I guess it was in the early 90's while reminiscing with my buddies in college that I thought about collecting back some of my childhood toys. I made a list of all the toys that I had that didn’t survive and Stretch Monster was on top of the list. Of course I’ve always been a collector since I was about five years old, when I started with comic books and buttons. (Don’t ask about the buttons and no, I don’t collect ‘em anymore. I gave that one up when I was eight.)
I searched flea markets, antique stores and thrift shops with no luck and I even scoured old issues of Toy Shop magazine, but Stretch Monster was no where to be found. I started going to toy shows in hopes of finding one and still he eluded me. Since this was the days of pre-internet and pre-ebay I wondered if any survived and at that point I assumed that all of them must’ve disintegrated.
Finally in 1997 when I was set up at a toy show one of my friends came running up to me saying that he found a Stretch Monster in the original box across the room at a dealer’s table. Whoa, Nelly! I ran over there as fast as I could trying not to knock anyone over. Sure enough there he was in the original box. I hadn’t seen the box since I was seven and the only thing I remembered about the box was that it was purple. I asked the dealer how much and before he said a price he told me that there was a problem. The problem was that the box and Stretch were damaged by the seeping of Stretch’s very own syrupy blood. The box felt like a brick and the outside bottom was covered in a thick layer of syrup blood brittle. The good thing, was that he only wanted $40 for it and so I snapped it up in hopes that I could at least repair the box.
Here’s some Polaroids of when I first opened the box. It took me hours with a hair dryer and warm water to finally open it. Unfortunately the inside Styrofoam box crumbled if you barely touched it.
I felt like I was opening a mummy’s tomb and when I finally opened the styrofoam sarcophagus, I found a drained Stretch Monster with large tears on his back and holes in his hands and feet.
At least I was able to restore the box and this Stretch Monster might be drained of his blood but he still displays well enough in my collection. I inserted a few balloons in him so he can stand up for display, even though he looks kind of frumpy.
Maybe someday I’ll pick one up that is mint, but since they usually bring $400 to $800, I’ll just be satisfied with this one.