Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Jem and the Houdinis

Jem Harry.
Jem and the Holograms was a syndicated 1980s cartoon series which, like Transformers, was basically a commercial for a Hasbro toy line. The popular series ran from 1985 to 1988 and still has a cult following today. There's even a Jem and the Holograms movie currently in production.

On February 15, 1988, Houdini became part of the Jem universe with Season 3, Episode 8, That Old Houdini Magic. In it, Jem and a new character, Astral (a magician), tangle with a rival band who are taking advantage of a rich widow by convincing her that the ghost of Houdini has returned. The episode features escapes from a high fashion straitjacket and climaxes with the Water Torture Cell.

Show creator and writer Christy Marx (credited here as Jina Bacarr) clearly did her research. The episode is peppered with historical Houdini facts, including this obscure but entirely accurate reference to Harry and Bess' private code (no, not that code). I've excerpted two short clips below.

(Sorry for the ads. YouTube automatically monetized this for Hasbro.)

You can read more about the episode (and its fashions) at Jem Vs. Prancetron. You can also watch the entire episode at Daily Motion, or buy the Season 3 DVD at Amazon.

Jem straitjacket (click to enlarge).

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