Friday, October 23, 2015

The Apprentice?

 

We've covered Bill Shatner's 1958-60 stint performing in the theatrical play The World of Suzie Wong a number of times. But it turns out that far more photographs exist from this time - ones of significant toupological interest. For example, while perusing Marc Cushman's These Are The Voyages books we came across a publicity still from 1958 or '59 featuring Bill Shatner and co-star France Nuyen:


The picture is of a very low resolution, but nonetheless we'd say it is pretty certain Bill Shatner is toupless here - combing, spraying and creating a shell that could still pass as a full head of hair if photographed correctly. Perusing a couple of Internet photo-sharing sites and message boards, we also came across another picture from the same shoot - apparently taken by photographer Milton H. Greene on October 14, 1958:


Here, the thinning is more evident. Indeed, the sides of Bill Shatner's hair appear noticeably fuller and of a greater volume than the hair atop the scalp.

 
Let's quickly refresh our memories about the play in question: according to the IBDB, The World of Suzie Wong had two separate runs on Broadway, New York. The first was at the Broadhurst Theatre from October 14, 1958 to November 7, 1959; the second run, at the George Abbott Theatre, ran from November 9, 1959 to January 2, 1960. 


The story, set in Hong Kong, sees serviceman Robert Lomax (Shatner) falling for a local prostitute (Nuyen). In his autobiography, Up Till Now, Bill Shatner relates how, following initial disastrous reviews, he altered his acting style and helped re-imagine the play as a satire - which then became a hit (more in our toupological analysis)!

We also know that on November 16, 1958, Bill Shatner and France Nuyen performed an extract from the play (presumably still the "bad" version) on live television, on the Ed Sullivan Show. No footage of this has ever been seen publicly since the original transmission (but certainly such a performance would have been cause to take numerous publicity stills). 
 

The Suzie Wong era is of particular interest because it serves as a unique example of us seemingly having pictures of Bill Shatner both toupless and wearing a very early approximation of a "Jim Kirk Lace". A common reference point! Over the span of the play's almost 15 month run, it appears that Bill Shatner's real hair became increasingly thin to the point that - at least for certain (perhaps later) publicity stills - a toupee began to be viewed as essential. So we have what is, we think, almost certainly a toup: 




...also this quintessentially "Jim Kirk lace" 1959 television interview on the The Dick Clark Saturday Night Beechnut Show:



And also likely not toup:


closer...



See also here for a Life magazine feature published on October 8, 1958 (thus prior to the premiere) which appears to show that at this point, Bill Shatner was still toupless, but using heavy thickening spray of some kind:

 

Finally, with greater certainty, almost certainly no toup:


But wait, there's more! - as they say in infomercials.


What if there was a brief intermediary phase, considered, but soon discarded? We've never encountered a Bill Shatner photograph that appears to be a comb-over before. But this is what we appear to have in another Wong publicity picture we came across (the date it was taken is not known by us). Something akin to "The Donald's" solution (we believe him when he says it's not a toup):

Source: Daily Mail

Could it be that Bill Shatner briefly attempted this method too? Clever combing forward of long hair from the back?

 

The hair just doesn't appear to be following a natural growth/combing pattern here. Rather, it appears to have been swept forward. The frontal hairline also appears to be showing signs of severe thinning. Perhaps the hair was squashed by a since-removed toup. Or perhaps it really is some sort of comb-over attempt. There do appear to be bald patches visible through the carefully placed strands in places rarely seen by the general public. 


Just when you start to think that all the toupological stones have been uncovered something like this comes along...

88 comments:

  1. Perhaps Shut Toup blog should add the 'Susie Wong Shell' to its shat lexicon (to go with Jim Kirk lace, TJ Curly, ratty Lost Years piece, Denny Katz special)

    ReplyDelete
  2. 1958-60

    Thats a long time ago. Its making me think of the mortality of the great one. Like Henry the 8th, he has no male heir. Perhaps its time he adopts one.

