There's an old saying that goes, "There's nothing new under the sun." And now a screenshot posted on Twitter by an industrious fellow by the name of Peter Goldberg, may very well be proving that old axiom true—at least in the case of memes.
What Goldberg posted was a still from the 1922 film Pay Day starring silent comedic film star Charlie Chaplin along with the words, "I'm very sorry for this, but..."
It didn't take long for savvy social media fans to recognize Goldberg's Chaplin find as the OG version of the 'Distracted Boyfriend' meme —nearly a century before a professional photographer from Barcelona named Antonio Guillem made a name for himself with the now iconic snap.
Check out the wayback male gawker gaze, Roaring Twenties style for yourself:
But something wasn't quite right...
Once that was squared away, the revelation quickly got the internet talking:
The OG. Now we have the original source material. This is ground breaking.— Fen Bogarty (@SlipperyBogarty) June 11, 2018
Hah! I recently watched Chaplin’s early stuff and found that the first appearance of the Tramp is a short about him photo-bombing a news broadcast. 100 years ahead of his time.— Kevin Parry (@kevinbparry) June 11, 2018
Some folks couldn't believe their eyes...
There were other comparisons made, too. Chaplin's minor rival (Harold Lloyd was his true box office competition), Buster Keaton even got a shout out:
And some took it as meta as they could:
H/T: Twitter, Indy100