Everything you need to dress-up like Jem, Pizzazz or Synergy
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Jem was officially unveiled at the New York Toy Fair,
February 10, 1986. Which was to be a big shock to the
world, or at least Hasbro hoped for the element of surprise.
Hasbro had Sunbow create and air Jem as part of Super
Sunday starting in October of 1985, so the element of
surprise was gone. If you haven’t heard why, Hasbro
wanted it to appear that the doll line was based on
the show because of all the negative attitudes toward
toy-based cartoons of the mid-80’s.
With the cartoon lead-time, Mattel had a pretty good
idea of what Hasbro was planning. So Mattel came up
with Barbie and the Rockers to release in 1986. To throw
Mattel off the scent, Hasbro faked dropping the doll
line. By limiting pre-toy fair communications and strategically
leaving Jem out, it appeared as if Hasbro was not going
to release Jem after all. It seemed like Mattel either
did not believe Hasbro dropped Jem or Mattel was not
going to take any chances – Mattel pressed forward
with Barbie and the Rockers.
With the doors opening at Toy Fair 1986, all the questions
and speculations were put to rest. As spectators saw
Jem/Jerrica, Kimber, Aja, Shana, Roxy, Stormer, Pizzazz
and Rio for the first time. With the view of the Rockin’
Roadster, Jem Star Stage, Rock Backstager and a hand
full of fashions, the world realized Hasbro was hard
at work preparing for the newest musical invasion.
is at the end of Kimber's keyboard?
It is the letter
Now why is there a M and not a J?
was given the idea for developing a 'Rock &
Roll' doll, it started out as a male rock group.
Development soon lead to M, she is rumored to have
male band members. As time passed, M became Jem;
one reason given was Hasbro could not trademark
a letter at that time. Other reasons are that M
stands for Mattel, and that M would be too closely
tied to MTV.
like the main reason for changing "M"
to Jem was because of Bette Middler. Middler had
sued over usage "Divine Miss M," so Hasbro
was afraid she would sue over the M doll line.
(unsure of source)
Sanders (1940-1990) a famous award winning
advertising executive, and two friends/collaborators
(former Hasbro marketing executive and freelance
toy designer Joe Hyland
(1935-2001) and his wife Barbara
Hyland (advertising executive and freelance
toy designer) went to Hasbro with a idea of a
new doll line, to compete with Barbie. Bill thought
Barbie was boring and no fun.
Hasbro had Sunbow Production, Inc. develop a cartoon
to promote the Jem dolls. It started as fifteen
(seven minute) segments on a show with several
boy's cartoons called "Super Sunday", or "Super
Saturday", airing in October 1985. Because of
the black lash against animated shows developed
to sell toy lines, Hasbro purposely had the show
released around six months before the doll line
came out. Hasbro was hoping that would make it
look like the cartoon came first.
When Hasbro had to give "M" a new name.
The name Jem came from the Jemstar earrings M
wore. The name of the band became the Holograms.
The idea for the name came from the Holographic
image that changed an ordinary girl (Morgan or
Misty) into "M". And during this time
the male band became three females ... Kimber,
Jade and Aria. The names changed to Kimber, Aja,
and Shana. One name for Roxy and/or Stormer at
this time was Rue.
an unnamed source
continued the dolls were based on the Kenner Darci
line. Hasbro even used Darci dolls to design the
fashions to fit Jem.
of evolution of first and second year dolls
"1. "Misty" on a Creata
Short pants w/see thru skirt, top w/one
silver sleeve, headband
2. "Misty" Creata doll w/white/orange
pants, suspenders,wide belt/pink socks,hat/necklace,labeled
on Polaroid 410030-06m
3. "Misty/Morgan" pink mini
dress w/large sequin appliqué on
bodice. Belt pink glitter and what looks
like a Monogram M on it on a Creata doll.
4. On a Darci doll. Short pink mini
dress w/Jem in large letters on bodice,
with the jagged belt effect.
5. On the first Jem experimental doll
painted face. I actually think this face
was nicest. W/very poofy hair. This variation
is very close to the final
version. So you can imagine how many styles
were tried before the final one was chosen.
6. Misty/ Morgan Street Clothes. This
version was a stripe magenta tunic, wide
belt, and a tam for head covering."
