It's the truly outrageous...M?! Yes, this is a character
sketch of M for development on the cartoon. Notice her
"M" shapped earrings.
Beautifully coordinated, the promotion included dolls with cassette tapes of professionally recorded songs sung by the dolls character. The songs coordinated to names of stunningly made outfits, and the whole package of doll, song and costume tied into the television show! It was not only truly outrageous, but truly brilliant.
By fall of 1987, despite the television show often placing number one in children's shows it was clear that Jem was just not moving. At Toys R Us, stock was pilled hight to the celing. At independent stores such as F.A.O Schwarz (which earlier in the year devoted an entire corner to Jem, complete with continuous showings of her music videos), sales were sluggish. To move the stock, some stores marked Jem down 50 percent!
These are fashion designs for Jerrica and Jem that never got past the drawing board. Notice Jem's earings are "J" shaped.
In November, rumor hit that Jem would be discontinued, and that Hasbro, which had already designed a 1988 line by this time, would not be offering it next year. The contributing factor to the demise of Jem was her size. No doll that has not been Barbie size has ever made it past the two-year mark. Parents simply view toys differently than collectors do. They do not want to shell out a small fortune for doll clothing that was not interchangeable with dolls already at home. Hasbro was gambling that the doll and clothing would be so appealing that this would happen. It did not and spelled the demise of the most creative and beautifully designed fashion doll in 30 years!
The irony is that once the dolls and clothing were half price, children and parents were buying them like crazy. Sales of her videocassettes increased. Having now owned them, the public seemed eager for more. Perhaps if Hasbro had given it one more year...
This is a workroom sketch of M's jet, which transformed into her stage!
Parts taken from Contemporary Doll Stars by A. Glenn Mandeville. Published by Hobby House Press, 1992.