In October 2010, Northern Irish filmmaker George Clarke uploaded a video clip entitled "Chaplins Time Traveler" to YouTube. The clip analyzes bonus material in a DVD of the Charlie Chaplin film The Circus. Included in the DVD are footage from the film's Los Angeles premier at Grauman's Chinese Theatre in 1928.
At one point, a woman is seen walking by, talking into a device that Clarke said appeared to be a cell phone. Clarke concluded that the woman was a time traveler.
The truth ?
The clip received millions of hits and became an Internet meme. Nicholas Jackson, associate editor for The Atlantic, said the device was either a Siemens or Western Electric brand hearing aid. Philip Skroska, an archivist at the Bernard Becker Medical Library of Washington University in St. Louis, thought that the woman might have been holding a rectangular-shaped ear trumpet. New York Daily News writer Michael Sheridan said the device was probably an early hearing aid, perhaps manufactured by Acousticon.