    Who do you guys think is Shatners heir apparent?

    Me i would go for David Hasselhoff and then get in Zack Morris to be his heir to avoid panic for another generation.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. On second thought, this guy could make a case for the being the best successor to Shatner, on one condition...
      http://www.hypernovadesign.com/images/stories/hair_transplant_10.jpg

      Delete
  3. Andrew. I can not FATHOM the day Shats twitter account goes silent (the last tweet being rather poetic, deeply meaningful, contemplating life's great mystery) before the horrific devastating unwelcome news is revealed informing the world Mr Shatner has passed. Fuck. I just can not even begin to imagine that (nor do I want to). Maybe it won't happen. Like ever

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ok, So the Shat won't die, we know that, but even god liked to have a day off. With Shatners advancing age he will take more days off. Who would be his no 2? I still think the Hoff.
      On a different note. Who do you think were the greatest men in history to wear a piece? Shatner has defeated God, but not overseen an empire. my votes with Julious Cesear. How about you?

      Delete
    2. Shatner is the greatest.

      as for who could ever be a #2 to shat maybe the Hoff. its the same kind of thing isn't it - start out serious, lost years periods. comebacks. internet fame, sort of lol'd at but being in on the joke 'gets it'..

      but way down after Shat as Hoff hasn't ever headlined 6 blockbuster movies. Shatner was a tv star and then a bonefide movie star. Hoff just a tv star (although I cant quite understand why they never did Knight Rider movie in the 00s (starring The Hoff in the lead role like ST:TMP) instead of that daft tv show remake . itd have been a big f'ing deal)

      Delete
    3. I forgot to add The Hoffs awesome life long hair of hair resembles the TJ Curly... almost as if it were modeled on that fine piece

      Delete
  4. Who is shatner's HAIR apparent?
    Jason alexander
    Short, chubby, jewish and bald just like shatner

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good choice adidas.

      skip to 50

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mrs7MV-X5Gg

      Delete
  5. shats own real syrupOctober 26, 2015 at 2:04 AM

    His hair, is not just receding it's positively breaking down. And at least three of these photos here, are non-toupeed. I am now, thinking the photo, shown on here, sometime back, going through a run through with Spencer Tracy, is also without a toupee! If this is so, we have moved it to 1961!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Shats may have had hair trouble (which he solved/cheated his way out of in a Kirk/Kobiashi Maru like manner) but his face was very handsome. Plenty ugly guys have fantastic heads of hair their whole lives but shatner had the leading man looks..

    thats why he was chosen to be James T Kirk.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. true. also had the ego, confidence and power to be a leading man.

      I seam to remember an episode of Fresh Prince Of Bell Air where Carlton was overwhelmed by the Power eminating from Shatner.

      It must be an amazing thing to be in the presence of the great Lord Shatner

      Delete
  7. Shatner in the role of a lifetime: as Gimliin Lord of the Rings
    http://tinyurl.com/oavcbxh

    ReplyDelete
  8. A brief interview with Shatner on the Dick Clark Beechnut Show in '59 plugging 'The World Of Suzie Wong'.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LqKdrvMDjkI

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Many thanks for the tip. We've updated the entry with a link to this video! -ST

      Delete
    2. The show was transmitted live, so we have a definite date for this toup-pearance- January 17th 1959.

      Delete
    3. Thanks, Luke. Do you by chance have a source for that date we can use? Bill Shatner appears to have been a surprise unannounced guest, as he is not listed at TV.com's entries for this series. -ST

      Delete
    4. The transmission date is courtesy of the full clip from NRRA archives-

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-leiCh1P3NQ

      It features Dion and The Belmonts lip-synching 'Don't Pity Me' which was released in December '58-

      http://www.45cat.com/artist/dion-and-the-belmonts

      Their next single 'A Teenager In Love' came out in March 1959. The Beechnut Show showcased only the latest releases and was a live transmission.

