Made by Kenner, possibly in a bid to make boys like dolls, Stretch Armstrong looked like a himbo in essence, but, and here domes the only fact that made little laddies go anywhere near Mr Stretch - he could, as the name suggests, be S-T-R-E-T-C-H-E-D! One slow-motion yank of his arm and he'd end up with one four times longer than he started with. Stretch Armstrong was the perfect fodder for boys to practise their demolition skills on.
You could tie Stretch into a knot, twist his legs together or just use him to have a tug-o-war with your sister, whatever you sis to him, his impressive figure would return to its former state without so much as a couple of stretch marks! The only problem came when Stretch got accidentally wounded by something spikey and his rubbery, strechy insides would pour from him, rendering him useless after that really.
Like any comic-book-esque character, it wasn't long before Stretch Armstrong met his match. In 1977 this was Stretch Monster - Kenner's latest toy - a scaly, but just as stretchy, evil nemesis for Stretch to try and, well, overstretch.
The following year, sisters all across the land were given a reason to stop playing tug-o-war with everyone's favourite long-limbed hunk in trunks. Kenner released the very pink Olivia, a stretchy octopus toy. But you might have guessed it - just months later Olivia was forced to contend with the arrival of her nemesis, The Loch Ness Creature, onto the scene. With a long, green, serpent's body and bloodshot eyes, he was not for the faint-hearted. Obviously, it was a hit with bloodthirsty kids of the late-70s, as Kenner went on to produce an even more horrific addition to the stretch family in 1979. Stretch X-ray 'The Seethrough Invader' was made of clear plastic to show off his stretchy, green insides and oversized grey matter. Urrghh. Too much information!?
Things went quiet for Stretch Armstrong through the 80s, but clearly having undergone a make-over, he was back with a bang in the early 90s. Maybe with old age he'd become more body-conscious, trading his former pants for shorts and a black t-shirt. His hair was also suspiciously blonder and his teeth whiter. So, with a touch of Hollywood about him now, it was altogether not a huge surprise when he turned up in his own stretch limo (sold separately).
Kenner capitalised on Stretch's return with a new range of toys, including Vac Man, Wretch Armstrong, Commando and Ninja, as well as a line of Stretch's to promote various professional sports teams. Nowadays, the Stretch toys, especially the original Stretch Armstrong, are prized collectibles - often stretching to four times their original price.