Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Do not forsake me, oh my toupee...

William Shatner and Majel Barrett-Roddenberry in the original series Star Trek episode "What Are Little Girls Made Of?"

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is a series we've barely, if ever, mentioned here at Shatner's Toupee for the fairly obvious reason that it has little direct connection, toupologically or otherwise, to William Shatner.

But there is one exception that we really couldn't resist bringing to you for its sheer allegorical power. The episode, from DS9's first season, is called "The Forsaken" and guest stars the late Majel Barrett-Roddenberry, wife of The Great Bird of the Galaxy and Nurse Chapel in the original Star Trek series. Here, she reprises her ST:TNG role as Ambassador Lwaxana Troi, managing to get stuck in an elevator with the shape-shifting Odo.

Lwaxana learns of Odo's discomfort in revealing that he has to revert back to his liquid form every sixteen hours. In order to make him more comfortable, she reveals that she wears a wig.

Once their ordeal is over, Odo asks for discretion in the matter that Lwaxana was able to witness.

Did Star Trek once again use the power of William Shatner's toupee to enhance its storytelling abilities? Was this a story that Majel Barrett herself wanted to tell, in some way reflecting back to her experiences with Bill Shatner in the original series?

Here's a slightly different retelling:

Imagine that after a Star Trek convention is some small American town, Bill Shatner and a female convention organizer (older than he) were heading away from the stage when the floorboards collapsed beneath them and they slid down into a disused mineshaft. The pair are trapped. It may take a week to rescue them.

Several days pass as the pair grow accustomed to their new circumstances. Sitting on the floor together, the woman begins to study the actor's hair.

"Is that hair real?"

Bill Shatner is shocked at the impertinent question. He pauses before answering cryptically "It is real in that it is me...it is not real hair."

The woman, never one for pretense, continues the uncomfortable line of questioning. "How do you do it? Your hair..."

"It took a great deal of time and experimentation before I found something I was happy with." His tone suggests he would rather that answer ended this particular conversation there and then.

The woman mouths "Oh" before inquiring "You studied hairstyles?"

The actor sighs. Evidently this woman isn't going to give up. "If you must know, I wore many different styles before I finally imitated the style of the man who was assigned to create my latest hairpiece."

Ed Katz

"You mean that's how your hair was created? In a laboratory?"

Bill Shatner's discomfort grows. "My hair did not grow up as you think of it. It was merely a transition from what I used to be - someone with real hair - to what I learned to become - someone without real hair, but with a toupee."

The woman is touched by the story. She shakes her head "Sounds very lonely to me."

The pair continue to talk, with Bill Shatner relaying with some bitterness how when he was first fitted with his "Jim Kirk lace" he became the life of the party for those in the know, always being asked to do party tricks to see whether the lace would remain in place or flip over.

The woman notices that Bill Shatner looks increasingly unwell, his head sweating, his hair flustered.

"I'm fine," he insists at first, but then a toupological convulsion sets in.

"You're not well at all," the woman says, now deeply concerned.

Bill Shatner turns to her. After a dramatic pause that seems to last an eternity, he says nervously "It's the toupee. I have to replace it every thirty days - it's like contact lenses; you can't keep them in for too long either. And this is day thirty!"

The woman puts her arms around Bill Shatner, noticing several places on his head where his "hair" is beginning to come unstuck; at the sides, his usually shaved real hair appears to be pushing off the toupee. The actor crunches up as his pain and unease grow.


Hours later...

"This is William Shatner to anyone who can hear me..." The exhausted actor sighs resignedly, realizing how futile his desperate calls are in this place beyond the reach of a cellphone signal. His back is turned to the woman; his toupee increasingly detached from his scalp. "Shatner out..." he says, closing the channel with an air of deflation.

"Bill, turn around," says the woman.

"I can't. It's beginning. The toupee is starting to peel off!"

"It's alright," she replies, trying to soothe Bill Shatner's worries.

"You don't understand. No member of the public has ever seen me without my toupee before!"

"Not even the toupologist who was assigned to create your toupee?"

"That was different. It was only research to him. "

"But you don't have to be ashamed with me."

"I'm not ashamed. My baldness is a private matter, that's all..."

"How can I make it easier for you?"

"You can't. I'm fine," groans Bill Shatner unconvincingly.

Staring out into the eternal nothingness, suddenly a strange object interrupts his tailspin of torment and lurches him back into reality.

He turns towards it and can't believe what had been thrust before his eyes. It is a wig. Her wig! "What's that?" asks Bill Shatner. Although the answer is already obvious, he nonetheless needs to hear the words.

"My hair," she replies. Bill Shatner, now entirely vulnerable and defenseless, turns toward the strange woman. "No-one has ever seen me like this," she smiles.

"Why? You're not bald."

"It looks ordinary. I've never cared to be ordinary. So you see Bill, even we non-toup-wearers have to change who we are once in a while."

"You are not at all what I expected," grins Bill Shatner.

"No-one's ever paid me a greater compliment."

The actor's head begins to shudder. It's time. "I...cannot...hold my...toupee...on...any...longer..."

"Let go," responds the woman gently "I'll take care of you."

Shaking and sweating, Bill Shatner finally lets go.

He peels the already half-detached toupee off his head and collapses in the woman's lap weeping with relief that the itchy, disintegrating hairpiece has finally been separated from his head.

