Friday, October 29, 2010

Sorry, I've got to take this...

Much buzz lately about the 'time-travelling cellphone user' discovered in Charlie Chaplin's 1928 silent, The Circus. Here's an article from the Toronto Star describing the find. Apparently several people have proposed theories that move beyond 'man from the future', 'transvestite ghost', or 'demon who lives in nitrate film stock'... all perfectly plausible explanations to me.

Here's one more: the actor is pretending to be a crazy woman who thinks she's talking on a phone. Why not? I once witnessed a senile relative 'answer' a TV remote control, and he certainly didn't own a mobile. George Clarke's point about the actor's hands gripping something the shape of a cellphone only proves that he (or she) is gripping something flat and rectangular. He'd think nothing more of it if the actor wasn't also holding the object like he/she would a phone receiver and speaking into it. But some telephone receivers already looked like this in 1928:

So to me, it's just an actor acting. Amazing, I know, and not as much fun, but that's my call.

George Clarke's video expose:

Lady Gaga's essay on the ubiquity of cells:

Chris Edwards' early post on The Circus.


  1. Better explanation: the object is a Caramilk Bar.

  2. I think some people like to hold invisible phones. Evidence can be seen in the Profile pic of Twitter's @IngyandMillie . Ingrid Bergman holding an invisible cell phone! Perhaps it was just common place to hold one's hand up to one's ear that way.

    What about Beyonce's essay on the Video Phone?!

  3. I would rather people be talking about the release of Chaplin's restored Keystones. Or how great Mann's Theater looked all dressed up for the premiere.

    But obviously the woman is from outer space. No doubt, no doubt at all.