It’s taken a little time, but Stretch Armstrong has finally been made into an animated series, thanks to Netflix. At the bright age of 41, Stretch Armstrong, amongst other retro toys making a hot comeback, is back and stretchier than ever. Debuting in late 2017 on your favorite binge network, Stretch Armstrong & The Flex Fighters is now available for streaming with its first season of 13 episodes.
The Rubber Finally Hits The Road As Netflix Debuts The Long-Awaited Return Of Stretch Armstrong
The History of Stretch Armstrong
Launching in 1976 as a simple, stretchy action figure filled with gel and ready for kids to take their day out on him, Stretch Armstrong was sort of a He-Man knockoff with a body that could stretch with a simple tug, his 13-inch body pulled limb from limb to nearly five feet long (or until we tore him and had to apply the classic ace bandage).
Invented by concept artist and industrial designer, Jesse D. Horowitz, in 1974, Stretch was a latex doll put into production by a three-man New York production team. The original dolls, made up until 1980, are worth a small fortune, considering there are more than 60 variations of the doll today.
The Struggle to Make Stretch
Although Netflix is probably the vehicle to successfully produce an experimental project based on a character whose historical relevance is questionable, it’s not the first time someone has tried to get the rubber to hit the road with Stretch.
For the last 20 years, A-list actors and big production brands have tried to get the red rubber figure’s feet off the ground, but they were presented with the challenge of Stretch’s ironically limited capabilities. What could he do besides stretch?
A deal set forth in 1994 with a Disney-based company fell through, along with drafts including Taylor Lautner, Danny DeVito and Jackie Chan all at the helm. Half of Hollywood’s writers have taken a stab at writing Stretch, according to The Hollywood Reporter, but to no avail after four film attempts dropped off. Not even Disney could figure out how to stretch the character into something that could make a buck.
The Rebirth of Stretch
In 2016, amidst a collective rebirth for classic toys, Hasbro announced the redesign of Stretch Armstrong back to its original design. This popularity helped to reignite the spark of past failures.
Stretch Armstrong & The Flex Fighters
The Netflix series expands on the history of Stretch Armstrong by giving Jake Armstrong and two of his friends super-abilities based on chemical exposure. The voice of Jake “Stretch” Armstrong is done by Scott Menville, who has his vocals all over recently refurbished animations like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Spider-Man and Teen Titans Go! In addition, Ogie Banks and former star of The Walking Dead, Steven Yuen, voice over.
In light of Netflix hopping on board to take on Stretch, IDW Publishing announced new comics based on the series set for 2018. The first season, 13 episodes, is available for streaming on Netflix now with an expected additional 13-episode season two signed up for next year.