This film is part of Free

A Mug's Game, Or, How to Squash a Lemon Head

Yo-yo, Pogo and Splat (guess which one's the lemon head?) feature in this innovative stop-motion railway safety film

Animation & Artists Moving Image 1967 4 mins


Was there a Splat in your childhood? An overconfident show-off who roped you into something you knew you shouldn't do? This railway safety film appeals to children's common sense, rather than threatening them with disaster and off-screen carnage – although the narrator comes off as a bit of a pompous bully himself.

The stop-motion animation is clever and distinctive, thanks largely to the talents of the enigmatic Irish artist, stage designer and novelist Desmond MacNamara. Alongside his many other talents, MacNamara published a book on puppetry and was a whiz with papier-mâché. He didn't pursue animation further, though - a real shame, if the innovative techniques used in this film are anything to go by.