"1. Kimber on Creata doll. pink
and orange netting with slashes at bottom
short dress, sash , Dark blue net tights.
stars in hair. #411044-01m,
2. Kimber(Aria), #411044-02m Sequined
sweatshirt, blue tight pants, pink socks,
sneakers, arm band. no date
3.Kimber #4411044-05m Fashion similar
4. Kimber, on a Darci, dated 6/14/85,
it may be same fashion as #3, don't know
reason it was on two different dolls"
"The first prototype is labeled
Jade # 411043-01M (Aja) . It was designed
on a Creata doll. She's wearing hot pink
balloonlike pants, printed top, blue glitter
belt, bead bracelet, and pink headband.
Her hair is bright yellow puffy style.
The second is labeled Jade # 411043-02M,
designed right after 01M. This is a short
flared skirt, wide white waistband, hot
pink spandex top, jacket with high collar
and gathered sleeves, blue bead necklace,
Asian style painted face with graphics
on sides of face, blue puffy hairstyle
The third and fourth Polaroids are similar
with very slight different poses, one
labeled Aja# 411043-17, 6/18/85.
the other Aja, 6/18/85. She's wearing
pretty much what the doll was sold with
in the box."
This is an original Polaroid of Shana dated
6/18/1985. The name is stated as Chanda which
was one of the first names chosen. the fashion
is a prototype sample in it's early stage
development. The fashion was modeled on a
"1. Pizazz/Discords.On a Creata
doll. Black and white animal print w/magenta
fringe. Yellow poofy hair. Black choker.
Scarf on one leg, long sock on the other.
2. Pizazz/Discords on a Creata doll.
Dressed much like above description, but
very different hair and makeup. Also yellow
long sock on one leg and black textured
long sock on the other.
3. Pizazz on Darci. This fashion toned
down quite a bit. No scarf on leg and
less fringe at bodice."
"1. Roxy/Discords on a Creata doll.
Pink poofy hair, yellow shirt top, with
black/pink skirt, slits all across the
bottom. Bracelets and anklets.
2. Roxy on Creata doll. White hair.
Purple fuzzy shirt with one sleeve, pink/yellow
pants with black graphics.
3. Roxy fashion on a Darci doll with
purple fuzzy shirt, wide yellow belt,
and gold lame pants.
4. Same fashion as above, purple fuzzy
shirt with wide yellow belt and gold lame
1. Stormer/Rue/Discords on a Creata
Doll. Blue hair, black stripe bodice,
yellow skirt, doublewrap pink belt, 2
different styles and color black chocker.
2. Creata Doll. Dark color hair, arm
band, black plastic almost like shark
teeth deco on bodice, magenta bodice,
black skirt, sheer black tights.
3. Stormer fashion on a Darci doll.
Same fashion as on the Creata with dark
hair, but on a Darci.
The front Polaroid has been distorted.
"This is a Polaroid of Rio wearing
the striped jacket and pants similar to
the fashion he would be sold in. The yellow
t-shirt is plain, the t-shirt he would
eventually wear has a printed design.
He is also wearing a belt. No shoes. His
hair is a very bushy brown and his face
has not been painted."
This is an original set of Polaroids of
a Danse Fashion worn by Aja and Danse prototype
doll. It was the 3rd fashion made dated 1986.
This is an original set of Polaroids
showing the Video fashion on a Kimber doll.
Dated 4/8/86. The model is the 11th one
made and the fashion that was chosen for
The first experimental fashion shown
upper left (1/17/86) on blue haired hispanic
doll shows dk. blue capri pants with band
on one leg, doll's low cut blouse is blue
and yellow stripe. That was the original
The one dated 2/13/86 is a variation
of the final design chosen, 512019-05m.
This one includes headband, socks over
tights and different color and style of
vest and bow.
The final fashion (1 closeup and 1 full
view has close to final design but not
necessarily color, dated 4/11/86. 512019-14
p.t.o means preliminary turn over.
"Dated 1/17/86, shows doll with
no head, but with a hot pink hat and a
black dot net attached to it. The short
black skirt with slit in front, looking
gloves and pink mesh tights. The blouse
is hot pink fur. It may be a Creata doll.
Dated 2/25/86, 512018-08m, is a black
metallic mesh short dress with hot pink
metallic belt, pink tights, yellow/green
fur jacket with turquoise trim, and a
black hat with brim turned up. Also yellow
shoes. On a Jem doll.
Dated 4/16/86, 512018-18m. Short black
metallic dress (like previous dress) pink
metallic belt, Turquoise fur jacket with
turquoise lame mesh tights. On Jem doll."
