A wonderful thing happened today in the Facebook Vintage Toys group I manage with some friends. We got a visit from Mike, who is Mike you ask? He's the kid on the Stretch Monster box! Mike's gurning on that package is easily one of the most iconic 70s toy images out there. In fact, he was the subject of the very first PlaidStallions trading card nearly a decade ago.
Here's Mike 40 years later posing with his now very collectible packaging. How did he get the gig, Mike explained:
"My dad's design studio did all of the Kenner Toys packaging in the 70s and 80s. I was on a few toy boxes, but this is the most famous. I got paid $60 for the shoot, which was a ton of money for a 70s first-grader. But more importantly, I had access to KENNER. Dad would take me to the factory. I owned dozens of Stretch Monsters, Stretch Armstrongs, Stretch Octopi, and some other prototypes that never made it to market (I can only imagine what they would be worth if I still had them!)."
He had to mention the prototype word but wait, it gets even more interesting:
"And of course, Star Wars came out the next year. My little brother and I had EVERYTHING. Dad would bring home bags of spare guns. Kenner gave us the "mistakes" as well—figures incorrectly painted—that again, would be worth a lot today if we hadn't blown them up with firecrackers.
I can remember being at the design studio as a child when they were working on the Star Wars toys, but before the movie had actually come out. An illustrator named John Ham showed me a prototype figure he was painting for a package. They simply called him "Gold Man." It was, of course, C3PO."
But other than the iconic box, did Mike keep anything from those days? Just one thing:
He still has the original shirt but as one would imagine, it no longer fits.
Thanks Mike for making our day with this awesome story of what sounds like a fun childhood!