3/21/2006

The limitations of Stretch Armstrong

Toys have come a long way since I was young. And dolls – Pardon me. Action figures – are no exception. For about 100 bucks you can buy your kid a robot that walks, talks, grabs things, interacts with his environment, farts(!), pleasures curious adolescents (special attachment sold separately) and learns English faster than the Chinese kids in the "gifted" class. They call him Robosapien. He's amazing. Five minutes playing with this miraculous toy and I was on the phone with my congressman, warning him that these Robosapiens are about to become self-aware and take over the planet. Long story short, I'm now on the FAA's "Do Not Fly List" and I have to remain "more than 1000 feet from elected officials of public offices at all times." I'll have the last laugh when the Robosapiens make their move.

But enough about Robosapien. I'd like to resurrect an old toy from my childhood: the Stretch Armstrong dol... action figure. Stretch Armstrong's super power, other than pulling off the Speedo look, was that his limbs could stretch several times their original length and then retract to their original size and shape. Imagine a toy like this in the hands of a 6-year-old boy. Of course he's going to test Stetch's limits. I know I did. I enlisted the help of a friend and together we pulled Stretch over either side of the family Winnebago. The look on Stretch's face was priceless. If only he could talk, he'd say, "You sadistic little bastards. Don't you have a gerbil to torture? You future serial-killing bastards!"

Yep, I abused ole Stretch. My experiments went beyond linear dimensional analysis. Curious of his mysterious flesh, I tested Armstrong for blunt force trauma, puncture-resistance and flame retardant materials in his Speedos. Parents think toy guns cause violent behavior in children and advocacy groups have all but eliminated them from toy stores. I don't know how Stretch Armstrong flew beneath the radar. We tortured that poor bastard daily. We honed our torturing skills to a fine science. I once ran over his torso with my bicycle just to see if he'd survive. He did. The first few times.

I think they should re-introduce this piece of 1970s kitsch in the form of a foreign POW. I think kids today would love a Stretch Armstrong Prisoner Action Figure. And think what great elementary training these action figures would be for tomorrow's soldiers.
"Tell us where the nerve gas is, you terrorist scum. What's that? You don't feel like talkin', huh? Don't like Barbie's panties pulled over your head, do ya? Well, we'll just see if we can loosen your tongue by stretching your arms across a parking lot and jamming this superball up your ass! How do you like them apples?"

39 comments:

Latigo Flint said...

Applesauce bitch!

(You're some kind of wonderful LBB--do you know this?)

tornwordo said...

What a killer memory you brought up. I haven't thought about Stretch in forever. I wonder how old you have to be to get this piece.

Trinette said...

I always figured you as someone who'd be more into G.I. Joe with Kung Fu Grip.

jules said...

My Barbie was particularly fond of the stretch UNDER the speedos!

Edgy Mama said...

I used to abuse Gumby in a similar manner.

NWJR said...

"Well, we'll just see if we can loosen your tongue by stretching your arms across a parking lot and jamming this superball up your ass! "

sonofabitch! That's BRILLIANT!

I'd like to see you do a missive on the 5' Barbie they sell. Seriously, man, if I were 10 years old and saw a 5' Barbie in my sister's room...

Well, let's just say Ken might have some 'splaining to do.

nongirlfriend said...

We poked a hole in a kid's Stretch Armstrong when we were kids. I just wanted to see if he could bleed.

He did.

Frap Gurl said...

Oh, I have a small soldier ready for torturing Stretch the POW! Check out the pic on my blog!

Stacy The Peanut Queen said...

I was more a G.I. Joe girl myself....;)

"AG" said...

That's twisted.

It wasn't easy when my friends and I tried to make Barbie and Ken "do it" on their camping trip since Barbie's legs could only move forward or backward.

Oh great One said...

When you succeed in "breaking" stretch, the mess isn't easy to clean up. I know.

Attila The Mom said...

LOL! Thanks for the memories!

Monkeypotpie said...

I was fond of tying Stretch in knots, to poles (not Polish people; that would be rude, to trailer hitches...and he never let go. A tenacious bastard he was.

Junebugg said...

I got the 6 year old a Robosapien for Christmas. It got played with for 57 seconds and then stuffed in the closet.

Webmiztris said...

I never heard of Stretch Armstrong - how messed up is that? I was too busy seeing how far I could bend Barbie's knee frontwards.

