Was there a time-traveling alien wandering around a Charlie Chaplin set in 1928? If you ask filmmaker George Clarke, the answer is a resounding “Em… Sure… Maybe… What else could it be?!”
Clarke has been studying the movie “The Circus” and noticed an interesting scene in one of the outtakes where a lady walks across the scene holding something up to her ear and talking.Â He therefore leaps to the conclusion that this woman is a time-traveler, possibly an alien time-traveler, talking on an iPhone.
The story has gone viral and has been picked up by various news sites. People are fascinated by this story. We at Skepchick HQ spent the day batting a few theories back and forth and, I’ll be honest, we came up with MORE QUESTIONS THAN ANSWERS. I thought I’d share some of our thoughts from the email exchange today:
Me: Who is she talking to? Another time traveling alien with another cell phone? If so, how are they communicating? Last I checked, there were no cell towers in the 1920s. Has AT&T cell service actually been around that long? Was it any better back then? Hell, I can’t get a call to go through at my desk at work, this chick got four bars in 1928?
Elyse: Wouldn’t a time traveler know about this film because they’ll see it before they go back in time? And then not walk down the street talking on their phone? Stopping themselves from being filmed? Or did they INTENTIONALLY WANT TO BE FILMED?
Amy: I think she is talking to the crazy mumbling homeless guy with the tin foil cap on the corner of Hollywood and Vine. He says his cap works through time and space and anywhere AT&T can’t.
Me: Could she be holding a radio to her head? NO WAY, says George Clarke, filmmaker and investigator extraordinaire. He says in his video: “It is not an AM/FM radio because obviously, it’s 1928.” DUH. You guys are so dumb. There WERE no AM/FM radios in 1928. So it MUST BE A CELL PHONE. Except that I’m pretty sure there were AM radios in 1928. AM started to broadcast in 1906 and was just getting popular in the 20s. But why let the facts get in the way?
Amy: Why is that horse painted like a zebra?
Elyse: Why would a time traveler bring an am/fm radio but not a cell phone?
Rebecca: If I were a time traveler I’d take a Walkman everywhere. Those things were AWESOME.
A: Just like Marty McFly!
Sam: What’s up with the guy in front of her? Is she talking to him? I think the man and the woman are together. Probably just a couple down to see the premier or something. They are in closer proximity as the shot opens, but then he gains a big lead on her as sheâ€™s â€œadjustingâ€, and she calls after him saying something like, â€œRalph, wait. Iâ€™m about to lose my hat/glasses/hair bun.â€ And yes, in my mind his name is Ralph. But oddly, so is hers.
Jen: Dude, if you take a Walkman around now, people will think you’re a time traveler – just from the past. :)
Rebecca: There’s my Halloween costume taken care of
Elyse: Hey, look – it’s a hearing aid that looks like a goddamn cell phone!
Jen: The horse is painted like a zebra because the film is The Circus.Â So as a publicity stunt, they wanted a circus animal at the premiere and painting a horse was easier than getting a real zebra.
Amy: Thank you.
Me: Case Closed, bitches.