      Furthermore, the following week, starting January 23rd, Dion and The Belmonts commenced the ill-fated Winter Dance Party tour with Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, The Big Bopper and Frankie Sardo.

      The January 17th transmission date is entirely credible, given the established rock 'n' roll chronology.

      Hope this helps, Shat Toup.

      Delete
    5. Thanks! Admirable toupological research! -ST

      Delete
  9. Happy to have made a positive contribution to Forensic Toupology.

    Have a great day.

    ReplyDelete
  10. The "Life" article is a terrific find. In the article, France Nuyen describes herself as "Chinese". OMGWTF!!!! The statement tells us something about the politics of being Vietnamese in 1958 America…I guess? I only skimmed the article, but judging from the absurdities described there, Nuyen had lots of reasons to be "moody". But holy cow, "I am Chinese"!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I don't need to point out that that's like Shatner saying, "My hair is luxuriant and thick and covers my entire scalp." Though Shatner has said as much many times!

    ReplyDelete
  12. The combover is extraordinary. A non-toupee style of this caliber perhaps deserves a name? (Breaking from protocol that only toupee styles be named?) The "Susie Trump"?. A better name is out there, surely. The one requirement could be that the name pay tribute to this critical toupee period and the theater production that brought it to light.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I wonder if Shatner gave any combover tips to Koenig or the ST hairdresser based on his Suzie Wong experience (http://startrekuniverse.wikia.com/wiki/File:Walter_Koenig_(tvs_-_Star_Trek_Original)_-_Chekov.jpg).

    ReplyDelete
  14. Suzie..Suzie? Suzie? Suzie Wong. Suzie Wong? Suzie Wong. Shatzie Chung? Fuckin' Denny Katz. I got Shatner's JimKirk lace coming out of my left ear, and the Suzie Wong combover shell I don't know what - comin' out of my right!

    ReplyDelete
  15. shats own real syrupOctober 30, 2015 at 12:46 AM

    I have just thought of something! This has taking me years too work out, but can somebody please answer this one! Why is it, that bill had to wear a full toupee 56-59, when he still had full frontal hairline? Yes, he was balding at the back, so only really need, a skull cap toup, at the back.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think it was to do with the lighting. Back in the day the lighting on sets were particularly harsh. It was almost standard practice to wear a piece. If someone had fine hair it wouldn't be very flattering. I hope that answers your question.

      Delete
  16. shats own real syrupNovember 2, 2015 at 3:10 AM

    Many thanks Andrew! I was thinking, he was pretty bald at the back, even in 1956! The amount of spray and combing, must have been unbelievable, when he went toupless! It basically, had to be backcombed for all that it was worth.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Another odd toup in the sequence of toups worn by Shatner? By his appearance, it looks like he may hve donner this peice after appearing in public with the TJ Curly look. http://i1081.photobucket.com/albums/j355/zainin666-2/William%20Shatner%202/41posfpE4vL_SS500_.jpg

    ReplyDelete
  18. Star Trek has conventions. Why doesn't this blog have a convention too? For all the fans of Shatners toupee?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's because toupee cosplay is WAY more expensive than regular cosplay. Can you imagine what it would set me back to come to a convention dressed as the TJ Curly? The cost of those fibers is astronomical... And it gets worse with the hippie "Lost Years" styles.

      Delete
    2. The WSSTS does hold regular public seminars, debates, press conferences, and lectures - all are welcome, of course. However, interest in these events is often so high that even with seating for tens of thousands available places have to be reserved months, if not years in advance.

      We also only recommend attendees come dressed (if they want to) as their favorite toupees during the winter months so as to avoid the risk of overheating.

