the magic hour


Tonight marks the end of Daylight Savings Time. We turn back our clocks at 2 AM tonight, and everyone gets an extra hour of sleep. Sunday will be full of stories of people who forgot to change their clocks, and showed up an hour early! These stories are eerily similar to those from March, when these same people told exciting stories about showing up an hour late! As I have said before, the only acceptable story about Daylight Savings Time is one that ends with the phrases, "And that's how they all died."

One special thing about the shift from Daylight Saving Time to Standard Time is that the first 1-2 AM stretch doesn't really count. Once that period is over, we get a second 1-2 AM, like the first never happened. That first sixty-minute stretch is the Magic Hour. It's the one time in our 365 days a year when everyone gets a do-over. Ironically, it's also the only time broadcast TV will air reruns of Magic Johnson's former talk show, The Magic Hour.

Have you ever wanted to commit a petty crime for no reason? Have you had a secret crush on a close friend you've been dying to reveal? Do it in the Magic Hour. If it goes wrong, don't worry about it. Sixty minutes later, that hour will be lost to the dusts of time. The second 1:15 is the only one that goes into the record books.

It's the calendrical equivalent of a free play. We are all like the quarterback who notices an offsides flag just before the snap. He knows it's a free play. That's the time a smart quarterback calls an audible, and throws the long bomb. If it's complete, great. If not, the team will simply accept the five-yard penalty and move on. Be like that quarterback tonight, readers. When the Magic Hour rolls around, throw the long pass.

Unfortunately, San Francisco bars do not follow the principles of the Magic Hour, and thus you have to get your drinking done in the first 1-2 AM period. When last call occurs during the Magic Hour, that's also time to audible; i.e., order a round of shots. Like Las Vegas, what happens during the Magic Hour stays in the Magic Hour.

The flip side of the Magic Hour happens in the spring, when the 2-3 AM period disappears. Many is the poor soul who makes a date for 2:30 on the last Saturday of March, only to be stood up. Or the man who wants to quit smoking, and decides to have his last cigarette at 2:15. They are still alone, and still smoking to this day, victims of the disappearing time frame known as the Tragic Hour.


Not sure if you were purposely referencing it, but there is an episode of Pete & Pete about this, I think.

Yes, little Pete was trying to exploit the extra hour somehow. It was more of a time-travel thing than an anything-goes thing, though.

Every few years my birthday falls on the last Sunday in October, making my birthday 25 hours long. I feel special on those years.

Not only that! Big Pete was going on his first date with Ellen at the drive-thru. Unwisely following the advice of Endless Mike, he puts the moves on Ellen and she storms off, but he gets another chance when they get to live the hour over again and start with a clean slate.

I mean the drive-in. The drive-thru would be a pretty crappy date, and a bad place to put the moves on someone.

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This page contains a single entry by Sean Keane published on October 28, 2006 9:47 PM.

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