Sunday, August 12, 2012

Jim Thy Image.

Our thanks to reader Adam, who recently emailed us an interesting link we wanted to share with you. The email carried the subject heading "Shatner touches his toup", which in toupological parlance we label as a "Real hair reflex".

The moment comes 5m 40s into this video of a December 1974 appearance of Bill Shatner in the game show "Tattletales". The actor's then wife Marcy Lafferty is the woman in the TV partnering with her husband:

Late 1974 and throughout 1975 is the era of the Bill Shatner toupee that is perhaps the least discussed and least understood of all. Not because of its oddness, but rather the opposite - because it looked so good compared to the previous "Lost Years" style.

The "Lost Years" style as seen in 1974's Impulse.

We're not even sure we have an official nomenclature for it other than the not-entirely-satisfactory "Retro Jim" - perhaps "Jim Thy Image", as around this time, Bill Shatner was likely getting the first strong inklings that his own personal lost years would be coming to an end thanks to incessant talk of the return of Star Trek (Gene Roddenberry was working on a script called "The God Thing", which would later be reworked as "In Thy Image" and ultimately become Star Trek: The Motion Picture).

The rare and mysterious retro-Jim style as seen in 1975's The Tenth Level.

We've speculated here before that this may have led the actor to slim down and get this strongly Jim Kirk-like toup by way of preparing for a return to center stage. A couple years later, when, conversely, it seemed that Trek might remain in development hell, Bill Shatner may have tossed the new toup into a river in an angry rage.

Ditching the toup after learning that Star Trek's return faced more delays?

After that, did Bill Shatner decisively turn to the un-Kirk-like "TJ Curly" by way of distancing himself from the shattered hopes of the past?

Underscoring the abilities of this rare gem of a toup is the particular "Real hair reflex" itself. It's a carefree brush, with no evident restraint or concern visible from Bill Shatner in how he handles this toup. Simply put, if you didn't know it was a toup, you'd never know...

Later in the clip, Bill Shatner - ever the tease - asks fellow panelist and Columbo villain alumni George Hamilton "How does he get his mustache like that?".

We should also add that this particular toup is a little longer than the other examples of the "Jim Thy Image" (does that name work?). It's as if it still has 10% of the "Lost Years" in it. Perhaps at this time, Bill Shatner was still unsure about whether he was fully in the right mindset to once again play Captain Kirk - in a very real sense, his hair was serving to express these complex emotions.

Anyway, getting a definitive answer on why Bill Shatner parted ways with such a great-looking toup is one of the tougher challenges of toupology. Perhaps one day we will find the answers...


  1. shats own real syrupAugust 13, 2012 at 5:18 AM

    I saw the clip, and thought "my what a nice toup" it seems that for about 18 months, bill was getting more and more, jk like in his toupees, which was great, and in this clip he looks miles younger, then he did in columbo and that was less then two years after! He aged real quick, still a young man in late 74 to looking like someone well in his 50's in 1976! What the heck happend to him? But the toups esp from the tenth level and the last photo in this post, showed that jim had returned..allbeit....for all too short a time.....great great post indeed...well done to all.

  2. This toup is so much better than the dastardly TJ Curley. When Shatner wore this JTI piece, the angels were singing

  3. shats own real syrupAugust 13, 2012 at 1:55 PM

    "the toup i just envy the toup, is it a domanant toupee" lol

  4. Hey, an overlooked gem, from what I can see by the list of Toupologically Analyzed appearances of the Toup is a guest shot on the 1973 Bill Bixby vehicle "The Magician," specifically, the 14th episode of the only season, "The Illusion of the Queen's Gambit." Link here:

  5. If we ever have a toupological get-together, let's by all means schedule a TJ Curly burning, where the goal is to annihilate that infernal, monstrous hairpiece.

  6. Ratty Lost Years PieceAugust 16, 2012 at 7:30 PM

    Looks like Priceline will bring back the Shat.
    I wonder how this will affect the toup, which has been gradually transitioning to a longer JK-like style. Will he return to the DK, or will the toup shape the narrative of his character?

  7. Wow that last toup looks fantastic........... He also had a great toup in his late 70s' appearance on the Mike Douglas Show - I wonder why he didn't go with that toup on TMP.

  8. All I have to say here is that my toup is off to anyone that can look that good throwing a baseball at 81 years old. He looks fantastic.

  9. I'd rather see him roll over the hood of a car...

  10. shats own real syrupAugust 21, 2012 at 9:53 PM

    I watched that esp of the magicain, absolutely fantastic, if you look at part 3 on youtube, watch very closely at 9.58-10.05, when the shat takes his goggles off, the toup moves in a wonderful way, view it in slow mo, i think uf you look very hard, the back moves (i think) and the man looks scared ...wonderful.

  11. Jim Thy Image doesn't work for me at all. Too contrived and esoteric, and the toup has a much more prominent side part than the Jim. Until there is a nomenclature up to the standard set by "Jim Kirk lace," "TJ Curly," "Lost Years," and "Denny Katz," it might be best to classify this as an intermediate subtype. I am of course a layman but for my money it's kinda just "Lost Years 2.0."

  12. The Trouble With ToupeesAugust 23, 2012 at 11:15 PM

    How about 'The LJ' (Laceless Jim)

  13. that last pic could actually be one of the jk lace toups that he stole from the set

  14. Check out Bill's hair in this video :

    That's no longer looking like plugs. He's got "growth" and length up top now. New toup?

  15. chrome(dome) magnonNovember 4, 2016 at 3:41 PM

    Awesome last pic of Bill and toup. The old JTK days seem to have been coming back. The sheer beauty of Bill's toup is even acknowledged by the stripes on his shirt collar which in a kind of existential reverence seem to point up towards it. Indeed, so awesome is the toup in the last picture that one almost fails to notice that the collars have a combined wingspan of 18" (circa 46cms)which, in these days of strict health and safety regulations, would require them to be chainsawed off to the current safe legal of 5" (13cms).