Mary Pickford, on hosting Professor Albert Einstein at a Pickfair dinner

On This Day 100 Years Ago: Einstein publishes theory of relativity

Mary Pickford, on hosting Professor Albert Einstein at a Pickfair dinner:

Not that Douglas [Fairbanks] and Charlie [Chaplin] were always acting like a couple of kids out of Mark Twain. I saw them once watching Professor Einstein demonstrate his theory of relativity with a knife, fork, a plate, and the edge of our dining-room table. I can still see the look of complete concentration and befuddlement on their faces.

We were having dinner with Dr. and Mrs. Einstein at Pickfair shortly after they arrived in this country. Professor Einstein’s language was then only beginning to take recognizable shape as English, which did not make the theory any clearer. I’m afraid that even if the professor’s English had been flawless, we would still have been in the dark, relatively speaking. A brain specialist who was present had at first introduced the subject of thought transference.

“Was is das?” asked Einstein.

“I think and concentrate my thinking on you,” explained the brain specialist, “and you catch my thought.”

“Nein,” said Professor Einstein, “das ist not possible.”

“But wasn’t your theory just as incredible – and still is to most people?”

Professor Einstein insisted it was really a very simple theory. To prove his point he slapped the edge of the table as the outer rim of space, used the plate as the world or the sun or universe, I can’t recall which, and plied away at the fourth dimension with his silverware.

I was too awed to ask questions, so I amused myself by studying the open-mouthed attention of Charlie and Douglas.

from Mary Pickford, Sunshine and Shadows, 1955, p 230-231

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