The 1980s. Terrible clothing and strange music were in vogue, but at least there were great cartoons on TV. One of the most loved was He-Man, and the show spawned a host of great toys, including Skeletor's Castle, also known as Snake Mountain.
Toys these days tend to rely on tiny electronics and flimsy bits of plastic to convince children that what they've got in their hands is actually an accurate representation of what they've seen on screen. In 1980s, toys were bigger, badder and used a whole lot more of everything to get their point across. Did it make them better? Not always, but in the case of the Snake Mountain playset, this excess just made it awesome.
Snake Mountain was the lair of Skeletor, arch-enemy to the noble He-Man. Skeletor was a real jerk, always trying to take over Castle Greyskull, even though the Greyskull playset was pretty lame. Snake Mountain was a large, purple fold-out castle with a rickety bridge on the front as well as an imposing looking face and mouth that could be moved from inside the castle.
Once He-Man or another hero reached the door to Snake Mountain and stepped through, a small latch could be pulled and the floor would drop out from under them, sending them down to an exit tunnel. There were also chains on the outside edge of the castle where Skeletor could shackle captured heroes, but the best part by far was the included microphone.
Called a "sceptor" in the original packaging, the Skeletor microphone was long and vaguely lupine cylinder that ran on one 9 volt battery. The idea was that the microphone would convert your voice into something menacing, evil and echoing that could be paired up with the movements of the Mountain's plastic face, but more often than not it sounded like you were trying to ask if He-Man wanted fries with his combo.
Still, the Snake Mountain playset was durable and could be easily snapped together for traveling purposes and would hold a fair number of action figures as a carrying case. Though its no longer in production, it's one toy that we remember with fondness and wish we knew exactly what we'd done with.
Oh Skeletor, how we miss you.