1 9 8 5 – 1 9 8 8 (USA)
65 x 30 minute episodes
Jerrica Benton was the owner of the Starlight Foundation, a foster home for young girls.
Following the death of her father, Professor Emmett Benton, Jerrica also became the CEO of the Starlight Music Company. She also inherited an invention of his.
Called ‘Synergy’, it was a sophisticated computerised holographic device which Jerrica could use (with the aid of micro projectors in the star-shaped earrings she wore) to transform herself into Jem, a beautiful singer and the leader of The Holograms, a stunning all-female rock group.
Other members of the group were Jerrica’s sensitive but ambitious little sister Kimber on keyboards, the sassy and strong-willed Aja Leith on guitar, and softly-spoken Shana Elmsford on drums. Aja and Shana were adopted foster sisters of Jerrica and Kimber, having lived with the Benton family since they were young.
Shana briefly left the group to pursue a career in fashion and was replaced by Carmen ‘Raya’ Alonso. When Shana returned to the band, she became the bassist.
The Holograms had two rival bands – The Misfits and The Stingers. The Misfits were made up of cold-hearted rich girl Pizzazz (real name Phyllis Gabor) on vocals, tough-acting Roxy (real name Roxanne Pelligrini) on drums, Jetta (real name Sheila Burns) on bass and Stormer (real name Mary Phillips), the songwriter and keytarist for the group.
“We are The Misfits, Our songs are better and we’re gonna get her”.
The Stingers (who debuted in the third season) hailed from Germany and comprised egotistical lead singer Riot (real name Rory Llewelyn), con artist Rapture (Phoebe Ashe) and keyboardist Minx (Ingrid Kruger).
This rivalry between the groups is encouraged and manipulated by central villain, Eric Raymond, the former half-owner of Starlight Music who ran Misfits Music (later Stinger Sound).
During the series, Eric Raymond constantly plots to become owner of Starlight Music and get revenge on Jem and the Holograms for having cost him control of the company.
The series – starting out as 6-minute segments on Super Sunday – was produced by toymaker Hasbro specifically to promote a toy line. Hasbro had already chosen the names of all the characters when they engaged an advertising agency to put the cartoon into production.
Each Jem doll was packaged with a cassette single featuring the show’s theme song Truly Outrageous and two other songs unique to each character. More than three million dolls were sold between 1986 and 1987, earning the theme song triple-platinum sales status.
Dialogue for the series was recorded by voice actors at a studio in Los Angeles, while the music and singing were recorded by professional musicians and singers in New York. Most of the animation was provided by Japanese studio Toei Animation.
The series was cancelled when Hasbro ditched their toy line due to disappointing sales.
Britta Phillips (singing voice)
Pizzazz/Phyllis Margaret Gabor
Patricia Alice Albrecht
Ellen Bernfeld (singing voice)
Carmen ‘Raya’ Alonso
Gordon Grody (singing voice)
Vicki Sue Robinson (singing voice)
Professor Emmett Benton
Ari Gold (singing voice)