One of the biggest memes of 2017 was the ubiquitous “distracted boyfriend” photo that took over the Internet. The photo may have peaked in late 2017, but it appears that English actor and filmmaker Charlie Chaplin actually shot the very first “distracted boyfriend” nearly 100 years ago.
Over the weekend, movie writer Peter Goldberg shared the Chaplin version of the meme.
I'm very sorry for this, but… pic.twitter.com/iewtkmUmkG
— Peter Goldberg (@peeto_g) June 11, 2018
The people of Reddit then flipped the still frame horizontally to make it match the famous meme.
Here’s the photo that was shot by photographer Antonio Guillem, for comparison:
The still frame is from Chaplin’s 1922 silent film Pay Day (at 9:14 in):
Perhaps this new discovery will spark a second wave of “distracted boyfriend” memes, except this time with an old-school flavor.