Looking Back At THE LITTLEST HOBO - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

Home Top Ad

Post Top Ad


There's a voice that keeps on calling, meandering down the memory lane of children's television in the late 1970s and early 1980s. This voice belongs to none other than "The Littlest Hobo," a Canadian television series that captured the hearts of viewers across the globe.

Originally airing from 1979 to 1985, the series was a revival of a 1960s American series of the same name. Both were inspired by the 1958 film "The Littlest Hobo," following the heartwarming adventures of a stray German Shepherd who wandered from town to town, helping people in need.

Unlike other canine stars of the small screen, Hobo wasn't a faithful sidekick or a cherished family pet. He was an independent spirit, a four-legged drifter who invoked a sense of wanderlust and adventure. This unique protagonist set the stage for a series that was as unpredictable as it was charming, offering an anthology-like format where every episode featured new characters and scenarios.

Guest stars played a significant role in the series, with each episode bringing new faces to the screen. Notable guest stars included DeForest Kelley, known for his iconic role as Dr. McCoy in "Star Trek," and a young Mike Myers in one of his earliest acting roles. These appearances provided added appeal to the series, enhancing its reputation as a springboard for future talents.

Producing "The Littlest Hobo" was an endeavor that involved a unique set of challenges and triumphs. While the cast and crew rotated, the real star remained consistent - the titular Hobo. Three dogs named London played Hobo over the series' six-year run, all trained by the renowned animal trainer Charles (Chuck) P. Eisenmann. Eisenmann used kindness-based training methods, which emphasized building a relationship based on mutual trust and respect between the trainer and the animal.

One of the show's most memorable episodes was "Silent Witness," where Hobo helps a non-verbal boy communicate a vital message about a dangerous pesticide. Another standout episode, "Ghost Station," sees Hobo helping a young woman prove the existence of a ghost in an old fire station, providing an unexpected foray into the supernatural.

The theme song for the series, titled "Maybe Tomorrow," became iconic and is deeply associated with the show. Sung by Terry Bush, the song captures the wanderlust spirit of the titular dog. The lyrics express a sentiment of constant movement, always seeking the next adventure but never settling down. It evokes a sense of freedom and the open road, aligning perfectly with the show's premise. The recurring lines "Maybe tomorrow, I'll want to settle down" and "Until tomorrow, I'll just keep moving on" encapsulate the show's essence: while the Hobo always helps those in need, he never stays in one place for long, driven by an insatiable wanderlust.

The melancholic yet hopeful tune resonated with audiences and remains one of the most recognizable theme songs in television history, especially for Canadian viewers who grew up watching the series.

"The Littlest Hobo" commanded impressive viewership during its original run, often averaging over a million viewers per episode in Canada alone. It was also syndicated internationally, gaining popularity in the UK, where it was a staple of children's television schedules throughout the 1980s.

Reflecting on its legacy, "The Littlest Hobo" remains a cherished piece of television history. Its central theme of altruism, depicted through Hobo's selfless acts of kindness, imparted valuable life lessons to its young viewers. The concept of a wandering hero who helps those in need then moves on, evoked a sense of romantic wanderlust, standing out from other children's series of the era.

Moreover, the show was one of the early adopters of episodic storytelling in children's television, influencing subsequent shows such as "Quantum Leap" and "Highway to Heaven." By introducing new characters and stories in each episode, "The Littlest Hobo" kept its narrative fresh and engaging, paving the way for future anthology-like children's series.

As for the guest stars, many used their appearance on the show as a stepping stone to more significant roles. Mike Myers, for instance, went on to gain fame through "Saturday Night Live" and the "Austin Powers" series. DeForest Kelley's guest stint was a delightful treat for "Star Trek" fans and a testament to the show's reach and impact.

In conclusion, "The Littlest Hobo" was more than a run-of-the-mill children's television show. It was a tale of wanderlust and goodwill, a showcase for up-and-coming talent, and a testament to the compelling charm of its four-legged star. The series remains a cherished part of television history, its legacy alive in the hearts of those who followed Hobo's adventures across the towns and years. And though the show ended decades ago, in the memories of its viewers, Hobo is still out there somewhere, making a difference one town at a time.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Post Top Ad