      -ST

      Delete
    3. However, we mustn't overlook the promise of the Katz and JKL as all-season toupe-costumes. The JKL, with its relatively scanty surface area (it consists only of a small cap at the crown and a slim frontal extension) and mostly straight, silky, non-insulating hairs. And the Denny, despite its vast surface area, has deliberately scant hair coverage. I am confident that both these models should soon have breathable, thermally-safe costume counterparts. Furthermore, the "crown" of the JKL drapes over part of your b*tt, and the "front" attractively adorns your shoulders. The rest of your body is free to sport accessories like a giant "medicine man" headband (this could cover your entire stomach, chest, and neck) which leaves plenty of skin exposed and allows ample evaporation. Anyone who was thinking of organizing summer holidays around a trip to the WSSTS should keep this in mind.

      Delete
    4. what happened to all the star trek hair?
      http://boingboing.net/2015/11/11/what-happened-to-all-the-star.html

      Delete
    5. You could create a court case with this evidence.

      Imagine the scene

      Judge: You Mr William Shatner stand accused of wearing a toupee, how do you plead?
      Shatner: Not Guilty
      Judge: Bring in the evidence
      Adidas: Heres the evidence your honour, (present your find)
      Judge: The evidence is so damning we don't need a jury, you Mr Shatner are therefore found guilty of wearing a toupee and concealing it from the public.
      Your punishment is to either remove it or admit to the public for your deceit.

      The next day the great unveiling to the world. The highest TV figures in history are established even beating the second coming of Christ.

      Epic

      Delete
    6. The first paragraph of the memo has been printed on this blog before, but I notice now that Justman's story about the toupee vanishing post- season one reaches its bitter conclusion here. After the toupee disappears (that's the part Justman put in "the Real Story"), the saga doesn't end…instead, the toupee comes back, but it's in tatters! (And how might Shatner might have explained the reappearance of the toupee? It is hilarious to think about how he might have explained the sudden materialization of a well-worn toupee.) Now I want to to dig the details of all his TOS hiatus projects out of the WSSTS archives (i.e., this blog). I don't remember if there was a JKL-assisted hiatus project. If he didn't use the JKL professionally, he must have worn (and worn and worn) it on his personal time! I think in the comments somewhere or on the blog there are sad photos of civilian Shatner having a visible lace line? The question of the upswept toupee and whether it works off-camera… have we resolved it? This memo brings urgency to the question!

      Delete
  19. yes, Shat toupee proof positive, from the Roddenberry archives:

    http://www.missionlogpodcast.com/missing-hair-goods/

    ReplyDelete
  20. Another memo from the 1960s on everyone's hair pieces:

    http://vaviper.blogspot.com/2015/11/1968-memo-to-gene-roddenberry-re.html

    ReplyDelete
  21. Seems like the Shat is reaching for a new toupological nadir of the post lost years era. This seems to be a toup version of the Suzie Wong comb-over. https://twitter.com/williamshatner/status/666660253153398785?refsrc=email&s=11

    ReplyDelete
  22. Ratty Lost Years PieceDecember 2, 2015 at 7:34 AM

    Black holes can't be observed directly, but we know they exist, due to their impact on surrounding objects. Burt Reynolds' candor about his toupee use/abuse has long been a foil to Shatner's secrecy. Since the '80's, their remarkably similar hair styles have called into question Shatner's toupee denials.

    In an interview hitting shelves today, Burt Reynolds directly attributes his Ed Katz toupees to William Shatner: http://www.gq.com/story/burt-reynolds-trump-toupee-paul-thomas-anderson

    It's not a smoking gun but provides more indirect evidence of an otherwise unobservable object.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    2. came on here nonchalantly reading the comments seeing if there was anything new expecting nothing...and just like that..

      an atom bomb..

      Delete
    3. I have a feeling that this dobbing in along with the scathing Nimoy funeral jibe ('we're gonna miss him.. a helluva lot more than the other guy') will ensure a firm line through Burts name on Shats Xmas card list

      Delete
  23. You've made no secret of wearing toupees. When you made Deliverance , did you have a stunt toupee?
    That was all me! That was my real hair. It wasn't much. But it was me. You know, if I had it to do over again, I would do it natural. Not wear a toupee. But I ended up seeing this guy William Shatner sent me to. Edward Katz. He's a genius at what he does. Best guy in the business.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Are the Katz toups really that great? I guess they're a bit better than what Shatner and Reynolds used to wear in the past, but they can still look pretty phony at times. They aren't undetectable for sure

      Delete
    2. Ratty Lost Years PieceDecember 14, 2015 at 2:42 PM

      If the toups were that great, then Burt & Bill wouldn't be the poster boys for the word, "toupee".

