 1957, that he seemingly, never toupeed-up, in either, the defenders, or in one of his 1958, appearances or in one 1959-1960 photos. Does any of it make sense? Or did that toupee look diffront, to the "jim kirk lace. But then there is a 1958, photo with bill, with a bald spot?. But bill has always, been so vain about, his baldness! So iam becoming confused.

  4. Ya I don't think he wore two toups - those types of lace toupees, like all the toupees I've seen, are one piece. Otherwise it would be really hard to adhere both toups I think. If there were two toups, the back toup would need to be clipped on somehow on both the top of the head and the back. I think considering the Shat would have had very little hair on the top of his head to attache the toup to, it would be difficult to do this while also hiding the joins between the toups, especially with all the action scenes the Shat did!!

    I've just never seen a two-toup system before. Maybe I'm wrong.

  5. Oh ya and above I assumed that the Shat wouldn't have wanted to shave his head back during TOS. If he had, of course they could have stuck a back toupee on with glue/toupee tape.

  6. Ratty Lost Years PieceMay 11, 2011 at 9:11 PM

    The binary toupee system seems implausible. In astronomy, a binary star system can be identified by the gravitational effects of one star on the other. Consider all of the toupological phenomena that have been identified during ST when just one piece is worn. The effect of 2 toupees would have likely produced visible evidence.

    Speaking of visible evidence, this picture shows a toupee tan line, likely due to a misapplied Denny Katz:

  7. Toup Sleuth Since 1984May 11, 2011 at 9:31 PM

    Check out some rear lid visibility here, thanks to Trekcore:

    You can see the lower edge of the toup standing apart from Shat's real hair.

  8. This pic that Toup Sleuth posted is revealing.
    I wonder what the red shirt is staring at. and the toupee is half way to the Lost Years..

  9. As many of you will know, Blogger had a severe outage yesterday, which effectively meant that this site lost about 24 hours worth of commenting and polling activity. Unfortunately, we've had to start our latest poll afresh and offer our apologies if anyone's comments were lost. Thanks, -ST