Monday, November 01, 2010

A time traveller in 1928?

So the latest viral sensation sweeping the information super-hi-way is the time traveller captured in Charlie Chaplin's 1928 motion picture, The Circus. It is a short clip that appears to show a woman walking across screen talking on a cell-phone. In 1928 when, as most people know, there were no cell-phones. So, what the heck is going on?

The clip is only a few seconds long ans shows a woman walking across screen, at one point walking behind a stuffed zebra. She is holding her left hand up to her left ear in what we modern folk recognize as the traditional cell-phone holding pose. As the clip fades out we can see the woman's face and she does appear to be talking even though nobody is standing near her. Somebody (after over eighty years) noticed the "cell-phone" thing - pulled the clip and whacked it online with the cell-phone theory attached and voom! We're off!

So, what is really going on in the clip? The woman is holding her hand to her ear but really the chance that she is a time traveller packing a cell-phone are somewhere between none and noner. No offence there kids but there are no time travellers travelling back to have cameos in Charlie Chaplin movies (as cool as it would actually be to be in a Charlie Chaplin movie - even as a walk on). Time travel doesn't exist, and if it did exist you could be that it wouldn't be used to sneak into silent movies. Oop, there I go, peeing on everybodies parade. Where's my imagination? Where's my sense of wonder? Well where my sense of wonder and imagination are not is making up weird stuff about cell-phones in Charlie Chaplin movies. Evolution is wonderful, deep-sea or deep-space exploration is wonderful. Life is wonderful. Making stuff up "just a'cuzz" is not.

But lets be all pragmatic for just a moment. How would a cell-phone work in 1928? Cell-towers and all the other infrastructure needed for a cell-phone to work didn't even exist then. So, maybe it's not a cell-phone but rather a satellite phone, except there were no satellites at the time. Oh, I know, it is some sort of futuristic doo-hickie, except that is nuts. To me it looks as though is may be some sort of folded up hand-towel combined with bad acting (which was pretty much the only way of acting they had back then). Really, this is a non-issue. Just one of those little things to keep the wacky and the dim all occupied.

Now for something from history that is really kind of interesting; the first known picture of a human in it was taken in 1838 in Paris, France by Louis Daguerre, the guy who invented the daguerrertype process of photography. The exposure time for the photograph was about ten-minutes so the traffic and people on the busy Boulevard du Temple all disappeared but a fellow who was standing still as he had his shoe shined shows up. Now this is cool, but the even cooler part is that to the right of that fellow is Chewbacca waiting his turn. Yeah, real history is way cooler than the made up stuff.

Anyway... Humouroceros


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