In 1976, Kenner introduced a new kind of action figure: Stretch Armstrong. He’s a buff, ridiculously tanned superhero but swimming trunks do not an outfit-make! You can tug on the nearly naked man as much as you like but you may end up covered in goo.
This same goo tempted many-a-kid to turn cannibal on their stretchy friend, tearing him open to suck on his sweet nectar. Literally, he was filled with a sugary corn syrup that seemed hard to resist once you had a taste. That tear happened by accident you say? Well, the jury’s still out on that one! Kenner put a stop to Stretch botherers when they re-released him in the ’90s and disappointed kids (and a few adults) were met with rubbery tasting goop – blargh!
There were subsequently more nude stretchy men and creatures: Stretch Monster, Stretch X-Ray, Stretch Serpent, and Stretch Octopus to name a few. Curiously, Kenner never released a love interest for Mr. Armstrong or some sort of nimble bride, as you may have expected from a successful toyline of that era. This is presumably a good thing as I’m not sure Mr. and Mrs. Armstrong’s stretch session would have been suitable for the kids.
However, Kenner did rather sadistically produce many things for Stretch Armstrong to fight. That’s just wonderful but I’m sure he was relieved when he received a canine sidekick, Fetch Armstrong, to help him battle the likes of the nobbly, dried corn-filled Vac-Man in the ’90s.
The other thing I would have expected from such a successful toyline would have been an accompanying TV series. I can see David Hasselhoff portraying an awesome Stretch Armstrong, especially as he wore matching barely-there swimming trunks in Baywatch. If not an action-packed, cheese-tastic TV show then I would have definitely expected an animation. Due to the characters’ rubbery appearances, a claymation would have looked amazing AF and given Morph a run for his money.
In true 70’s free-love-style, the nude stretchy man appeared in explicit—I mean elusive—colouring books. Here are a few exerts
of Stretch Armstrong’s Karma Sutra for you to printout and rage on with your favourite crayons!