Talk About ‘Modern Times’!

Perhaps you’ve already seen this video clip as it made the rounds recently? Well, not everyone has, so I’m featuring it here too, because I think it’s kind of neat. When watching a classic Charlie Chaplin film on DVD, one eagle-eyed viewer spotted something very strange – an old woman in the background of a scene who appears to be talking on a cell phone… in 1928! Weird!

Here’s the video, in which George Clarke, the guy who found this anomaly in Chaplin’s ‘The Circus’, breaks down his discovery frame by frame. I’ve got to say, it’s damn strange.

Clarke thinks the person is a time traveler. O… K… This begs the question of exactly what cell network the alleged time traveler would be using in 1928. Does Verizon have a family plan for temporal displacement?

Perhaps a much more reasonable explanation is that the device the woman is clutching to her head was an old-fashioned hearing aid. They were expensive and not particularly common at the time, but it’s not unfathomable that some wealthy dowager in Los Angeles might be walking down the street while Chaplin was filming.

Still, it’s curious.


  1. Obviously that’s one of The Doctor’s many companions, maybe even Rose’s mom in a few years? The Doc usually hooks them up with cell phones that can travel through time, so that seems like the most likely explanation – that a sci-fi TV show is real.

    • LOL! Great explanation for the cell phone!

      I always thought this video looked like she was holding a package of meat or something to her head – like she just had a tooth pulled or her jaw broken, and had to put something cold on there to help with the swelling.

  2. Wow! In 1928 she was getting a great cell signal. Must not be on AT&T. 🙂

    But logically if you were a time traveler you’d stay away from using a device from the future in public like that and especially not at a movie premiere. Also with paradoxes you’d know that the footage was found of you doing that and prevent yourself from doing it again once you went back in time. Trippy!

    To conclude the Time Cop himself Jean-Claude Van Damme wouldn’t allow this to happened.

    • Victor V.

      Assuming this is a future traveler. Perhaps I misunderstood your explanation of a paradox but my understanding is that if the time traveler was to gain knowledge of this video, she would not be able to come back and stop herself because it already happened. If she was to make a conscious decision to stop herself and somehow succeed she would not longer exist because her reason to travel back would no longer exist. She would then become a paradox herself. On the other hand, time CAN be rewritten but someone would have to be in this video caught using a future device to prevent the second paradox.

  3. Where the argument of the “time traveler” using a cell phone in this movie doesn’t work is that if this person IS a time traveler and has access to technology far superior to anything right now, why are they still making cell phones you have to put up to your ear anymore?

    We already have bluetooth now, wouldn’t you think phones would work wirelessly into our earlobes without the aide of bluetooth headsets in the future?

  4. Brandon Erwin

    Lol When I saw this All I could think about was Fringe. She’s totally an Observer, observing the evolution of film!

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