40 rubles for the invention of a time machine

In 1973, the Mosfilm accounting department awarded a prize of 40 rubles to the wood sculptor Vyacheslav Pochechuev. Along with the money, Pochechuev received a certificate: "The money was issued for the invention of a time machine." What kind of machine did the sculptor invent, and why his creation was valued at a relatively small amount, even for Soviet money.

In May 1972, director Leonid Gaidai began filming the comedy Ivan Vasilyevich Changes His Profession. According to the script, the protagonist of the film, engineer Timofeev, invents a time machine on which one can travel to ancient Moscow. A dummy of this machine was ordered in one of the design bureaus, where they worked on it for six months and, as a result, provided a very cumbersome and complex structure.

This did not suit the director of the film, because according to the script Timofeev, whose role was brilliantly played by the actor Alexander Demyanenko, assembled his apparatus at home, one might say, handicraft conditions. It was necessary to come up with something urgently.

Then Gaidai was advised to turn to the sculptor Pochechuev, who was considered a jack of all trades. A talented wood specialist took part in the creation of the films "Ruslan and Lyudmila" and "Berendey's kingdom". He had to find a way out of this difficult situation. There was no time for reflection, and the director set a task for Pochechuev: to provide a sketch of a time machine in the very near future.

The sculptor did not disappoint, two days later he brought Gaidai a sheet of Whatman paper, which depicted a rather strange design with flasks, wires, springs, tubes. This is exactly how, according to Pochechuev, the invention of Timofeev should have looked.

It cannot be said that Gaidai was delighted with such a drawing, but he did not leave a shortage of time, he had to be content with what he had. Moreover, Pochechuev persistently convinced the director that it was difficult to imagine a better time machine.

In two weeks the sculptor, with the help of a locksmith and a technician from Mosfilm, assembled this mechanism, and I must say that the apparatus looked very nice in the film. And Pochechuev himself received for his work, as already mentioned, as much as 40 rubles and a certificate in which it was written in black and white without any quotation marks that the prize had been given to him for the invention of a time machine.

The film was released in 1973 and became a real classic of Soviet cinema. It is impossible even to think that the car of engineer Timofeev could have looked somehow differently.