Nostalgia and Christmas magic in Scanian castle hotel
I am re-watching this children's TV series after almost 30 years. It is pure nostalgia! In Sweden, we have a tradition of Christmas holiday programs and summer holiday programs for children. They are always constructed after the same pattern: there is a "frame story", played by Swedish actors. Many of these frame stories have been among the best Swedish children's programs of all time.
Interspersed with the action in this story, are (mostly) American animated cartoons, such as Donald Duck. This is of course nothing special for today's children, but in the 1970:s and 80:s we only had two TV channels in Sweden, and the only time they broadcast animated cartoons was in these programs - that is a few days around Christmas and a few days in the summer. So it was a real treat then!
"Toffelhjältarna" is one of the best Christmas holiday morning series of all time! I was in fact already too old to watch these programs when I watched it the first time in 1984/85. I was going to high school then. I detested my class mates and I was very lonely and unhappy during this time of my life.
Probably this was why "Toffelhjältarna" became so important for me in the Christmas vacation. It gave the impression that life could still be good. That there could be a place somewhere in the world, where people were basically nice. The characters in "Toffelhjältarna" all had their peculiarities, and the other people could smile a little at them... But they were still treated with kindness and respect.
The Count, who was the owner of the castle hotel, and his employees were like one big family who wished each other nothing but good, and while the guests were staying at the hotel they were brought into this fellowship. It was the absolute contrast to the horrible high school-world that was my everyday reality - and I needed this piece of escapism so badly! This world on the TV screen was also full of magic and light and music - I have remembered some of the songs up to this date, despite of the fact that I have never heard them in the meantime! It brought back the Christmas magic one could feel as a child.
Now, when I am re-watching it all, maybe I am not WHOLLY as impressed as I was then. There is a limit to how many times you can laugh at the same funny faces, funny dialects, funny walking styles, men playing women, etc.. I can also see now that it was very low-budget. Everything is only painted false fronts. The national stereotypes - such as the Austrians at all times yodeling in leather shorts - seem very dated today. And much else of the same kind.
But I would still recommend families with children, to get this and watch it together in Christmas time. It is fun and harmless, and if you are yourself in the right mood it can be sublime!
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