Today Mirror80 profiles the world of Jem, a Hasbro/Marvel Productions/Sunbow Productions cartoon series that ran from 1985-1988. Japanese animation studio Toei Doga contributed the animation, while advertising agency Griffin-Bacall Advertising (who founded Sunbow Productions) created the series’ 65 episodes. And boy did they put their stamp on the look of the show! Characters combined style elements of punk and glitz (a.k.a. the big shoulder-padded, large jewelry wearing elegance of a Nagel model or Falcon Crest character). What a combo!
Jem, voiced by Samantha Newark (with singing voice provided by Britta Phillips), is the alter-ego of Jerrica Benton, owner and manager of Starlight Music. Through Synergy, a holographic computer built by Jerrica’s late father, and with the help of remote micro projectors in her earrings, Jerrica can project the Jem hologram over herself and assume the awesome, “truly outrageous” identity of Jem. Still with us? There’s more…The Holograms! Because Jem can’t perform her music alone! Jem’s sister Kimber plays keyboards, while the girls’ friends/adopted foster sisters Aja and Shana play guitar and drums, respectively. Enjoy Jem and The Holograms performing “Glitter and Gold.” So glam!:
While the above video lends a metallic look to the episode, the show’s typical color-heavy palette and music video editing techniques remind us of the splicing magic seen in music videos from ’80s girl groups like the Go-Go’s:
Sure, Jem and The Holograms took center stage, but there was room in the series for some competition. Take rival band The Misfits, consisting of the unpleasant Pizzazz, bass player Roxy, amiable keytar player Stormer, and latecomer saxophonist Sheila. Here are The Misfits performing “It Takes a Lot”:
The video’s jungle vibe casts the band in a Toto Coelo light. You remember British girl group Toto Coelo of “I Eat Cannibals” fame, right? If only one of them had blue hair…:
And finally we have The Stingers in their platinum-haired glory. With a distinct style that is part New Romantic, part Cruella de Vil, this rival band likely frightened children throughout the mid-late ’80s. Here is their bizarre and inappropriate hit “Mind Games.” Enjoy!:
Their long jacketed, hair-heavy look conjures images of ’80s/early ’90s hard rock acts like Nelson of “After the Rain” fame:
Join us tomorrow as we recreate an ’80s-style interior based on the world of Jem!