George Clarke

Imagination is more important than knowledge...


Charlie Chaplins Time Traveler

Posted by George Clarke on October 20, 2010 at 11:15 AM

Hey folks,


this is something I have been trying to get round my head for the past year or more...


As a massive fan of Charlie Chaplin, I treated myself to an awesome boxset of his top films. All of which are double discs and contain numerous hours of behind the scenes footage, film premieres, home footage, trailers, and much much more - even a 3D test.


Keeping in mind that quite a few of Chaplins films are close to hitting the 100 year old mark, I found myself completely dumbstruck while watching the footage for the premiere of his film 'The Circus' at Manns Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, LA when a certain scene came on...


Played over 100 times, slowed down, zoomed up, frame by frame - the scene in question features a pretty large woman (to which I am now convinced is a man in drag) strolling past the camera while talking on a mobile phone! ...oh yeah, and its 1928!!!


So without going into too much detail here, please click on this link to my Youtube page (or alternatively go to the video page on this site) to see my 8 minute lecture on this subject which includes the footage in multiple takes.


You won't believe your eyes - and if you do, and can give me some sort of explanation, please drop me a line :)




P.S. Guys, sorry but please note that when you leave a comment you may get emails from asking to join this site or such. Feel free to delete!! I've heard back from a few of you regarding this and cant find where to knock it off - but still looking! Just in case... Thanks!!

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Reply Sal Coraccio
1:42 AM on October 21, 2010 
There is a shadow artifact on the top edge of the saddle as the 2 people walk past it - is this common to films of the period, or are we looking at evidence of fakery?
Reply Sal
1:47 AM on October 21, 2010 
Sal Coraccio says...
There is a shadow artifact on the top edge of the saddle as the 2 people walk past it - is this common to films of the period, or are we looking at evidence of fakery?

Plus - if it is undoctored - by what transmission technology is she communicating...? Cell towers from the future?
Reply volo
11:20 AM on October 22, 2010 
go for it ! its really intresting .. it doesnt matter if its time travellin or wheres the signal , where s the tower .. blabla
the question is , why is (IT) speakin to some black box, looking like ordinary nokia user.
really intresting question to get answer
Reply Tilla
5:16 PM on October 22, 2010 
I would think that that is an agent for or is a member of for lack of a better term, "Illuminati". It has been rumored that the royal families of the early 1800s communicated using AM and or other types of radio communication. The Rothchild dynasty got their extreme banking fortune started from knowing events before anyone else and shrewdly using that info to control The European (and eventually American) banking system.
Everyone today will accept that the gov/army is way ahead of what they show as far as technology is concerned. I say it has ALWAYS been that way and the rulers of this world had cell phones and towers or satellites in place in 1920 is not at all far fetched.
Reply Tom O'Krinsky
12:09 AM on October 23, 2010 
Crystal sets (AM radio receivers) use few parts and can be made pretty small. I had one in the 1960's that was the size of cell phone and used an earphone for hearing broadcasts. Sound quality was poor at best. I'm pretty sure they existed at the time this was filmed and could have been that small. My guess is that she is not "speaking", but could be singing along with the broadcast. Here is the Wikipedia entry on the subject:

Reply wayne
8:53 AM on October 23, 2010 
Single Page View
Concealed Hearing Devices of the 20th Century

?Let it not be said of the hard of hearing, "Vanity, vanity,
all is vanity.?

? S. R. Silverman, Ph.D., 1947
Sonotone ad for Movable Ear

Courtesy of Sonotone

During the 20th century, aids for hearing evolved from mechanical to electrical devices. Using an external power source, sounds could now be made louder than was possible with earlier mechanical designs. Consequently, hearing aids were able to provide amplification of sound to those even with severe to profound hearing loss. Coincident with the change from mechanical to electrical designs were advances in technology that paved the way for innovative designs of concealed hearing aids and allowed for manufacture of hearing aids at more affordable prices.

