If you’re an Eighties girl like me, Jem And The Holograms was the cartoon of choice, and Jem dolls a must-have on the holiday gift list. Compared to Barbie, the Jem line of dolls from Hasbro looked like Amazons — 12 inches tall with wild, colorful hair and the latest punk 1980s fashions. Here’s a trip down memory lane with ten of the coolest toys associated with Jem
10. Jem Clones
No list of truly outrageous Jem toys can be complete without those faux Jems your parents bought you by accident. You asked for Jem and the Holograms — you got Barbie and the Rockers. Or the similar-looking “space age” Spectra line of Mattel dolls with the shiny plastic bodies. Or even one of the dozens of dime-store no-name Jem dolls with crappy guitars (and arms and hands not articulated to hold them). Jem — I just want JEM — is that so hard? (sniff!)
9. Jem Rockin’ Roadster
Your Jem dolls could ride in style with this slick, day-glo vehicle. It was important to get Jem-branded transport for your dolls, because they were too big to fit in the pink Barbie van, and…well, Jem was liable to just throw a diva tantrum and storm out of your playroom.
C’mon, has there ever been a cooler-looking boy doll in the history of toys? He looks like if David Duchovny headlined Flock of Seagulls. Your older brother’s G.I. Joe and Mego dolls might have laughed at Rio, but he was really tall and could kick their ass.
7. The Starlight Girls
These teens were added-on to the Jem toy line towards the end of its run. Note to self: adding on cute-as-a-button young teens to any toy line or TV show in order to expand their audience might be the kiss-of-death. However, in the collector’s market these dolls grab a pretty penny.
6. Jem Star Stage
Perhaps taking a cue from their toy contemporary The Transformers, the piano keyboard-shaped stage accessory for Jem and her Holograms was also a tape player and could change into Jem Jerrica’s office. Provided me with my first doll-sized file-cabinet.
5. “He-She” Jem Doll
After reading this on novelty store Archie McPhee’s blog I still have trouble believing it — apparently there was a factory mistake at one point and Rio heads were used to make Jem dolls, complete with long hair. When the popular dolls quickly sold out, McPhee asked the factory to repeat the error — but you know what they say, lightning doesn’t strike twice.
4. Glitter and Gold Rio
The only way you could really make Rio more fabulous was to dress him in a cheesy gold prom outfit. This was during Jem’s rather materialistic “Glitter and Gold” phase, where she dropped a lot of her more edgy punk fashions for more along the line of what Barbie was wearing (when the elder doll wasn’t ripping Jem off with her Rockers band).
This sinister looking doll with green hair scared the crap out of my parents — which meant she was awesome!
Unlike her freaky animated counterpart, the doll version of Synergy had eyeballs. There were many other cool things about her, but the eyeball thing was really key for me.
1. Jem/Jerrica Doll
This was the doll many of us collectors first started with — the standard-issue Jem with glowing earrings and a whole second set of clothing that transformed into Hannah Montana Jem. Many a girl threatened to hold her breath and turn blue if she didn’t get this one — a shade which coincidentally would have perfectly matched Jerrica’s tasteful dress/beret number included in the set.
Check out a classic Jem toy commercial below…and if you’re into Jem and the Holograms don’t forget to buy the complete series on DVD October 11th from Shout! Factory!