An archival science student stumbled upon an old cardboard box whilst working at the Lincoln Centre in new York City last year. Labelled ‘Godowsky Home Movies’, it contained a hidden that until now, had been a lost piece of history – a film canister titled ‘Einstein’.
The footage inside depicts the 20th-century genius driving and a flying car, because sure, why not?
Of course, it’s not a real flying car. Yeah, I’m sure you’re as shocked at that knowledge drop as I was. What we’re actually looking at is Einstein and is wife Elsa in front of a rear projection screen on a Universal Studios sound stage.
Einstein was a big fan of the cinema, so the couple were on a studio tour at the time of the filming – which was February 3, 1931. The press at the time even found the footage to be newsworthy. The New York Times reported that “Trick exposure shows scientist and wife speeding in auto and ascending to clouds.”
Here’s the newspaper clipping from Jalopnik:
As the article states, the master copy of the film was destroyed, and the only remaining copy was given to the Einsteins. It’s absolutely extraordinary that this single copy has been found in reportedly pristine condition.
As a final fun fact: Einstein never learned to drive.
You can watch the footage of the Einsteins faux-flying, and passing by a bunch of other scenery, right here: