The Charlie Chaplin Time-Traveler

There’s no one who’d love to believe this is real more than I would. Film blogger George Clark recently posted this curious little clip taken from the special features footage on the MK2 release of Charlie Chaplin‘s 1928 silent classic The Circus. The footage was taken on the day of the film’s premiere, outside of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre.

Very briefly, in the background, someone (a man, I’d wager) walks past with his hand to his ear in what appears to be a familiar cellphone clutch. He pauses and turns three-quarters towards the camera, revealing a black cellphone-like shadow at his palm.  To make it even stranger, it appears he might even be talking.

Caught on Tape: Time Traveling Bad-Ass or Hearing-Impaired Old Broad?

The conicidence is thoroughly uncanny.

And altogether implausible. For many reasons, the least of which being that modern day cellphone technology would render any such gadget inoperable in 1928.

The person is, in all likelihood, using one of Western Electric‘s “audiophone” hearing aids–something that, in shadow, takes the exact same shape and color of a modern smart phone.

Why would he be talking INTO an audiophone? Well, it IS Hollywood Blvd.

(Then again, if this fella has technology sophisticated to travel through time, it wouldn’t be a stretch to imagine he’s also got a way to phone home. Which, by the way, doesn’t have to be the 21st Century.  Ohhh, to believe …)

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Film writer and social media marketing professional. 2019 Social Ambassador for the 10th Annual TCM Classic Film Festival. Previously: social media associate at Warner Archive and script writer for Turner Classic Movies. Working on a Montgomery Clift biography due late 2020.

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