The Littlest Hobo is a Canadian television series based upon a 1958 American film of the same name. The series revolved around a stray German Shepherd, the titular Hobo, who wanders from town to town, like a canine Incredible Hulk, helping people in need. Although the concept (of a dog saving the day) was perhaps also similar to that of Lassie. Despite the attempts of the many people whom he helped to adopt him, he appeared to prefer to be on his own, and would head off by himself at the end of each episode. His origins, motivation and ultimate destination never explained.
On his adventures ‘The Littlest Hobo’ came across a mixture of well-known Canadian guest stars such as DeForest Kelley, Michael Ironside, Patrick Macnee, Leslie Nielsen and Mike Myers . Considering the vastness of Canada and the average walking speed of a German Shepherd this was quite the achievement. During the course of its run, plots developed from the simple “dog-helps-person” stories to secret agent-type adventures, the highlight of which has to be Season 5’s two-part episode “The Genesis Tapes”.
In this episode a scientist and a reporter theorize that Hobo is some type of superior canine. They try to capture Hobo to study him, with the reporter wanting a story and the scientist wanting to claim to be the first to discover the ‘meta-canine’ as he puts it. Hobo succeeds in destroying VHS tapes of himself that the scientist and reporter had intended to use to prove their theories. Both episodes feature flashback footage from the first five seasons of the series but does not confirm or deny whether or not Hobo was a ‘Canis lupus familiaris superior.’
One of the most memorable elements to ‘The Littlest Hobo’ its fantastic theme song, “Maybe Tomorrow”, sung by Terry Bush. Even now, I find myself occasionally singing the theme song when I least expect to. When I do, (usually in public) I am greeted not with derision, but by heart-warming smiles of nostalgia. The song was later used in a 2011 advert for Dulux paint, a hate crime so cataclysmic as to bring me out in hives whenever I see so much as a tester pot. Does anyone else resent their precious childhood memories being hawked by advertising companies, trying to attach a sense of fond familiarity to their products? Just me then…