Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A ruffle and a scratch.

Imagine having crucial Bill Shatner-related toupological information in your head and not even knowing it: matters of texture, thickness, firmness and other invaluable tactile data. At the William Shatner School of Toupological Studies we have computer models, robots, toupee mockups and all manner of tools at our disposal to help us in understanding William Shatner's toupee-wearing.

A toupological experiment carried out on a "Turbo Shatner" robot at the WSSTS.

But nothing beats first-hand information.

"I agree!"

And that is what we find in footage (recently uploaded to YouTube by "zainin666") from a 1983 episode of Battle of the Network Stars - a series, which ran from 1976 to 1988 - in which celebrities compete in all manner of sporting events. Bill Shatner was something of a regular.

However, in this instance, and after a rather arduous inflatable kayak race, a (mock or semi-mock) argument breaks out among some of the competing celebrities - specifically Bill Shatner and none other than Mr. T - about the rules.

As this argument is unfolding, one of the competing celebrities sneaks up behind Bill Shatner and gives him a rather thorough hair ruffling.

A brief struggle ensues...

...with Bill Shatner swiftly pulling away his smiling co-star's hands from his toupee.

The moment in slow-motion:

Who is this bold celebrity? It's actor Edward Albert, most famous for his role in the terrific 1972 movie Butterflies Are Free.

Edward Albert and Goldie Hawn in Butterflies Are Free (1972).

Why did he do it? What did the toupee feel like? How did Bill Shatner react afterwards? Sadly, whatever crucial tactile and other toupological data Albert could have revealed has likely been lost forever. The actor passed away in 2006.

Mr. T (left), Edward Albert (center) and William Shatner (right).

Back to the scuffle! Moments later, having had his hair ruffled...

...Bill Shatner performs a subtle "Real hair reflex" action just to make sure everything is still alright up there:

What's rather extraordinary in general about the appearances by Bill Shatner in this series is that the actor found himself outside of the toupologically safe confines of the film set for an extended period of time - and in front of the public. What if something went wrong with the toup!?!

The likely reason for this, asides from Bill Shatner's risk-taking nature, is the added security provided the the "TJ Curly - phase II". With the toupee now anchored to real hair at the sides, it was far more secure and durable. Kayaking, wet hair, arguments with Mr. T - no problem!

Interestingly, the wetter the toup, the more realistic and less toup-like it appears.

And who is the interviewer/host?

Toup meets toup - a year before in 1982 (the toup down the sides is more noticeable).

Why, it's Howard Cosell - this legendary picture says it all:

You can watch a collection of Bill Shatner's appearances in Battle of the Network Stars courtesy of "zainin666" below:


  1. Just One More ThingSeptember 6, 2011 at 2:03 PM

    the more i find out about shatner like this little episode the more i find he was pretty much playing himself as Kirk. like Capt Kirk the mans a risk taker of the highest order (see that 'risk is our business' speech Kirk gives in TOS). even when suffering a high level attack from behind he isnt fased one bit from his job (in this case to win! - by cheating or any means possible..again like Kirk, shatner dosnt believe in the no win scenario)

    also potentially angering Mr T - 'i'll drag you by the chains into the pool' - almost as brazen and brave as questioning God in star trek V etc

    Shatner is Kirk..Kirk is shatner...watching this is almost like seeing Search for Spock era Kirk in the starfleet games or something

  2. Just One More ThingSeptember 6, 2011 at 2:06 PM

    btw in that 1982 pic i think thats Stephen Collins (Capt Decker) in teh background sporting a season 2 Jim Kirk Lace style do

  3. Bill and Cosell - toup heaven!!

  4. Don't Mess with Mr T (oupee)

  5. shats own real syrupSeptember 6, 2011 at 10:23 PM

    this is the best thing ever, and we got just so close, to showing the bald truth....pitty real he will never tell us anything. But how the heck did it stay on. The jim kirk toup, would have shot, to the other side of the room, with that kind off treatment......lol

  6. shats own real syrupSeptember 8, 2011 at 2:50 AM

    after seeing the clip, bill shatner, was never in any real danger, of the syrup coming off, first his hair was only ruffled for a moment, and his hands may have been partly holding it on! But he looked real scaried and said please a couple of times to eddie albert, in fear of his toup, taking off, on a life of its own. Yes he does pat in down afterwards. This is interesting, for the reason, that anyone with real hair, would not appear so worried, about someone ruffling their hair. Bills reaction, may have even brought attention, too the fact.

  7. Where do you FIND this stuff??

    In other news, Craig Ferguson just made fun of Shatner's Toupee in his monologue:
    (starting at 2:44)

    only a few days after having Shatner on his show and, umm, experiencing him up close:

    Coincidence? I think not!

  8. Thanks Clayton! Interesting find. -ST

  9. shats own real syrupSeptember 15, 2011 at 7:55 PM

    hi a note to@ shat toup blog. I really do enjoy this site, but sometimes, it goes 10 days or more without an update. That would be absolutely ok, if you have found something amazing; like another possible toupless appearance (i believe there's another two) if the post is just aanother toup on shats head, it should not take so long! It's quite easy to spot, if the shat is wearing another wig, it only takes as long as the movie or tv show is....it seems like the shat, has touped up in at least nine diffront rugs! Amazing. Keep the good work up, let get them toupees rolling.

  10. @shats own real syrup - thanks for your comment. We're in the midst of a new study and should be able to publish our findings within a day or so. -ST