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Jem
Jem Cartoon.jpg
Genre Animation / Fantasy / Drama / Music
Created by Hasbro
Voices of Samantha Newark (speaking voice for both Jerrica Benton and Jem)
Britta Phillips (singing voice of Jem)
Kath Soucie
Marlene Aragon
Susan Blu
Neil Ross
Charles Adler
Country of origin  United States
Japan Japan (animation)
No. of episodes 65 (List of episodes)
Production
Running time 24 minutes
Broadcast
Original channel First-run syndication
Original run October 6, 1985 – May 2, 1988

Jem, also called Jem and the Holograms, is an American animated television series that ran from 1985 to 1988 in U.S. first-run syndication. The show is about music company owner Jerrica Benton, her singer alter-ego Jem, her band the Holograms, and their adventures.

The series was a joint collaboration by Hasbro, Marvel Comics, and Sunbow Productions, the same team responsible for G.I. Joe and Transformers. The creator of the series was Christy Marx, who also had been a staff writer for the aforementioned programs. The animation was provided by the Japanese animation studio Toei Doga (now Toei Animation).

Contents

Production

Hasbro hired advertising agency Griffin-Bacal, the founders of Sunbow Productions, to create the 65-episode animation series. Griffin-Bacal (Sunbow), as well as Marvel Productions, had previously created the successful G.I. Joe series for Hasbro. G.I. Joe writer Christy Marx was hired to create the series based on the line of dolls and the original concept, which consisted of the two girl bands, Synergy, the boyfriend Rio, and the Rockin' Roadster. Marx created the full character biographies and relationships, including the love triangle aspect between Rio and Jerrica Benton/Jem, Starlight Music and Starlight House, the Starlight Girls, the villain Eric Raymond and various secondary characters. Later, Marx was asked to develop new characters as they were introduced. Marx wrote 22 of the 65 shows. Other writers for the series included Cary Bates, Greg Weisman, Paul Dini, Buzz Dixon, Ellen Guon, Steve Mitchell, Michael Reaves, David Wise, and Marv Wolfman.

The Executive Producers were Joe Bacal, Jay Bacal, Tom Griffin, and Margaret Loesch. The story editor was Roger Slifer and the voice director was industry veteran, Wally Burr. The show's directors and supervising animators included many veterans of the DePatie-Freleng cartoon studio including Gerry Chiniquy, John Gibbs, Norm McCabe, Warren Batchelder and Tom Ray.

Plot

The central "secret" of the series is that Jem is in fact the alter ego of Jerrica Benton, owner/manager of Starlight Music, who adopts this persona with the help of Synergy, a holographic computer designed to be the ultimate visual entertainment synthesizer (built by her father, Emmett Benton, who left it to her on his death), to acquire more money to not only support Jerrica's own company, Starlight Music, but to also support the Starlight Foundation for Girls, a foster program founded by Jacque Benton, the mother of Jerrica and Kimber Benton.

The other Holograms are Kimber Benton, Jerrica's younger sister, keyboardist and main songwriter for the band; Aja Leith, guitarist; and Shana Elmsford, who plays the synth drums. Aja and Shana are also childhood friends and adopted foster sisters of Jerrica and Kimber. Shana briefly left the group to pursue a career in fashion, in a two-part episode called "The Talent Search," where a new character, Carmen "Raya" Alonso, is introduced as her replacement. When Shana returns, Raya Alonso remains the Holograms' drummer while Shana takes up the guitar again. Only the Holograms are aware of Jem's secret identity, although Jerrica revealed it to the United States President in a season 2 episode, "The Presidential Dilemma," and an old Tibetan woman in the episode "Journey to Shangri-La,". Episodes of the series frequently revolve around Jerrica's efforts to keep her two identities separate. Jerrica's other main concern is Starlight House, a home for foster girls run by the Holograms. The Holograms' main purpose is to fund the Starlight Foundation and support the Starlight Girls. Jerrica's childhood home, where the foster girls were previously housed, was accidentally burned down by Zipper, one of Eric Raymond's not-too-bright henchmen. Jem and the Holograms later won possession of the Starlight Mansion when they competed in the Battle of the Bands as well as a movie contract which were offered spontaniously by movie producer Howard Sands (based on real-world director John Waters)

