Throwback Thursday: Holiday merchandise mix

Long before Tickle Me Elmo, Stretch Armstrong flexed his rubbery muscles in the home center

For nearly 40 years, All American Home Center in Los Angeles promoted an unusual item: Stretch Armstrong.

A photo on the front page of the Dec. 12, 1977, issue of National Home Center News, the forerunner of HBSDealer, shows a child reaching up for a box containing the rubber toy that today is considered a valuable collector’s item (if found in mint condition), and one of Time magazine’s All-Time 100 Greatest Toys.

The caption explained that All American tackled the holiday-gift-giving market by replacing a section in its nursery department for gifts. 

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