It's been so much fun taking these trips down Memory Lane and reminding myself of how much fun I had being a kid. Being a kid rules. Being an adult sucks. Kids...learn from me and try to relish it for all it's worth. In these trying times of work-related stress, appointments, obligations, etc...I think these little trips are more important than ever.  Okay, show of hands! Who had Stretch Armstrong?

Stretch Armstrong. First of all, let me say what a cool name that is...and totally appropriate. From the moment I saw the commercial (like many of us during our youth), I just had to have him. I'm sure Mom's eyes grew with unbridled excitement as she too caught a glimpse of my next obsession. She still wasn't prepared for the onslaught. Stretch was about to become my Red Ryder.

GOT HIM!

Stretch Armstrong sure lived up to that awesome name. He was blonde, shiny, and smelled like a bicycle tire. He also had an air about him that made all my other action figures take notice. It certainly didn't hurt that he was six inches taller than them. And boy, did he stretch! Plus he stretched...and stretched...and stretched. And that's about it. After I gave him my first little Cowboy Troy field test, I began to lose interest fast. Thank goodness it wouldn't be too long before a green villain by the name of Stretch Monster would make his first commercial appearance and rekindle that twinkle of the eye for Mom and me. Now the battle would be on.

THE DOWNSIDES

A couple of things about Stretch now that I look back. Stretch was heavy. He had to be strong enough to hold all of that ooze that coursed through his veins. Anyone who had an Armstrong remembers that syrupy gunk. It kind of looked like raspberry jam. I don't remember it tasting like it. Back to my point. It was hard for an 8-year old to play with him in an action setting for too long without getting tired. His hands didn't open so he couldn't hold anything, either, so you could forget about the weapons. You also needed to use two hands to stretch him. Now that I think about it, Stretch was the first home gym for kids.

LAWSUIT IN THE MAKING

 

Stretch's insides were also prone to freezing solid during those cold Wyoming nights. Mine would get the added pleasure of enjoying steaming hot jacuzzis in the bathroom sink, for what seemed like hours. I uttered my first cuss words the first night that I dropped Sir Armstrong Icicle on my bare toes. Good times.

After a while, Stretch would wear thin and spring a leak...or four. I don't know how you fixed yours but mine got little shaving band-aids. It just wasn't the same when your Stretch Armstrong looked like he was trying desperately to quit smoking. I blamed it all on the evil Stretch Monster and got at least one more good battle out of them.

Believe it or not, Stretch Armstrong lives. There have actually been several recreations over the years, and in many forms. Pristine condition Stretch Armstrong's can net you in the thousands of dollars and have become very collectible (Thanks for realizing that, Mom).  A movie is even set to be released in the not-too-distant future. I just hope I can handle it.

So, thanks for the memories, Stretch Armstrong. May you always have an elastic place in my heart.