The Holograms have 2 rival bands, one of which are called the Misfits: petulant rich girl Pizzazz (Phyllis Gabor) and her cohorts: no-nonsense Roxy (Roxanne Pelligrini) and kind-hearted, sensitive keytar player Stormer (Mary Phillips), who are later joined by the manipulative British saxophone player, Jetta (Sheila Burns). Most episodes of the series involve a plot by the Misfits to upstage Jem and the Holograms' latest glamorous escapade. This rivalry is encouraged and manipulated by their manager, the ruthless Eric Raymond (the once half-owner of Starlight Music, who constantly plots to be its owner again in the series). In the middle of the third season, the second band, the Stingers (Riot [lead singer and egotistical], Rapture [female guitarist and professional con-artist], and Minx [on keyboard and a man-manipulator]), appear and shake things up for both groups (even though they are later under contract with Eric Raymond and the Misfits). In the final episode of the series, all three groups seemed to have declared a truce when Ba Nee, one of the most troubled foster girls in Starlight House, was claimed by her long-lost father found by Jem and the Holograms.

Characters

Episodes

Music

No official Jem "Soundtrack" was ever released, although all but one of the songs released on cassette in any form were featured in the first season. The cassettes released included:

Love Is Here - (included in the Video Madness playset of the same name)

  1. "Jem Theme"
  2. "Love Is Here"
  3. "Can't Get My Love Together"

Show Me The Way - (included in the Video Madness playset of the same name)

  1. "Jem Theme"
  2. "Show Me The Way" (TV edit)
  3. "People Who Care"

It's Workin' Out - (included in the Video Madness playset of the same name)

  1. "Jem Theme"
  2. "It's Workin' Out/It's Doing Me In" Jem and the Holograms/ The Misfits
  3. "We Can Change It"

Welcome To The Jungle - (included in the Video Madness playset of the same name)

  1. "Jem Theme"
  2. "Welcome To The Jungle" - The Misfits
  3. "Gimme, Gimme, Gimme" - The Misfits

Kimber - (included with the Kimber doll)

  1. "Jem Theme" - Jem and the Holograms
  2. "Only the Beginning" - Jem and the Holograms
  3. "Twilight in Paris" - Jem and the Holograms

(instrumental versions of songs on side B)

Rio - (included with the Rio doll)

  1. "Jem Theme" - Jem and the Holograms
  2. "Deception" - Jem and the Holograms
  3. "I Got My Eye on You" - Jem and the Holograms

(instrumental versions of songs on side B)

Synergy - (included with the Synergy doll)

  1. "JEM Theme" - Jem and the Holograms
  2. "Friend or Stranger" - Jem and the Holograms
  3. "We Can Change It" - Jem and the Holograms

(instrumental versions of songs on side B)

Glitter ’N Gold JEM - (included with Glitter ’N Gold Jem/Jerrica doll)

  1. "Glitter ’N Gold Theme Song" - Jem and the Holograms
  2. "Depends on the Mood I'm In" - Jem and the Holograms
  3. "Love is Here" - Jem and the Holograms

(instrumental versions of songs on side B)

Glitter ’N Gold - (Second year mail-in offer)

  1. "Glitter ’N Gold" (extended TV version)
  2. "Back ’N Shape" (extended version)
  3. "Jem Theme" (extended version)

Jem and Friends Dream Tour - (mail-in offer for Glitter ’N Gold Jem/Jerrica or Glitter ’N Gold Rio dolls)

  1. "How You Play the Game" - Jem and the Holograms
  2. "Doctor, Doctor" - The Thompson Twins
  3. "One Things Leads to Another" - The Fixx
  4. "Rock ’N Roll Forever" - Jem and the Holograms
  5. "Crush on You" - The Jets
  6. "The Kid is Hot Tonight" - Loverboy
  7. "Walkin’ on Sunshine" - Katrina and the Waves
  8. "Electric Avenue" - Eddy Grant
  9. "Rosanna" - Toto
  10. "Cool it Now" - The New Edition
  11. "Glitter ’N Gold" - Jem and the Holograms

Freezepop performed a cover of the Jem Theme as an untitled track on their albumn Fancy Ultra-Fresh.

VHS and DVD releases

A Jem tape released by Family Home Entertainment.