      Delete
  24. Dr Lord Mighty Shatner always owned Dobermans. Took them to the set of star trek. Was it to protect the toupees on his glorious head?
    Like the dogs which protected Damian in the Omen?

    ReplyDelete
  25. shat own real syrupDecember 7, 2015 at 1:08 AM

    I did read, that interview with burt reynolds! Very telling and yes, his right in deliverance, that is his real albeit, receding hairline! He try to do what he could, with that link of hair, he had left! He was fully toupeed, only a couple of years after that! Well he mentioned shatner, so that's pretty much icing on the cake, as far as the toup, is concerned.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I wonder if Shatner would now answer differently than in the past if asked directly about his toupee/hair system/wig wearing. At least, he may no longer snap at the questioner or call him "most jerk". Perhaps, a better phrased and not a really direct question can solicit a normal response. For example, given Shatner's longevity, one can ask in what way he has seen the characteristics for leading men change over the last 50 years and build from there to explore the dark areas of his psyche vis-a-vis the toupee.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Interesting, touperup! Maybe even start talking technical aspects of hair systems like density, and the various bases etc...

      Delete
  27. Bringing up an old topic. The Shatner Toupee convention. Who are the guest speakers this year?
    Joan Collins?
    Yvonne Craig?
    Ed Katz?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yvonne craig died a few months ago

      Delete
    2. Anonymous, who are you to voice these sad truths? I invite you to begone, and take your party-pooping realities with you.

      YC would have been a prize panelist though. :(

      Delete
    3. France Nuyen would be the best panelist, cuz she knowed Shat when he had real hair, the JK Lace, The Horror at 37,000 Feet rug, and the Kung Fu wig.

      Delete
    4. France Nuyen would be good. I think Gloria Rand if she is still alive would be a good addition too.

      Delete
    5. Ratty Lost Years PieceDecember 16, 2015 at 4:04 PM

      @adidas: "The Horror at 37,000 Feet rug"! How has the WSSTS missed this as a name in the Toupological Cannon?!!

      Delete
    6. Has the wise master of this website ever considered interviewing Shatner?

      An interview about his acting and horses? The lesser known films mentioned on this site?
      (we can't interfere with the natural progression of the toupee)

      Delete
    7. How great would it be if a toup-loving artist designed a poster and logo for the inaugural - and wholly imaginary - Toupe Convention! If I were on the Committee commissioning the work, I would ask the artist to build the logo and imagery around an image of the JKL – whether realistic or abstract in style would not matter. And I would ask that s/he surround the toupee with an aureole of fire - not to hint at a divine nature, but to symbolize the resplendence of the JKL. In fact, the logo could be christened with special name, "JKL Resplendent" because the JKL is always resplendent wherever it is found on Earth. (Just as a skull and crossbones is also called the "Jolly Roger", the U.S. flag the "Old Glory", and the French flag the “Tricolor”, this symbol has a special name.)

      So you see I think that through its visual symbols and iconography the Convention should commemorate the JKL's position at the apex of the aesthetic pyramid - not to mention its role in Shatner's artistic and toupo-social development.

      Delete
    8. Did Shatner ever lose a fight in the JKL?

      Delete
    9. http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xlfm6y_william-shatner-1996-fresh-prince-of-bel-air-06x22-eye-tooth_shortfilms


      Skip to the end when Carlton says

      "did you sense the power in that man"

      Surely thats what the Convention should be about. celebrating the power of Shatner.

