Charlie Chaplin and the mobile phone riddle

Is this a 1928 cellphone?

A film producer has found footage of a 1928 Charlie Chaplin film premiere that appears to show a woman on a mobile phone.

Chaplin buff George Clarke said he ‘couldn't believe his eyes’ when he saw the figure in the background of footage shot at th premiere of The Circus, and suggested she could even be a time traveler.

‘I kept rewinding it and zooming in to try and work out what was going on,’ explained the 33-year-old.

‘I have been studying this footage for over a year now and I just can't explain it. I went over it back and forwards, frame by frame.

‘Some people have come up with a few theories but to me her actions and gestures are those of someone talking on a mobile.'

In the scene in question the woman, in a hat and coat, walks into frame appearing deep in conversation while holding a black object to her ear.

One theory put forward so far is that the device is a hearing aid, although it is not obvious why she should be talking into it.

Clarke said: ‘The phone is to her ear. It is not an ear trumpet. It is not an AM/FM radio, cos obviously it’s 1928. Technically there is nothing that can explain what is in her hand

‘She’s on her own. She’s talking into a device. There’s no wires, there’s no long antenna coming out. It’s just unexplainable. I’m stumped, completely stumped. Look at the shape of her hand – it’s a phone.’

‘Is this a piece of footage that shows someone from 1928 with a mobile phone. Possibly a time traveller? Possible some crazy lunatic with a black piece of something.'

Clarke's YouTube clip – below – has already notched up more than 1.4million views.

Now click here to win a copy of the film (sadly without the premiere footage).

Published: 28 Oct 2010

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