Stockholm hit by Christmas cartoon blackout

The traditional broadcast of Donald Duck took place as expected for families celebrating around Sweden on Christmas Eve.

But an electrical outage in a building housing a cable company’s transmitter kept several residents in southern Stockholm from watching Karl-Bertil Jonsson, another popular holiday cartoon in Sweden.

Nearly 1,500 Södermalm-based customers of cable company Comhem lost their signals at 5.10pm on Christmas Eve.

“It was extremely unfortunate that it happened today,” said Comhem spokesperson Mattias Östlund.

The outage was prolonged because the building which had lost power had new locks, thus forcing technicians to wait until the owner could be reached.

The power was restored by 8:30pm, allowing the Comhem signal to continue. But it was too late for the Comhem customers affected to enjoy Karl-Bertil’s Robin Hood-inspired tale of Christmas generosity.

The story was written by Tage Danielsson in 1964 and was made into an animated film in 1975. The program, called The Story of Karl-Bertil Jonsson’s Christmas Eve is transmitted by Swedish Television every Christmas Eve. Along with Donald Duck, it is one of Sweden’s most treasured holiday-TV traditions.

The red-haired and well meaning Karl-Bertil takes packages meant for the rich from the postal distribution center where he works and re-distributes them to the poor while dressed in his father’s Santa Claus suit. His father becomes indignant upon hearing what Karl-Bertil has done, but his attitude softens as he finds that the wealthy families who didn’t get their packages actually praise Karl-Bertil for his actions.