The pain is over. The dying toupee lays discarded in the corner; the scalp is finally able to breathe again. The older woman smiles maternally at the bald man trembling before her.


Several days after they are rescued, (the woman had torn off a part of her skirt for Bill Shatner to wear as a bandana to conceal his head in front of the waiting press above) the pair meet by the mouth of the now safely fenced-off mineshaft in which they had had their shared experience.

"Well, I just wanted to say goodbye before I left for back home," says the woman.

Bill Shatner, now looking great again in a freshly applied toupee, quietly broaches the subject of the pair's intimate toupological experience.

"I know that what happened wasn't exactly what you had in mind when you came here for this convention."

"When it comes to conventions, all that really matters is the company," she replies graciously.

"About my toupee..." Bill Shatner mumbles quietly but directly "Your sensitivity and discretion are appreciated."

The woman gives him a knowing grin. "Next time you see me, I'll give you a lot more to appreciate!"

Bill Shatner smiles. The experience is over, and for all the toupological discomfort, he finds himself ruminating that the experience in the mineshaft may have been one of the most spiritual of his life. He looks up at his new hairpiece, gives it a knowing scratch just in the right place and says "Come on you, time for our next adventure."


The above is complete nonsense, of course. The awkward Odo is unlike Bill Shatner in many respects. Majel Barrett (who, as Nurse Chapel, wore a blond wig in Star Trek to try to conceal from NBC the fact that she had already played the little-liked "Number One" in the series pilot "The Cage") and Bill Shatner were, from what we understand, never particularly close. Yet, his toupee has an extraordinary way of sparking the imagination. And whether it was Barrett from whom this story sprung or some other sub-conscious channel, one thing is clear - in our post-Toupdustrial age, all true creative paths surely lead back to William Shatner's toupee!

"The Toupee Thinker" - image courtesy of Musée Rodin, France.


  1. Brilliantly done. The Foresaken is one of my favorite DS9 episodes. You really captured the spirit of it.

  2. shats own real syrupOctober 5, 2011 at 12:00 AM

    very very funny, hey that could have almost happend in real life. Great post @shat toup blog. Keep the good work up. Hey its a pity, that bill is not as easy, joking about his toup, as john wayne was. There's even a picture of him without it on, and in one of his movie, he did not wear it in the closing shots....or so i am told. This is something, shatner would never do.

  3. shatner could show off his bald head if he wanted. now isn't the right time. He's just waiting for the proper moment when such a revelation would have the maximum global impact and positively affect the greatest number of people.

  4. Brilliant writing there, mate!

  5. My hair is actually writing its own autobiography, Captain's Locks. I will reveal no spoilers in advance of publication.
    -- William Shatner, Shatner Rules, p. 12

  6. An absolutely extraordinary quote! -ST

  7. James Toupeerius KirkOctober 5, 2011 at 9:10 PM

    without ass kissing; this is one of your greatest posts since a while!
    great work transfering shatner's matters to "the forsaken"...

    and hurry up with your TMP review, P L E A S E !!!!

    best regards;

    James Toupeerius a/k/a T(oupee) J(erk) Hooker

  8. Thomas Jefferson CurlyOctober 5, 2011 at 10:27 PM


    2nd video down:

    ditzy interviewer commenting as pic of TJ Hooker is shown: 'I love you with the dark hair...'

  9. Nice tale

    Shatner goes metal, an aerial view


    take a look from 0:59

  10. hahaahahahaa!!

    "I love you with the dark hair..."

    Bill stopped cold! The double take was priceless!!

  11. i notice the Denny Katz has now been fuzzed up into an almost Kirk like swish....

    a calling card for the sequel perhaps?

  12. There are several other direct hair references - but no overt toup admissions - in the Shatner Rules preview at Google Books. All of them focus on the comments from the roast, although he quotes no one who actually said the word "toupee."

    See http://tinyurl.com/5vlny9t

  13. Thomas Jefferson CurlyOctober 6, 2011 at 12:04 PM

    that last pic is from Trek V isnt it?

    dunno if this has been brought up on this site before but theres an Unofficial book -"Trek: The Making of the Movies by James Van Hise" which describes an alleged incident where Shatner was performing some kind of stunt on the set of Trek V and fell over and his wig came off...a few extras that saw started laughing and Shatner fired them on the spot...

  14. A superb flight of fancy...

    On the topic of Trek V, didn't Shatner originally want to cast Sean Connery as Sybok? It seems a rather rash choice, being willing to be seen alongside an actor who has never made a secret of resorting to trichological assistance. Maybe Shatner planned to have Connery sport an inferior toupee in order to make his own trademark scalpwear seem less like a British guardsman's bearskin by comparison ...

  15. This is one of the funniest updates in a long time. I could almost feel the emotions surging through shatner's scalp as the glue came undone. I am curious if his wives have ever seen him without his Toupee on?

    I remember Vyonne craig claimed she saw shatner holding his rug in hand when she was filming her star trek episode.

  16. Oh my great posts here. Come on does anyone, really thinks, bills gonna come clean, about his toup. It will or maybe brought to light, after his gone. Everyone has known for years, about the toup. Shatner has deluded himself for ever about it. So the " do I wear a toupee" is all we will ever get from the shat. Oh well better then nothing I surpose.