The Charlie Chaplin Time Traveler

29 Oct

First, just watch the video at this link.  It’s from a premier party for a Charlie Chaplin movie from 1928, and was shot outside a theatre in Hollywood. You’re going to see the same fifteen seconds or so replayed a few times, zoomed in sometimes, slowed down others. A woman walks behind some kind of fake zebra, and she appears to be talking on her cell phone, back in 1928.

First, let’s get the obvious out of the way. I don’t want to hear about Occam’s Razor, and how there has to be a simpler explanation than time travel.  First, time travel is a pretty simple explanation – we know that’s where technology’s going, so we know this was bound to start happening.

And anyway, I keep telling you Occam’s Razor is a guideline, not a law of physics. And I’ve also explained already why time travel is inevitable and the folks who can do it are already among us.  And I think I mentioned I’m about one third serious, too.

So, yes, I know a simpler explanation is that the person isn’t talking on a cell phone, that she’s doing something perfectly normal for 1928.  But I keep watching it over and over, and she’s definitely talking there at the end, and she’s definitely got her hand in the exact position a phone would be, and even her demeanor is that of a very relaxed person who is quite used to walking down the street talking on the phone.

Now go back to the link and scroll down to look at the comments – they are too funny.  A bunch of smug time travel deniers taking a bold stand.

Just look at everybody so extra super sure it’s not a time traveler.  Here in a culture where we think good boys and girls get to have a great big pizza party with the invisible Creator of the Universe in the afterlife. 

We need to see some hard proof!  And hurry up we’re late for church!

My favorite response is that the person would not be able to get cell phone coverage back then – there were no cell towers!  Of course.  Because there’s just no way that an individual with the power to travel through time could ever produce a communication device that did not rely on a network of giant towers.

Maybe she’s using a time warp cell phone, rocking around in 1928 while sending and receiving signals from cell towers in 2010.  If we assume the lady can travel through time, then I’m pretty sure her cell phone signal can, too.

Or maybe it’s a Star Trek explanation – A tachyon phone!  How does it work?  Well it works fine, just look at her.

Seriously, watch the movie.  Not only is this definitely a time traveler talking on the phone, I can even tell you who she’s talking to and what she’s saying.  She’s talking to her BFF and she’s telling her, “Damn straight I’m walking right in front of the theatre where they’re premiering The Circus right now, why don’t you get online and look it up.  You owe me a Dr. Pepper, Maxinne.”

In that scenario, see, I guess Maxinne is her time-traveling pal who didn’t think she’d ever be able to blarney her way into the premier party.  We don’t know if Maxinne is in 1928 with her own Time Warp Cell Phone, or if the cell phone can call other time periods – which it seems like it ought to be able to do, at least on nights and weekends.

A cell phone signal is just energy.  Energy goes at light speed all the time.  Just make it go a little faster, and it’s going back in time.  If this lady figured out how to do it with her own physical body and she didn’t turn into pure energy, then she can do it with her cell phone signal, too.  So she could be talking to Abraham Lincoln and Charlie Sheen on a conference call – all bets are off.

Watch.  This stuff is going to start showing up everywhere.  Is that a laptop on the table in The Last Supper?  Does that mummy have a Harley Davidson tattoo on his arm?  Do these two Easter Island statues look like me and my brother Dave?  It’s going to be like, say, how come we never noticed all these crazy time travelers before? 

Well it’s because they weren’t there before.  They probably just figured out how to do this yesterday, so they went back in time and then some Chaplin scholar noticed it the second history changed around him.

Contrary to what Back To The Future taught us, people wouldn’t disappear or reappear gradually on film.  Reality would change, the photograph would just be a part of reality.  We’d never remember the photograph or the film any other way. You’d be sitting there looking at the picture, and then it would be a different picture, and you would have been looking at the new one the whole time.

I’ll tell you what – maybe they have Internet access, so I’m going to start inviting time travelers out for a drink here and there.  If you’re anywhere in time and space, and you have the means to come back in time, just email me with your Tachyon Smart Phone or your new Blackberry Warp, and I’ll tell you where to meet me, and I’ll buy you a drink.  Several of them, if you want to go ahead and toss me the keys to that time machine – can’t be too careful, safety first.

I’m going to need you to first roll by Sister’s Chicken and Biscuits circa 1992, and pick me up a sixteen piece box of chicken – that’s how I’ll known you’re legit.  Once that’s out of the way, we can think of a way to get you in the background on the cover of my book, even though we took the picture two months ago.  I’m sure you can work it out.

Don’t be shy, time travelers.  I’m on your side. 

Earlier: Occam’s Razor Is Not A Law Of Physics

And: Time Travelers Among Us

And: The Time Traveler Proves It


Posted by on October 29, 2010 in Future Tom Grab Bag, Time Travel


Tags: , , , , , , , ,

5 responses to “The Charlie Chaplin Time Traveler

  1. Dave

    October 30, 2010 at 3:56 am

    Thank Freaking god You addressed this. driving a fellow crazy. I saw that video a few days ago and first thought was “why the fuck are they walking across a scene on a phone that doesn’t exist and not realize they are on a chaplin scene. And why am I watching this on the clock, this isn’t my time, its “company” time.” so anyway if you look closely you can see its a banana. He/she was just messing around with the banana phone.

    • thomaschalfant

      October 30, 2010 at 7:29 pm

      My favorite part of this post is the time at which it was posted.


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