The '80s Rocker Who Nearly Took Down Barbie

The Tweens of the MTV generation had a Saturday morning cartoon all their own when Jem and the Holograms debuted in 1985. Almost thirty years later, a new live-action Jem movie is in the works, ready to grab Gen X for the nostalgia and their Millennial children as a new audience.  

One of the most innovative aspects of the “Jem and the Holograms” cartoon was the integration of full songs and music videos. Every episode contained three segments shot like the music videos of the day featuring two Jem and the Holograms songs and one Misfits song. Ford Kindler and Anne Bryant wrote the music for both bands, and Barry Harman came up with the words, including the iconic lyrics of the Jem theme song, “Truly Outrageous.” Britta Phillips sang Jem’s parts, while Ellen Bernfield sang for Pizzazz of the Misfits. The Holograms songs are surprisingly disco-esque, often featuring horns, which no one in the band plays. In 65 episodes airing over three years, “Jem and the Holograms” produced 187 music videos for 151 unique songs.

What the kids who loved Jem didn’t know was that the whole series was concocted by Hasbro to market dolls in competition with Mattel’s Barbie. Read the story of how Jem and the Holograms came be and rose like a shooting star, at Collectors Weekly.


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