Podzilla 1985

Sunday, October 07, 2012

"It's Show Time Synergy..."

Box art from the Hasbro line of toys
 I am a child of the 80's. That means if I had a toy I loved there was a good chance it had a TV show to help sell it. Jem and the Holograms was no exception to this rule. The show about a music CEO who was also secretly their biggest star had a rather large toy line. From 1985 - 1987 Hasbro released 24 dolls, 75 separate fashions  and 10 play sets, including 2 versions of Jem's car the Rock n' Roadster.

I was not one of those lucky girls who got to have all of it. I had 2 dolls, and not even at the same time. I had the original Jem/Jerrica doll, who met an unfortunate fate at a babysitters house one day, and then mom replaced her with the newer Glitter N' Gold Jem on my next birthday. I still have that doll, though she's missing several accessories and at some point I drew a beauty mark on her face by one of her eyes. Thanks to a fateful yard sale, my mom stopped by a few years back, I also have been given another original Jem for my small collection. eBay still tempts me from time to time, when I get the collector bug and contemplate buying the other dolls that I wanted as a kid, but never got. I still like the dolls a lot, but one factor has helped me from going bid crazy on these memories from my past. The dolls are a bit manly.

Hasbro Glitter N' Gold Jem 1985
This was always made more evident when the only other fashion dolls I had were Barbies. Jem, as much as I loved her, was taller than Ken, and without having a doll of her boyfriend Rio it made play time a little weird. At 12 1/2 inches tall, Jem always seemed like an amazon or a drag queen compared to the shorter Mattel creations. So her play time was limited to solo adventures at my house or at friend's houses who had other dolls from the line or Maxi dolls (who pretty much used the same molds) that were also released around the same time by Hasbro. 

Integrity Toys has reawakened my love of Jem dolls, and I hate them for it. 

Seriously though their new line of collector dolls are AMAZING! They are high quality, detailed, fully articulated and just plain gorgeous. They are also very pricey and that makes me want to cry. 

Integrity Toys Hollywood Jem 2012
Hollywood Jem close up
Hollywood Jem was the first doll in the series, and was premiered at the 2012 San Diego Comic Con. She sold there for $125 a pop and currently on eBay at prices ranging from $300 -$500 +. Do you know how many Pokemon plushies I could get with kind of bank?

The prices keep  them out of my reach, for now, but I can understand the cost. The details are amazing. I mean seriously they have freaking eyelashes! I also love that they chose to dress her in a familiar costume from the show, that was never made into a fashion for the original doll line.One of those nice little touches for the fans. 

Since then 4 more dolls have been added to this line. I've provided a side by side comparison to the dolls from the 80's to their new and improved counter parts.

Classic Jem, in all her glory. Granted the new doll's gem star earrings don't light up but they are spot on model with their 7 points and bright ruby color. The new belt is closer to the shape in the show as well. The old doll's hair was blond and pink, so you could make her be Jerrica by simply hiding the pink hair under a hat. All of the Jerrica fashions had a hat of some sort for this reason. The new doll sports a full head of pink hair as she should. 

Jerrica Benton, the CEO of Starlight Music and the true identity of Jem. The old doll's dress was kind of dumpy and the belt was just the silver one turned back wards. The new doll has a cleaner look and gives off more of a powerful executive feel. I love on the face details that they kept her eyebrows blue like they were in the show. I think my only complaint is that her eyes seem a little cold. Jerrica is a business woman but she's very caring and down to earth. Jem has this same look in her eyes, but it doesn't bother me as much since she's supposed to be a mystery to everyone. Other than the eyes I love everything about this doll. It's nice to see that they separated the two persona of her into individual dolls this time.

Rio Pacheco, Jerrica's boyfriend and an equipment tech for Starlight Music. Let's not try and argue it, the 80's doll is terrible. I kind of feel bad putting it next to the 2012 version that was obviously ripped from the pages of a shoujo manga series. Skip Beat's Ren Tsuruga anyone? They ditched the ridiculous cloths for the look he often sported in the show. Muted colors is more of a technician's thing than purple pants. The stern expression is very fitting for him, and his serious attitude. I would not be ashamed to have this version in my collection. Sorry 1985 Rio but you fell to the goofy fate of most male dolls in the 80's. Remember Safari Fun Ken? (Just watch Toy Story 3 if not you'll under stand)

The final doll in the series is Synergy. She is the computer that Jerrica's father built and the one who produces the hologram that is Jem. Without her there would be no Jem and Holograms. She often appears in a human like form to advise Jerrica and the other members of the band. Her new version blows me away. I want this doll! It won't happen, but I want her. She's just plain cool and a perfect match to the show's model. Once again the details amaze me. Her boots have tiny working zippers! The old doll was fun, but the upgrade is just that, a major up grade. Synergy isn't running on DOS any more.

Jem and the Holograms has a large fan base. They even have their own convention JemCon, which indecently was in St. Louis, MO this year. I wanted to go, but I think my dear Shannon would have killed me if I forced him to keep me company, so I passed. Going alone is no fun. The Hub has also been re-running the show and you can find all 65 episodes on Netflix. If those aren't options for you in the last year a complete box set has been released on DVD as well as just season 1 if you want a little taste.

So to get to the point I hope this collection continues to grow. I want to see Misfit dolls as well as the Holograms, and if we're lucky we might even get some side characters. I'd love to see The Stingers finally have dolls released since they never made it to the production line in the 80's. If they make a doll of the VJ host LinZ I will have to buy her. I am after all 'Lyndz'. Maybe in the end I'll luck out and they'll have per-orders for new dolls around tax refund time. A girl can hope right?

Check out the new line of Jem dolls and where you can buy them at Integrity Toys official site.

Rock Jem has a great in depth overview of the Hasbro line of toys so feel free to check them out too. 

Lastly thanks to my friends on Deviant Art who let me know about the 4 new dolls. JemIsTrulyOutrageous is a fan group on DA for all things Jem.

"Shows over Synergy." 

Side note: I find it funny that my first real project here at Blogzilla 1985 is on a series that first aired in 1985.....
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