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I once saw a movie on the TV sometime in the 1990s. I don't remember a whole lot (maybe I didn't even see the whole movie), only one particular scene, which made quite an impression on my young self, and it still pops into my mind from time to time.

So, there was a book in it, a very old magical (?) book, which, if used correctly, revealed the happenings of any specific day in history: when opening it with a specific date in mind, handwriting appeared (fade-in) on the yellowish page, listing all the events of that day. And the main guy (young-ish, but maybe bespectacled? lean guy) and his Watson/sidekick (who was maybe a woman?) used the power of this book to solve a mystery of some kind. The plot twist was, the book showed nothing about a specific date: it just showed a blank page, and the characters thought this incredulous. I distinctly remember the guy saying something along the lines of "but it's impossible that nobody died or was born on that day!", and this kind of stalled the investigation (they even thought the book got broke), until these clever guys realised that the date was one of the missing days of the Gregorian calendar change, between 4 October 1582 and 15 October 1582. Or maybe it was about the introduction in America, 2 September 1751-14 September 1751, I'm not really sure.

And the guy said: "11 October 1582 never existed!", then went on to explain the Gregorian calendar reform, and realised the date they got was bogus.

Oh boy, this fascinated me so much.

Anyway, this is all I remember. Oh, except, there's this other thing that it was really dark (candlelight, maybe?) when they were handling the book - now that I think about it, I recall that the book needed a ritual to function.

There's a chance I didn't even see the whole movie, just these couple of scenes.

It didn't really seem like an A-list production, maybe it was a TV movie, or actually, it might have been a series. This was in Hungary, but I'm almost certain it wasn't a Hungarian production. I think it had a late 80s/90s feel to it in terms of fashion and hairstyle. I think it was all a fairly light-hearted, family-oriented thing.

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    I would investigate fantasy TV shows from the 80s/90s such as Tales from the Crypt, Amazing Stories, Round the Twist, Eerie Indiana... – MicroMachine Jul 14 '16 at 4:31
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    There's a passage in the book THE EIGHT by Katherine Neville that talks about the changeover to the Gregorian calendar and how due to the change, a very important meeting never occurred. I don't know if it was ever made into a movie, though. – Witchy Woman Jul 23 '16 at 17:37
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    There was a TV movie with Wil Wheaton called Book of Days with a somewhat similar plot, though it's from 2003 and I know very little about it. See if the trailer looks familiar, anyway. – Walt Oct 14 '16 at 9:31
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    @Walt Wow, it does look similar. But, um, the Gregorian calendar change is kinda missing -.- That's basically the only thing I clearly remember. – SáT Oct 14 '16 at 9:41
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    Incidentally, 11 October 1582 did exist. The non-Catholic parts of Europe flipped Pope Gregory the bird, and didn't switch over until later. Time was very confusing for a while. – Arcanist Lupus Apr 7 '18 at 7:53
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This sounds a lot like the 1985 Twilight Zone episode "Paladin of the Lost Hour", written by Harlan Ellison. From the IMdB synopsis:

Gaspar and Billy sit in the Cemetery chatting about the book Lost Horizon... Gaspar says he is going to tell Billy a fascinating story. In 1582 Pope Gregory XIII decreed that the entire civilised world would no longer observe the Julian Calendar, October 4th 1582 was followed the next day by October 15th. 11 days just vanished from the world like that. Unfortunately the Pope got it wrong as it was 11 days and 1 hour that had to be adjusted. Now listen very carefully Billy, that hour was left to bounce throughout eternity, a very special hour. An hour that must never be used, an hour that must never Toll. removing the watch from his pocket Gaspar gazed at it and went on with the story. If it strikes 12 then eternal night falls and there is no recall, the light, the wind, the stars and this magnificent place we call the universe will end and in its place waiting, always waiting, hungry to be fed is darkness. No new beginnings, no world without end just the infinite emptiness.

Full text of the novelization can be found here.

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I think that the answer by Mark Beadles is half of the correct answer. I think that SáT may have actually been remembering two separate stories from the 1985–1986 season of The Twilight Zone: "Paladin of the Lost Hour" and "The Library." When I first looked at this question (which has been lingering in unanswered queue for a long time), I immediately thought of the "The Library." However, until Mark Beadles posted about the similarity to "Paladin of the Lost Hour," I did not make the connection to that particular episode (although I also remember it clearly from when it first aired).

As noted already, "Paladin of the Lost Hour" deals with some lost time that was related to the change from the Julian to Gregorian calendar.

From the Wikipedia plot summary:

At the cemetery, Gaspar tells Billy the story of how a pope from the 16th century decreed that the entire civilized world adopt a new calendar, which advanced time by thirteen days. Billy speculates that the observance of equinoxes and solstices probably had to do with improved scientific knowledge in those days. Gaspar agrees, but adds the Pope's calculations were off by one hour. That hour "slipped free and bounced through eternity." It is an hour that must never be used, and must never toll. To do so would bring eternal night when the pocket watch tolls midnight.

Seven episodes later came "The Library," which was about a supernatural library that contained books, each of which chronicled the life of a living person in complete detail. The books could be used to learn secrets about other people, or even changed to alter the nature of reality.

Again, per Wikipedia:

Ellen Pendleton, an aspiring writer who wants to earn additional money, takes a job at a private library run by Gloria. Ellen soon learns that this is no ordinary library: the books in it contain the descriptions of people's lives, accurate to the latest second. Gloria warns Ellen not to read the books, as that is something firmly prohibited by her employers.

Ellen is disturbed by her noisy neighbours, Edwin and Carla, and decides to have a little revenge. She re-writes a chapter in Edwin's book to make him a priest, rendering him ineligible to have married Carla and preventing all of their loud arguments. When Ellen gets home that night, she finds her sister Lori consoling the now never-married Carla, who is on the verge of nervous breakdown due to loneliness.

To repair the damage done, Ellen rewrites Carla's book to make her happily married to another neighbour, Doug. Now the problem is that Doug is bankrupt from buying gifts for Carla. Ellen then fixes Doug's problems by giving him real estate wealth, but now he is her landlord and her sister is staging a protest against him for raising the rent.

Ellen rewrites her own book so that she and Lori live in a house by the sea instead. She returns home to find that Lori drowned while rescuing a little boy from the ocean. Ellen dashes back to the library and is caught by Gloria, who is incensed when she learns the books have been tampered with. She quickly orders Ellen to gather all the books she rewrote and ushers her out of the library.

Much to her amazement, Ellen is met outside by Lori, alive and well. Ellen rings the doorbell of the library, but the door is answered by a man who claims to have been living there for the past ten years and who knows nothing of a library there. Convinced that things are slightly in order, Ellen and Lori leave.

Taken together, these episodes contain a lot of the elements that are described in the question–although not quite all. There may even be one or more other shows that have conflated.

protected by Community Jun 11 '18 at 11:23

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