Glitter'n Gold Jem/Jerrica
Glitter'n Gold Fashions
missing the description from this auction
"They are two pictures of the prototypes
that were the final fashions for "Diamond
Nights" and Fire the Glitter and
Gold Assortment. The fabric used for these
fashions may or may not have been the
fabrics used in manufacturing, or the
for manufacturing. The back of both Polaroids
reads" Glitter and Gold 1986, design"."
* description are from the auctions
Polaroid of the original sketches
and prototypes of 5 On Stage Fashions
These are original slides from
1986/87 taken of the final presentation model
and is the Clash Doll chosen for manufacture.
The hair was styled by a professional stylist,
the face was
hand painted by a professional and the fashion
was sewn by the designer. The original slides
were taken with and without flash.
* description are from the Clash
playset was being developed for "M"
was a jet. Like the released Jem playsets, it
was to have a cassette player and speaker. It
also could be transformed into a stage. This playset
may have been dropped for the Rockin' Roadster,
Star Stage, and Rock Backstager. Elements from
this M jet were used in all three 1986 produced
With the playset dated 1985, there is also a
good chance it may have been planned as a 1987
playset release – as the 1987 Video, Danse
and Clash are also dated 1985.
Plane Design as
illustrated by Bill Sanders (1985)
the Beginning" (1986)
it starts with a hint of the new line in the Pre-Toy
Fair Catalog. But not in 1986, Hasbro actually
excluded Jem and released limited number of the
1986 Pre-Toy Fair Catalogs just to make Mattel
think Hasbro was dropping the Jem line -- it didn't
help, or Mattel was not fooled, as Mattel continued
the release of Barbie and the Rockers.
Barbie’s sales had been low for most of
the 70s and 80s, so Hasbro thought they could
take her place as the number one selling fashion
doll. Jem wasn’t the number one selling
doll, but thanks to Jem, Barbie and the Rockers
put Barbie back on top with externally high sales.
the Misfit and Rio
dolls, three playsets and twenty-four fashions
started the doll line.
Those 15 "Super Sunday" segments were
put together into a 90-minute movie "Truly
Outrageous!" in 1986 and shown to kick off
the new "JEM" animated series. At the
same time those 15 segments where extended and
included as the first five part episode of the
Jem cartoon. The five part episode started airing
in April of 1986. 4-1/2 minutes was added to three
"Super Sunday" segments to fit the new
Jem episode running time. "Starbright"
soon followed in, July 1986, as 3 part episode.
Between April of 1986 and the March of 1987 Jem
had 26 full episodes.
new Jem dolls, three new Holograms were added
to the "New Look" Holograms, two new
Misfits were added to the reissued Misfits, Synergy,
three Starlight Girls along with three playsets
(one new playset), updated roadster, four playset
attachments, a waterbed and twice as many fashion
where added to the line. (1987)
"Glitter'n Gold" was the new doll theme
and the 26th episode "Glitter and Gold",
aired in March 1987 -- it was the first look at
the new 1987 fashions and dolls, with the exception
of Raya and Jetta. After the summer break, Raya
and Jetta made their first appearance in September
with "Talent Search" part 1 and 2. Jem
was now being aired Monday through Friday. Between
September of 1987 and the May of 1988 Jem had
39 full episodes.
Glitter'n Gold was originally the Hollywood/glamour
theme and was put on the Toy Fair cover as a least
attempt to get the sales Hasbro was expecting
for Jem. This was to be a new direction for Jem
was an attempt confidence with the buyers for
the toy stores and departments. Hasbro was disappointed
with the 1986 sales of Jem, but did not want to
give up on her, and look like they completely
failed. The 1987 orders for Jem did not meet Hasbro’s
expectations so even though Jem was sold in 1987,
all development stopped on the doll line around
Feb./March of 1987 – Hasbro basically knew
Jem was over at that point.
The Rock’n Curl Jem fashion was designed
by Girls’ Soft instead of Girls’ Hard
who designed the rest of the boxed doll fashions.
is Farewell" (1988)
Rockin' Romance and American
two new Holograms
the Stingers, Hollywood Jem,
and Graphix of the Misfits
like Hasbro still was not ready to completely
give up. I’m sure the popularity of the
cartoon made Hasbro feel they still had a chance.
