Wednesday, August 13, 2008

80's Toys Revisited - Volume 2 - M.U.S.C.L.E. Men

Another crazy-ass toy. Remember these?


What could be better than pink plastic choking hazards, shaped like little half-naked alien wrestlers?

Well, in 1985 Mattel thought that nothing could be better than this. And so they launched the M.U.S.C.L.E. line of collectible toys.

Also simply known as “Muscle Men,” the name is actually an acronym - Millions of Unusual Small Creatures Lurking Everywhere.

Again, Mattel’s idea. Not mine. I couldn’t make this stuff up.

The Muscle Men were basically ripped off of a Japanese toy line known as Kinkeshi (thanks Wikipedia!!) which was in turn ripped off a Japanese cartoon known as Kinnikuman.

I remember these toys rather well.

They were sold in 4-count blister packs, 10-count plastic garbage pails, or 28-count briefcases. Or some shit like that.


Choking hazards packed inside suffocation hazards.


You could also buy a little wrestling ring – in which to hold some sort of homo-erotic, half-naked, pink, muscly, alien battle royale.


The Muscle wrestling ring: hours of mind-numbing, slightly gay fun.


The figures themselves were an entirely bizarre amalgamation of animals, buildings, vegetables, robots, and planets.

Not kidding. One character was composed of little planets. Another one had a tea cup for a head. There was one guy made of rocks, and one that was an aerosol can with legs. I remember thinking, back in fourth grade, that many of the uglier characters strongly resembled my worst teachers….and looked a lot like your Mom.

Despite the deviant undertones of these toys, M.U.S.C.L.E. Men caught fire soon after their introduction, and remained popular for several years. Strange but true. And I was swept up in the frenzy along with everyone else.

Part of the fun was collecting the different characters, and discovering one that you’d never seen before. There were well over 200 different designs, and some were scarcer than others. You considered yourself lucky if you found the really rare, anatomically-correct ones. Those were very controversial.

We traded them like baseball cards, which only added to the fun.

Help me out here. If you remember the M.U.S.C.L.E. men, tell me why you think they became so popular.



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9 comments:

WGA said...

I liked to chew on them.

Dennis said...

I actually remember this toy and I LOVED it!

I actually used them to wrestle and because you used to get doubles, triples, or quadruples of the same kind of wrestler, I started making armies of them.

I would match one set of guys vs another set. Of course, the ones where I had an army of 10 always defeated the ones that were an army of one.

Just because the Army's slogan of 'An Army of One' may work in the real world, it doesn't in M.U.S.C.L.E.!

The Mill said...

Dennis, you are an army of one when it comes to blog posts!!

And you are a perfect gentleman, might I add.

Richard Kriheli said...

I still have mine somewhere in my apartment. They rock. There was even a crappy Nintendo game with the franchise.

JG said...

i wish you looked more like these guys.

Gabe said...

Just found one of these in a friend's desk and had a flashback -- it's a three-fingered monster hand, covered in blisters, and the middle-finger has a face. Back in the day, one of my friends built a ring out of wood with nails for posts and rubber bands for ropes. Instead of trading them, we created some battle royale game where you lost your toy if it got pinned.

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polypeptide said...

I remember these! They were fun to chew on. I have no idea why they were so popular.

UofMUSCLE.com said...

I have entire website that shows why these figures were cool!