I’m sure there aren’t many of you who haven’t stumbled upon the “Distracted Boyfriend” meme somewhere on the Internet. It caught fire last year and ended up having thousands of hilarious variations. And although we connect it with the present time, it seems like Charlie Chaplin invented it way back in 1922.
Film writer Peter Goldberg posted a screenshot from Charlie Chaplin’s short film Pay Day, where he turns around to check out another woman in the street while his wife is next to him.
I'm very sorry for this, but… pic.twitter.com/iewtkmUmkG
— Peter Goldberg (@peeto_g) June 11, 2018
Tom Ryan “fixed” the screenshot by flipping it horizontally, so it resembles more the 2017 “Distracted Boyfriend” meme we all know.
There, fixed it pic.twitter.com/HYHAqp9aq9
— Tom Ryan (@tomdryan) June 11, 2018
I didn’t take long for the people of the Internet to start turning the 1922 scene into a meme. Personally, I like the modern “Distracted Boyfriend” meme, so the vintage one gave me chuckles, too. Especially this “meta” meme:
— Hunmik (@hunmik) June 11, 2018
Here are a few other examples:
— Kris Kerzman (@kriskerzman) June 11, 2018
— Taffin (@i124nk8) June 11, 2018
— Torville Redenbotter (@TravBot) June 11, 2018
— Chris Koss 🔵 (@cwkoss) June 11, 2018
sorry if this has been done pic.twitter.com/lAFSceiBLj
— salad gravy (@bragool) June 11, 2018
I see internet memes as a very interesting phenomenon. I guess I’m not the only one, considering that they even sparked some academic research. I believe Antonio Guillem, the photographer behind the original image, couldn’t have ever imagined that his stock photo would turn into internet sensation. And I wonder what Charlie Chaplin would think seeing that his movie from 96 years ago is gaining this weird kind of popularity in the 21st century. : )