Film ID: NEFA 21412 Video of PICNIC SABOTAGE 1958 Visitor TabsDescription Made by Newcastle & District Amateur Cinematographers Association (ACA), this comedy short follows the mischievous exploits of two boys who try to sabotage their neighbour’s picnic outing by tampering with his car. The film’s introduction presents two young lads up to mischief, the younger boy in a red plastic fireman’s helmet. The boys paint the words of the film’s title “Picnic Sabotage” on the back of a maroon MG Y-Type saloon car parked in the drive of a suburban house. A man cleans his car in the front drive of his drive. Two young local lads are cheekily watching him over the front wall. They eat a banana as they watch their neighbour. The man’s wife calls him inside from a downstairs window. He heads inside by a side entrance in a lean-to shed. Quick as a flash, the two boys grab his bucket of soapy water, use the steps to set up the bucket on top of the outhouse door. The little lad in the toy fireman’s helmet grins gleefully. He puts back the ladder and the two jokers rush back to their place at the garden wall. Overhead shot of the bucket balanced precariously on top of the door. The boys peek around the garden wall. The man comes back outside and is drenched as he opens the door. The boys scarper in opposite directions down the street. The man chases the younger lad but can’t catch him. He gives up and walks back. The older boy edges back towards the man’s house. He sees that the man has gone inside. He trots over and spots a tool laying on the lawn. He takes off the hubcap and begins to unscrew the tyre. His father spots him across the street and shouts him over. He sips the hubcap back on quickly and runs over to join his father, hopping into his dad’s Fiat 500. He peers from the passenger seat of the car as they drive by his victim’s house. The man’s wife and daughter now join him at the car as they set off for a picnic. As he starts the car, the wheel falls off. He jumps out and angrily starts to run to the boy’s house but immediately slips on a banana skin dropped by the boys. He falls flat on his face. He gets up, looks up and down the street, but the practical jokers are nowhere to be seen. Travelling shot along a road where the boy and his father are beside their broken-down Fiat. The boy waves his arms to stop the car of his victim but the man purposefully drives straight past. “The End” is painted on the back of the car as it drives into the distance. Context All tricks and no treat A child’s prank backfires when he sabotages a neighbour’s car. A suburban father can’t shake off a serial child prankster in the neighbourhood as he readies the family car for a picnic outing. This comic cine club sketch replays sight gags and slapstick that are as old as the cinema itself. A forty-nine second Lumière film called ‘The Sprinkler Sprinkled’ (L'Arroseur Arrosé) is the earliest known film comedy and also portrays a child’s mischievous practical joke on his elder, its commercial premiere in Paris on 28 December 1895.