It was shades of the Heidi Game for bowling aficionados in the Agoura Hills area.
Just when ESPN was showing the deciding moments in the Professional Bowling Assn. League's match between the Silver Lake (Calif.) Atom Splitters and Motown Muscle on Sunday afternoon, the program was blacked out.
When service resumed little more than two minutes later, a commercial was playing and the match had apparently ended, no doubt causing considerable consternation among befuddled viewers.
The outage seems to have affected only AT&T U-verse customers of the Agoura Hills neighborhood. Agoura Hills, an upscale city with a population of about 20,000, is located west of Los Angeles.
The blackout was reminscent of the Heidi Game or Heidi Bowl -- a historic 1968 event in which a pro football game between the Oakland Raiders and New York Jets was interrupted with the game on the line so NBC could air the start of the movie "Heidi." Outraged viewers missed two Oakland touchdowns in the final minute as the Raiders defeated the Jets, 43-32.
A U-verse spokeswoman said Sunday that a "technical issue" was in play from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. "It affected random channels and random customers," she said.
She said she did not know how many households were affected.
The spokeswoman added that all other regions were unaffected by the outage.
ESPN said Sunday that it was checking into the event.
At the time of the interruption, the Atom Splitters had a chance to overcome a deficit and pull out the opening-round match of the Don Carter round. Anchor man Chris Barnes, the Silver Lake's franchise bowler, was set to bowl in the bottom of the 10th frame.
The announcer said, "Chris Barnes needs two strikes . . . " Then his voice trailed off and various screens around the Agoura Hills area went dark.
After the ensuing commercial, the Motown Muscle was shown bowling against the New York City WTT KingPins -- a clear indication that Barnes had failed to deliver the two needed strikes and that that Muscle had prevailed.
The PBA reported that the Muscle scored a 210-199 victory over the Atom Splitters and was then defeated by the KingPins, who went on to claim the Don Carter title.