When Kenner originally placed the Stretch Armstrong doll on the market in 1976, it was in the form of a 15-inch, Speedo-wearing muscle dude made from latex rubber and filled with a corn syrup concoction that allowed sadistic kids to grab it by the the limbs and pull it out to around four feet in length. It was weird. When it was reissued by Cap Toys in the ’90s, it came with a more comically exaggerated face and more clothes, but it was still a pretty strange thing to give an impressionable child:
A-In the words of the immortal Satchmo, "Oh, yeah!" In 1984, the Effanbee Doll Corp. produced a 15 1/2-inch Louis Armstrong doll as the first in their then-new Great Moments in Music series of collectible dolls.
Unfortunately, Arnell said, the CPSC could not begin safety-testing the Stretch Armstrong doll because the agency was only able to secure one and it "[wasn't] about to ruin it."
"Arnell contends that several children have died by strangulation as a result of the Stretch Armstrong doll, but he can supply no actual proof of this," said Brad Timmons, who worked as a product-safety supervisor with Kenner from 1971 to 1980. "In fact, he says his primary source for this information is Kenny Orloff, the big brother of Jeff Orloff, his best friend up through sixth grade.'"