Everything you need to dress-up like Jem, Pizzazz or Synergy
-- officially licensed by Hasbro. spirithalloween.com
Get your officially (USA) licensed Jem t-shirts at welovefine.com thanks to the first welovefine/Jem contest, many Jem fan
made designs are available for purchase. Congratulations to the Winners! You are Superstars!
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.
What is at the end of Kimber's keyboard?
It is the letter "M"
Photo by Riot4Jem
Now why is there a M and not a J?
When Hasbro 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.
It sounds 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)
"Truly Outrageous!" (pre-1986)
Bill 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.
M/Misty became Jem/Jerrica
Aja became Kimber
Jade became Aja
Pizazz became Pizzazz
Rue became Roxy
Roxy became Stormer
photos from an unnamed source
As development continued the dolls were based on the Kenner Darci line. Hasbro even used Darci dolls to design the fashions to fit Jem.
Polaroids of evolution of first and second year dolls
Seller: pjkho Date: 6/30/2010 Amount: $358.53
Seller: pjkho Date: 3/23/2011 Amount: $307.00
Seller: pjkho Date: 9/29/2010 Amount: $52.00
"1. "Misty" on a Creata doll 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 to final
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 with bangs.
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."
Seller: pjkho Date: 8/1/2013 Amount: $43.01
Seller: pjkho Date: 7/21/2010 Amount: $358.53
Seller: pjkho Date: 8/04/2010 Amount: $821.00
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 of development. The fashion was modeled on a Darci doll.
"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 pants."
Seller: pjkho Date: 8/25/2010 Amount: $551.00
Seller: pjkho Date: 9/06/2010 Amount: $213.50
Seller: pjkho Date: 8/1/2013 Amount: $42.02
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.
Seller: pjkho Date: 8/1/2013 Amount: $33.07
Seller: pjkho Date: 3/9/2011 Amount: $681.00
Seller: pjkho Date: 9/08/2010 Amount: $510.00
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 Video.
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 fashion presented.
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
Seller: pjkho Date: 11/17/2010 Amount: $326.00
Seller: pjkho Date: 2/23/2010 Amount: $154.50
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 auction
One 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 playsets.
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.
Original Plane Design as illustrated by Bill Sanders (1985)
"Only the Beginning" (1986)
Usually 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. (source)
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
Eight 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.
Three 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.
"This is Farewell" (1988)
Rockin' Romance and American Beauty Jem
two new Holograms
the Stingers, Hollywood Jem, and Graphix of the Misfits
It seems 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 dolls:
American Beauty Jem - 4007 (US 1988 Pre-Toy Fair catalog),
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 price changes)
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 long hair. (US 1988 Pre-Toy Fair catalog-changes not pictured)
A new group the Stingers - assortment number 4012: (French 1988 Pre-Toy Fair catalog/Media Guide)
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".
"Can't Get My Love Together"
Hasbro 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 mark.
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).
A smaller 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 keyboard
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.
Life After Jem
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 April 2015.