In the 1980s, various episodes were released on VHS by Family Home Entertainment in the USA and released by Tempo Video in the UK. The Glitter and Gold video is the only Jem video to have been released in both the USA and the UK. Nine videotape VHS volumes were released in the US, spanning 23 selected episodes of the series, while 8 videotape VHS volumes were released in the UK comprising of 15 selected episodes.

In 1998, Rhino Entertainment released two new VHS volumes in the US, with each tape having two episodes each. These were: Jem: Passport To Rock (episodes "World Hunger Shindig" & "Adventure In China") and a second volume, Jem: Fashion Fiasco (episodes "In Stitches" & "Culture Clash"). These videos featured episodes of the series digitally remastered for the first time ever. No further videotapes were ever released afterward.

On March 30, 2004, Rhino Entertainment released The Complete 1st and 2nd Seasons on DVD in Region 1. On September 14, 2004 the released Season 3, Part 1 which featured the first 19 episodes of Season 3. Both releases were digitally remastered and contained Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Rhino subsequently lost the rights to the series before they could release the remaining episodes of Season 3, the final season of the series. In 2008, Hasbro acquired the distribution rights for all Sunbow/Marvel, Hasbro related cartoon series including Jem.

DVD Name Ep # Release Date Additional Information
The Complete 1st & 2nd Seasons 26 March 30, 2004
  • Interviews with Samantha Newark, the speaking voice of Jem, and writer/creator Christy Marx
  • Commentary on four episodes by writer/creator Christy Marx
  • View all the music from the show in order, uninterrupted
  • Excerpts From the Jem Bible
Season 3, Part 1 19 September 14, 2004
  • Commentary tracks on episodes "KJEM" and "The Talent Search" by writer/executive story editor Christy Marx
  • Interview with the singing voice of Jem, Britta Phillips
  • Interview with writers Roger Slifer
  • Commentary track for "Father's Day" by writer Roger Slifer
  • "B" - Roll Footage
  • "Play Songs" feature

Jem was first released on DVD in the US in 2004 remastered and in 5.1 Audio. Since then Australia and France have also released Jem on DVD. The UK had the Jem: Truly Outrageous movie released on DVD.

In September 2004, Cartoon Network Australia bought the TV rights to Jem and aired the show for ten months on their classics network, Boomerang. Australia also had the first and second season of Jem released on DVD.

Current status of franchise

Almost 20 years after the Jem toy line was introduced to the U.S. market and 17 years after its demise, Hasbro has shown some legal activity in maintaining their trademarks and intellectual property, leading some fans to believe they may be reviving the line via the trademark renewal for "Dolls, doll clothing and doll accessories; board games and jigsaw puzzles," "publications, namely coloring books, activity books, comic books, paperback and hard cover story books, story books and pre-recorded books on tape all sold as a unit, and magazines in the field of dolls and animated characters," and "Entertainment services, namely, production and distribution of movies and on-going animated television series." Since 2004, Hasbro has changed the registered Trademarks from "JEM," to "JEM & the Holograms," and "Jem and the Holograms." Hasbro has also registered 4 domain names that are Jem related: jerricabenton.com (which redirects to Hasbro's home page,) showtimesynergy.com, jemmovie.com, and jemandthehologramsmovie.com (these three do not redirect).[1]

Hasbro has not released the licensing for DVD sales as of spring 2009. The unofficial statement from Hasbro is that they are wanting to concentrate on other titles at this time (Transformers and G.I. Joe). As of December 2009, the Jem series has not been released in any further DVDs.

Christy Marx has long expressed a desire to make a modern day revival of the animated series, but stated in a 2004 interview that there are a great deal of complications concerning the rights to the Jem properties.

"I would like to see that happen. I don't want to go into a lot of detail, but the whole rights situation for Jem is very, very complicated. Believe me, if there were a simple straightforward way to do it, it would be done. But there are some very big complications that are in the way at the moment." --Christy Marx.[2]

Forbes.com has reported that Hasbro has recently re-acquired distribution rights to the Sunbow library of Hasbro Classics, which includes Jem. This has led to speculation that Jem may be re-released on DVD in the future.[3]

Given the recent success of G. I. Joe and Transformers, Hasbro is said to be considering a live-action movie with Universal, with whom Hasbro signed a six-movie contact last year, or a new incarnation of the animated series. [4]

References

External links

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