      Delete
  28. I notice in recent interviews Burts seems to have gone back to something similar to his 80s piece (maybe Burt had a dispute with Katz? Or a longing or the 80s?) Maybe Shat will finish with the Katz now its position has been compromised. Maybe a welcome return to the TJ Curly (frosted grey Trek VI style)?

    ReplyDelete
  29. Burt Reynolds...He seems so full of it. Saying he wouldnt wear a toupee all the while wearing a toupee in the present day. Plus all the plastic surgery he's had. Still, I like how he dissed the Shat and all his phony ways

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ratty Lost Years PieceDecember 14, 2015 at 2:48 PM

      Really good point, @anon. Reynolds claims, "I'd go back to my natural look. With whatever I have left up there." I inferred that removing the Katz toupee is not a conveniently reversible process. This also indicates that Burt hasn't seen his natural hair in some time and lends support to wearers having to shave their heads to don a Katz.

      Delete
    2. Shatner on the morning of the Katz fitting. Stood in his bathroom in a white dressing gown facing the mirror admiring the leading man looks that has brought such fame and wealth. It is time. He removes the chestnut coloured TJ Curly exposing the Norwood 7 horseshoe. The then sets to work. He lathers the remaining hair with shaving foam. He picks up a razor and hesitates. A pregnant pause.. then carefully shaves careful to avoid any cuts until the job is done and he stands there looking at the freshly shaven head. Glistening under the light. He runs his hand over the totally slick bald head. Admiring its symmetry. He then loosely replaces the TJ and then dresses and puts on a baseball cap and sets off to the Katz building. A era of the Denny Katz has just begun..

      Delete
  30. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  31. so great post and also pictures loved more

    ReplyDelete
  32. Is the author of this blog busy writing another novel? Please tell us so we don’t waste time in idle speculation like last year. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, he is just dusting of the interviews he did with Joan Collins and Shatners first wife. There was so much in the interviews about Shatners toupee that its taking ages to write it all down. Have patience my friend. I believe in Shatners Toupee

      Delete
    2. shats own real syrupJanuary 8, 2016 at 2:05 PM

      If only that was true andrew! Maybe his gone into hiding, scared of being found by an angry shatner for exposing, his long term bald headedness!

      Delete
    3. Perhaps we need to go on a star trek style mission to save him. I bagsy Kirk, you can be my Spock or McCoy

      The mission shall be called.

      The Search For Shatners Toupee. The definitive oracle.

      Delete
    4. sors, if he dies in a fiery car crash, the FBI and local police might be fooled into treating it as an accident, but we’ll know the truth! Heaven forbid such a crime should occur, but we can’t overlook that exposing someone’s most sensitive secrets entails taking personal risk. Let’s hope he knows how to protect himself… If he turns up in Russia asking for asylum we’ll know …(asylum from threats from a certain bald movie star)!

      Delete
  33. or

    perhaps he has found the holy grail. (bald tos pic), but can't face losing the chase and the struggle. Its whats kept him going. A conclusion would end his whole reason in being and mine,

    ReplyDelete
  34. This is exactly what I was trying to prevent.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think ShatToup could live stream his life from a GoPro strapped to his nose and readers would still speculate. (I would.) Probably Shatner’s toupee brings out the conspirator in its fans.

      Delete
  35. shats own real syrupJanuary 14, 2016 at 2:40 AM

    Maybe, shat toup, is making a very reveling video entitled " interview with a toupee " this features, one of bill's toupees who is frankly, fed up with shatner taking all the limelight! So his gone his own way! This will false bill to openingly admit, that his hair is not his own!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. shats own real syrupJanuary 15, 2016 at 8:45 PM

      Of a sort Andrew, certainly! Lol.

      Delete
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  37. how to get on the good side of William Shatner. Imagine if the director had stocked a room with toupees instead of food. Shat would've been like a happy dog rolling around in the grass. http://www.mvgazette.com/news/2015/12/10/going-boldly-belly-beast?k=vg568dd8bd924ac&r=1

    ReplyDelete
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