It looked like Hasbro was going to pick up where
they left off before the Toy Fair 1987 shutdown
of the line. Two new lower price Jem dolls, lower
price Holograms, and Matching Medley (Mix &
Match) fashions were revealed in the 1988 Pre-Toy
Fair Catalog. The Stingers and Hollywood Jem was
waiting in the wing, but the regular fashion assortments
were not included – Hasbro shut development
down in March 1987, before the themes could be
expanded in fashion assortments. A Stinger fashion
assortment was never started and the Hollywood
Jem assortment never made it to the prototype
stage. On Stage Fashions, Flipside Fashions, Smashin’
Fashions, Rio Fashions, Glitter’n Gold Fashions
and Music is Magic fashions were not developed,
so we wouldn’t have seen new updated fashions
for our favorite assortments either.
The International/World Tour fashions never made
it past the Marketing Departments approval; Graphix
was dropped pretty early on with the Misfits.
American Beauty Jem would have been Hasbro’s
attempt to add red to the line. The color red
was considered too risqué for a doll line,
so the American theme was away to work the color
into the line.
There should have been at least four new Jem
American Beauty Jem - 4007 (US 1988 Pre-Toy
unknown Jem? missing number 4008
Hollywood jem - 4009 (French 1988 Pre-Toy
Fair catalog-wrong doll pictured), and
Jem - 4010 (1988 store inventory list and
Two new Holograms:
Astral - original name was Magic (US 1988
Pre-Toy Fair catalog),
Regine - original name was Paris (US 1988
Pre-Toy Fair catalog), and
Video and Danse would have been reissued with
(US 1988 Pre-Toy Fair catalog-changes not pictured)
A new group the Stingers - assortment number
4012: (French 1988 Pre-Toy Fair catalog/Media
Riot - original name was Chaos -- a male,
Minx - original name was Fiasco,
Rapture - original name was Jazz,
Most of these new dolls appeared in the show
sometime in the fall and winter of 1987/1988.
Pizzazz (Red Dress) and the new Misfit Graphix
were put on hold for the 1988 line, and Graphix
never appeared in the show. New mix match outfits,
along with many other new fashion sets were going
to be planned for 1988. Some
of the new dolls and possible new fashions.
A new Rio was also developed, "Rio O' Boy".
Get My Love Together"
made Jem to expensive to compete in the marking
place. Hasbro expected Jem to make over $30 million
a year, but the sales were not there – not
when the customer had a cheaper alterative to
choose from. Hasbro made Jem too realistic, too
articulate and with flashing earrings and/or a
cassette tape, the costs were just too high to
compete. The fact that Jem was not sculpted to
fit Barbie’s clothing did not help either.
A new reason for Jem's demise as surfaced from
Hasbro -- the size of the boxes. It seems that
the 14-1/2” tall doll boxes was a big issue
to retail stores in most areas. Doll aisles were
set up to hold the 11-3/4” Barbie boxes.
Because of the larger size, one of two things
happened – either the dolls would be sat
on their side, or one shelve would have to be
removed and the other shelves adjusted to accommodate
the larger boxes. These are not issues that customers
would see, but stores would see the display as
looking sloppy and reflecting badly on the store
or see it as loosing valuable shelf space. A retail
outlet would see taking out the shelf as a loose
of revenue -- overstock and backroom storage is
seen as a negative in retail.
not confirmed: Hasbro, or more
importantly Stephen Hassenfeld, saw that Jem had
some marketing issue, and wanted to fix them.
When Stephen found out that he was dying, he decided
to cancel the line. Stephen felt like he did not
have enough time to fix all the issues with Jem,
and was afraid that Hasbro, under his brother
Alan Hassenfeld, would not fix them after he was
gone. The decision was to black out Jem completely,
so it was like she never existed. All posters,
dolls and anything Jem related were removed from
Hasbro. Any remaining merchandise, included Rockin’
Romance Jem, were shipped over seas.
Stephen Hassenfeld passed away on June 25, 1989.
March 2010 Updated/Correction:
By the time the doll line was canceled the show
was already rapping up. Hasbro was canceling all
the Sunbow shows to save money -- Jem was the
last one to be canceled, finishing out the 65
episode syndicated contract. The Jem cartoon might
have even gotten a longer run thanks to the doll
line being canceled. Hasbro promised the vendors
they would continue the show after the line was
canceled to help move (1987) product from store
shelves. If the Jem doll line continued into 1988
more then likely Hasbro would have broken the
contract with Sunbow dropping the Jem cartoon
in Oct of 1987.