CaCaBoy said...

We use to take the little green army men and blow them up with M80's. Made the combat wounds a little more realistic...

"What's that Sarge, your arms melted off? Get a Medic in here quick!"

Too funny! (We also use to use beds of nails to torture the neighbor girls Barbies. Man does a brick drive those nails right through her!

nongirlfriend said...

Hey, we melted the Army men's head with a heated pin. It was great fun. Made awesome (and realistic looking) bullet holes.

StringMan said...

I thought Joe Pesci with a baseball bat was one twisted mutha, but you take the cake, Bug, making Stretch your bitch and all.

phlegmfatale said...

Remember the Thingmaker and Goop?

Blog ho said...

i have the robo sapien. the retarded kind.

PBS said...

We just had GI Joes and Barbies. This Stretch guy sounds like he was a lot more fun!

Becky said...

Have you seen the VH1 special, I love toys! That show is freaking awesome! All the toys that were long since forgotten, there was; Simon, gijoe, lincoln logs, Pong, legos, slinkies, pogo sticks, yo-yo's, slap bracelets, and the list goes on and on. It really brought me back though!

Now my personal favorite wasn't even on the list, which I felt was a rip off, as I know many kids played for hours on end with this one, Boxes! We'd make little forts out of boxes, draw on them, make rocket ships! I loved boxes, nothing better than a big ol' refrigerator box!

kari said...

My brother had Stretch. I used to bite it as hard as I could. Johnnie West sleeps with Barbies.

Leilouta said...

http://asmallvictory.net/archives/008102.html

DayByDay4-2Day said...

I remember a boy on the block having that, but my mom wouldn't buy me one she said it was a boy toy.

DayByDay4-2Day said...

I also rememebr now that she also said the big wheel was a boy toy.

Jon said...

Did you happen to see the "24:With Bobby Lee" episodes that had the robosapien in them? I have never laughed so hard at a toy. If they only used a stretch armstrong...

If you haven't seen them, I linked them

Bennet said...

When I was a kid a watched a big kid hold another kid down so he could spit in his face...

Crude, yes...but effective.

Amandarama said...

I would like a robosapien with special party attachments. With tax deductable variety. Quite simply, can I write off my robot Polynesian maid?

My needs are simple.

Rocky Mountain Rat Girl said...

I'm happy to know (and almost relieved) that I was not the only one "testing the limits" of my Stretch Armstrong doll when I was a kid. hahahaha

Ah, the memories!!

Spinning Girl said...

Hilarious. This torture is second only to me & my sis trying to create a vulva on Barbie's gender-neutral perineum.

Ms. M said...

I had a Stretch Armstrong...and I'm a girl. I tortured him horribly! I had to know what was inside him! I finally punctured him with my teeth, but it took a long time! What weird reddish jelly like stuff!!! I guess we were supposed to think that blood or something? Whatever!!!

As always... Rachael said...

That was awesome. It's unamerican not to torture stretch. I like the POW angle... Osama bin Armstrong!

Lyvvie said...

I had Barbie and Ken dolls as a kid, and I used to make them hug, and then put them in a shoebox and leave them alone. My Mom would ask why I wasn't playing and I'd say Barbie and Ken were busy and asked me to leave.

Even Barbie and Ken were action figures in my house.

I also just want to say: Atari 2400

migraine boy said...

No, how foolish can you be? Now the Robosapiens know that you know how much they know. Now that they know you know, you won't know where to expect it from, but I know it's coming.

Debi said...

Ahhh Stretch, the first man I ever really loved. Unless you count Optimus Prime, but I'm guessing no. p.s. The if Robosapiens come a knockin' the transformers are our only hope.

Merle said...

Hi LBB ~~ What a great collection and
such a lot of work for you to do. Thanks
I really enjoyed reading the sayings.
Was surprised most commented on Action
Dolls etc. I am Peter's sister, Merle from Holties House. Another Aussie.
Cheers.

Kelly said...

My parents gave me Stretch Armstrong for Christmas the same year they gave me ice skates. Stretch met the ice skate blades on Christmas day and never was the same afterwards. Permanently scarred.
Why were my folks letting me wear my ice skates in the house anyway?

SugarHigh said...

*clutches pearls*

Egads man, somehow hanging my barbies from the cieling fan by their necks no longer seems like brutal behavior. LOL!