Albert Einstein, an avid walker, never learned to drive a car – as he said: “Never memorise anything which you can look up” – but on a visit to the Warner Bros. set in Hollywood on February 3, 1931 he pilotted a flying car. The New York Times reported:
Professor Einstein was surprised tonight into loud and long laughter.
Hollywood demonstrated its principles of “relativity,” how it makes things seem what they are not, by use of a dilapidated motor car.
At the First National studio, German technicians persuaded Professor Einstein to change his mind about not being photographed and photographed him in the old car with Frau Elsa, his wife. He cannot drive a car.
Tonight the German technicians brought the film to the Einstein bungalow. The lights went out.
Then the ancient automobile appeared on the screen with Einstein at the wheel, driving Frau Elsa on a sight-seeing tour.
Down Broadway, Los Angeles they drove, then to the beaches. Suddenly the car rose like an airplane, and as Einstein took one hand from the wheel to point out the scenery, the Rocky Mountains appeared below. Then the car landed on familiar soil and the drive continued through Germany.
It was just a Hollywood trick of double exposure and a thrilling comedy, but not for the public. The master film was destroyed, and the only copy was given to the Einsteins.
The 1931 story says the master film was destroyed – the Einsteins got the only copy, which was lost until Becca Bender, a student working at Lincoln Center, found a box of old home movies, one of which was labeled “Einstein.”
Via: From the Grapevine.