G. I. Joe and Transformers had hit the 65 episode
G. I. Joe was canceled at 21 episodes after
the first 65 -- just 5 episodes shy of another
26 episode contract ( two13 contracts) after
the original 65 episode contract = 86 of 91
Transformers was canceled 46 episodes after
the first 65 -- just 6 episodes shy of two 26
episode contracts (four 13 contracts) after
the original 65 episode contract = 111 of 117
Hasbro contracts with Sunbow were for 65 episodes
followed by 13 or 26 episode contracts beyond
the first 65.This information is from a former
Sunbow employee, it seems to conflict with the
idea of G.I. Joe and Transformers continuing with
30 episodes contracts/seasons after the original
65 episodes. The Hasbro contracts for episodes
(13, 26, etc.) might have little to nothing to
do with the distribution of the episodes (30 episodes
in a season).
doll called Maxie
ended up replacing Jem. Maxie was a high school
girl, with her high school friends. The line was
the same size as Barbie and the fashions could
be swapped with Barbie fashions. This line only
lasted three years.
Maxie was not a true replacement for Jem because
Hasbro originally was going to release both Jem
and Maxie in 1988. Maxie was brought in by outside
investors who had their own staff develop the
line. Hasbro prototyped the dolls and fashions
and produced the line. Except for the use of some
Jem’s fabrics and accessories, Jem (and
the designers that worked on Jem) had very little
to do with Maxie’s development.
Maxie was going to have a band in the fall 1990,
but Hasbro canceled Maxie before the dolls hit
the stores. This Maxie band would have featured
Jem instruments in new colors.
Rockin' Pretty Bianca
- a blue Roxy guitar,
Rockin' Pretty Maxie -
a purple Shana guitar,
Rockin' Pretty Ashley -
a blue "Show
Me The Way" Video Madness tambourine, missing
the Jem logo, and
Rockin' Pretty Carly -
a light green Kimber
Maxie was quickly followed by the New
Kids on the Block dolls. That included two
sets of dolls and a stage playset. New Kids dolls
came with a black version of Jem’s microphone,
and like Maxie’s Rob the body was an updated
and less articulate version of the Rio body.
Many of Jem’s accessories also landed
in the Sindy line
that Hasbro manufactured and distributed in Europe
-- including the Rockin’ Romance Jem dolls
jewelry and the Rock’n Roses guitar.
After the doll line
and as the cartoon was being canceled Family Home
Entertainment released 3
final VHS videocassettes. Avid released Truly
Outrageous a few years later in 1991. Jem aired
on the USA Network as last as the winter of 1992/1993.
It wasn’t until September 1999 that we
saw another Jem related release with the 1st
Rhino VHS release, a 2nd release videocassette
in 2000. Sony Wonder owned the rights to all the
Sunbow properties at that time and licensed them
to Rhino. Five years into the licensing deal Rhino
finally released their 1st
and 2nd season DVD (first 26 episodes) in
March of 2004, the third season, part 1 was release
in September 2004. Before the third season, part
2 could be released Sony Wonder did not renew
the licensing deal with Rhino so that last 20
episodes remained unreleased. During this licensing
deal, Sony Wonder was dissolved so the ownership
of the titles went to Sony Home Entertainment,
By May of 2008 Hasbro acquired the worldwide
distribution rights to the Sunbow Library. And
on October 11, 2011 Shout! Factory released Jem
the Complete Series on DVD, through licensing
with Hasbro -- and release their season episodes
through July of 2012.
At the same time the Shout! Factory DVDs were
being released, Hasbro also partnered with Discovery
Kids Network to created the Hub network, which
aired new and old content for the Hasbro brands.
Jem was aired
on TV in the first time in almost 20 years
starting with a Marathon May 28, 2011.
To promote the Shout! Factory DVDs, welovefine
licensed t-shirts, and Spirit Halloween licensed
customs, Jem was at the New
York Comic Con 2011. Hasbro also released
a multi brand comic book called UNIT:E which included
Jem, and has future version of Synergy as a main
character which premiered at NYCC2011. The licensing
continued with the release of the Integrity Toy
Jem Adult Collector line premiering at San
Deigo Comic Con 2012. In the spring of 2014
filming started on a Jem live action movie to
be released in October 23, 2015, and IDW Publishing
is also licensed to release a comic book, starting