I got a tip recently from my buddy Bob, “you’ve gotta check this out”, he said with enthusiasm. And, given that I know he has a good eye for that sort of thing, a few days later off I did trot to check out said item.
I was not diasappointed.
So cool was the piece that I snapped it up without further ado and here I am now dutifully reporting back to you.
Made by Mattel in 1979 I bring you the amazing Krusher.
Standing a full 13.5″ tall this guy is a bit of a whopper.
As you can see from the graphic on the front of the box, the special feature possesed by this toy is that is can be scrunched down, or dare I say krushed, at which point if the figure is released he automatically returns to his original shape. Amazing right?
Krusher is made from a rubbery latex material that is very squashy and to actually get him to compress you have to release a valve situated on the back of his belt.
Just a quick quarter turn, followed by a pull on the valve, the air inside of Krusher is free to move in and out of his body.
Your Krusher can now be squashed and released to your hearts desire. You can even pretend he’s breathing almost like Darth Vader. Even after thirty years the rubber is soft and pliable and the valve works perfectly. I would have almost certainly expected the rubber to harden or even crack and the valve to be leaky by now. How wrong I was. With the valve open you can squash him down in to a variety of positions, if the valve is then closed the figure does a pretty good job of holding the new form until the valve is once again released.
Surprisingly a rare toy, and I have seen estimates that claim that only 3000 of these were ever made. I am not too sure how many there were, but I sure as hell know that I have never seen one before today. So quite the find indeed.
I must confess that typically, despite being quite cool, it is not really the kind of thing I would just impulse buy like that. So why did I then? Well first of all I got an amazing deal, then beyond that, no other reason than the box, I think the artwork on it is just phenomenal. I love the painted front, as you know I have a thing for painted artwork like that, click here to see more.
I just can’t get enough of these simple three-color line drawings, absolutely awesome.
Even the art on the side of the box is cool.
One side in three-color and the other in full color.
When I first saw it, it made me think of the now rare Stretch Monster from the Kenner Stretch Armstrong line. Obviously different but you can see how the Krusher was more than likely released to try and access that market. I will say however that time has shown that investing in the Stretch Monsters would have been a much more profitable venture. A minty Krusher in a nice box should be $100 plus, the Stretch Monster would be quite a few times more than that if in similar shape. Oh well.
Here is a listing for the Krusher toy taken from some Mattel sales materials that were being used at the time to entice stores to carry the figure (I found this picture on the www.plaidstallions.com website). Here you can see him as he goes through his full transformation.
As with all advertizing materials from the seventies the copy is fantastic:
“Monster! Monster! Show us your might!!! Make him big – leave him small, whichever you like. Krusher is the monster to fit your monstrous moods. He’s a blob in his scrunched state. But watch out! Open the built-in valve and he grows to a menacing full size, over 14″ tall. Squeeze him and he breathes. Now show who’s boss. Pound him, crush him ’till all the air’s out. You’ve won the fight. Quick! Push in the valve, he stays scrunched. Ready to see him grow again? Push and pull the valve and this time he expands in spurts. Stunt his growth at any size. This is the one monster that will grow on you.”
The puns, the heady exageration… aaah, got to love it.
Here is another ad from a catalog.
I find it interesting the choice of other toys that the Krusher gets paired up with: Suckerman, some dinosaurs and Remco Universal monsters. Weird, but OK.
This toy is a great piece of nostalgia and well worth a spot in anyones’ collection.
Before I go here is a little clip of our star in action, enjoy!
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