Can You Crack The Case of the Cell Phone in 1928?

There’s a video making the rounds on the internet that purports to present a paradoxical and perplexing problem - how is a woman in 1928 using a cell phone?

The footage is from the Hollywood premiere of Charlie Chaplin’s The Circus, and it shows what appears to be a woman walking down Hollywood Boulevard holding something to her ear and seemingly talking. Perhaps into it. The fellow who made the video has jumped right to the most obvious conclusion - she’s a time traveler on a cell phone. Of course there would have been no cell towers in 1928, but I guess that would have been the least of the problems for a time traveler.

I imagine the answer is exceptionally mundane; this seems to be a very good example of how our perception bias can color something when we don’t have a lot of information. It is an intriguing little clip, and it’s fun to imagine what it could be.

Skip ahead to about 2:40 to get past an awful lot of yapping.