"12:01pm": The classic time travel short film

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Back in 1990, Showtime had a 30-minute short film series called…”The Showtime 30-Minute Movie.” There were 3 films made in this series, and the second of those released was based on a short story written by Richard Lupoff in 1973 called “12:01pm”. It’s the story of man trapped who finds himself repeating the same hour over and over again, waking up in the same location at the time 12:01pm, and no matter where he goes or what he does he returns to that same spot when the clock strikes 1:00pm.

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The film stars Kurtwood Smith, who I knew as playing badass Clarence Boddiger in Robocop. Later on, he ended up playing Red Forman on “That 70s Show”— which I think he’s probably best known for. Not many people knew who he was when he did “12:01pm,” but for me this is one of the roles that I remember him from the most.

“12:01pm” turned out to be one of my favorite time travel stories. This was, for me, one of the first instances I had seen of the time loop or time bounce phenomena— which wound up being used in the film Groundhog;s Day. In fact, whenever anyone brings up Groundhog’s Day, I always tell them that “12:01pm” did it first— and in many ways, did it better. The short plays more like a Twilight Zone episode than a soft, cutesy comedy…which it certainly is not. This is vintage, thoughtful, and stark vintage science fiction— stuff that you tend to only find on Netflix these days. The fact that Showtime put money into a story like this was really something— they were a bit ahead of their time. The director, Jonathan Heap, made a feature-length version of the film, but I’ve never seen it because I heard that it had a happy ending, which…bah.

Do yourself a favor— take 28 minutes and watch this film:

Charles Conyers