M.U.S.C.L.E was a non articulated toy line launched in 1985. They were small, pinkish colored, non-moveable action figures (widely known today as Keshi). That's right, Pink toys that were marketed primarily towards boys! Surprisingly no one seemed to mind however, because one.. they were action figures, and two.. they were wrestling themed.
The pink aspect, as well as some of the cute characters in the line, definitely drew in some girl collectors who are still fans to this day. Later on, to keep interest in the toy line, they started introducing new colored M.U.S.C.L.E. into the toy line such as red, turquoise, neon orange, neon green, magenta and a few others.
How many M.U.S.C.L.E. figures were in the toyline?
There was a M.U.S.C.L.E. Mail-away poster that you could get in the mail by sending proofs of purchase to Mattel. 233 M.U.S.C.L.E. figures were showcased on that poster, although there are a few more in the toy line that were not featured there.
Did they have names?
The only two M.U.S.C.L.E. that had names, were Terri Bull and MUSCLE Man. This is all MATTEL gave you to go on. From there, you had to choose which guys were good or bad. There was a comic strip on the back of the M.U.S.C.L.E. 28-Packs that gave you a little more insight on exactly what these guys were. Some of the M.U.S.C.L.E. had names on the front of them, or on various parts of their bodies, but the majority of them did not. Half of the fun in playing with them was naming them, and giving them their own unique personalities. We'd give them names like:
- Rubik Dude (a guy with a rubik's cube body and head)
- Hands (a figure with enormous hands)
- Combo (a figure made up entirely of bicycle locks)
Was there a cartoon show?
There was a cartoon show about M.U.S.C.L.E., but very few kids in America knew of its existence. It was called Kinnikuman and it was based on the award winning Manga series of books from Japan. Fellow M.U.S.C.L.E fanatics from France, Germany, Spain, as well as other countries have informed me that it was televised there also.
How long were the toys on the market?
The original M.U.S.C.L.E. line only ran for a few years. However, I remember seeing them linger on clearance shelves and in discount stores until around 1991.