Early Electrical Hearing Aids were based on telephone technology invented by Alexander Graham Bell in the late 19th century. A carbon-granule microphone in combination with a battery could produce sound at an earphone at levels greater than those possible with mechanical devices. Carbon hearing aids, while effective for moderate losses, had limited amplification and poor-to-moderate sound fidelity.
Acousticon Model 28, 1927 Acousticon Model 28, 1927
This hearing aid is typical of early electrical hearing aids. It was large and not easily transportable ? the batteries were cumbersome and the carbon components were highly sensitive to heat and cold.CUD B THIS
Reply wayne
9:00 AM on October 23, 2010 
Reply wayne
9:03 AM on October 23, 2010 
Reply wayne
9:06 AM on October 23, 2010 
Reply Josie
2:18 AM on October 24, 2010 
My grandfather created the 1st radio transmissor from scratch in Venezuela in the 30's. Unfortunately he already passed away. So I showed the video to one of my aunts (who remembers such transmissor), and she said that it might not be a radio but a Chinese music box. Apparently even in 1928 music boxes could be that little to fit in that lady's hand. Therefore, agreeing with Wayne, the lady might be singing, not talking to someone.
I have to admit I prefer the time traveling idea. Reminds me 100% of Bruce Willis in 12 Monkeys. He always had a device at hand to communicate with the future.
Reply Nico
9:38 AM on October 24, 2010 
If you look to her hand, she her fingers curled around the device. If you are talking on a phone, do you have your fingers curled around it entirely? Do you have the tips of your fingers on the screen? No you don't because it isn't easy to telephone like that. You have the tips of your fingers on the side of the telephone, but this lady as you can see in the halfshot, has her fingers curled entirely around the device. So I take it it is not a phone. I like to agree with previous writers that it very well could be some kind of device that the army/rich allready had but wasn't out for the normal public yet.
Isn't it btw maybe traceable who this women could be if you look at the entire premiere stuff?

xx, Nico.
Reply volo
12:40 PM on October 24, 2010 
If you look to her hand, she her fingers curled around the device. If you are talking on a phone, do you have your fingers curled around it entirely?

it depends on design ;)
Reply Mark
10:44 PM on October 24, 2010 
I worked in TV production in college, and what this struck me as was not a telephone conversation, but more of an animated narration, like one would do for a voice-over on camera. A small video camera would explain why the 'person' maintained a fixed hand position the entire time. After all, if one had the technology to time travel, any communication device would probably be very unobtrusive, much like Blue Tooth today. Besides, if a telephone or two-way radio, to whom would this person be speaking so excitedly? Anyone in the same time period would likely be there too-- why not, it's a big crowd. I think this person was recording for posterity.
Reply oli
5:05 AM on October 25, 2010 
You can show this insert to an hearless person, or someone else who can reed from the lips of the lady in Chaplin´s film. Maybe someone could "hear" what she is saying and that could be the way to clear the mistery. Just an idea
Reply Gina G
9:03 AM on October 25, 2010 
Hi George,
I am intrigued with the clip, just like yourself. I noted the size of this man/woman's feet and hands which do seem rather large for a small lady. Also, as a woman myself I feel that most ladies usually lift their legs higher than men when stepping forward but this man/woman seems to move the legs lower to the ground in constant movement. Yes, it really does seem strange although my logic mind must consider that the clip be super-imposed to include this character in order to increase revenue for their box set? After alll, everyone loves a mystery....
Reply Sini?a
11:50 AM on October 25, 2010 
Reply Tod Hunter
2:27 PM on October 25, 2010 
First, the name of that theater is "Grauman's Chinese." It was built by Sid Grauman in the '20s (note his name on a sign in teh background) and that jerk who put his name on the landmark like a tagger with a can of spray paint should be ignored.

I agree with the people who say that a cell phone signal would not be able to be received back then. I think what we are looking at is the use of a small portable digital voice recorder. I have one that is about the size of a large pack of gum. It could also be an iPhone using an app for voice recording.

Great catch. Thanks for sharing it.
Reply ltotino
2:51 PM on October 25, 2010 
Although the thought of someone with a cell phone in 1928 gave me goosebumps, I would have to agree with the majority on this page. Charlie Chaplin movies were silent so I am sure people would talk on the set. My guess is that the extra might have been scratching his ear and the director told him not to move his arm (as this would call additional attention to the extra). I think the extra is talking to the director at this point.
Reply Orange Rex
8:09 PM on October 25, 2010 
This is a man. The walk and posture and hands are such. Also if you will look at the MOUNTAIN of a nose it is most likely a prosthetic. Now why would a man be dressed as a woman. Well this is obviously a disguise. Now why would a man disguise himself as a woman. Well he could be a spy or espionage agent. If so would explain the device which is very similar in size and shape to early walkie talkies. The coat is concealing the rest of the equipment. It is much heavier in style than other folks in the scene. perfect for hiding the actual transmitter. Although commercial walkies didnt come about for another decade, it is common for espionage equipment to be at least a decade in advance of public knowledge/use. In my opinion this person is an assassin and their target is someone at this premiere. Have not done any research but were there any suspicious deaths or accidents at this event?
Reply Leonardo
8:42 PM on October 25, 2010 
Nice one! I see "Sini?a" already had the same Idea as me. I think she's just some old woman using a ear trumpet, very common early 20th century. And, as for the "talking": She's probably chewing tobacco. (Half the population of America was doing this in her youth.) Interesting how common accepted habits change over the years.