Toychest Time Machine: Stretch Screamers
Although I still remember him, I was really too young to have experienced the wonders of Stretch Armstrong as a kid. What I did get to experience, however, was a wave of toys that kicked off with Stretch Screamers (licensed by ToyQuest). A simple enough concept, the toy line primarily consisted of taking all sorts of monsters, make ‘em stretchable, and adding in a few gross features such as blood-curdling screams, blisters, goo, and (eventually) “morphing.”
Simple as it may be, the draw of pulling apart these creepy beasties was irresistible and proved to be quite the stress release. After the novelty of torturing these creatures wears off, though, you’re basically left with nothing more than an unsafe dog toy. Definitely geared towards younger kids (though you don’t have to be under 10 to enjoy endless hours of stretching and screaming), you could give this to any 3 or 4 year old and they’d be set for weeks, screaming and squealing right along with it.
From what I can remember, there were two lines of regular Stretch Screamers before ToyQuest dropped the real gem of the line: Stretch Screamers Oozers! The Oozers were like walking versions of He-Man’s Slime Pit playset, only you could wrestle with them and make enough of a mess to really make your mom mad. This was really the last version of the series that I can remember, but back in 2003 McDonald’s did offer up a brand new line of creatures as a part of their Halloween Happy Meals. This series included a cyborg, skeleton, mad scientist, mummy, floating brain, and a merman– each with their own gross, bulbous features making them pretty much the coolest Happy Meal toy ever. Unlike they’re big brothers, these figures only featured stretchable arms and legs, but they’re small size provided for some pretty neat details.